There are simple ways to think about whether you have a problem with drugs/alcohol/shopping/computer time/gambling, really anything that can be addictive. For some people anything that distracts them from their real lives is possibly addicting. For others, there is a fear that anything is a problem. Let’s look at what you can ask yourself about whether your attachment to using drugs, drinking alcohol etc. are a problem. And when I talk about drugs, I include prescription drugs. Many doctors are undereducated about addiction and seem to prescribe drugs without regard to how they are impacting a patient’s whole life.
Ask yourself a series of questions:
1. Is this substance or behavior interfering with my life?
- Does it negatively impact relationships? Do my family/friends complain about my use/behavior?
- Do I hide my use/behavior? Do I downplay it?
- Do I feel this use/behavior is my best friend? Do I feel I can’t really give it up?
- Does this interfere with my work?
2. Do I find that I’m indulging or doing this activity more than I want/should?
- Do I actually do this instead of other activities that I know are healthier for me?
- Do I find myself spending more money than I can afford?
- Do I find myself doing this by myself?
- Do I find myself doing this with people who aren’t really my friends?
3. Am I damaging my reputation or my work?
- Do I skip work?
- Do I blow off my friends/family so that I can do more of this?
- Am I hanging out with people that are way outside my normal group?
- Do I make excuses for why I’m late, don’t show up or am in an altered state of mind?
- Am I not able to perform at my normal ability?
- Am I less productive than normal?
4. Does my life only seem fun if I’m on drugs/alcohol?
- Do I want just one more to feel better?
- Do I need a drink/snort/toke before I go somewhere or before others come to me?
- Do I have just too much and make excuses for why I did that….one more time?
- Do I have fights with my family/friends when they try to slow my use down?
5. Do I seem to only feel better if I’ve bought something/worn something new/gambled?
- Does it seem crucial to buy “stuff” every day?
- Do I seem to spend more money than most of my family/friends even if I can’t afford it?
- Do I feel special when I’m wearing something new?
- Do I need the thrill of gambling to feel something?
6. Do I feel “dead” inside unless I’m indulging?
- Does life seem worthless unless I’m using a drug or alcohol?
- Do other people seem dull if they aren’t joining me in my indulgence?
- Do I want just “one more” thing/hit whatever and then I’ll feel better?
All of these questions may seem overwhelming, but if you can answer them honestly, would you say yes to one or more of them? If so it may be that you have a problem. If you want to contact me, feel free. We can set up and appointment and work on this issue.
What I do know is that if a substance or behavior has you in it’s grip, there is no real freedom. Eventually it interferes with your life in some way.