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Signs of Addiction: Social Use

Not everyone who takes a drink or tries a drug has a substance abuse problem. But for some people, what starts as social use can lead to problem use (abuse) and then addiction. Some people can have a drink or use another substance and then stop. They don’t think about drinking or using again for a while. For some this will never lead to heavier use. For others, it may.

Friends celebrating, toasting wine glasses and dining at restaurant table.

You can take it or leave it

  • You have a drink at a party or a glass of wine with dinner.

  • You tried a street drug a few times, but have no interest in using it repeatedly. 

  • You take medicines only when needed and only as directed.

  • You don’t think about using or plan the next time you’ll use.

Using is still a choice

A social user can choose to say yes or no any time. This person is in control of his or her substance use. Think about these statements:

  • I can put down a drink without finishing it.

  • I can enjoy myself at a social event without using.

  • I can go without using or thinking about using.

If this describes you, you’re most likely a social user. But ask yourself, can you really take it or leave it? You might try for a few weeks or even a month. If you find it hard or you just can’t do it, maybe you need to think about your use again.

© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.