How Do You Know If You Have a Problem?
Risk Factors:
Family history of drug or alcohol abuse.
High tolerance – you can drink/use more than most people and not get sick.
Feeling good/happy from using – A night of using is a positive experience.
Indications of a Problem
You feel alone, scared, miserable, and depressed
Drinking more than 4-5 drinks at one time, or more than 20-25 per week.
Have you ever felt the need to cut down on your drinking?
Increased tolerance.
Personality changes while drinking/using/selling.
Have you ever felt annoyed by someone who was criticizing your drinking?
Periods of quitting – stop and start drinking/using/selling.
Feeling you should cut down or quit. Feeling bad or guilty.
Denying or lying about use to yourself or other people.
Have you ever felt guilty about your drinking?
Irresponsible behavior while using/selling (unprotected sex, fighting etc)
Family or friends suggest you cut down or stop.
Feeling annoyed when others criticize your drinking/using/selling.
Underestimate how much you are drinking/using/selling.
Drink/use/sell to relax or calm your nerves.
Drink/use/sell because you feel lonely.
Drink/use/sell to help you sleep.
Drink/use/sell to relieve anger or irritability.
Drink/use/sell to relieve school or work pressures.
Drink/use/sell to go along with others.
Drink/use/sell to relieve boredom.
Drink/use/sell to relieve depression or sadness.
Increase drinking/use/sales after experiencing a loss in your life.
Unable to eat while drinking/using.
Drink/used to relieve hangover or withdrawal symptoms.
Difficulty remembering things that happened.
Drink/use/sell more than you intended.
One DUI.
Other legal involvement related to using.
Ability to drink more than before.
Look forward to drinking/using
Drink/use to get a buzz or drunk
Can hold more than most people
Tell yourself it’s okay because everybody does it.
A night of using/drinking is a fun. It makes you happy.
Feel that you don’t have a problem because other people use more.
Tell yourself that drinking/using isn’t a problem if it’s only on weekends
Feel annoyed when others criticize my drinking/drug use.
Sometimes drink/use more than I intended.
Don’t tell how much I really use

INDICATIONS OF SERIOUS (life threatening) PROBLEM
Drinking/using while pregnant.
Decreased tolerance. Can’t drink as much as you used to.
Repeat DUI’s or legal involvements when drugs/alcohol/ or selling was used.
Use to satisfy a strong craving.
Feel unable to stop or set limits to your drinking/use. Need to use/sell daily.
Have you ever felt the need for a drink at the beginning of the day?
Medical problems due to drinking/using (VD, AIDS, heart, liver, brain damage)
Job loss due to drinking/using/selling.
Loss of family, friends, marriage, children.
Blackouts (can’t remember what you were doing day before).
Pass-out (unconscious).
Used/drank/sold daily.
Drank/used to get going in morning
Jail/Prison related to using
Past Drug Treatment and return to using
Insanity, Dementia (brain damage), Death (you are here yet, but how close are you?)

The further down this next list you check, the more serious the problem. Try being honest with yourself. You might want to go through this list two or three times, as it’s easy to excuse these answers the first time you read them.

There are no exact numbers to tell you when you have a problem and when you don’t. Often addicts who are not in recovery believe that their addictive behavior is normal. If you answered yes to any questions in the above four questionnaires, this may be indicating a problem. The more yeses you had, the more serious a problem. If your addiction isn’t drugs or alcohol, consider how you would answer if you replaced the word drugs or alcohol with the name of your addiction. Would you answer differently?

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