If you ask anyone who has struggled with addiction, they will tell you they did not just wake up one day, stretch, look around, and think to themselves, “Today looks like a good day to become an addict.” Addiction starts as entirely something else. Sometimes, addiction begins due to the consistent pressure to be “cool.” Other times, addiction starts with prescribed medication. Recognizing the red flags that lead to addiction is the key to recovery. Many times, addiction results from self-medicating deep-down hurts and long-buried traumas.
There are no road signs that warn you that you are getting close to the addiction zone; no flashing red lights are recognizable to the person involved regardless of how glaring they may be to friends and family. A person involved with addiction will not see anything wrong, and there may not be anything wrong until the addiction begins to take over their lives and isolate them from everything in the world that they thought they knew.
Very rarely does the person in active addiction see their behaviors as addictive. Blinded by their drug of choice, the red flags that are often visible to others are lost on them. Understanding the red flags can be vital in helping someone start their recovery path. After all, we don’t know what we don’t know until we know it.
A Few of the Red Flags That Lead to Addiction
#1. Increased Tolerance
At first, addiction starts with one drink, one hit, or one pill to help you attain the euphoric effect you crave. This is a red flags that leads to addiction. Then, little by little, the same feeling begins to grow into a few more drinks, a couple more pills, or a more powerful hit. Before you realize it, the majority of your money flows into your recreational drug-use budget and then moves into a must-have category of your life.
#2. You Have to Have It to Function
Your day begins and ends with your substance of choice. Every waking moment is consumed with how you will get your next fix, hit, or drink. Oftentimes, you plan your day around moments where you can get high. You might never leave the house without it, despite the repercussions that could occur should you be caught with it. The risk is never as powerful as the craving or the addiction.
As your addiction takes over more of your life, you may start to feel that you do not want to be around anyone except those who engage in substance use with you. You may go to great lengths to avoid your friends and family. You begin to make excuses for not being able to see them or reasons why you have not been around. Be careful, this is a red flags that leads to addiction. You may not want to let your loved ones know that you are using or the toll your use has taken on your body and spirit.
A person who is active in their addiction very rarely admits that they have a problem until a life-changing event such as jail, the loss of something or someone, or, in the worst cases, an overdose happens. When asked or confronted with the idea that they may be addicted, the individual will make angry accusations and attempt to deflect from the issues at hand.
This behavior often goes hand-in-hand with isolation. Instead of spending time with those close to you, doing the activities that once brought you joy, you find yourself more and more in the company of the same four walls that you saw the day before and the day before that. There are two main reasons for avoidance: You don’t want to hear anyone tell you about your substance use, or you don’t want anyone to see how far down your substance use has taken you.
Taking the First Steps in Recovery
If you have noticed yourself engaging in any of these behaviors due to substance use, now may be the time to reach out for help. Acknowledging that you can no longer control your substance use is one of the first steps to recovery.
The caring staff at Twilight Recovery understands how hard it can be to take that first step and ask for help. The journey to recovery starts with one step, one breath, and one minute at a time. Recovery from addiction is possible, but the journey will not always be easy. Long-buried emotions may float to the surface, and not everyone will understand.
Recovery will take focus and dedication to your sobriety and yourself. To recover from addiction, you need support, education, and to change your behaviors. Once you commit to yourself and to your recovery journey, the possibilities are endless.