Alcohol and Drug Abuse Information: Ask A Question
Although we have tons of alcohol and drug abuse information already here on our website, you may have a question of your own that you would like answered directly. A lot of people have questions about alcoholism and questions about substance abuse, but they are either too afraid to ask or they just don’t know where to ask questions. We have designed this page to give you a safe place to ask those addiction questions.
Scroll to the bottom of the page or Click Here to Submit Substance Abuse Questions.
Asking questions can be scary, especially because people with drug addictions or an alcohol addiction and the people who love them don’t always really want their questions answered. Answers to any question can sometimes be scary, but the topic of substance abuse is a very fragile one.
However scary this topic may be, learning about drug abuse and alcohol abuse is very important. It could potentially help you save someone’s life one day or even help you save your own life if you find yourself struggling with an addiction.
If you have a question to ask about addiction, please feel free to use our question form at the bottom of the page.
Some of the most common categories of questions we receive include:
(1) Questions about drug abuse including:
- What is drug abuse- How to prevent drug abuse- How to stop drug abuse- what are the effects of drugs?- where can I find treatment for drug abuse or alcohol rehab facilities?- what can I do about my teens and drug abuse? - What is the best drug abuse prevention for my young children?- What is drug abuse rehab like? - what are the causes of drug abuse?- is marijuana addictive?
(2) Other Categories of Substance Abuse Questions
(3) Alcoholism questions such as:
What is alcoholism?What is alcohol abuse?Am I an alcoholic?How to stop drinkingHow alcohol affects the bodyHow to give up alcoholHow to help an alcoholicHow to stop drinking alcoholHow to treat alcoholism
The greatest news I can give you is that there is an answer - there are alcohol rehab facilities and drug treatment programs all over the world. By asking questions about alcohol and symptoms of drug abuse, you may get answers that will show you how to help an alcoholic, whether that person is yourself or a loved one.
There’s no simple solution; each person who needs help is very different, but it is important for people to have a place where they can learn more information about drug abuse. Addiction and alcoholism are so prevalent in society today. If we want to help ourselves and other people who may be in trouble, we need to have information.
We invite you to write to us by using the form below and ask questions for free! It doesn’t matter what you want to know - we will try to help you or send you in the direction of the right answers. We are open for questions about any aspect of addiction, even relationship questions about the stress of substance abuse on your relationship with a loved one.
Drug addictions and alcohol addiction can be very scary to talk about and to deal with, but we want to try to help you with that as much as possible. If you have a question to ask, you can always submit it anonymously if you are worried about people knowing that you or someone you love has a problem.
What is drug abuse doing to your life? There are a lot of resources out there to help alcoholics and drug addicts, so if you need a question answered, don’t hesitate to write in and get the information you need. Ask questions - Get answers! Here are some of the most commonly searched phrases and commonly asked addiction questions that we receive. You can read through them or go directly to
submit your own substance abuse question using the form at the bottom of this page.
Are you not supposed to tell people you’re in AA because it's anonymous?
You can tell whomever you want that you attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The anonymity aspect of AA is so that you don’t talk about anyone else in the meetings. You should absolutely not tell other people who you saw in AA meetings.
Anonymity is one of the spiritual foundations and principles in the program. A lot of people will have different ideas about what exactly anonymity means.
The idea is that AA is a safe place where people can come to get better from their alcohol addiction. If people have to worry about their anonymity being broken, they may stop showing up and may never recover. Many drug addicts and alcoholics are very embarrassed and ashamed of their disease and they may not want anyone to know that they are attending meetings.
You should always respect the traditions of the Alcoholics Anonymous group and the privacy of the members in the AA meetings and not discuss who you see at meetings. One of the other aspects of anonymity is that AA is supposed to be attraction rather than promotion. So people shouldn't throw AA in anyone's face. The truth is, people who have been around the program for a long time now, or even some of the newer people, may feel that this website goes against the tradition of AA. My personal opinion is that people should know about AA so they know where to get help. If someone is interested in reading this and wants to learn about AA, great! If not, that's okay too. I'm not here to convince anyone. I am simply sharing my opinions and experiences and what I have been taught.
If you would like to tell people you are going to AA meetings, go right ahead. I believe it is your prerogative to disclose that information to whomever you'd like. The one thing I would say that is not disputable is the fact that you should never discuss other people you have seen at meetings. Also just keep in mind that if you share with someone that you are in AA, you are representing the group as a whole, whether that is your intention or not. Again this isn't to say you can't tell people. There are very few people in my life (sober or not) who don't know that I go to AA meetings and am working the steps. I believe that is every individual's choice.
Do you think addiction is a choice?
Addiction is a disease, not a choice. Addiction is caused by a combination of genetics and environment. Yes, it is true that people choose to pick up the first alcoholic drink or the first drug before they become a full-fledged drug addict or alcoholic. But when a person crosses the line from any kind of normal or social drug user or alcohol drinker to an addict, they have no choice in the matter.
No one would choose to become an drug addict or alcoholic. I don’t believe that anyone, as a young child, aspires one day to become an addict. In my experience, it’s something that happens before you even realize it.
I think one of the problems is people don’t always know their family background and family history of addiction. If drug addiction or alcoholism runs in your family, it’s very important to be aware of this. This may not stop a person from using drugs or drinking, but maybe they will think twice. The more information we have about our family members, the better informed we are to make safe decisions regarding drug use and alcohol use.
Does addiction only affect weak people?
Addiction can affect anyone! Addiction affects the poor, the rich, the white, the black, the young and the old. There is absolutely no category of people or no type of person who is immune to addiction.
While part of addiction can be genetic, people without the genetic predisposition can become addicts also. Dealing with addiction has absolutely nothing to do with being strong-willed or weak.
One of the biggest misconceptions about addiction is that all you need is willpower to quit. If that were true, there would be a whole lot more people in recovery. Again, addiction is a disease and it absolutely does not discriminate against anyone.
After someone is in recovery for awhile, can they ever go back to ‘normal’ drinking or using drugs?
Once someone is an addict, they will always be an addict. Being an alcoholic or drug addict changes the way your brain is wired. We just don’t respond to alcohol and drugs the way ‘normal’ people would.
This means that even after a year, 5 years, or 20 years of sobriety, an addict can never use safely or socially. Addiction is progressive, meaning that even when you are not actively using, it is progressing, just waiting for you to give in and use again.
There are a lot of sayings, like the disease is doing push-ups while you are in recovery, getting stronger and stronger hoping you will give in. This is one of the reasons why drug or alcohol relapses are so bad.
I know that when I relapsed, it was like I had never stopped using. Not only was it like I had never stopped, but it was worse than it ever was before. Within a day or two, I was so powerless over my drug addiction, more so than ever before.
I do not believe that a true drug addict or alcoholic would ever be able to drink or use normally. I can’t say that I would ever want to use normally. If I can’t use excessively, then I wouldn’t want to use at all. I think that is very common among addicts.
That being said, I can’t remember the last time I thought about using drugs, excessively or normally. I wouldn’t trade the life I have today for a life where I could drink or use drugs normally.
Should I go to AA or NA to stop smoking pot?
Both AA and NA meetings are a great place to go if you are trying to stop drinking or using drugs. In my opinion, a 12 step meeting is a meeting, regardless of the type of meeting that it is.
Some Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are a little strict and don’t necessarily want people talking about drugs in the meeting, so it might be better to go to Narcotics Anonymous meetings. However, some AA meetings don’t mind.
The best thing to do is to check out a bunch of different meetings, AA and NA, and find the ones that you are most comfortable in. After doing some research I actually found that there are Marijuana Anonymous meetings (http://www.marijuana-anonymous.org/). If you check out this website it will give you more information and will allow you to find meetings in your area.
I have never personally been to a Marijuana Anonymous meeting before so I don’t know exactly what they are like. It is a 12 step meeting so it will be very similar to AA and NA, although I don’t believe that it is as well known as AA and NA so the meetings may be smaller.
Again, I would urge you to try out as many meetings as you can and continue attending the ones you like the best and the ones you feel you can be most open in.
Alcoholism – does it bring out true feelings?
There is no evidence that alcohol brings out true feelings in people. Yes, alcohol will decrease a person’s inhibitions and perhaps make them more open than when they are sober. However, that being said, it can also make people say crazy things that aren’t even close to being true.
Alcohol impairs a person’s judgment and thinking, therefore it probably doesn’t make sense that everything a person says when they are intoxicated is the truth. Sure, a drink or two may make someone open up and allow them to say what they really want to say. But as a general rule, I would not advise anyone to assume that whatever someone says while intoxicated is the truth or what they really mean.
Can you turn someone into a drug addict? Is drug addiction caused by peer pressure?
One of the most important things to realize about addiction is no one can make someone an addict. Yes, environmental factors can play a huge role in addiction, but it is the individual’s decision to pick up that first drink or drug.
There is also usually a genetic factor in addiction, meaning people who have addiction in their family are much more likely to become addicts than those who don’t have addiction in their family.
If someone is pressured to do drugs or drink alcohol, it is possible that somewhere down the road they will become addicted to whatever drug they are using. However, a lot of people experiment with drugs and alcohol, perhaps because of peer pressure, but do not become addicts. It is the combination of the environmental factors and genetic factors that determine if someone is going to be an addict or not.
It is possible for someone without the genetic predisposition for addiction to become an addict. Sometimes something happens in a person’s life and they turn to alcohol and drugs. If a person uses a drug excessively on a continuous basis, it will absolutely change their brain chemistry and put them at risk of becoming addicted.
The truth is there’s no clear cut way to tell if someone will be an addict or not, but it is clear to me that no one can cause someone to be an addict.
How can I show a recovering drug addict that I love them and am proud of them?
When you have a loved one who is in recovery, it can be very difficult to know how to interact with them at times. Especially if it is early on in their recovery, sometimes you might not know what exactly to say to them or how to act around them.
- If you want them to know you are proud of them and that you love them, tell them! Sometimes words can go a long way.
- Be open and honest with each other. Let them know you are there for them if they need someone to talk to.
- Tell them you see how hard they are working and that they are doing great.
- Another suggestion I can make is to attend al-anon or nar-anon meetings. If they see you are attending meetings to try to help yourself and to try to understand their disease more, this will speak as loud as your words. They will know that you care enough about them to take time out of your day to support them and also to take care of yourself so you can be there for them.
- There are also a lot of open alcoholics anonymous meetings and narcotics anonymous meetings. This means that it is open to anyone, not just alcoholics. If the person you love and are proud of attends meetings, ask them if you can go to an open one with them! Tell them you want to learn more and be there to support them – going to a meeting with them is a great way to do this.
Again, sometimes all it takes is to just tell someone how you feel.
Is adderall abuse possible? I'm worried that my brother is taking my little sister's adderall. Is adderall addiction a real addiction?
Adderall abuse and adderall addiction is absolutely a real thing. I believe a person can become addicted to pretty much anything, whether it be food, drugs, sex, or video games.
Adderall is a stimulant, and when used properly (for things like ADD/ADHD), it can be very beneficial. But when abused, adderall can become very dangerous.
If a person is abusing adderall and taking it when they shouldn’t, as well as taking an excessive amount, it raises blood pressure significantly. This can cause stroke, heart attack, or even sudden death.
Adderall will also decrease a person’s appetite, which can cause severe weight loss if not managed correctly ...and when someone has an adderall addiction, chances are they aren’t managing their food intake correctly.
Adderall can also cause increased aggression, and severe irritability.
Anytime someone is taking another person's medication that is not prescribed for them, it becomes very dangerous and addiction becomes a worry. Some people have the idea that because adderall is a prescription drug, it “can’t be that bad.” But the truth is, people are abusing prescription drugs more and more these days.
Again, adderall abuse and adderall addiction is absolutely real and should not be taken lightly. If you are worried about your brother, you need to talk to someone immediately to try to get him help.
Am I a coke addict if I only use on the week-ends?
I am not really in a place to decide whether or not you are a coke addict or not. Cocaine is a very dangerous drug, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who ever uses cocaine is considered a coke addict.
Many people can drink casually, and even use certain drugs casually and socially, without developing a dependency on them. This is definitely not something I would recommend; our brain chemistry can literally change from using drugs, and it doesn’t take that long for this to happen.
This means that someone who is a casual cocaine user can easily turn into a coke addict. Is your life unmanageable due to your cocaine use? Does it affect the people around you? Do you obsess about the next time you are going to use cocaine?
If you answered no to these questions, it’s very possible that you are not a coke addict. Again, sometimes people really can just use drugs or drink socially. I am not one of those people; once I start, I cannot stop. If this is not the case for you, then it’s up to you to decide if the health risks of doing cocaine and the risk of addiction is worth the high.
Addict or not, cocaine is a very dangerous substance. Increased blood pressure, heart attacks, overdose and immediate death can occur from using cocaine, even if it’s just on the weekends. It has even happened to individuals the first time they even used cocaine. I can’t advocate any kind of cocaine use because I have experienced what it can do to a person and to a family.
Is there an alcoholism cure? Is it true that a person is an alcoholic for the rest of their life even if they don't drink?
There is no cure for alcoholism. And yes, most people believe that you are an alcoholic forever, even without a drink.
This doesn’t mean that you are doomed though if you are an alcoholic. There is no alcoholism cure, but there is treatment. Many, many people get sober and stay sober for the rest of their lives.
Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are a very good way to maintain sobriety. Then, getting a sponsor and working the 12 steps helps maintain sobriety and really just gives an alcoholic a better, meaningful life. 12 step meetings and the 12 steps aren’t just about not drinking; they’re about becoming a better person and living a fulfilled life.
I will probably consider myself an alcoholic for the rest of my life, even if I never take a drink again, but I don’t really look at this as a bad thing. Going to 12 step meetings has given me new meaning to my life. I am able to be open and honest about who I am; I am able to be proud of the fact that I am an alcoholic and probably will be forever, but I'm an alcoholic in recovery and so much wiser for it.
What Are The Subtle Signs of Cocaine Use?
There are some obvious physical signs of cocaine use, some of them being weight loss, dilated pupils, and change in mood. Please visit our page on cocaine use symptoms to read more.
Some of the more subtle signs may be hard to catch. You may notice that the user is spending time with different people lately, maybe not their usual friends. Perhaps they are canceling plans a lot or cannot be reached as often. Spending large quantities of money is also another red flag.
It can be hard to identify these less subtle signs, but be wary of any change in their behavior, mood or attitude, especially if there is a history of substance use or abuse in the past.
Most importantly, don't be afraid to say something. If you think something is wrong, chances are it is. A lot of the time people are afraid to say something, not wanting to be confrontational or to hurt someone's feelings. I would advise you to speak up.
The user may not admit their use and yes, they may get angry. But keep asking. Let them know you are there for them. Let them know that you won't punish or judge them, but instead that you will help them.
Don't let someone you care about hurt themselves because you didn't want to hurt their feelings. Sometimes simply being there for someone is enough.
Can You Tell Me How To Stop Drinking Alcohol Safely?
If you have been drinking large quantities of alcohol for a long period of time, quitting 'cold turkey' can be extremely dangerous. It is very important that you speak with a doctor before you quit.
If possible, detoxing from alcohol is safest if done in a rehab center. There will be trained professionals watching after you all day and checking your vital signs. They can also give you medication to lessen the withdrawal effects. If you quit on your own, you could experience shakes, severe anxiety and panic attacks, and seizures which can be fatal.
I understand that not everyone has the means to go into a rehab center, but if it is possible I would highly recommend it. At the very least, please speak with your primary care physician so you can plan out the safest way to quit drinking alcohol. Again, the withdrawal symptoms can be fatal so please speak with a professional.
If you can't see a primary care physician, try to have someone with you at all times during your detox. If you start to experience severe shakes or seizures, at least someone will be there to be able to call 911 or take you to the emergency room. However, we DO NOT recommend doing it this way. If you don't have health insurance or can't afford an alcohol rehab center, please visit our page on Free Drug Rehab.
Is a Sponsor mandatory in a 12 step program such as NA or AA? Why is a sponsor important?
A sponsor is not a mandatory part of 12 step meetings. Technically there is nothing mandatory in these programs. It is, however, highly recommended to get a sponsor as soon as possible.
The idea is if we follow the suggestions of the 12 step program, we will stay sober. Having a sponsor will allow you to work the 12 steps. Since it is a 12 step program, it only makes sense to go through the 12 steps. And in order to do this, it is wise to have someone experienced to take you through them.
Having/getting a sponsor can be hard. At first it can be a little uncomfortable, but I would highly recommend it. It's important to find someone you connect with and someone you can trust. This can be hard but it will be worth it.
Committing to a 12 step sponsor does not have to be a long term commitment...if you feel like you're not connecting with your sponsor, you can always find a new one. The most important thing is to be open minded and completely honest with yourself and with your 12 step sponsor.
Do alanon meetings include drug dependencies?
Al-anon meetings are specifically for family members and loved ones of someone who is an alcoholic. Technically this does not include other drugs.
That being said, alcohol IS a drug. A parent or friend of an alcoholic is extremely likely to be going through a very similar situation as a parent or friend of a drug addict. Whether the drug of choice is alcohol or another type of drug, these meetings tend to focus more on the feelings and trying to deal with the situation at hand, and less on the actual drug of choice.
You can try some al-anon meetings and see if you can connect with the people there. You may find them very helpful. If not, you can try a Nar-anon meeting which is specifically for family members and loved ones who have a drug addict in the family.
My feeling is that drug addiction and alcoholism are so similar that it doesn't matter too much which meeting you attend. Regardless of the meeting, the hope is that you will learn coping mechanisms and find other people you can relate to and connect with. I would recommend trying many different types of meetings, al-anon and nar-anon, and attend whichever meetings you find most helpful.
What is drug addiction?
Drug addiction has many facets. Someone addicted to drugs usually has a physiological addiction, as well as a mental obsession with obtaining and using a substance. Many people also believe that being an addict means that you have some sort of spiritual malady as well. Once someone is addicted to a drug, he is usually unable to control his consumption of this substance once he begins using it.
This is my 1st week clean from cocaine – does it get any easier?
Early sobriety is one of the most difficult things that I have experienced. It’s incredibly hard to adjust to a life without any substances, but I can promise you it gets easier. In my experience, 12 step meetings (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous) have helped a tremendous amount. During the first week or two, a person might experience withdrawal symptoms and severe cravings, but attending meetings and talking about how you feel can help a lot.
Can you be addicted to a.a./aa?
Technically, I believe you could become addicted to anything. That being said, many people believe that aa (alcoholics anonymous) meetings are essential to stay sober. In early sobriety, I believe it is important to attend as many AA meetings as possible.
It is also important to try to connect with people and start to build healthy relationships with other sober people. Sure, it is also important to have some balance in your life. There are almost always other responsibilities in your life that you need to take care of, whether it be school, work, or family. But I do believe that sobriety needs to come first, otherwise you won’t be able to have any of these other things in your life.
Once you have some more time sober, the hope is that you will be able to balance your life better and make time for other things aside from meetings. In early sobriety, it is normal that someone might seem ‘addicted’ to AA meetings, but in my opinion this isn’t a bad thing.
Alcoholic Sobriety Dating
When someone gets sober, dating can be a very scary thing. Alcohol is a great social lubricant for some people, and without it, it might seem difficult to connect with someone.
In my experience, relationships only get better once you remove the alcohol. You will actually remember what happened on your date!
I haven’t exactly had any experience with sober dating because when I got clean and sober I was already married. However, there was definitely some adjusting to do for both me and my husband. I know that's not the same as trying to go out and meet someone new which can be scary.
Many people would suggest not getting into any kind of romantic relationship for the first year of your sobriety. This might seem like a long time, but the idea is to take care of yourself and connect with people on a more platonic level in the beginning of your sobriety.
This isn’t to say that everyone waits a year – the truth is that many people do not. But trying to deal with staying sober and with a new relationship at the same time can be very difficult.