Are you concerned about your alcohol or drug use?
Are you concerned about how much alcohol you are consuming, may be you started out taking drugs recreationally but now you are wondering if it is getting out of hand? I have put together questions you could ask yourself to find out if it is time that you need to get help.
If you can say yes to any of the questions, then It is likely that you do need to reduce or stop
Do you want to cut down but can’t?
You may find that once you try to stop, you can’t stop thinking about using again. Your own thoughts drive you crazy.
Do you feel physically sick when cutting down or stopping?
This applies really to opiate based addictions such as Tramadol, Heroin – Also Benzodiazepines. It also applies to Alcohol. They could all make you feel physically sick when you try to cut down or stopping
With alcohol withdrawal, sweating, nausea and the shakes. The shakes could be so bad that you find it difficult to have a drink or shave.
With opiates, you may get stomach issues, muscle cramps, stomach pains, difficulties sleeping. If your symptoms get too difficult, you could treat them symptomatically i.e. Buscopan for diarrhoea , hot bath for muscle cramps and maybe some paracetamol for the other symptoms.
Do you have cravings to use?
It is difficult to describe what a craving is, but you know when you’ve got them. It is basically a powerful desire to want something. It is particularly stronger when you don’t want to have it or can’t have it. So, if you have stopped for a few days and realise that you can’t stop thinking about the next time you will use or. You constantly plan and look forward to those times when you could just “get wasted” at the weekend.
If you are experiencing frequent cravings which really pre-occupy your mind where you can’t stop thinking about it until you have used.
Are people constantly questioning you about your usage.
Everybody, idea of what’s acceptable is different. You may have someone in your life who thinks that one drink is too many. You weigh that up against the reality of what you are drinking, and you could be assured that you don’t have a problem. Maybe you are getting comments from a variety of people, including your doctor who has warned you about the risks to your health etc. Or you have had to go to accident and emergency several times for alcohol related accidents.
Do you feel that the substance is the most important thing in your life?
You may not want to admit this, especially if you have children but it is an important question to admit to yourself. Once you’ve admitted it we can move on from there.
If you are that desperate for it that it is the most important thing, you know it’s a problem.
Do you feel angry when others criticise your drug or alcohol use?
Because others are worried about you they may try to talk to you a lot about your substance misuse, trying to get to the bottom of what’s happening with you. Try to remember they are doing this because they care.
You are only getting angry because you are in denial and don’t want to admit it to yourself
Do you feel guilty about your substance misuse?
Perhaps you know you went over the top with your behaviour because you drank a bit too much
Maybe you spent too much money
Or you promised your family that you would stop but you lapsed again and now you’re feeling guilty.
Have you ever had to have an eye opener?
Is when you’ve had to have a drink first thing in the morning mainly to feel better, to feel ‘normal’.
Do you feel better when using?
This could be better physically or emotionally. Alcohol and drugs could help you temporarily relieve any feelings of anxiety and depression or make you feel happier. To make you feel “normal” whatever that is.
Starting to have health problems
You may start to experience low appetite, low libido, high blood pressure, stomach problems from alcohol abuse, respiratory problems from smoking etc.
You need more than you used to
The more you use drugs and alcohol, the more you need as your tolerance always increases. It becomes necessary to take greater and greater quantities to get the same high.
It is affecting your bank balance?
People forget how much using alcohol and drugs cost. It is not so much the daily amount but how much it adds up over the years. Take this example. If you were drinking 4 bottles of wine a week (which is quite average) costing £10 each. That will add up to £2000 a year.
AS I said at the beginning, if you answered yes to one or more of the questions here, you may have a problem and it is now time to seek help. Maybe at this stage you just need to talk to a family member or friend and their support is enough to help you. Or maybe you need professional help. Your first port of call could be your local health care provider where you can speak to your doctor who should have the contact details of the relevant services. Some doctors will complete some of the paper work on your behalf and ask those services to contact you.
At Fresh Springs Counselling Services, we could support you with the underlying issues that brought you to this position in the first place. We also support you with some relapse prevention techniques and some tools to live your life.