You will find here tips about how to prevent:
- Browsing on Grindr/Scruff/apps from leading to an unplanned HnH session
- Unexpected WhatsApp/text invitations from leading to an unwanted Chemsex session
- Unplanned sessions that begin with going out with friends/having some drinks (alcohol)
- Big temptations of a Chemsex session after returning from a trip
1: HOW TO PREVENT BROWSING ON GRINDR/SCRUFF/APPS FROM LEADING TO AN UNPLANNED HNH SESSION
- If you don’t want to get high today but you are going to use hook-up qpps, change the information in your profile before logging in. Being very explicit that you don’t want to have a Chemsex session with a note like “No HnH” or similar. This normally will prevent you from being contacted by other people who are looking for that.
- Even so, it's always advisable to make sure whether the person who you are looking to meet has Chems, or has any intention of using them. Sometimes you might realise that the person you are meeting is already high when you see them, though they didn't mention it and you assumed they weren’t, which can be very triggering. Maybe they suggest the idea of using Chems together after playing for a while, and if there’s a suggestion of drugs, the temptation can be very challenging. It's always easy to say no in advance as opposed to when you are already in that scenario.
- Try to avoid apps in the middle of the night if you don’t want to have a session. At those hours it is very normal to find other people who are looking for Chemsex, and temptations can be really strong, even if you have to go to work the next day or you have any other commitment that you need to attend. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we are going to be online just for 5 minutes to check messages, and before we realise it, we are involved in situations where we didn’t really want to be that day. A good idea is to prepare a plan about what to do if you wake up in the middle of the night and you find it hard to fall asleep again: listening to the radio, a book, etc.
- Sometimes people find it very hard to control the use of apps, deleting them after a long weekend, but downloading them again when they have recovered. Be aware that smart phones allow us to block the access to certain content like those related to sex, the same system that parents use to control what their kids can use on their mobiles, (parental control system), and there are also apps that you can download to enable the access to hook-up apps.
- Be aware, as well, that you can also set limits on the screen time you use for apps. Anything from a minimum of 1 minute, or you can also chose to block them only on certain days only (e.g. weekends). This can also be managed through parental controls, normally with a PIN number as well, to help you control it.
Sometimes people with no intention to do Chems change their minds after receiving triggering messages from somebody who they met in the past in a Chemsex setting. On Sunday morning, for example, you are feeling lonely or bored at home, and suddenly you get a message saying something like: "Hey, what are you up to? Playing with some mates, you wanna join?". Such messages can lead to different scenarios:
- The person who gets the message, perhaps without a real intention to join, engages in a dialogue with the sender; saying no after imagining a hot time can be really hard, especially if the sender is convincing.
- The receiver decides not to answer, to avoid temptation, and carries on with their day, it might happen that the idea of using stays in their head, triggered by the message, and cravings become harder, so it’s not unusual that they reply after a while, starting that dialogue.
- Being aware that unexpected inviting messages can come any time/when you are particularly vulnerable from previous contacts, can be very helpful. It means that you can prepare a reply and save it, ready to send immediately after receiving a triggering text. An example response could be:
"Hey, thank you for your invitation, but I am having a break from Chems. I hope you enjoy. Take care. Xx"
- These kind of responses close the door to any dialogue, and are very helpful for moving forward. Subconsciously, they will help you carry on with your day without getting into too much thought about using. Reacting immediately after getting an invitation without going into deep thought about it, is the best way to avoid decisions that you might regret.
- It’s also very helpful to have a plan ready about what to do in case that this situation happens. e.g. if I get a message inviting me to do Chems and that is not my plan, I will send the template immediately, and I will call my friend Joe, as I agreed with him for these cases, to get some help to move forward.
It is a fact that drinking alcohol has an impact on the frontal lobe of the brain, which depending on the amount of the intake, might affect the ability to make the best choices. In many occasions, drinking too much leads to a Chemsex session without having planned it, and to prevent this from happening it might be very helpful to follow some tips if you have decided to drink alcohol. Maybe not all of them work for you, but perhaps some of them do, and you might find them very useful.
- Know yourself, and be aware of your limits. Some people tolerate alcohol better, and others feel the impact very quickly. It’s very important to know how much you can drink without crossing your limits and losing the control over your ability to make choices.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach – this is proven to affect your alcohol tolerance.
- Don’t start your evening with an alcoholic drink, especially if you feel thirsty.
- Ask your friends not to push you to drink because that is not a night to get drunk. Friends are normally very understanding when we ask them for some support about it.
- Avoid getting into a round system where you may not be able to control your which drinks end up in front of you as effectively.
- Have a look at who of your friends drinks slower, and make sure that they finish their drinks before you finish yours.
- Try to take small sips, and put your glass down after that, don’t keep your drink in your hand while you’re not drinking.
- If you drink beer normally, you can try with a shandy instead, or a softer beer, or half of a pint instead of the whole pint. If you normally drink double vodka with orange juice … how about a single vodka?
- Alternate between having an alcoholic drink and a non-alcoholic drink.
- Think about the time between one drink and the next – how long does it take you to get another drink after you have finished the previous one? If it takes 20 minutes, why not set a timer and make it 30 instead? This might help you to think more consciously about it and to keep a slower pace.
- Don’t be the first one who arrives to the party or to the bar, or the last one who leaves them. Shorten the length of time when you are planning to drink.
Many people find it very easy not to engage in a Chemsex session when they are away from their normal environment, not even thinking about it while they are away. They can see that when the time of coming back is getting closer, the idea of 'celebrating' their return with a 'small party' comes to their minds and they start to feel very excited about it. It can be when you are on the plane flying back after being with your family for a few days, for instance. It’s not unusual to have thoughts such as: "I’ve been good for 10 days, I didn’t miss it, which means that I’m in control. Why not play a bit when I get back home without going too crazy? I don’t have to go back to work until tomorrow, so…". If this is your case, but you don’t want to play, the tips below may help you make the choices that you want.
- When you travel, be aware that this wish to celebrate when you are about to return is very common, and preparing a plan for the day when you come back can make things easier to avoid temptations. These temptations are stronger mostly on the day of your return.
- Make a list of the reasons why that day is not a day when you want to play. Your mind will be clearer about what you really want if you think about it before you leave for your trip than when you are about to come back. Review this list the day before you come back, to refresh your memory.
- Once you are very aware of the reasons why that day is not the right day, and you are also aware that you might be tempted when the day of returning is coming, try to organise a good plan that can help you stick to what you want.
- If you have the opportunity, agree with a friend that you will email them a couple of days before your return, letting them know about what you are planning to do once you are back. Writing this down and talking to a friend about it make these plans easier to become real.
- These plans can involve friends, gym, going shopping to buy a present for yourself, a warm bath with your favourite music if you know you are going to feel tired, a good film that you always wanted to watch, ready for you for that day… be creative!!
- The most difficult day is the day of your return. If you get through this, the following day will be much easier to re-engage with your normal life, and this is why it’s so important to make sure you have something ready.
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