How to Know if You are Addicted. There isn’t one road to addiction, but many paths that lead to substance abuse. Often pure recreational use can turn into a need and a desire without actual realization. This goes for any substance, from illegal narcotics to legally available products like beer and prescription medication. The user doesn’t often realize he or she is addicted even when others point it out to them. If you are concerned about being an addict, there are signs that will let you know.
Using to Avoid Life or Alleviate Pain
Do you crave your substance to be distracted from life? Do you want to get rid of the hurt that is deep within your soul? When you are off the substance, does the reality of your life and pain from past or present relationships come crashing down? Getting off the substance will allow you to start to learn how to live life again without that chemical crutch.
Using to Relieve Stress
Stress is something every one of us can understand. Stress happens in both the big and little events in life. Money troubles can lead to stress or relationship issues. Even dealing with your work on a daily basis can be stressful. Do you need a substance to help get you through the stressful moments?
How to Know if You are Addicted
What have you done to your friends and family to get your substance? Lying to friends and relatives is a good sign you are an addict. If you need money for your drugs, have you ever said you needed it for an entirely different reason? Have you ever told someone you used all the money they gave you for something like groceries or bills, but instead used it on drugs? This is a good sign you are addicted and need to seek help.
Contemplating or Being Involved in Illegal Activities for a Fix
Becoming involved in illegal activities for money to buy your substance or for the drug itself is a clear sign you are an addict. This includes selling drugs, selling yourself for money, helping someone with a crime, or even committing a major crime. If you are committing something illegal or are thinking about it just to get a substance, you are addicted.
Becoming Irritated When You are Confronted About Abusing
Your family and friends probably aren’t as blind as you might think. If you’ve been using a substance for a while, there are traits and mannerisms that your family has seen. If they confront you because of your substance abuse and you are overly annoyed, this is a good sign that you are an addict. Take time to consider what your family and friends are telling you. They only want to help.
Fear of Being Without the Substance
What happens if your substance is yanked from your grip? Are you fearful of living without it? Do you think everything would be meaningless if this substance wasn’t a part of your life? These are sure signs of an addiction. Life can be lived without that substance, without that regular kick. It is a process that will need to be learned, but life will be that much more pleasant without the addiction.
Desire for the Substance Impacts Family and Work
Addictions will bleed over into your family and work life. Have the cravings you once controlled started to take over? Would you prefer getting high to being with your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or kids? Do your co-workers not want to be around you because of how you are acting? Have you ever lost a job because of your addictions? Do you have trouble finding or keeping work because of it? This isn’t just people trying to keep you down or out of work. It is others acknowledging that you are an addict.
The Guilt You Once Felt no Longer Applies
The guilt you once felt for your actions might no longer be there. The shooting up, swallowing the pills, or even imbibing alcohol doesn’t feel wrong to you anymore. Are you repressing the feelings normally associated with an activity just for the pleasure? Pushing aside the normal revolution and worry about your actions is another sign of being an addict. The normal way of dealing with life isn’t to accept that putting a needle in your arm or popping a string of pills is a great way to live.
Extreme Changes in Behavior or Personality
Whatever happened to that idealistic and fresh-faced kid you used to be? What happened to that loving wife that lived for her family and husband? What happened to the overachiever, the one that planned on walking on the moon some day? Did you used to be well-liked or inquisitive and now don’t care about much? These changes did not happen because life is hard. They happened because you are abusing a substance that will make you act in a different manner than you once did. Life does change people, but personalities and desires often stay the same. Look at how you are changed to see how your substance of choice has changed you.
Using a Drug in Place of Relationships or Accomplishments
You don’t need people in your life. They all want to use you or just keep you down. If they only understood how much you needed your substance, they’d understand. Nevertheless, you don’t need them anyway, right? The life you once planned for yourself was the fevered dreams of a child. You know how life is – hard and bitter. You will just work hard enough to get money for your drug and your next accomplishment will be getting high or slowly stoned. Does this sound like a good way to live? You no longer desire a girlfriend, boyfriend, or family. You no longer want more than a job that just tolerates you as a warm body. If this is how life is to you, if you desire your substance over anything else, you are an addict.