Do You You Have a Problem With Drugs and or Alcohol?
The world is moving fast. Days go by, they become weeks, then months and finally years. There's work, school, the kids, bills, global pandemics and mandated quarantines. The human condition seems to become more confusing and volatile but our responsibilities don't soften. With all the stress of simply "being" these days, it is easy to overlook excess drinking and using drugs as simply part of your routine.
Here are five things to honestly ask yourself to determine if your recreational use has escalated into dependence, or a possible addiction.
Do you use or drink alone?
Daily use is not recreational use, nor is using or drinking alone. Indulging alone is a definite symptom of abuse and addition. It also indicates that perhaps some situations in your life are not being dealt with properly. Rather, drinking and using or "self-medicating" replaces the action of facing the issues that need to be resolved.
Do you find yourself making excuses, to yourself or others, in order to be able to drink and or use drugs alone?
Addiction is a very lonely disease and it sneaks up on you. If you prefer to be alone when using or drinking, do you find yourself hiding stashes to partake upon. Have you devised ways to be quick and clever in your consumption? If so, has this behavior progressed into an obsession that is constant? Are you isolating in order to avoid questions about the amount of alcohol you drink. Do you fear "judgement" over how much you drink? If so, then you already know your drinking is different than your peers, and something you feel you need to keep a secret, in order to protect it.
WITHDRAWAL FROM RESPONSIBILITY
Are your bills paid?
Alcohol and drug abuse absolutely causes you to avoid personal responsibilities like paying bills, showing up for your friends and yourself. Poor follow through on your obligations becomes another habit that spins out of control.
How are your relationships?
Your accountability in the eyes of your friends, family and in the workplace diminishes, which leads you deeper into debt, unemployment and further isolation.
Aside from the typical characteristics while under the influence, bloodshot eyes, sweaty and even shaking, there are many physical changes that occur with extended drug and alcohol use. Alcohol is an inflammatory substance. Since alcohol dehydrates the body, its natural defense is to hold on to as much fluid as possible. It's often referred to as alka-bloat, when your face, eyes, legs and belly become swollen.
Amphetamines and Oral Health
The use of amphetamines cause great stress on the health of your gums and teeth. Also, many amphetamine users develop the obsession of "picking" their skin when using. Although these drugs do have a negative effect on the complexion just from ingestion, the "picking" obsession leaves serious scarring.
Because of the addictive behavior associated with drugs and alcohol, personal hygiene and personal appearance become less important. Less sleep makes way for further disregard of everyday chores like laundry, and fresh bedding. Someone who lacks rest because of drinking and using too much, most likely acclimates by missing opportunities to bathe and wearing stale, disheveled clothing to work or important gatherings.
When was the last time you blacked out?
A blackout occurs when the blood alcohol level is .15 or higher and you experience partial or total memory loss while intoxicated. Obviously there are many dangers associated with blackout drinking. Someone in a blackout may continue to walk, run, interact and even drive while in a blackout. Did you know if you blackout more than once a year, many physicians and recovery professionals would qualify you as an alcoholic?
Nausea and Vomiting
Has your drinking disenchanted your natural charm, by causing you to be sick in public? Aside from the embarrassment, vomiting while intoxicated is very dangerous, degrading and definitely a sign of drinking in excess.
Do you engage in dangerous behavior when drunk? Are you more confrontational? What about run-ins with the law? All of the above are textbook signs of alcohol abuse. The tendency to react to situations in a violent manner increases when alcohol is present, which directly relates to the likelihood of police involvement. If you have a court appearance on the books or charges pending against you because of your drinking. It is likely you may have a drinking problem.
Slurred speech, stumbling and falling are funny in movies, but if these characteristics have "endearingly" become how your friends refer to you...it's definitely time to look at your drinking and make a change.
Where's your head right now?
It's typical for many who need help, to disqualify themselves from all of the above scenarios and symptoms. But be absolutely honest here. Rather than picking out all the differences you see in yourself and these examples, look at the similarities. As mentioned above, addiction and alcoholism can happen quickly and sneak up on you. In the addiction treatment field it's referred to as "seconds and inches." As when an addict or alcoholic goes through everyday life untreated they are always just "seconds and inches" away from crisis.
Read the last sentence again...and just think about it. If you can honestly relate to some of these examples, perhaps you will consider making a change to get some help. This does not mean you are morally weak, or that there is something severely wrong with you. It just means you need the guidance and support of other people that know how to deal with these issues. That's it.
Does the thought of quitting drinking and using feel non-realistic?
The thought of quitting drinking and using is unnerving. It brings about instant distress, and usually gets filed away in the "I'll-think-about-that-tomorrow" section of the brain. Minor mishaps like chipping a tooth, or fracturing your tibia will be charted as part of another wild and crazy night. As, it is fact and very sad, that most people do not seek help with their addictions, until after a major crisis occurs, i.e., someone overdoses, there is a car accident, DUI, an innocent person gets hurt or killed.
THE GOOD NEWS
You are capable of getting sober and staying sober. You also have options...lot's of them. If you or someone you know is suffering with alcoholism or addiction absolutely talk to someone and ask for help.