Learning to control an addiction is like learning to tame a lion. It is no easy task. Mostly because by the time one becomes an addict they may already be in denial about it. Here are a few suggestions to make yourself more aware of what you need to look out for in yourself and others:
1. Addicts tend to stop enjoying things that were once normal to them such as friends or activities. Those who become addicted to alcohol or drugs tend to withdraw from what was once normal to them. For example, a person who loved to hang out with friends who now just wants to stay home all the time, might be an indication that they have a problem with drugs or alcohol.
2. Accessive use. Addiction is slow, but over time the addicted person will start using more and more to get drunk or high. It usually starts with just small amounts but over time the addicted person will need more of the substance to get the same effect.
3. Poor control. While you may want to stop or have made efforts to stop, you can't seem to do it. Addicts tend to have a really hard time quitting. You may have made several attempts and even been successful for a few weeks or months, but then the habit kicks in again.
4. Time spent around alcohol or drugs. Addicts have an uncanny way of making more time for their habit and make it a priority. Are you hanging out with more using friends and not spending as much time with those you really care about or love? Addicts ultimately end up using with anyone that will do it with them, even if they don't even like that person very much. Addiction is so strong, we can end up doing things we never would imagined.
5. Experiencing withdrawl. This occurs when you try and stop and you feel nausea, sweating, shakiness, or anxiety when you don't use for an extended period of time.
6. Increased tolerance. This happens when you need to use more to get the same effect. Perhaps 3 beers got you buzzed, but not it takes 10. One joint is not enough.
While in patient or out patient treatment may be an option, considing an online drug and alcohol awareness class might be your first step.