So the question for today is: “Should you try to cut back on your drug and alcohol intake, or should you just try to quit altogether?”
This is a question that many people have struggled with over and over, and I will tell you the reason that it is such a struggle, and therefore such a mystifying question:
They are not being honest with themselves.
Now what do I mean by that? Let me explain.
If you attempt to cut down on your drug or alcohol use, and you honestly measure your results, then that is one thing. But many people who are actually addicted and will not admit it to themselves have a problem when they try to do this: their denial gets in the way and screws them up.
For example, say a person is basically abusing pain medication and they take about 20 pills of Vicodin each day. Now the tricky part for them is that they actually do have physical pain issues with their body, and therefore they try to justify their use because of this pain.
But even with that going on, the person knows that they have a problem and they try to do something about it. So they decide that they will just cut down on their drug intake.
Well, you can guess how that goes, if the person is actually addicted. The timing is NEVER right. Why not? Because the pain will flare up, it will intensify, it will get worse. New pain will move in and cause complications. Another disorder will flare up. Whatever.
And so the timing is never right. The person would have cut down, or they would have been able to taper off completely, but these things “just happened.” It was not fair. Anyone would have had to continue to take large amounts of the drug, just to keep from being completely miserable. Right?
Wrong. This is denial at work. This is how the disease of addiction actually works. You cannot cut down, not in the long run, not consistently, because the mind will manufacture pain. That’s right. Your mind will try to trick you into thinking that you need more of the drug. This is how addiction works!
So what is the solution? Well the solution is to get honest with yourself. If you can do that, and really mean it, then you can overcome your addiction, if you are willing to get honest and to take action.
So what does this mean? It means you can cut down, and observe the results. Don’t kid yourself. If you say you are going to cut down, then actually do it, with no excuses. If your mind and your body manufacture excuses for you, then you have a serious problem.
If you cut down for 3 days and then go right back to your old level of consumption, then you are fooling yourself.
So the solution is ultimately a 2 part deal:
1) Cut down. Be honest. If you can cut down, and maintain it, with no issues, then good for you. You are not an addict!
2) If you have issues, or go back to your old level of use, or find excuses to use more drugs, then you might be an addict. ASK FOR HELP.
That’s it. If you get honest with yourself and you realize that you cannot control your drug intake, then it is time to ask for help. I recommend calling up local treatment centers and asking for help. Do that and go from there. If you are not willing to do that yet then continue to watch yourself, be objective, see how the drugs actually have control over you, rather than the other way around.
If you can cut down without issue then you don’t have a problem. But, be honest with yourself about it. Can you really cut down, and stay down? Most addicts cannot…..