The Simplest Way To Tell If You Are An Addict or Alcoholic
Ahh, "Am I an addict?" Truly one of the great questions of our times. While you may have found other more complex articles on this topic that go into great depth, it can really be boiled down to this one simple idea.
You are an addict or alcoholic if:
You can't live with it, and you can't live without it.
You may be wondering then, what exactly does this commonly used idiom mean? Well, it's fairly simple. If you are alive and you can't "live" with it, this lends us the idea that you might be simply "existing." The word life comes from the latin root word "anim" which also means spirit. By this logic we can consider what it means to be trapped in a state of existence, and nothing more, contingent upon the uncontrollable use of alcohol and drugs. A loss of the ability to be animated, or better yet have a personality and be who we truly are. Even if we appear "ok" on the outside, as many know, this does not necessarily mean anything.
The truth is, we can have everything in life, appear happy and joyful to our fellows, and still be miserable and dead on the inside. Being minimized to sheer existence does not have to go hand in hand with the stereotype of the alcoholic brown bagging it on the sidewalk - many successful businessmen and women are alcoholics and drug addicts as well. We call these "high functioning alcoholics."
"HFAs are essentially "masters of disguise" who not only fool those around them but also themselves. This does not detract from the fact that they are alcoholics who need help in getting sober just as much as lower functioning alcoholics.” - Psychology Today
Whether you are high or low functioning, the theme is the same: nothing is ever enough, and neither side of the spectrum is particularly good at fooling others into thinking they are okay. The real question, however, is are you fooling yourself?
A large part of why both low functioning and high functioning alcoholics continue to drink or use is due to of the power of denial. This denial can manifest in many, many ways and is often extremely insidious and hard to point out or accept. When questioning whether you may be an alcoholic or a drug addict, it is also important to take a step back from yourself and consider, from an unbiased perspective, whether or not you identify with any of the following signs of denial.
Common signs of substance abuse denial:
1. You avoid talking about the issue
2. You use other people’s behaviors as evidence that you don’t have a problem
3. You promise future control to ward off concern
4. You deny a problem absolutely
5. You rationalize your substance abuse behaviors
6. You blame others for your problem
7. You ignore the advice and concern of loved ones
8. You have “stints” of sobriety
9. You engage in manipulative recovery efforts
10. You consistently fall back on the “It’s my life!” defense
If you are interested in taking a more in depth survey to help you better understand if you are a true alcoholic or addict, please visit AA.org and get back to us.