Recovery from addiction is not a one-time process. It’s a lifelong journey for the addict and their loved ones. By knowing and understanding some of the obstacles that are most commonly faced throughout the journey, the support system the recovering addict has built can assist them in living a sober, cleaner life.
The common picture of drug addicts is someone tweaked out in an abandoned building, unable to control themselves as they sink deeper and deeper into their dark comforts. The picture of the addict is grimy, frazzled, and sleepless. Their bodies are covered in scabs and scars, and their eyes are as dead as their souls. There is truth to the stereotypes in the most severe circumstances, but it may come as a shock there are drug addicts walking among you who don’t show it. That real estate agent in the office next door may have a bad cocaine habit.
Drug Abuse and Denial: Fear of Ostracizing
There are bad connotations concerning drug addicts. There’s the air of selfishness, a lack of self-discipline, laziness…the list goes on. The intricacies of addiction aren’t always easy to understand; many people believe mistakenly that it’s all just a matter of willpower. Those who care about the addict may feel that if their love is strong enough, the addict could beat this. As we said, anyone can become an addict, and willpower simply isn’t part of the equation.
Because of the bad implications addiction brings to the mind, those who are addicted may underplay the severity of their addiction to themselves and to others. Someone who drinks frequently may believe he is well within the social norms or that it’s okay on the weekend. When they start to sneak extra booze into their schedule throughout the week, it doesn’t seem noticeable, but the addiction has a foothold and it could only get worse without the victim even knowing what happened or how it got there.
On a similar note, someone who cares for an addict may shy away from calling it a problem. They may overlook – intentionally or otherwise – the clues that appear here and there and may even defend an addict’s actions. It’s only when things get worse that anyone addresses the proverbial elephant in the room. Sometimes, an addict knows what’s going on and becomes good at hiding their actions, sweeping any clues under the rug.
Am I Addicted?
There are ways to examine yourself for symptoms of addictive behavior.
- Do you use your substance every day?
- Do you experience negative emotions when you go without?
- Has your tolerance for the substance grown over time?
- Has your dependence affected your loved ones and other relationships?
Is Someone I Love an Addict?
It may not be easy to detect at first when your loved one has a problem, particularly if they’re experiencing just a few symptoms that seem fairly innocuous. It’s best to be safe, so stay vigilant. Here are some of the possible signs of addictive behavior.
- Social withdrawal, secretive tendencies
- Nausea, vomiting
- Changes in routine or regular actions
- Spending copious amounts of money and asking for more
- Disinterest in hobbies or relationships
- A worsening professional or educational life
- Disinterest in loved ones
- More aggressive and angry behavior
- Injuries of unknown origin, increased clumsiness in movements
- Red, watery eyes
- Strange odors on the body or clothes
- Open sores and scars
- Insomnia or frequent oversleeping.
Keep in mind any and all of these signs can be indicators of other types of disorders or illness. Any way you look at it, it should be checked out by a proper doctor so they can make a proper diagnosis, addiction or not. If your loved one is abusing a prescribed medication, keep in mind they may go from doctor to doctor on a regular basis.
Are you experiencing addictive behavior yourself? Do you think you have a problem? Ask yourself:
- Do you have to use this substance every day?
- Do you get mad or nervous or sad if you can’t use it?
- Have you tried to bring yourself away from it before? Did you fail?
- Is this substance affecting your life in a negative way?
- Have you built a tolerance to this substance, making you need more?
- Are your relationships in trouble as a result of this substance?
- Does this substance consume all your time?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, there’s a possibility you’re dependent or addicted. If you don’t get help, you may suffer an overdose or get in deep trouble with the law as a result.
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