Am I abusing drugs, do I have a substance addiction?
The answer to this is if you are using any illegal drugs, you are abusing that substance. If you are using legal drugs for anything but the prescribed reason, you are abusing drugs. If you are using drugs, for the right reason, but you are taking too much drug too often, you are abusing that substance.
You can abuse alcohol/drugs without being dependent on them but if you find you HAVE to use the it then you may have substance addiction. Perhaps it’s just trying something with friends at a party, or maybe a person hurts and they want to numb the pain.
It can start many ways, and different drugs are more addictive than others, but once the drug reaches the point where a person needs the drugs because of withdrawal symptoms and compulsively works to get the drug, regardless of the impact on their friends and family, their job and their community, then that their life is beginning to be controlled by the drug.
It’s so easy to abuse drugs. Doctors prescribe medication, then the patient goes to another doctor to get the same prescription. Drugs are all over the television and Americans pop pills like they used to take a teaspoon of Geritol. If you say “I’m going to party,” the very phrase implies drugs or alcohol.
Ask yourself an important question. “Is this in my best interest?” Is it OK to take a drink? Sure, but when you get drunk, you’re abusing alcohol, the most common substance addiction is ALCOHOL.
One in Ten Will Become Alcoholic!
Recent studies show that of those who drink regularly 10% have brain chemistry that predisposes them to alcoholism. One is ten doesn’t sound to bad you say? Well, think of what percentage of the population drinks regularly and that one in ten will will have a substance addiction to alcohol.
That means one in ten college kids who drink at college will have a problem with alcohol based on the brain chemistry, there is nothing they can do.
Is getting drunk in my best interest? Probably not. But it’s socially acceptable, that is until you get behind the wheel of a car and blow a 1.2 when you get stopped. That’s abuse.
What’s the line?
The line between legal drug use and abuse is rather fine and individual factors come into play, such as the person’s gender, weight, the drug consumed, family background, etc. One person can take pain medication to ease the discomfort of an injury without any worry of becoming dependent.
Another person is prescribed the same drug, for he same purpose, and winds up popping pills like candy. One use is medically sound and helps the person recover. The other takes a temporary problem, such as a knee injury, and turns it into a substance addiction.
Ask yourself: Am I taking the legal, medically prescribed drug, in the prescribed quanties, for its intended purpose? If I am supposed to take one, do I take two? Do I take the drug at the right times? Did I go to the same doctor and is he/she aware of EVERYTHING I’m taking?
You will begin to see the line between abuse and addiction if you’re able to be honest with yourself.
We receive stories all of the time from people who have or are struggling with Substance Addiction. Here is Kathleen’s story an unvarnished look at the most common substance addiction… alcohol addiction:
Here is Ned’s response to Kathleen’s story of Substance Abuse:
To those who do not suffer from the disease of addiction, who have never been stepped on, disappointed or alienated from the world, Kathleen’s story seems for distant and unbelievable.
Yet, her story is repeated millions of times.
The question I ask is “What hurts?”
What drives a person to commit suicide by the installment plan and throw their life away as if it had no meaning or purpose?
Obviously the physical toll drugs and alcohol take are dreadful, and the emotional pain that she talks about is difficult to comprehend, but addiction is a disease of the spirit and requires a spiritual solution.
The spiritual pain in her story touches my heart, as the decline of the spirit precedes the death of the body.
I understand that many disregard AA and refuse to accept the wisdom of the addicts who wrote the Big Book, but when they wrote that the disease is spiritual, they hit on something that is the key to unlocking the mystery behind all of the bad decision making, the broken relationships and the disappointments of life.
For more answers to Substance Addiction Questions go to Treatments
Do you have more Substance Addiction Questions? Click on the “Your Questions…” button on the left.
Summary of Substance Addiction:
Substance Addiction is a disease of the brain and therefore effective treatment MUST change brain chemistry.
Substance Addiction requires detoxification before any treatment can be effective, detox can be dangerous and should always have medical supervision.
Substance Addiction can have a genetic component to it.
Substance Addiction differs from abuse if the person has to use more and more to experience the same effect, or put another becomes tolerant to the substance.
Read these five pages and learn what you need to know to spot drug addiction in: The rest of the pages are there for your reference to explain important topics in more detail.
Finally don’t miss the Spiritual and 12-step sections to fully explore how understanding THE SPIRIT can lead to recovery!
Yourself… Your Family… Your Friends… Your Community…