Do you find yourself:
- Wanting to reach for a drink or drug whenever you are experiencing periods of difficulty?
- Drinking or using drugs early in the day?
- Not being able to stop drinking or using drugs?
- Needing more and more of the drink or drug in order to achieve its desired effect, such as relaxing or getting a “buzz”?
- Not being able to stop after just taking one or a few?
- Having difficulty cutting back or quitting altogether?
- Going to great lengths to obtain your substance of choice?
- Missing work or social activities because of an inability to function or remember?
- Having difficulty in your family or work relationships because of your substance use?
- Having “the shakes”, memory difficulties, periods of “black outs” where you don’t remember events, increased nervousness and/or restlessness or other somatic complaints as a result of your substance use?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you may have or be developing a substance abuse problem. Recognizing that you may have a problem is the first step in taking control over this issue. Many people try to address this problem by making a commitment to stop drinking or using drugs fora brief period of time. They feel if they curtail their use for this limited time, thenperhaps, they really do not have a problem. For some, this may be successfuland they may be able to handle using substances infrequently. For others, thismay be a temporary situation and leads to the return of their former substanceuse patterns.
Self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, AlAnon, Alateen or NarcoticsAnonymous are often very helpful and may be a good place to begin. Thereare meetings all over the country and they provide wonderful support and
direction to those wishing to modify their substance use patterns. For others,the combination of self-help groups and therapy is the most powerful method for learning more about themselves. The following is a partial list of resources orplaces to go for more information:
www.nida.nih.gov – National Institute on Drug Abuse
www.niaaa.nih.gov – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
www.nmha.org – Mental Health America – a Mental Health Association that can provide information as well as referrals