Abstinence by definition is…
The practise of restraining oneself from indulging in something, typically alcohol, drugs or sex.
In terms of drug addiction it is the reduction and removal of a substance from a person’s life, often undertaken when someone believes they may be ‘overdoing it’ or on the brink of addiction.
This is a dangerous consideration as it may create a false sense of control over the substance. Instead, it must be understood that there are warning signs that can be used to identify an addiction, and in turn provide you with more ammunition to end your addiction, possibly before it gets to a life-threatening, or well being affecting stage.
As far as indulgence goes
These Eight signs of an addiction are more easily seen or identifiable than others.
Here are a few of the common lifestyle changes that addiction can have on a person:
- School, cultural and professional (work) responsibilities are negatively affected. Deadlines are missed, neglected tasks are noticed, and projects left unattended are key pointers of this.
- Substance abuse can lead to reckless, dangerous and high-risk behaviour which can harm yourself or those you love, to the point that death may result. Driving under the influence, using unclean needles, promiscuity (including unprotected sex) or stealing to obtain the substance are all examples of this. Understanding that the practice of abstinence is a plaster over a bigger issue can help make you realise that a slip up may result in the above taking place, often with legal or tragic results.
- Speaking of legal results, legal problems such as drunk under the influence arrests, disorderly conduct and increasingly secretive behaviour are all part of the future when thinking that abstinence is the cure for addiction. All it takes is one drunken brawl, one arrest with a narcotic in your possession etcetera.
- No longer participating in extracurricular activities, hobbies, sports or exercise can easily be seen; friends wonder why you are no longer at practice, your art class is missing a student and so on… It starts with the small things and grows over time.
- Constantly borrowing money; this may not seem like a big thing at the time, however, debt and the owing money to loved ones is messy and dangerous.
- Isolation from friends, co-workers, loved ones…
- Fixation with music and clothing related to drugs or alcohol – and the artists associated with these behaviours increases
- Increasing conflicts with people you love, work with and hang out with. The increase can be triggered by small or large issues, or even by issues not directly involving the people arguing.
Assuming you or a loved one suspects that you are struggling with addiction based solely on the above information on abstinence and indulgence, it may not be a totally accurate overview. Just because someone is taking a break via abstinence does not put them in control of the addiction, or potential addiction.
The above list can be used to assist in the identification, particularly if one is attempting abstinence however it is merely a guide, and should better be coupled with substance abuse signs that are obviously present in those who are actively using. At First Step, we can help you identify your addiction and any underlying issues you may be dealing with, despite your abstinence.
Take a moment and give us a call, we are here to help you.