It’s a new year, and oftentimes we find ourselves contemplating change when the new year begins. New year, new you.
Many people who struggle with addiction think about quitting regularly. Most of us know when we have a real problem, and most of us know the only solution is to stop. Unfortunately, knowing all of that does not make us jump into action and quit and live happily ever after. That would be too simple.
So how do you really know when your drug or alcohol use has come to a point of no return and it is time to get help? Let’s explore some key indicators.
One thing I always say to people is, “If you are wondering whether or not you are addicted, you probably are.” I say this because a non-addicted person would never wonder. It would never cross their mind because they don’t drink enough to ever feel like there may be a problem. So if it is on your mind at all, you may want to look a bit closer.
Sick and tired of being sick and tired, as the saying goes. When I got to that point, deep down inside I knew that drinking was at the core of all my problems. I would lie to everyone and tell them alcohol was not the problem, but I knew the truth. And I knew the answer was to stop. I was simply exhausted by my drinking and my drunken life.
Another indicator is when you find yourself holding onto drinking or drugs, even when you have had negative consequences because of them. For me, it was legal trouble. I got DUIs but I still didn’t quit. I violated probation and still didn’t quit. For other people, maybe your significant other requested you stop. And when you didn’t, they left. Maybe you lost a job, or lost friends, or hurt yourself. It could be a million things, but if you have negativity due to your drinking and/or drug use, and you continue to do it, that is not ‘normal’.
The very moment a non-addicted person had any kind of negative consequence to drinking they would stop, no questions asked.
How about a loss of control? Do you feel like once you start, you don’t stop? For me, if I had one drink, I was going for 100. Not every single time, but most of the time. Even when I told myself I was only going to have a couple, most times I would still end up overdoing it. I couldn’t control myself once I had alcohol in my system. I just didn’t stop.
We can lie to everyone on the outside about our struggles. We can be in denial and say we are fine, and say we can control it. But, the truth is, we can’t lie to ourselves. Only we know, for real, how bad it is. And that is our responsibility to make some better choices, get help, and figure things out. No one can fix me but me.