the "Good Times" Over?

When it’s Over, IT’S OVER!

To meet the medical definition of a substance use disorder you need answer yes to at least two of these questions. 

As you can see, it is not an easy quiz to complete. If you abuse alcohol or drugs, then your perception of reality is distorted and you may not answer honestly (even when you think you are.) Likewise, if you are taking the quiz for a loved one, then the trauma you have endured also colors your perception of reality. Either way it is best to leave the determination to a specialist.

If you believe you have a substance use disorder then you probably waved Adios to the good times long ago. Guess what… they are not coming back no matter how much you try. Take it from me. I tried so hard to keep the party going that I lost my career, house, marriage, health and friends.

Now I am a recovering addict and alcoholic. There are millions more like me who started out no different than you are right now. If we can do it, so can you. It all starts with a proper assessment.

Your score   ____________________

All too often when people telephone to ask about an assessment or counseling, they tell methey are calling because they are an “alcoholic” or an “addict”. When I ask them why they think so, they say things like; “I drink too much”, “I got a DUI”, “All my friends say I am”, or, “I love to party.” In fact, none of these things means you are an alcoholic or an addict. So how does anyone know for sure? After all, so much is riding on the outcome... your health, your marriage, your family, your freedom...

For the answer to that you need to be evaluated by a trained clinician. It makes sense. You certainly wouldn’t walk into a job interview unprepared, would you? Heck, most people wouldn’t dream of going to the grocery store without a list. So, in order for you, your family, your attorney or the courts to make the best decision on how to move forward, you need an expert to evaluate your behaviors and history to determine whether or not you meet the definition of addiction (now called Substance Use Disorder).

What Defines Substance Use Disorder?

Alcoholism was officially recognized as a disease by the medical community as far back as 1956. Just like other diseases, substance use disorder: never goes away, will continue to get worse, has well defined symptoms, and is predictable (and often fatal). A substance use disorder can be defined as: “a cluster of cognitive, behavioral, and physiological symptoms indicating that the individual continues using the substance despite significant substance-related problems such as impaired, control, social impairment, risky use, and pharmacological tolerance and withdrawal.” According to the American Psychiatric Association, the following eleven criteria or symptoms define a substance use disorder. As you read, circle any that apply to you:

  1. Once you start, you cannot always stop when you want.
  2. You have tried to quit before, but can't.
  3. Too much time is wasted buying, using and recovering from chemicals.
  4.  You experience overwhelming urges for the substance.
  5. You cannot function to the best of your ability at work, school or home.
  6.  Your behavior causes problems with people close to you, but you continue anyway.
  7. More and more you prefer to be alone.
  8. You drink or use in dangerous situations like driving a car or operating machinery.
  9. You continue even though you know for certain that a physical or mental condition (such as diabetes) is being made worse.
  10. You need more and more to get the same high.
  11. You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop.​​

KEITH ANGELIN, LAADC, CNMI is a Licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. He is a provider of treatment and assessment services on the Provider Resource List (PRL) distributed by the San Diego Superior Court. He founded Counseling, Intervention & Assessment Services (San Diego) where he works with individuals and families from all walks of life who are battling severe chemical dependency, co-occurring disorders and related legal issues. CIAS is the only mobile substance abuse assessment service in San Diego County. If you or someone you know needs help, visit or call (949) 269-8034.

Counseling, Intervention & Assessment Services

Treatment & Support For Individuals & Families Affected By Substance Abuse