It’s 4PM on a Friday and you’re either in the pub after work, or you’re counting down the minutes to get there. Clock-watching for lunch is one thing, but clock-watching for your first drink is another. Little rituals or habits that mark the end of the week can be fine in moderation, but they can turn into something more sinister. If you find yourself thinking more and more about that ‘escape’ into alcohol at the end of the week, craving the release it brings, then it might be turning into a dependence. There’s a certain lifestyle, a certain way of living and socialising, that can creep in quietly at first. Habits can embed themselves, and when it comes to alcohol addiction, it can sneak up on you when you least expect it. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
If after work drinks have turned into a few nights a week, and maybe the drinks are leading to using drugs like cocaine, read on for our advice. Here are some of the signs to look out for if you think you might be slipping or spiralling, and some ways to rein things in, or seek the help you need.
Spotting the signs of addiction
Addiction affects everyone differently, and there is no sure-fire checklist to run through. But, there are some signs that might crop up when things are getting out of hand. Here are some of them.
You’re anticipating the drink or drugs more and more
There is a difference between looking forward to and then enjoying a tipple, and alcohol becoming the thing that consumes your mind. Consider how you feel towards alcohol or drugs, and whether or not your feelings are healthy and balanced. If you regularly feel a longing to drink, to destress or unwind, this is a sign of psychological dependence.
You’re getting angry or emotional before using or drinking
There may be an emotional release or anger before you have a drink or use. This could come out as irritation, frustration, aggression, or irrational behaviour. In addiction, it’s very common for people to drink alcohol or take drugs to change or suppress strong emotions.
You feel like you are becoming reliant on the drink or drugs
It’s important to listen to yourself, particularly how you feel after drinking or taking drugs, when you’re returning to your normal state. You might feel like you can’t have fun or socialise without alcohol. Your might believe that drugs are necessary to have a good time, to let loose, or to relax after a heavy week. If this is the case, you might want to consider your relationship with alcohol or drugs, and the impact it is having on you and your loved ones.
You’re the one to instigate the drink or calling in the drugs
You might think you’re the life and soul of the party, but could it be addiction is calling the shots? If you’re the one suggesting another round, or making the call, then it could be time to take a step back.
Reining it in
If you feel yourself slipping into these emotions and behaviours, you may feel like you are able to rein it in. Try to take a step back. You could try alcohol-free alternatives, stepping away from that crowd of friends or colleagues, or maybe even opting to skip a couple of outings until you get your feelings in check. You’ll soon know if you can moderate or stop by yourself, or if alcohol and drugs are running the show.