It almost always starts the same way for most of us. We found something in our lives that makes us feel whole even though we don't know why we felt empty to begin with. We take something and it made us feel like we had touched heaven.
It develops into a problem over time as we learn to rely on substances or behaviors to make us feel...ok, make us feel connected, even though there is an unhealthy connection. We didn't start with the idea we were going to be addicts/alcoholics. We started because other people were doing it, so we did too. But how do we know when to worry if it is going to develop into something more than adolescent experimentation?
There are certain red flags one can look for to maybe guess if things are going to develop into something more serious that we can call it an "addiction.
Here are the questions to ask yourself from the episode.
Have they had difficulty connecting to other people since early in their life?
Do they seem sad and depressed or struggle with anger?
Did they experience a traumatic experience they seem to have a problem coping with?
Do they have brothers or sisters they often get compared to? (Maybe unconsciously and not in necessarily a bad way but often it can be misinterpreted.
Are they hanging out with kids that also drink or use drugs? (Remember, it's not the kids that are the problem, it's why did your loved one gravitate towards them.)
Remember, this is NOT a checklist that guarantees the outcome will result in a full blown "addiction." It's simply to be mindful and gives you the ability to start becoming proactive in gaining a new understanding of what is happening with your loved one so you can start educating yourself and get help for yourself early on and maybe we can avoid it developing into an addiction.
We don't get a say in the outcomes of someone else's life, but we can give ourselves the best chance by using certain practices, breaking certain patterns, and empowering our decisions to shape ourselves into the person we need to be to handle whatever the outcome is for the future.