Understanding why you use is important for when you want to make changes or just so you can keep an eye on your general wellbeing
Like anybody you probably use drugs for a reason. Reasons for using are normally valid and understandable ones, even if your use is causing you some harm or creating problems. Everybody has different reasons for using.

Some common reasons other young people say they use drugs or alcohol are:

  • To stop being bored
  • To help unwind and relax
  • To help sleep
  • To get motivated
  • To help with painful feelings-grief, anxiety, anger
  • To slow down racing thoughts
  • To fit in
  • To just feel good
  • To feel comfortable in social situations
  • To have interesting ideas and be creative
  • To relive pain
  • So problems aren’t as much of a bother
  • To help with side effects from medication

It might not always be obvious and you may not have given it much thought but it can be really helpful to understand a bit about why you use particular drugs. Understanding more about your use helps you make informed decisions about how and when you’ll use and is also important if you want to make changes to your use such as reducing use. Specialist support services and other youth workers can ask you questions which help you explore the reasons why you use. Sometimes workers suggest keeping a diary like this one so you can look for any patterns in your use such as

  • Are you always with the same people when you use.
  • Are you always feeling sad before you use and happy after?
  • Are you using more when you feel stressed or anxious?

This helps you start to understand some of the reasons you use. If you are thinking of talking to someone about getting help, keeping a diary like this might also be useful so you can tell them accurate info about what you are using.