New Book! “Almost Addicted”

Do you wonder if you just use drugs or, rather, that you abuse drugs? Has someone close to you made a comment about you use of alcohol, cocaine, painkillers, or marijuana (or commented more than once)? This book’s purpose is to help you determine whether or not you’re progressing towards full-blow addiction or not. And it provides suggestions for how to turn things around before things get really ugly.

The purpose of this book is to stop kind-of-bad behavior before it becomes really bad behavior—bad for you, your health, your job, and those in your life who care about you. Almost Addicted explains how to navigate the spectrum of addiction, explaining the differences between a potential, emerging would-be drug use problem and a devastating drug problem already in full motion.

And if you’re asking these questions on behalf of someone else—wondering about your spouse or sibling’s drug use—this book will also help answer those questions as well. It will help you sort out the difference between a potential problem and less worrisome occasional drug use.

The book should answer the following questions—and more:

Why stop using drugs if I’m not actually an addict?
Why do I feel like my spouse has a drug problem, but I can’t exactly pinpoint it?
What are some signs that a person is using drugs?
Am I medicating my anxiety with marijuana?
How do I stop my drug use from slowly turning into full-blown addiction?

The key substances referred to in the book are:

Alcohol
Marijuana
Cocaine
Methamphetamine

(If you’ve seen the movie “Flight,” you’ve learned, as I did, how cocaine can be used not just for getting high, but as a wicked means for un-doing the effects of alcohol consumed the night before.)

A few of the behavioral indicators of drug use covered in the book are:

Deterioration of appearance
Fatigue
Repeated absences from important activities
Continual seeking of special accommodations
Deterioration of quality of performance at work or school
Change in friends

Part 1 A Problem Emerges from the Shadows discusses why almost-addiction is a concern and why we should care about a pre-addiction even if it’s not yet full-blown—think of it as preventative care. The authors very clearly differentiate between what a real, full-blown addict acts like and what someone who may be almost-addict acts like, making it easier to identify where on the spectrum of addiction one may presently fall. It also discusses why disengaging from being almost-addicted to substances is a good idea.
For example, the authors pose the following questions to readers with regard to what could be gained from stopping now:

Would you have more money to spend on necessities or luxuries?
Would you do better at work?
Would you have more time to devote to hobbies?
Would any anxiety and depression you experience improve?

Part 1 includes additional questions for self-reflection, about the role of one’s drug use:

Is your drug use a source of tension or arguments with your wife, husband, or partner?
Does drug use eat into the time that you could otherwise be spending with your children?
Do you use drugs as a way to avoid family responsibilities?

Part 2 The Roots of Almost Addiction delves into the impact of the past on one’s present life and the correlation between mental health issues and drug use/abuse. The authors smartly point out that often times certain medical conditions may also be in play – and discuss how to navigate that double-sided coin. Those who suffer from types of depression, ADD/ADHD, trauma, as well as other challenges to the mind are more likely to struggle at some point with substance use/abuse.

Part 3 Catching and Confronting Almost Addiction in Others explains the warning signs for spotting drug use/abuse, as well as how to handle your response to the discovery of the other person’s drug use. It discusses the importance of protecting one’s self emotionally, financially and physically from the drug user, such as disengaging from taking part in the cover-up, denial, and recommends focusing on your own health and well-being, including enlisting the support of others.

Part 4 Solutions for Your Almost Addiction offers some smart tips for creating a life that’s full, rather than full of holes, in the absence of drugs. One chapter in particular, Time for A Change: Helping Yourself, is so very practical that it really could be the topic for a very useful follow-up book on how to recreate a life after stopping drugs. It explains how switching-up your daily routines can support your avoidance of drugs, as well as how to come up with a list of your “triggers,” so that you can proactively avoid being triggered. Essentially, having a plan for how you’ll engage your mind, body and spirit in the absence of drug use means you’ll…have a plan! No plan = misery. Does this mean new friends? You bet. At the end of the day, will you care about having ditched those people? Not one bit.

I have just one criticism of Almost Addicted. I so, so wish that the section on Solutions for Your Almost Addiction had been emphasized and placed before the section Catching and Confronting Almost Addiction in Others. The book’s order of chapters subtly suggests that focusing on others’ addictions should come before focusing on one’s own, and I feel the reverse is true. It’s most productive to focus first on one’s own potential addictions — you know, put on your oxygen mask first, then help your fellow passengers.

Here’s a link to the book on Amazon.com, where you’ll find this review and other reviews of the book.

Be kind to yourself.

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