Addiction often starts harmlessly: a little puff here, a sip there, or another little pain pill.
Most people can go for years doing their favorite activities without becoming addicts.
Trouble starts when the individual becomes dependent on the substance. Every waking moment is filled with cravings.
They plot and scheme on how to maneuver daily activities to incorporate their addiction. Friends and family will be surprised by some specific sudden changes in behavior.
That surprise will quickly turn to frustration and anger because of all the resulting lies and the unfulfilled promises.
Loved ones are often shocked to discover that someone they know is addicted to drugs. To them, the individual doesn’t fit the profile.
She is a suburban housewife with two beautiful children and a squeaky clean record while he is a hot-shot lawyer for a big pharmaceutical company. Such people are the embodiment of the American Dream.
It’s hard to picture these people injecting, snorting, chugging, or puffing anything, let alone addictive drugs.
Television has warped our views on who most addicts; describing them as only unsuccessful social misfits. Yes, some social loners are addicts, but that doesn’t cover even half of the 21 million addicts currently in the US.
Appearances may not be an accurate measurement to determine if one is an addict, but some behaviors raise a red flag.
Everyone lies. From little lies- yes, I went to church, to big ones- I used the money to pay for tuition. Such untruths are made with the best intentions: to allay fears, worry, or concern.
However, addicts lie to cover up things they are ashamed of and don’t want anyone to know about- addiction.
If no one knows, then they can pretend they didn’t do it. And if they didn’t do it, then there is no problem.
This warped thought process is because drugs gradually destroy the users’ analytical thinking such that they have a lower capacity for objective thinking and decision making.
The addict becomes steeped so deep in Self Denial that their actions don’t seem real unless they get caught. And as the addiction progresses, the individual continues to drift further and further away from the principles they once held dear.
Separating the truth from all the lies is like trying to get rid of sand using water from the ocean. Soon the only thing that’s left is the belief that they cannot live without their source of addiction.
Loved ones may spot the dishonesty in the addicts tall tales, but this is someone they care about and have known for what seems like forever.
It is challenging to set aside that trust and start doubting or questioning that persons’ honesty. As such, the lies can go on for years, and no one will be wiser.
Meanwhile, the addict are slowly destroying themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Drug addiction is a mental illness. It can turn someone open and honest to someone who is deceitful and manipulative; somebody who will stoop low and manipulate those who love and support them to fuel their addiction.
The individual will keep assuring everyone that their drinking is under control, or they only smoke on weekdays. They will denial claims that there is a problem and heap blame on the inquirer for doubting their self-control.
Here’s where they start promising the world by saying, “I will finally stop,” and “This is the last time.” You will believe this because those results would make you happy.
You want the person the addict was before all the drugs and the lies. But that person is gone; the New Guy is only concerned about the next high.
An addict will say the right words, swear in two different languages that they will change, just to get back in your good graces.
For a while, they will be that Guy you remember, and you will believe the fantasy the addict has so masterfully spun. But this house of cards will tumble when Hurricane Craving comes knocking and from there all bets are off. They will go wherever the next high takes them.
They will only come back when they run out of cash. The addict will ask for money with the pretense that it is for rehab or food. If you refuse to give them, they will claim that you don’t love them enough because if you did, you would grant them their wish.
And when the Genie gives them the money, they will be gone quickly.
The non-addict must accept that as long as the person continues to use, they cannot be trusted.
Everything the addict says is meant to manipulate or emotionally blackmail their loved ones into allowing and financially supporting their addiction.
An addict is like a child. If you say no, they will pester and wear you down till that no changes to a yes. To them, a no is just a yes waiting to happen.
Contrary to popular belief, addicts are highly intelligent people. They know who to approach for money, which buttons to twist, what tactics to employ, and they always play to win.
Going up against someone like that feels similar to pushing a boulder up a hill: mentally exhausting and emotionally draining.
Addicts are often prone to delusions that the world is out to get them. The individual will view people who try to limit or stop their addiction as being menacing, dangerous, and malicious.
The user will physically attack or abuse such individuals. Loved ones are often the most affected. Addicts direct their anger at the world for judging them; anger that is directed to people who only want to help them.
Spouses, friends, and family are often at the receiving end of blows and abusive comments that hit directly on the addicts greatest insecurities.
This abusive and often violent behavior often requires years of therapy, and thousands of dollars to rectify the damage.
The addict is aggressive and abusive because they are in denial about the real problem- addiction.
Admitting they have a problem would mean everyone was right about them so, they will fight to be right until they have no one left to fight with because they have pushed everyone away.
From manipulation to aggression, criminal behavior isn’t such a great leap.
Once you’ve been addicted for a while, money is bound to run out. You will have sold all your assets, emptied bank accounts, and even borrowed money or taken a second mortgage.
You will borrow from friends and disreputable money lenders. The former you won’t pay back, and the accounts in the later will only be settled after several trips to the emergency room.
But there’s only so much loved ones can take, and the addict will soon be cut off from accessing funds and leaving with only the clothes on their back and Intense Craving.
The only possible way out they can see is to resort to committing crimes.
It may start out small: a couple of bills from the register at work, pawning office items or stealing from coworkers, family, and friends.
When that fails to finance your addiction adequately, you shift to more significant crimes: embezzling, burglary, robbery, and car theft.
It won’t be long before the law catches up to the addict. Prisons are filled with such individuals.
Drugs have entirely rewired the neural pathways to your brain, and you cannot even tell that what you are doing is wrong and illegal.
Your world revolves around feeding your addiction no matter the consequences.
Such a person is in danger of harming themselves and those around them.
The consequences of an addict’s action are never their fault.
If he gets into a road accident because he was driving while under the influence, it’s the non-addicts fault for not coming to pick them up and if they get fired for being late one too many times, it’s because the boss has it out for them and singled them out.
Nothing is ever the addict’s fault. Trying to reason with the addict will result in a shouting match. The user will verbally attack you for failing to take their side and believing the words of “others.”
The addict will question your intentions, and you will be caught off guard, and the verbal 2*4 will leave you tongue-tied.
Events that happened in the past will be twisted, and the user will bring up Exhibit A to Z as evidence of the non- addicts failure to meet perceived expectations.
Once you get over the shock, all you will have left is the rage. Angry that the addict is taking your love for granted. You are frustrated by the empty promises and depleting finances.
You will revert to imitating the addict’s behavior: screaming, swearing, and saying hurtful things.
Later on, the non-addict may regret their actions, but the tactic will have already worked.
The addict knows you feel guilty and remorseful and as such are likely to overcompensate by giving in to their demands.
And their greatest desire is to feed their addiction.
Drug abuse is an isolating activity. It requires the user to hide away drug paraphernalia such as bongs, lighters, and burnt spoons to keep others from finding out about their addiction.
This need will necessitate locking their room whenever they want to leave the house, staying out late for no plausible reason, and withdrawing large sums of money for things they cannot explain.
The user will want to stay awake to have the full 3D experience of the drug high. And if they don’t live alone, they cannot stay home in such a state; they will stay out late and come back with bloodshot eyes, injection marks, itching, or unusual skin color.
Addicts may try to use makeup or eye clearing wash to mask the physical change. Which may work for some time, but after continued constant drug use, no amount of concealer can hide the excessively dry skin, eye bags, and wrinkles.
When the secretive behavior stops, the addict has gone so far down the rabbit hole that they don’t know which way is out anymore.
Drug use has a marked effect on the users mood. At the snap of a finger, the individual can go from happy and jovial to seething mad and furious.
To determine what sort of behavior is termed erratic, one must take into account the individuals previous normal behavior: was the person quiet, subdued, or the life of the party?
A drug user who was previously upbeat and pleasant ends up being a miserably depressed individual.
The addict may also deviate from their regular routines: failing to go to work, skipping classes, or a reluctance to participate in activities they previously enjoyed.
When questioned, the addict immediately goes on the defensive and finds a way to turn the conversation away from themselves and onto something else.
Erratic behavior can have serious consequences. For instance, an addict experiencing withdrawal can easily physically lash out and harm the people around them. Such a situation can worsen if the user suffers from a mental illness.
Drug use magnifies feelings and intensifies emotions. Mix that up with an un-diagnosed mental disorder, and you have the recipe for creating the epitome of utter distraction.
The first step to recovering from an addiction is admitting you have a problem and taking steps to deal with it.
Friends and family can be able to identify the existence of a drug problem from the behaviors given. However, the habits are only indicators and do not provide a measurement of the extent of drug abuse.
The only one who can give an accurate account of how long they have been using is the addict or a professional in the field of addiction recovery and treatment.
Addicts will benefit from addiction treatment programs such as rehab, detox, and counseling from qualified professionals.
Addiction, like every other mental illness, is often viewed as shameful. Don’t let such misconceptions deter you from seeking help.
If you need help with your recovery, you can get in touch with the Hotline at our Recovery Center where trained and experienced professionals are available to assist you in every way.
The staff at Chateau Recovery is always available to help you with all of your questions regarding addiction recovery and treatment. Call anytime.
Please call our toll-free helpline which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed by experienced and caring professionals who can answer your questions and help you navigate through the process of evaluating and securing a treatment program.
If you or someone you love has questions concerning the rehabilitation process, call our free helpline Phone: +1 888-971-2986 for more information. Calls are always confidential, private, and secure.
Behavioral Addiction for Beginners looks at things addicts would rather not face up to as a source of relapse.
Here is a very handy document that will help persons in recognizing the signs, symptoms of drugs and alcohol for purposes of determining if there is an addiction.