By LYLE R. FRIED, CAP, ICADC, CHC In Addiction Recovery, First Steps
Posted March 1, 2015
“The decision to change begins with the realization that change is necessary. Knowing you are an addict does not mean you are a bad person or hopeless. It means you are standing in a place many have stood before you…and many have been healed.”
In reality, none of us ever wakes up with the conscious decision to abuse drugs or alcohol. No one ever makes plans for their life to spin out of control. It happens subtly and slowly.
Maybe you’ve been living your life on autopilot and have fallen into some frightening habits.
Maybe you’ve always suspected there was something different about the way you drank, or your attraction to the effective numbing quality of drugs. Wondering if you may have a problem with drugs or alcohol is a very good place to be. Instead of stuffing that question away and ignoring it for a few more weeks or months, challenge yourself with the following questions. If you answer honestly, you can come away with a glimmer of hope about a different path. The decision to change your future can happen at any moment:
Am I An Addict? Questions to Ask Yourself
Here are ten statements. Be honest —Do you relate to any of them?
1. I spend a lot of time thinking about when I will have my next drink or drug.
2. I feel a certain amount of anxiety when I am unsure when my next drink or drug will be.
3. When I attend a function or get together with friends, I often ‘prime the pump’ (drink before everyone else) so I will appear to be drinking the same amount as everyone else.
4. I have traveled to different liquor stores to avoid the cashier thinking of me poorly.
5. I have waited for the store to open so I could buy alcohol.
6. I have spent my paycheck on drugs or alcohol and sacrificed my budget and bills.
7. I have hidden drugs or alcohol in different locations around the house.
8. I have carried alcohol or extra drugs in my purse or jacket, feeling more secure when it is within reach.
9. I have lied about the amount or type of drugs I was using.
10. I have had problems with my job or the law as a result of my drug use.
If you relate to any of the above statements, it may be safe to guess that you are already struggling with drugs or alcohol to a certain degree. You may even be reading this article trying to justify some of the statements, like, “Hey. I’m not an addict. I’ve never had problems with the law!”
Only you can come to the realization that you are struggling and need help. No one can do this for you.
Here are a few more secret signs of addiction:
Am I An Addict? More Signs of Addiction
Over time, a higher tolerance to alcohol or drugs will inevitably lead you to increasing your frequency of use. Have you graduated from a six-pack of beer a night to a bottle of Vodka? Are you mixing drugs and alcohol to increase the effect?
Denial will whisper all kinds of crazy things in your ear that sound somewhat rational until someone else finds out what you’ve been up to. For example, spending the entire weekend held up in your house, sitting in front of the television with a bottle or two by your side, or your drug of choice, is not normal behavior. We want to continue to tell ourselves that we are fine, so our circle of friends will continue to decrease until it’s just us. Isolation is the disease of addiction’s best friend.
Is there an extra bottle of Xanax in the back of the spice cabinet? Is a bottle of vodka hiding behind the hair spray in the bathroom cabinet? Do you keep your pain pills in a Tylenol bottle in your purse? Hiding is one of the first signs of abuse.
Mood Swings / Anxiety
Periods when you are not impaired may become increasingly difficult to deal with. This can lead to anger, anxiety, confusion and paranoia. If you are experiencing these, or other irrational thought patterns or moods, it may be a sign that you need help.
Addiction is real. So is addiction recovery. You may not understand how or when your life began to spiral out-of-control, but it did. Right now, the “why” or “how” of it isn’t important. The only thing that IS important right now is for you to realize where you are, so you can begin your journey out.
There is no shame in reaching out for help. Many have been where you are, and are ready and waiting to help. If any of this article resonated with you, don’t wait. Give us a call today. You are so worth it.