Straight Talk about Recognizing Addiction

Addiction takes many forms. In fact, we can become addicted to just about anything. Whether the problem is alcohol or drug abuse, gambling, compulsive eating or overspending, the real issue is addiction. And because most people suffering with these problems are in denial, they have difficulty realizing they are addicts.

Most addicts mistakenly believe they can stop “on their own.” The truth is, if left untreated, addictions get worse. And most addicts fail to keep promises to cut back or quit. Most addicts have trouble recognizing that stopping and starting addictive behavior is simply part of the “addiction cycle.” At some point, most addicts will try to stopThe problem is that sooner or later almost all addicts go back to their addiction.

The lives of addicts and their families may feel like a non-stop “roller coaster”ride tied to the highs and lows of the person’s addiction. Instead of making good on promises to quit, the addict may develop a “Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde” personality, in which moods are good or bad depending on where the person is in the addiction cycle. An addict in “Mr. Hyde” mode might become irritable, moody, easily provoked and possibly emotionally or physically abusive.

While addicts may tell themselves, “What I do is my business – it doesn’t affect anyone else,” the truth is that addiction hurts everyone. Children of addicts are at risk for depression, having problems in school, “acting out” their frustration by misbehaving, and are at risk for becoming addicts themselves. Partners of addicts often report feeling helpless and hopeless – they, too, are at risk for depression, stress and becoming victims of abuse.

Warning Signs of Addiction

  • Making promises to quit, and not being able to keep them.
  • Becoming angry when friends, family, co-workers and job supervisors express concerns.
  • Family conflicts because of the “habit.”
  • Missed time from work because of the “habit.”
  • Needing to do more and more of the “habit,” and feeling unable to stop.
  • Ignoring family conflicts, problems on the job, financial hardship and legal concerns that arise because of the “habit.”
  • Continuing to do the habit despite knowing that it is causing physical or emotional harm.
  • Making the “habit” a first priority, by spending a lot of time thinking about it, doing it, and recovering from the effects of doing it.

Addiction is a treatable illness, and help is readily available. If you or someone in your family needs help with an addiction problem, call the Bricklayers Member Assistance Program (MAP) for free, confidential information and assistance. Call MAP today toll-free at 1-888-880-8222.