You have an addiction when using causes significant life problems, and yet you continue to use. Using has become the problem, but it still feels like a solution. Addiction is a biological, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual based disease. It creates excessive negative behaviors that you can’t control. Addictions especially flood the brain with neurotransmitters. These cause the brain to be rewired so it eventually believes, “I must use to survive.” Even when you aren’t using, you’re thinking about it. If you think you may have an addiction issue, you do.
Underneath the misuse of substances, destructive behaviors, and codependency, are emotional feelings that are pushing your addiction along. Coping with your addiction is difficult, but you must move past your issues and build a positive emotional life. A major factor in addiction is avoiding negative emotions. In recovery, connect with all of your feelings and with your heart.
In the beginning, your addiction likely did help you avoid negative emotions, or at least it seemed to help, but now it has turned on you. You may have sworn off using for a period of time, believing time off would solve your addiction problems, only to find the same issues reappearing when you started using again. It’s time to look at and accept the reality of your using before the dues become even heavier, or it’s too late. If there is no problem, prove it to yourself and abstain from using for six months or longer.
Addictions are common. Stop asking, “Am I an addict or not?” And ask, “How is addiction affecting my life?” or “To what degree is my behavior negatively affecting me and my family?” You may also be addicted to the process, to the experience, and to the behaviors of addiction. These include stimulation, scoring, obtaining, preparing, using rituals, social interactions, and a sense of belonging.
The key to the self-evaluation below is to be honest. Avoid rationalizing your responses. The following quiz should only be a starting place.
Answer Yes or No:
_____ Has anyone asked me or commented about my using?
_____ Do I use more, or more often, than I plan on?
_____ Do I feel negative emotions about my using?
_____ Do I hide or sneak my using from others?
_____ Do I cover up my using or the consequences?
_____ Do I have fewer close friends than I used to?
_____ Do I continue to use despite negative results?
_____ Do I think about using for hours before I do it?
_____ Has my using caused me to act undesirably?
_____ Has my using decreased my desired activities?
_____ Has anyone confronted me about my using?
One yes answer should be a concern; three or more and you should seriously consider that you have an addiction issue and explore recovery; six or more and you have a problem. Start recovery immediately.