Tag Archives: Abusing Substances

Tag Archives: Abusing Substances


“Am I an addict?” is an extremely common question for those who find themselves behaving differently or making uncharacteristic choices in the name of drugs and alcohol. Individuals who prioritized academic success above all else may find themselves struggling to perform at school. Supportive parents may begin missing recitals, football games and family dinners. There is no way to predict how substance use will affect your life until it has spiraled out of control.

Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a nationwide epidemic. This disease affects your brain and behavior – those who are addicted modify their lives to center around substance use. While the ways that people begin using or drinking may vary, it is universally accepted that no one starts using with the goal of becoming an addict.

Today, we have compiled some resources for those who would like to ask themselves this pivotal question. If you would like help, the team at Cumberland Heights is here for you.

Self-Test for Addiction

This yes-or-no self-test has been developed by Narcotics Anonymous. If you are wondering whether you are an addict, only you can answer that question. This may not be an easy task – from the beginning of your substance use, you probably told yourself, “I can handle it.” This is no longer true. Addiction is a progressive disease, meaning that it worsens with time.

There is nothing shameful about being an addict. Armed with this knowledge, you can begin making powerful, positive changes to your life. Take a moment to answer the questions below as honestly as you can. Keep track of how many items to which you respond “yes.”

  1. Do you ever use alone?
  2. Have you ever substituted one substance for another, thinking that one particular drug was the problem?
  3. Have you ever manipulated or lied to a doctor in order to obtain prescription drugs?
  4. Have you ever stolen drugs? Have you ever stolen in order to obtain drugs?
  5. Do you regularly use a drug when you wake up, or when you go to sleep?
  6. Have you ever taken one drug in order to overcome the effects of another substance?
  7. Do you avoid people or places that do not approve of your substance use?
  8. Have you ever used a drug without knowing what it was, or how it would affect you?
  9. Has your work or school performance ever suffered from your substance use?
  10. Have you ever been arrested as a result of using drugs or alcohol?
  11. Have you ever lied about how much you use, or what you use?
  12. Do you put the purchase of drugs ahead of your financial responsibilities?
  13. Have you ever tried to control or stop your using?
  14. Have you ever been jailed, hospitalized, or placed in a treatment center because of your substance use?
  15. Does using interfere with your sleeping or eating habits?
  16. Does the thought of running out of drugs terrify you?
  17. Do you feel that it is impossible to live without drugs or alcohol?
  18. Do you ever question your own sanity?
  19. Is your drug use making life at home unhappy?
  20. Have you ever thought you couldn’t fit in or have a good time without drugs?
  21. Have you ever felt guilty, defensive, or ashamed of your substance use?
  22. Do you think a lot about drugs or alcohol?
  23. Have you had irrational or indefinable fears?
  24. Has using affected your sexual relationships?
  25. Have you ever taken drugs you didn’t prefer?
  26. Have you ever used drugs because of stress or emotional pain?
  27. Have you ever overdosed on any drugs?
  28. Do you continue to use in spite of negative consequences?
  29. Do you think you might have a drug problem?

Ultimately, the total number of yeses does not dictate your result. The answer to the question “Am I an addict?” lies in your feeling about how substance use has affected your life.

Many people try to make excuses, believing that their circumstances are different or that they are just having a tough time. Ultimately, the truth is that addiction makes life unmanageable. Narcotics Anonymous requires the acceptance of three realizations:

  1. We are powerless over addiction and our lives are unmanageable;
  2. Although we are not responsible for our disease, we are responsible for our recovery;
  3. We can no longer blame people, places and things for our addiction. We must face our problems and our feelings.

I’m an Addict. What Can I Do?

Acknowledging that you are an addict is an important first step to finding recovery. Next, you must create a plan to get well. What should you look for?

Seeking treatment for addiction can be a complicated endeavor. Many people may feel overwhelmed by this process – a simple Google search uncovers countless nearby treatment centers, all with vastly different offerings. Luckily, there are a few specific criteria you can look for in a facility that ensures high quality of care.

  • Joint Commission Accreditation – A seal of approval from this governing body means that a center has committed to high standards of patient safety, evidence-based care and continued education for providers. It can only be attained through an on-site visit and must be maintained afterwards. This indicates that a facility has achieved the gold standard of addiction treatment providers.
  • NAATP Membership – Facilities affiliated with NAATP, the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, must submit proof of adherence to best practices and a universal code of ethics.

Once you have reviewed a center for these standards, you should also take some time to tour their facilities. Most places will have a page on their website dedicated to showing off amenities like walking trails, labyrinths and ropes courses. When you know more about a center, you will feel more comfortable pursuing your recovery there.

Contact a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center

Finally, you should contact the admissions center at your facility of choice. At Cumberland Heights, our friendly admissions staff are available 24/7 and can even help to verify your insurance coverage. They will discuss your treatment options and help you to organize your finances in order to obtain care. If you are worried about being an addict, we can help. Contact Cumberland Heights today.

Man transitioning from recreational use to abuse; how to spot the difference.In many situations, friends and family are unaware that their loved one is struggling with substances until a full-blown addiction has developed. It’s hard to tell what others are doing when we’re going about our daily lives – but the small moments you experience with your loved one could give major tells as to whether they abuse substances or not. It’s not that our loved ones have purposefully become addicted; all too often, it stems from recreational use.

Recreational use often begins as a person uses drugs for pleasure rather than for medical reasons or addiction. It can start off with drinking after hours with coworkers, going out on the weekends with friends or other ways, but eventually it comes to a point when that person has adapted their recreational use into their routines more frequently than they did before. In the recreational stage, most people consider it a “normal” hobby or way to socialize rather than a problem.

Once a person begins using substances heavily and/or for a long period of time, it may become more and more difficult to control one’s use. Dependency occurs in 2 phases:

Physical dependency: withdrawal symptoms occur, such as nausea, sweatiness, vomiting, fatigue and more if the drug use has ceased.

Psychological dependency: anxiety, depression, cravings, appetite loss, denial and more may occur regarding use if a person stops using their drug of choice.

The book, Substance Use and Abuse: 2nd Edition: Everything Matters, emphasizes that psychological dependency can often last far longer than physical dependency, and can often be the resulting factor in a person’s developed addiction. Social factors, such as routinely seeing people whom your loved one has used substances with, can only serve to reinforce the urge to use substances and, if they keep psychological symptoms at bay, it may feel like an only option for some.

Watch out for warning signs that your loved one is addicted; if you’re finding that they’ve been lying about their substance use or distancing themselves from their typical social group, you may want to inquire further. Your loved one may need your help – and recovery could potentially save their life.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.


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