How do you recognise that you may have an addiction?
Alcohol, drug, food, gambling, sex, or porn addiction problem?
We might assume that it would be obvious and easy to spot, but it isn’t.
With addictions, people ‘use’
- drink, or
- porn, or
- cocaine, or
- gambling, or
- food, or
whatever their drug of choice is, to cover up feelings.
So when we are ‘using’ we are doing so to avoid difficult feelings.
If you know you are using drink or whatever it may be to cover up difficult feelings then you may have a problem that some would consider an addiction. The fact is you have a problem.
Often the danger signs are in; the degree to which using the drug of choice makes ordinary life unmanageable.
It isn’t to do with the amount you drink, or snort, or gamble, or watch internet porn it’s to do with the damage and unmanageability you are creating around you.
Using addiction to deal with difficult or painful feelings
The trouble is that the difficult feelings don’t go away when you use, they may get masked for a short while, but then they come back with a bang.
You can ignore them but they will be waiting for you when you sober up.
Furthermore the use of drugs and drink creates unmanageable patterns of behaviour. So where there are addiction based problems it is more likely that:
- relationships will fall apart
- debts will mount up, and
- possibly that these things will lead to trouble which will involve the police, courts, criminal records and so on.
If you are lucky you will address these feelings and the problems that the addiction is being used to cover up before a catastrophe happens. Or as they say in 12 step meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Gambling Anonymous, before you hit rock bottom.
Addiction and avoiding a rock bottom experience
A lot of people recognise they have a problem but try to deal with it without getting appropriate help. This often leads to greater disaster.
They think they will be the exception, the person who won’t have to hit rock bottom. But generally they are not.
If you go to an AA meeting the room will be full of people who felt they could deal with the problem on their own, without help. Then they found they couldn’t. Perhaps they drove over the limit and caused an accident which resulted in a custodial sentence, loss of job etc. Or they kept gambling believing they would be the person who won all of their losses back. But they didn’t.
Breaking the addictive pattern – 12 step meetings
Somehow it is necessary to break the destructive pattern and the chaos that goes with it.
12 step meetings, be that Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous are very simple and effective and they are free.
If you go to a meeting listen for the similarities in the stories you hear
12 step meetings provide a framework, all you have to do is get to a meeting, listen to the stories you hear, and listen for the similarities with your own story.
How can Counselling Buckinghamshire help?
The symptoms of addiction can have a profound impact on your everyday life. You may find yourself trapped in a narrowing spiral of feelings and catastrophe affecting you and the people around you.
At Counselling Buckinghamshire we have a depth of experience of working with people who are trying to overcome problems relating to addiction. Before training in the NHS I trained at Promis addiction centre, and went on to at the Nightingale Hospital in Marylebone.
We are highly trained in the subject of addiction.
Contact now for a free telephone consultation to discuss how our approach may be relevant to you.