close

Ask a question

Ask us anything about drugs, alcohol or just your general wellbeing. We will do our best to respond within 72hrs.
If your question is urgent please call the YSASline for free confidential support 24 hrs a day on
1800 014 446

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
 
Search

Need help?

We provide free, confidential support.
Mon - Fri, 9am - 8pm
1800 458 685
Worried about someone you care about? NEED HELP NOW?

Need help?

We provide free, confidential support.
Mon - Fri, 9am - 8pm
1800 458 685
Worried about someone you care about? NEED HELP NOW?
close

Feedback Form

Do you have feedback on YSAS services or staff?
Let us know how we can help!

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
Alternatively you can contact us by:
Post:
PO Box 2950
Fitzroy Victoria 3065

Tel: +61 3 9415 8881
Fax: +61 3 9415 8882
Email: admin@ysas.org.au

Both sides of the ledger

Back to Stories
TAGS:   Drugs , Alcohol
Anonymous
Share your story

Stephen Turner is a home-based withdrawal nurse at YSAS Bendigo. In 2009 a young man came to see him who had been using cannabis and dabbling in chroming. Stephen sat in front of him with a sheet of paper divided into two columns – one side to list the bad aspects of his drug use, the other to list the good.

Hearing this, the young man smiled in surprise. “No one’s ever asked me what’s good about it,” he said. 

Stephen’s background is in psychiatric nursing, and he says this ‘decisional balancing’ exercise is important because substance dependency nearly always has something to do with mental health. “A lot of young people are using a substance to self-medicate a psychological problem,” he explains. When asked about their drug use, one common response is “It helps me forget”. In this context, it can be unrealistic to ask young people to give up a substance that has played a positive role as a coping mechanism, without first supporting them to build up resilience and psychological wellbeing.

It was a similar story with this young man – drug use helped him to forget trauma in his past. The exercise with the double-sided ledger started him thinking about the coping role drugs played in his life so he could identify what he might struggle with if he tried to give up. It also helped pinpoint positive aspects of substance use that might need to be replaced by other activities.

Need help now? We provide free, confidential support

Mon - Fri, 9am - 8pm: 1800 458 685
How We Help Contact Us