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ReWired: Unplugging Old Habits, Making New Connections

ReWired is Thorne Harbour Health’s free group support program for gay/bi+/queer men (cis/trans) who want to change their methamphetamine use and manage their mental health.

We sat down with ReWired’s current facilitator, Joe and James, to discuss the group and what new participants can expect.

Why do we need a space like ReWired, exclusively for gay, bi+ and queer men?

Saunas, beats, hook ups, apps... it’s a unique world for the queer man. The idea behind ReWired is to create a space where you feel heard and seen as equals. Making changes to your habits can get pretty lonely, just like Johann Hari says; “the opposite of addiction is NOT sobriety – it’s connection!” Some people think all you gotta do is get (and stay) sober and you’ll be ok – we know that’s over simplified and not true. This can be particularly difficult for people who are already struggling with loneliness and isolation.

Know that you will never be judged.


Can you offer some tips you give to members to help them avoid use triggers?

Switching up your relationship with drugs is a unique journey for each person. Steering clear of tricky situations at the beginning can be a smart move for some, but eventually, we aim to pick up skills to handle the discomfort of triggers and cravings.

Why is mindfulness important in managing meth use?

Being mindful is like keeping an eye on what's going on in your head without getting all tangled up in it. It's super handy for dealing with meth use because it helps you be aware of triggers and handle tricky emotions without turning to using. Plus, it helps break those automatic thought habits, boosts impulse control, and keeps stress in check – all of which are solid tools for sticking with changes that you make to your use.

Being mindful reminds us that thoughts control feelings, not the other way round, and it helps put us back in control of our actions.


What has been a highlight for you when working with the group?

It's awesome to witness folk gradually opening up over the weeks — seeing them become more compassionate toward themselves and realising that this journey is tough, but they're not alone. Another nice part is seeing people come back 1 year, 3 years, 5 years later because they’re having a lapse and knowing they can return when they need the group.

What advice would you give to someone considering joining ReWired for the first time?

Know that you will never be judged. Just be yourself, share when you're ready, and know that you're supported by people who have had or are having very similar life experiences. 90% of life is just turning up and often it’s the hardest part.

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