Very many people are addicted to various forms of behaviour which starts with innocent enough habits, but over a period of time turn into addiction.

While many families or friends many recognize this behaviour, very often the victim does not admit to it.

Addiction comes in many forms. It can be computer games, gambling, set perverse sexual behaviour, food, smoking and so many others.

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Addiction can be physical or psychological. It is a craving to use a substance or to repeat a behaviour. It has many red flags which indicate that there are problems with one’s social, physical and mental health. It makes us do things we normally would never do and can often lead to illness and death.

Here we will deal with the question of how can you tell that you are addicted to alcohol or drugs. Narcotic or drug addiction are progressive, chronic and potentially fatal diseases. Yes, they turn into diseases and have been recognized as such. Like most diseases we cannot treat them ourselves. We need the medical professional to step in to help us. Yet, so few addicted people will admit that they have a problem.

It makes us do things we normally would never do and can often lead to illness and death.

So what are the indicators of addiction? Addiction comes with a preoccupation with alcohol ore drugs. We become incapable to resist, control or to stop drinking or taking drugs. Usually there is a personal tension present before we use these substances, and the drug seemingly is the answer to the tension we experience. We do it to feel better. Well, it does not help! To obtain the expensive substance we crave, we usually lie, deceive and try to hide our behaviour. Some hide the evidence by hiding the bottle. As the problem gets worse, we neglect our job, some lose their jobs, and some do not attend school. We can hurt or neglect our family life, church or the community. We claim illness and any other reason to cover up. Despite serious problems like loss of income, we keep on using the alcohol or drugs.

We blame other people for our problems. It is always someone else’s fault. Family and relationship problems occur as result of the tension.

We may start using seemly large amounts of alcohol as a sign that we can handle it, saying “it’s not affecting me,” and so we drink more and more and a craving develops. Craving is a clear sign of addition.

We blame other people for our problems. It is always someone else’s fault. Family and relationship problems occur as result of the tension.

Soon we begin to lose control. Sometimes pass out. We may want to quit but can’t. Even when we try to stop the physical dependence is so great that we start again. Symptoms like nausea, sweating, shaking, and extreme anxiety begin to appear.

We need help and we need to come to the conclusion that we cannot do it alone. Our bodies can be damaged, ie. liver damage. The best advice possible is to go to a health professional as soon as possible. Recovery also is not an individual thing. We will need the help and support of many caring people.

Many people turn to God at these moments. That is a very good place to start the process of healing.

Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM

This article was published in The Church and Life Newspaper

This post is also available in: Ukrainian