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Managing Your Addiction

How does it affect your life

Alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and gambling can affect many areas in your life. It can help to look closely at these areas to see what the effects have been. This can help you focus on what you really want to change and build the motivation to do it. The questions below can help you think about how your addiction has affected your life.

Legal

  • Have you ever done anything illegal while drinking alcohol or using drugs? Examples are stealing, dealing drugs, prostitution, pimping, breaking and entering, beating someone up (assault), or driving drunk or high (impaired).
  • Have you ever been charged with a crime related to alcohol or drugs?
  • What effect did criminal charges have on your life? Examples might be losing custody of a child or having to pay fines.

Financial (money)

  • How much money do you spend each month or year on alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or gambling?
  • Have you spent money on alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or gambling that you wish you had used for other things?
  • Have you had to pay court fees and fines?
  • Have you ever lost a job or pay because of drinking, using drugs, tobacco, or gambling?
  • Have you ever sold drugs to your friends?
  • Have you taken money or pawned items from home to buy alcohol or drugs or to gamble?
  • Have you been in any car crashes that made your insurance rates go up?

Family

  • Does your family trust you? Has this changed because of your drinking, drug use, tobacco use, or gambling?
  • Are there fights in your family because of your drinking, drug use, tobacco use, or gambling?
  • Have you broken promises or not done what your family expects of you because of your drinking, drug use, or gambling?
  • Does your family avoid you when you drink or use drugs? Do you avoid them?
  • Has there been any violence in your family because of your drinking, drug use, or gambling?

Friends

  • How has your drinking, drug use, or gambling harmed your relationships?
  • Have your friends said you should cut down on drinking, using drugs, or gambling?
  • Have your friends been embarrassed by things you’ve done?
  • Have you argued with friends about your drinking, drug use, or gambling?
  • Have you broken promises to your friends?
  • Do you trust your friends? Do they trust you?
  • Have you lost friends because of your drinking, drug use, or gambling?

Hobbies and spare time

  • How has drinking, using drugs, or gambling affected your hobbies or things you do in your spare time?
  • Do most of your spare-time activities involve alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or gambling?
  • How often do you do things that don’t involve alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or gambling?
  • Have you lost interest in activities that you used to like doing?

School or work

  • Have you been suspended or kicked out of school because of alcohol, drugs, or gambling?
  • Have you lost a job because of alcohol, drugs, or gambling?
  • Have your grades changed because of alcohol, drugs, or gambling?
  • Do you miss school or work often?
  • Have you gone to school or work drunk or high?
  • Have your teachers or bosses talked to you about drinking, drugs, tobacco, or gambling?

Physical health

  • How has using alcohol, drugs, or tobacco affected your physical (body) health?
  • Have you ever had a blackout (where you can’t remember what happened), hallucination (seeing something that isn’t there), seizure, the shakes, or vomiting because of drinking or using drugs?
  • Have you ever had an overdose?
  • Have you been hurt (such as an injury or fight) when drinking or using drugs?
  • Has a doctor told you to stop drinking or using drugs?
  • Have you been sick and had to stay home because you were drinking or using drugs?
  • Have you ever had a flashback (feeling the effects of a drug when you’re not using it)?
  • Have you ever injected drugs (used drugs with a needle)?

Emotional and mental health

  • How has drinking alcohol or using drugs affected your emotional and mental health?
  • Do you feel like you’re just trying to make it through the day?
  • Have you ever felt guilty or embarrassed about drinking, using drugs, using tobacco, or gambling?
  • Are you depressed about your life?
  • Do your moods change quickly?
  • Do you hide how much you're drinking, using drugs, or gambling from family or friends?
  • Do you feel like nothing has turned out right for you?
  • Do you drink or use drugs just to feel normal?
  • Have you ever tried to hurt yourself (such as slashing, burning, or carving your skin)?

Spiritual health

  • How has using drugs or drinking alcohol affected your spirituality?
  • How has using drugs or drinking affected your sense of peace and how it feels to be you?
  • Do you feel less supported and less connected to others than you used to?
  • Do you feel like there is no purpose to your life?

For more information and to find an addiction services office near you, call the 24-hour Addiction Helpline.

Current as of: September 25, 2020

Author: Addiction & Mental Health, Alberta Health Services