Drugs and alcohol affect each individual differently. With the wide-ranging and detrimental effects of these addictive substances, it can be difficult to tell when an individual’s use has developed into a destructive addiction. Recognizing the signs of dangerous use and abuse is instrumental in getting help for one’s use of addictive substances. It can help each individual challenge addiction in the healthiest, earliest, most effective way possible.
The Various Types of Addiction
While there may be specific images or ideas that come to mind when the word “addiction” is mentioned, there is not just one single way addiction manifests. Addiction takes various forms, both in the substance or behavior one is addicted to and how it affects their daily life.
For example, counting the number of drinks one has in any given sitting may not accurately reflect one’s use of alcohol. While it may help identify binge drinking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol in a single sitting over a short period, it can also give false ideas about other aspects of one’s relationship with alcohol.
Others may not drink too much in any one sitting that would lead to blacking out but are instead drinking frequently, such as each night or after work each day. Others may take sips throughout the day, mixing alcohol in with breakfast and lunch and hiding their use from others, even if they are never getting outright wholly inebriated.
Each of these relationships is equally a cause for concern when it comes to the use of addictive substances. Rather than asking if one is “too much,” which may inaccurately boil down one’s relationship with alcohol to a numerical statistic not genuinely reflective or accurate, it can be more impactful to ask how one’s life has been affected by the use of substances in other ways.
Asking the Right Questions
Each individual will have their decisive point prompting when to get help with addiction or substance use. Rather than asking “how much” one may drink or use in a single sitting, questions like “Do I feel I need alcohol/drugs to get through the day?” can illuminate more of one’s relationship with addictive substances.
This question can help an individual face the frequency of their use of these substances and how often they may think about the substance or otherwise feel the need to engage with them. Whether it be to cope with stress, anxiety, or recognizing drinking or drugs as an expectation during the day can all be cause for professional help to challenge one’s relationship with addictive substances.
Addiction and Relationships
While addiction feels like a very isolating experience, in reality, it affects everyone from friends and family to coworkers and peers. Questions like “Has my drinking/drug use affected my relationships” can prompt each individual to think about their use and how it has impacted these critical relationships to better understand their relationship with addictive substances.
Addiction can impact these relationships by creating a more fragile, emotional atmosphere for some. Others may realize that they are compromising more and more of their time in these relationships to prioritize the continued use of dangerous substances. Missing work, failing to meet familial expectations, or being physically or emotionally unavailable due to one’s use of addictive substances is cause for a deeper look into one’s relationship with drugs or alcohol.
Friends and family members may also become vocal about one’s use, raising concerns about drinking or drug use and directly impacting such relationships. Recognizing that relationships are becoming damaged or changing due to one’s use of addictive substances can signal the need for immediate change and professional help.
Prioritizing Drugs and Alcohol Above Others
Scheduling one’s day around the use of addictive substances can also help an individual better understand their relationship with addictive substances. Suppose an individual wakes up in the morning and creates a routine around the opportunities to engage with drugs or alcohol. In that case, this signals an already drastic shift in one’s priorities.
One may also begin to distance oneself from social groups or events that are not conducive to use. Asking oneself if they look for or create opportunities to use drugs or alcohol, or even if one sees the use of drugs or alcohol as “essential” for a relaxing or fun time, professional help may be needed.
There is no numerical way to gauge addiction. Instead, addiction is a destructive relationship, and justifying oneself by a numerical value or frequency does not genuinely reflect one’s relationship with these substances. Asking pertinent questions about how one views addictive substances and how it impacts their daily life is the best way to determine the nature of the relationship with drugs or alcohol. Additionally, professional detox and recovery facilities can help each individual better understand their relationship and guide them towards the most personalized change.
Asking if your addiction is “bad enough” may not be the right question. Still, we at Pacific Sands Recovery Center can help you better understand your relationship with alcohol and how it impacts your life. From detox to residential and outpatient care, we are prepared to help you challenge the thoughts and habits surrounding alcohol and develop personalized coping strategies and grounding techniques to create a fulfilling, sober life. From medication-assisted treatment and 12-Step programming to personalized daily routines and meetings, your time with us is built on the most impactful therapeutic strategies, helping you develop your own best self. Our supportive atmosphere of peers and professionals is also ready to help you uncover how alcohol has impacted your life. For more information on how we can help you, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member at (714) 492-1119.