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having trouble identifying an addiction (TW)

so I'm new here and this is the first time i have ever really needed help or input on anything like this.

a few years ago i was in a really bad place and developed severe addictions to several illicit drugs i spent 13 months in this low and it took the death of 3 of my mates from overdosing to get me to go clean. however since then i have been using psychedelics every 4 to 5 months when my urges get particularly strong. they act as a sort of hard reset for my thought processes and prevent me from falling back on more dangerous and addictive drugs. i don't feel addicted to psychedelics because i don't have cravings for them but i consciously use them while i'm craving other drugs. but in recent months i have been experiencing some mild memory loss and my family has noted a change in my personality. i really want to stop using but I'm terrified of ending up in the same situation i was in 2 years ago. i just don't know what to do. i have such an addictive personality and i have to fight craving really hard to avoid relapsing.

Re: having trouble identifying an addiction

Hi @LimaLima


Welcome to ReachOut and its great to see you opening up Smiley Happy

I want to say that I think its amazing that you were able to identify an issue with your drug use and went clean. It is an incredibly difficult thing to do and you should be extremely proud of yourself Heart. Using a less addictive drug to curb cravings is a common method of dealing with cravings but, as you have realised, its not a long term solution. I was just wondering whether you have spoken to a doctor about your drug use and memory loss? 



Re: having trouble identifying an addiction

Hi @LimaLima,

I just made this account and your post caught my eye - I hope I can offer some insight/advice to help you. The term addiction and what exactly it is has been defined, debated on and researched extensively and whereas some argue it is a disease, others argue that it's a choice. 

In relation to trying to identify whether you're addicted to the psychs (psychedelic drugs) or not, if you feel like you need them to cope with everything that has happened then some would argue that you are addicted. If you feel you could stop and have power over it at any time then others would say it's not an addiction.

When we begin to ignore the signs or use a substance regardles of it causing physical, mental and/or social harm either to ourselves or those around us and the consequences, then you may be dependent on using, or it could be seen deeper and being the current 'rider' on the horse of your addictive personality (a term I like to use). The psychs may be a filler or the current coping tool for what you have endured and gone through. I would classify my use (although currently 3 months clean) as positive, but I know that for certain substances, I can't be around them as I don't have control when it comes to them and I begin to become someone I'm not (lying to friends and isolating myself etc)..

I feel like this is addiction; addiction in itself is learned behaviour that's created messages in our brains which have resulted in outcomes that have may have worked up until now, but are you willing to test whether you have control over something that is already causing noticeable changes to you? To what extent does your addictive personality have control and when is the real you in control? (Somewhat rhetoric questions by the way!)


Apologies if this is all a bit deeper than you expected - having dealt with years of addiction I feel much of what you wrote very similar to justifications and things I would tell myself so that I convinced myself that I was fine, until I wasn't. Thankfully it wasn't too late. The main key here is being honest with yourself. 


Re: having trouble identifying an addiction

thanks for the support. i really do feel like my relation ship with psychs is more as a tool than an escape. but i also know that its a very fine line and its often difficult to identify when its been crossed. at the moment i feel in control but i have had control slip away from me before. i have tried to surround myself with family and good friends and i seem to be improving but i know the last time i slipped into a rut i was doing really well and had a full time job and a happy girlfriend. i threw it all away to allow myself to become consumed by a very self destructive community. thanks for the advice. its given me lots to think about and ill update you if it helps.

Re: having trouble identifying an addiction

Welcome to RO @LimaLima and thank you for sharing what's been going on for you. 


As @Libellule said you should be really proud of yourself and your efforts and as @4rentity suggests perhaps the psychedelics have been a coping tool for you. However, it sounds like the psychedelics are having some pretty serious effects on you, like memory loss and changes in personality. Moving forward, I would also advocate for going to see your GP, and perhaps giving Directline a call on 1800 888 236, as they offer 24/7 alcohol and drug counselling, and may be able to refer you to the best supports and info for you (positive coping strategies, safety planning etc).


I've also found some info on RO on drug use and addictions, so feel free to check out some further info here and here . And just a small note, I've add a trigger warning (TW) to your post just in case some people find the content a bit triggering.



Re: having trouble identifying an addiction

Directline are amazing and have helped me so much especially at the start of my journey when I had no idea where to begin - take this coming from someone that never thought I'd call a hotline help number! I'm glad I did because it changed more than my outlook on reaching out to them and generally to my family, but they helped me when everything seemed like I would actually be better continuing being who I was - which at the time was delusional thinking

Re: having trouble identifying an addiction (TW)

Hi @LimaLima


I've read having an addiction personality means easing it off (the drugs) won't work. Because the moment you touch any drugs, your personality takes over and you might lose control. I think you might have to do the AA (Alcoholic Anonymous) approach of never touching drugs again. 


It is best to speak with your doctor on the types of options you have. They have multiple resources and avenues you can take in terms of quitting. And they'll suggest one approach that is most suited to you based on your personality and experiences. Set yourself a goal and work towards it. Sure you might slip up a few times getting there but who doesn't. As long as you're trying your hardest to work through it. Usually things just fall into place.

Re: having trouble identifying an addiction

thanks for adding the trigger warning to the post, i intentionally left a few details vague to make sure others going through similar situations didn't read into it as a how to to get sober. thanks for the resources i will be sure to check them out. for so long i have seen this as a personal struggle that i have to overcome by myself but now i am very much ready to seek help and put an end to this once and for all. drugs have taken so much of my life away and i don't want them to take anymore.

thanks for the support


Re: having trouble identifying an addiction

i have spoken to a gp but not in a personal way, i spoke to them in a more "asking for a mate" kind of way. i feel some what reluctant to openly talk to them as i had a close mate diagnosed with drug induced psychosis in relation to psychedelic dependency. the diagnosis severely damaged his ability to get and retain employment. i have recently applied for the services and i hope by enlisting i can finally put this stage of my life behind me. i am concerned that going and speaking to a doctor could negatively impact this.

thank-you very much for the support. it has taken me so long to talk about this and it is good to get the help i need

Re: having trouble identifying an addiction


Depending on your mental health history and psych eval joining the services may prove difficult as I was knocked back for a specilospe Officer role (desk job) and I know they would have seen some drug use and anxiety in there.


One thing I can say is when you really want to stop, itit bitter sweet and could very well be one of the hardest things you ever do. From my experience I had to really hit a hard realisation that it was as black and white as whether I value my life or I wanted my cake and to eat it to so congrats on putting it down. 

When you want something bad enough I'm a firm believer you can get it so I hope to hear your successes and I hope you know not to eat yourself up if you slip up.. I'd say at least 2 dozen attempts before I have got to where I am now just short of 100 days Smiley Happy u got this!