How can I tell if I have a problem?
At Practical Recovery we advise against using the terms "alcoholic" or "addict," although you are free to use them if you wish to. We are interested in helping you identify the problems you have from your addictive behavior. The situation is more complex than a yes-or-no decision ("do I have a problem or not?"). This yes-or-no approach is unhelpful because it distracts you from identifying the actual problems you have, and deciding what to do about them.
We use the definition of addictive behavior in Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate: Addictive behavior is repeated involvement with any substance or activity, despite excessive costs, because of craving. If you are reading this website some problems are likely to have occurred. But what are these problems exactly, and what do you want to do about them?
Research suggests that individuals with addictive behavior are often fully aware of the problems it causes. They may be unwilling to admit awareness of these problems to anyone else. However, just in case you have missed some aspects of your addictive behavior, below are categories of costs to consider (with some examples of each). See Chapter 5 ("The current costs of addiction") of Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate for more details about each category.
- emotional costs (fear, shame, emotional instability)
- social costs (conflict with others, spending time with others I don’t respect, spending less time with loved ones)
- health costs (poorer health, less endurance, poor sleep)
- intellectual costs (lowered creativity, less ability to think clearly, poor memory)
- work and productivity costs (less ability to work, missed time from work, accidents)
- financial costs (less money, debts, money wasted)
- time lost (time lost to the addictive behavior)
- legal costs (arrests, convictions, fines)
- reductions in personal integrity (being dishonest, low self-respect, letting people down)
- additional costs?
If you are having problems from your addictive behavior, we would be pleased to talk with you about the options you have for making changes. Call us at 800-977-6110