Drugs and alcohol affect the lives of millions of Americans every year causing devastation to families, friends, loved ones and associates. It is said that on average each substance abortion person seriously affects 16 people around them, this may be an understated estimate. Almost everyone has had to deal with someone else's drug or alcohol problem or knows of someone who has. You are not alone.
You are also not without support. Al-Anon, Alateen (for teens), Families Anonymous, Nar-Anon Family Support Groups, ToughLove Support Groups, counselers, support agencies, friends, and family can all provide support. Al-Anon and the other support groups can help you to understand the signs and behaviors that used to confound you and help you develop ways to cope and deal with the problem. The only requirement to attend Al-Anon is your concern for someone else's alcohol and / or drug use.
If you think you can deal with a drug or alcohol problem on your own, THINK AGAIN! Even trained professionals rarely succeed in resolving someone's addiction while they continue to use. You will need support and lots of it. Make use of all the support you can find and make it your goal to get the loved one into professional care.
Alcoholics and drug addicts think they are all amazingly unique, but as you get to understand the signs of addiction and the logic they use, they are amazingly the same in many ways. Let's take a careful look at some of the typical signs of drug and alcohol abuse displayed by a using person. Virtually no one will have all these symptoms, but if the person you care about is using, you will see several of them.
1) They drink more than those around them and develop more tolerance (need to drink more to get the same effect).
2) They may drink more rapidly than others.
3) They experience "blackouts" or lapses of memory from using.
4) They hide their alcohol / drugs to protect their supply or to use in secret.
5) They drink or drug more than they intend to.
6) They utilize lies, excuses, alibis, rationalizations, and denial to cover up their using.
7) Changes in behavior – even when not using. Negative effects on family, friends, job, school, and associates.
8) Negative changes in attitude, health, appearance, mood, or work effort / quality.
9) Drinking alone or sneaking drinks.
10) Possession of drug related materials. Rolling papers, liquor bottles, drug related posters / magazines / music, pipes, bongs, etc.
11) Isolating. Shuts people out, is secretive, spends much time alone, comes home late.
12) Smells of alcohol or pot. The person will often deny use this obvious sign.
13) Person is violent or manipulative. Manipulative behavior is the hallmark of the addicted person. Violence and using go hand-in-hand.
14) The person may borrow money or steal to support drug / alcohol use. Person often can not explain what they spend all their money on. Are items or cash missing at home or at friends? Is liquor missing or watered down in the home? Have they sold personal items to pay for drugs?
15) Accidents, job loss, broken friendships, family arguments, and trouble with the law may occur, even when not using.
16) Eyes are oddly dilated, too wide, too small. Red eyes.
17) Person is overly defensive and avoids responsibility for their actions.
18) Nagging cough, diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, dark circles under eyes, headaches, trembling.
19) Change in friends. People who use often need to be around other people who use to provide social support for their using and to maintain contacts with those who can supply them with drugs.
20) Withdrawal / Hangovers. Headache, vomiting, aches, run-down, sleeping late, using in the morning.
21) Burn or cut marks on body, tattoos, brown-stained fingers, change in clothing style / hair.
22) Loss of interest in activities / sports / hobbies.
23) Loss of motivation, lethargic, general loss of interest, apathy.
24) Skipping work, meetings, school, family events, appointments, meals, important events.
25) Secretive about where they have been, what they have been doing.
26) Attempt to cover-up signs of using. Sneaking into house, incense, mouthwash, eye-drops, perfume / cologne, chewing gum, mints.
I hope this article has been informed, but remember this problem should not be tackled alone. Utilize all the support you can find, such as family and friends, to help you weather the difficulties ahead. Also be sure to have the help of someone who knows more about drugs and alcohol than you do, such as Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, and Drug and Alcohol Counselors.
With a solid plan and some dedication, you can hope over the addiction of another and assist them in getting help. My best wishes go with you always, good luck!
Anon Family Support Groups 1-800-344-2666
Nar-Anon Family Support Group 1-213-547-5800
ToughLove International 1-800-333-1069