Trying to control your drug use? Anyone who finds that their use of drugs is becoming a problem and can easily scale back down to non-problematic levels is probably not a true drug addict. If you can stop or cut down without any effort at all then what you had was a simple drug problem.
Now the problem comes in when people cannot simply cut down or stop entirely, and this crosses the line into drug addiction. Diagnosing oneself can be rather tricky and can actually take several years or even decades due to a little something known as denial.
Denial is where the person who is using drugs gets themselves into trouble or crosses a line that they would have preferred not to have crossed, so they quickly back off or even stop using drugs entirely. That person is in denial if they convince themselves that there is no problem, even if they repeatedly find themselves getting into the same types of problems over and over again. Our ability to fool ourselves can be unreal.
For example, take someone who is addicted to painkillers. They might have suffered from a real injury that led to the pills in the first place, but their use of the drugs as spiraled out of control. They might be taking way more than what is prescribed, and they might start doing some things that qualify as “addict behavior,” such as:
1) Using multiple doctors to get more pills.
2) Buying pills off the street.
3) Hoarding or hiding medications.
4) Taking medications via a different route (such as crushing pills or snorting them or shooting them, etc.).
5) Injuring themselves in order to get pain medicine prescribed.
6) Exaggerating symptoms or illnesses in order to get more medication.
7) Stealing, begging, or borrowing medicine from friends or family.
And so on. Any time that drug use has escalated out of control like this, you know there is a problem going on. And anyone who can continue to do these things and claim that they are under control and that there is no problem is in denial.
It is especially easy to justify pain medications to ourselves because our minds can manufacture pain without any trouble at all. This is very easy and even natural for a drug addict to do–to amplify their physical pain in their own mind. It can take years and years before the addict becomes honest enough with themselves to see the truth of the situation–that they are self medicating their emotions and that their physical pain (regardless of what it is) is really secondary.