Are you experiencing occasions where you drink or do more of a drug than you planned to do? Do you find yourself preoccupied with substance use and/or addiction and planning your day around this? Perhaps you are experiencing relationship difficulties, problems at work, or even legal issues related to your substance use. You might be thinking, “why isn’t this fun anymore, why do I keep using/drinking despite the problems it is causing?” You might also be thinking, “why do I feel depressed, hopeless, and out of control.”
There are specific stages of addiction that people will likely move through till they are fully addicted. These are usually defined as:
- Initial Stage: People will usually experiment with one or two drugs in this stage (including alcohol) out of curiosity, peer pressure, or to numb difficult emotions. The user might begin this stage as early as 14 years of age and even younger. Normally, people in this stage decide that this isn’t for them and discontinue their use.
- Stage II: During the “Regular Use Stage,” the individual begins drinking/using drugs on a regular basis. This occurs mostly in social situation’s such as parties, and might occur only on the weekends. Of course, many alcohol/drug users will eventually begin to use during the week as well. The likelihood of consequences increase during this stage, such as getting arrested for a DWI or for drug possession.
- Stage III: During the “Early Dependence Stage,” the alcohol/drug user begins to be preoccupied with drinking and doing drugs. The user begins to experience tolerance, which is having to do an increased amount of a drug so they can experience the desired effect. Also, the user begins to experience cravings and irritability when not drinking or doing drugs. She/he will continue to use alcohol/drugs despite negative consequences such as legal problems, conflicts in relationships, or loss of a job.
- Stage IV: During the Dependence Stage, the alcoholic/addict is using drugs out of an obsession and compulsion to use. The alcoholic/addict is using, so they can avoid cravings and physical withdrawal symptoms that can be severe depending on the drug/s they are using. Many alcoholics/addicts have experienced, or will experience several consequences during this stage, such as loss of a marriage, being unable to maintain employment, and will experience a complete powerlessness to quit doing drugs on their own.
There is no specific time table that people move through with these stages. However, someone may rapidly become fully dependent depending on the specific drug/s they are using.
If you believe that you might need help with your alcohol or drug use, you do not have to suffer alone. Call me now, and we will discuss the treatment options that are available for you. Through receiving help for your alcohol or drug problem, you will move from a state of hopelessness to experiencing hope.
I’m Mike Snider, call me at 830-428-3035.