Even in recovery, we can end up in situations where we are face to face with drugs. Unfortunately, it happens sometimes when we are unprepared and least expecting it. Maybe a friend has started using and you walk in on them, perhaps a family member leaves their drug paraphernalia out and you find it. Maybe you are at an event and someone offers you some “party favors.” Whatever the situation, it happens, and we need to know how to deal with it. Here are 5 things you can do to help yourself through a situation with drugs like this.

  1. Get out of there, get as far away from the person and situation as possible. Whatever that means for you, just make it happen immediately. Maybe you are visiting friends or relatives and are staying in their house. Even just going into another room and closing the door or stepping outside so that you can collect yourself is important. Put as much space between yourself and the person and drugs as is possible.
  2. Call for help. If you don’t have a vehicle of your own, call a friend or family member to come get you. Call a taxi. Just make arrangements to leave the place where you are immediately.
  3. Breath. Take some deep breaths, center and ground yourself, and practice some self soothing techniques. You will probably be feeling extremely shaken up and triggered. Take care of yourself so that you can make decisions to get yourself somewhere safe away from the drugs.
  4. Call your support system. Whether that means friends, family, your sponsor or whoever, call someone and tell them what is going on. Reach out for support and bring awareness to your situation so that people can check in with you and offer help, even if it’s just someone to talk to.
  5. Redefine your relationship with the person who is using. Just because this has happened doesn’t mean you can’t love them or care for them, but it’s probably best to keep space between you. Whether that means cutting ties until something changes or just keeping your distance is up to you and where you are in your recovery, but whatever you choose, make sure it’s serving your needs first.

These are just 5 suggestions to help you through a very upsetting and triggering situation after encountering drugs. Hopefully you won’t be faced with such an experience, but in the event that you are, these things will help you cope.