Question: How do I know if I’m an addict?
Dr. Gala’s Response:
One of the most common characteristics in addiction is denial. The nature of addiction requires that the addict deny that the problem exists and may be escalating.
So, asking this question typically happens for a couple of reasons. Either, the addict is reaching a turning point OR they are trying to prove that their denial is justified.
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One of the first places an addict often visits in the early days of recovery is a 12-step meeting. They’re easily accessible and can be a great first step on the recovery journey. Even if the addict has not completely accepted that they have a problem, they often leave that first meeting saying, I definitely qualify!
There are several key behaviors that are good indicators that you are dealing with addiction. Answer the following questions.
- Do you engage in your addictive behavior even when you know it’s not good for you?
- Have you told yourself you’re not going to do it again but just can’t stop?
- After the fact, do you feel remorse that you can’t control yourself?
- Shortly after the high from the addictive behavior, does the healthy, whole you say, Gosh, I can’t believe I did that again?
- Are you leading what we call the double life of addiction lying about your behavior?
- Are you ashamed of your behavior?
- Is your behavior illegal and you’re engaging in it anyway?
If you feel like you have to lie about your behavior, it has most likely escalated to addiction. Telling people you only had two drinks when you had five or that you only smoke pot once or twice a month when you actually smoke five days a week, is clearly a sign that you have a problem.
There are lots of other signs of addiction. We’ve developed an addiction assessment on the RecoverYES website. We encourage you to take it and decide for yourself. The process of taking the assessment and answering the questions will help you identify other considerations that should be examined more closely.