Do you sometimes get high even if you don't want to?
Are you using more than you ever thought you would?
Have you tried to cut down or quit at least once?
Are friends, family, or your partner complaining about your use?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions it could be a sign that your crystal use is heading for trouble.
But how do you know if you've crossed the line?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer because everyone's "line" is different.
For example, getting high every weekend may be OK for you, but way too much for someone else. Some guys can use for months without any problems. Others seem to plunge into chaos within two weeks.
The "Too Much" ZoneSo how can you tell if you're using too much?
First of all, "too much" can mean several things -- the amount you use, how often you use, or what happens when you use. In each case, you probably have an idea of what feels "in control" or "acceptable" to you.
Some guys set "personal rules" or limits to their use. Going beyond these limits could have negative results that just aren't worth the price -- health problems, guilt, relationship stress, etc.
Try filling in this blank:
"My crystal use is OK if __________."
Some examples might be: "My use is OK if...
- I don't miss work.
- I only get high on Friday nights.
- I always use condoms at the baths.
- I only use one quarter a weekend
As you make your list, you may start to see which rules you are currently keeping. If you're bending more rules than you're keeping, you might be reaching your "Too Much" Zone.
Crystal and the rest of your life
When it comes to crystal, there is no free party. You have to pay somehow. That price might be a one-day crash, less spending money, or feeling bad about the sex you had the night before. It's important to see how your use impacts other parts of your life. How willing are you to accept these consequences? Is it OK that your electric bill didn't get paid last month? Is it OK that you missed your appointment with your case manager?
Take a moment to think about how crystal use is affecting your:
FinancesAre your bills paid? Do you have money for food?
Physical healthDo you have abscesses? Are you forgetting your HIV meds?
Mental healthIs your paranoia getting worse? How do you feel about yourself?
Personal relationshipsAre you losing friends or having more arguments?
Job/schoolAre you missing work, showing up late or not performing well?
Legal problemsHave you been arrested? Are you skipping P.O. appointments to avoid drug tests?
Sexual risk takingAre you fucking without condoms or feeling shame about your sexual behavior?
Here are some simple steps to keep your use in check.
- Tell your regular using friends what your limits are, preferably before you get high. Stay firm to your goal, even if they make jokes or try to "tempt" you otherwise.
- Establish a "purchase limit" with your dealer. Yes, some dealers WILL do this to keep you a stable and sane customer!
- Plan "crystal-free" weekends. Schedule a lot of activities ahead of time so you don't get bored. Make commitments or "dates" with other people so you are less likely to change your mind and get high.
- Have a plan for your money. Pocket money or handy cash can really be a challenge. Spend your money on other things as soon as you get paid or put it in the bank.
- Ask others what they think about your use. Your friends, using buddies -- even your dealer -- can sometimes see you more honestly than you can. Their feedback can really be eye-opening!
And finally, if you're in trouble -- ask for help!!!!!
Non-using friends, your case manager, family members, or others might be able to offer support.
Check the RESOURCE list at crystalneon.org for more ideas.
Seattle Counseling and Project NEON also offer free, user-friendly counseling for crystal users. They offer individual support, groups and referrals to help you get back in control.