If you are asking yourself this question, consider it a good sign. If you are addicted, it means you’ve come to the point of looking at your habits and behavior with a critical eye. Believe it or not, that is a big step and is the first requirement for recovery from addiction.
If you are not addicted, asking yourself this question is also an important indication. It says that you are in danger; danger not only from the damages of drug use or abuse, but it says that you are approaching a critical point where your habits could take you down into a new realm in which you may not have the luxury of self-examination.
So what are the indications of addiction and do they exist in your life?
1. There is no question about whether or not I’m going to use today.
If daily use for you is a given, this is a big indicator that addiction has already started. The amount and the strength of the substance used can vary in drug dependence, but repeated and frequent use is a constant.
2. I feel worried when I am running out of my drug/drink.
This is another strong sign that the importance of the substance is growing out of proportions. As time passes, if use doesn’t stop, these worries will grow much stronger and other important items in life will take a back seat to the growing addiction.
3. I am using drugs or drinking when I’m alone.
This is a classic signal that the substance is filling a need you have. That would be a problem or desire which is personal and possibly private. Shyness, loneliness, feelings of shame or regret that you might not be fully aware of even having might are “medicated” on a daily basis. Unfortunately, such troubles are actually worsened, not solved by drugs. The addiction is now feeding on itself and growing under its own power.
4. I find myself being secretive regarding the drug and this is not my normal way.
This is also part of addiction and will be gone when the problem is handled but in the meantime adds to the shame and guilt of continued drug abuse.
These are all serious signs that there is an addiction problem. If you find yourself in one or more of the above points, addiction has started.
In the end, the most reliable sign of addiction is this: If you are using drugs and-or alcohol and are unable to stop, despite negative consequences, you have an addiction problem and need to seek help.
The sooner you receive professional, drug-free addiction treatment, the better your chances of complete recovery and getting back to living your life.
Tony Bylsma is a rehabilitation counselor and drug prevention speaker in Los Angeles
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