Addiction is a sneaky disease. It begins as something fun, enjoyable, and exciting. It makes one’s life happier and brighter. It soothes, calms and strengthens the weak parts of our life that we have difficulty coping with. It makes life manageable. But then, all of a sudden, it snaps back at us with a viciousness that cannot be contained.Do you have an addiction? Often times this can be answered by simple yes or no questions regarding one's lifestyle:
• Do you avoid relationships you once enjoyed, such as family and friends, and seek only those relationships in which you can use or do the addictive behavior?
• Do you need to drink more or use more to get the same buzz you once did?• Do you hide your addiction or use of food, drink or compulsive activity from others?
• Does stopping or slowing down your possible addictive behavior make you angry, tense, or frightened?
Every form of addiction has its own set of questions and answers that will help you to get a clearer picture of a possible problem.
In most cases, 2 or 3 positive responses to the set of questions mean that there is a problem.
Probably a much more serious one than you realize.
The questions now become: How serious? Can you stop by yourself?
Many addicts think they can. In fact, they insist they can.
If someone asks them, "Do you think you need help? Do you need rehab?" The typical response is immediate denial. “I don't have a problem. I'm just tired, overworked, stressed. I'm . . .”- fill in the blank.
We now know that the addictive personality finds its own "drug of choice.” It might be in the form of substance abuse with alcohol, drugs or food; it might be behavioral abuse with sex, work or various emotional responses such as anger, jealousy or a need to control.
Addiction is not caused by unhappy homes or bad parenting skills. Those things may be the trigger for setting off addiction in some cases - but addicts come from every walk of life, from every home situation whether good or bad. Addiction may surface as a result of stressful situations but this can only happen if the addictive tendency is already present in some form.
Even though some people insist on blaming the addict for his or her tendency to 'give in" to addictive behavior, science has given us a different look. Scans of addicted brains - before and after, paint a story that has turned the "blame game" on its head.
This does not remove responsibility for addicts to take control of their recovery. A diabetic who continues to eat sugar, a patient who refuses to get a broken leg put in a cast and an addict who refuses to follow a treatment program all have to make recovery choices.
By the time a person starts "thinking" they might have a problem, the addiction is often advanced to a point that the user is no longer in full control. We do not expect diabetics in a coma to recover without proper medical help, few of us have the needed skills to set a broken leg and few addicts can make the life changes needed to rebuild neural connections severed through active addiction.
It is not easy to make assessment of addiction on one's own. Do you need rehab? That answer remains to be discovered but the responsibility for finding out is ultimately your own.
Getting help can be life changing. It can make a difference for those you love. Many people who have taken the step of seeking rehab find that, though difficult, it was the best decision they ever made.