What is the point of this page?
Well, the idea was to look at the fact that addiction is not something that happens suddenly. You don’t go from living a normal existence one day, to waking up the next and discovering that you are suddenly and unexpectedly addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Addiction is, by and large, is something that creeps up on you over a period of time. The idea is to look at some of the warning signs that might crop up in day to day living that suggest you could do with getting a little help and advice. As my grandmother used to say, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’, and why wait until things get so bad it can takes years to sort out the problem and clear up the mess?
Fair enough. Can you give me an example?
I can give you lots! Money is often a good indicator of a growing problem. In general, people tend to organise their lives so that they have paid the rent or mortgage, the day to day bills and the housekeeping, before looking at what is left for having fun. If your drinking or drug use is getting to the point where the bills are beginning to pile up and you are ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ on a regular basis, then perhaps it is time to be honest about what is going on.
What do you mean?
Well, buying your drugs or alcohol before you think about paying the bills or doing the weekly shop at the supermarket, is a reversal of normal behaviour and indicates that your substance use is becoming central to your life, rather than being something you do now and again.
That makes sense I suppose. Give me another example.
Well, in my experience all relationships go up and down. When people begin to struggle with their substance use to the point where they are under the influence far more often that they are not, relationships with family and friends begin to suffer. People will put up with a lot if they love you, but there is always a point where they decide enough is enough. I’d suggest that if your relationships with you partner, kids and friends seem to be distant, unloving and argumentative, and have been like that for a while, then your substance use is getting in the way. Then there is work . . .
What has work got to do with it?
I know very few people who are leaping about with delight when it comes to getting up on Monday morning to go to work, but grumbles aside, we do. If you are constantly hung over or on a come down after re-enacting New Year’s eve every weekend for the past three months, it begins to show. There are a whole series of things that you can think about, which indicate you might be developing a problem. It’s worth bearing in mind that your work colleagues are very unlikely to tell you that they think you’ve got a problem. They are more likely to gossip about it behind your back, and if you are unlucky there will be a sudden and unpleasant meeting with your boss.
Give me the list then!
- Are you running out of plausible excuses for why you are late . . . again!
- Have you got sick days scattered like a horrible rash across the last six months, instead of the more normal three or four days off in a row because you had the flu?
- Do you sneak off lunch time to score or go down the pub for a quick one?
- Do you constantly try to leave work early for the same reasons?
- Has your boss stopped talking to you about your prospects?
- Has someone who has been with the company less time that you been promoted into a position you once reasonably expected to hold?
- Are your colleagues a little more distant and a little less friendly that they used to be?
- Are you turning up to work looking a mess and hoping no one will notice, conscious of the fact it’s not the first time?
I see what you mean. It’s about a change in behaviour that leads to a change in circumstances.
Exactly right! When our use of substances, legal or illegal begins to get out of hand our behaviour changes and eventually this can cause real problems in our lives. We may start to associate with people who are doing the same things we are doing more and more often, which can alienate family and friends. Things that used to matter to us, like being well dressed, or having a clean and tidy house canchange slowly as we seem to care less and less about the things that used to matter to us.
So that this the aim of this page, to point this stuff out?
I guess it is. The slide into serious problems with drugs or alcohol, if not outright addiction is gradual and often people don’t realise it’s happened. If on reading this page you discover that a number of things sound uncomfortably familiar, then it is worth thinking about having a conversation with a drugs and alcohol worker at your local service provider, even if only to put your mind at rest. You can find the details of the nearest place to you elsewhere on this website.