Stuff to think about...and ways to make changes
Substance use is part of the human experience...
...That is, people around the world have been using tobacco, alcohol, cannabis and other drugs for various “human reasons” for thousands of years.
Like all things involving humans, substance use is complex (not just “good” or “bad”) and has the potential to both help and harm. What’s more, the effects of using substances are not uniform but unique to each individual
Ever wonder about your unique relationship with substances? Ever question your attitudes and actions related to substances? If so, read on. This booklet was developed to help you better understand your relationship with the substances you use.
You are unique
As an individual, you are a carefully crafted collection of qualities. Yes, you may share some of these qualities with your sister or friend or co-worker. And, of course, some of your traits are linked to when and where you were born and raised. But despite your connection to people and places around you, you are still the only you there is in this world.
Your relationship with substances is equally unique, precisely because no one has the same combination of genetics, life experiences, influences, and personality traits that you do. So even though you may use the same substance as your spouse, cousin or colleague, how and why you use that substance may be very different. And the effects may be very different too. For example, you may feel a bit more relaxed after one drink, while your brother starts feeling angry. Or, your friends might feel more light-hearted and alive after a few puffs of marijuana while you feel only paranoia and anxiety.
A substance may also affect you differently in the long term (after a long period of regular use). There are examples of this all around you. For instance, you probably know people who have smoked cigarettes and used alcohol their whole lives and have yet to experience a related health problem. They may have avoided relationship, financial and legal problems, too. But you likely also know people whose illness or death was directly linked to their use of tobacco and alcohol. And, chances are, their smoking and drinking pattern affected their marriage, education, career and/or finances, too.
Yes, you are unique. And your relationship with substances is unique. (Even the way you process and use the information and exercises in this booklet is unique!)
About the author
The Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, formerly CARBC, is a member of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information. The institute is dedicated to the study of substance use in support of community-wide efforts aimed at providing all people with access to healthier lives, whether using substances or not. For more, visit www.cisur.ca.