Penn State Harrisburg

Carl's Top 12 Things to Know About a Bad Habit or Addiction

Carl Asick, M.S.
  1. Addiction is treatable and treatment works! Counselors have become aware, more than ever, of evidenced-based treatments for substance use issues. Discover your options.
  2. There can be many negative impacts from using Drugs and Alcohol both short term and long term- namely one’s health. Alcohol may be legal but it is responsible for 2,200 alcohol poisoning deaths in the US alone each year.
  3. There are pros and cons to using drugs and alcohol. Be honest about your ambivalence to change.
  4. Tolerance is not a good thing.
  5. It’s never too late to change, but the earlier you look at your issues, the easier it is to affect change. Incremental changes are generally more effective long term than big changes.
  6. Addiction and denial go hand in hand. Rationalization and justification are also tools that keep folks from getting help. College students are not impervious to addiction.
  7. Give your issues the weight they deserve! Talk to someone. Choose a direction, look up, make a plan, read a book on addiction, go to an AA/NA or SMART meeting, schedule an appointment with a counselor or do an on-line assessment. Just do it!
  8. Start using some kind of strategy such as: Keep track of your drinks, plan ahead and use a non-drinking or low risk drinking Buddy. Set limits! If you use a substance-recognize what moderation is! Choose to be responsible. Harm reduction is often a really good place to start.
  9. Abstinence should always be an option-either in the short term or long term.
  10. Goals vs Behavior: Ask yourself- Are your addictive behaviors helping or hurting your goals? Look at your patterns of substance use-everyone is different. What are your triggers! Recognize the need to cut down or to discontinue your use.
  11. Do I have a bad habit or an addiction? How compulsive is my behavior? Developing an addiction is often a slow, incremental process but it can also happen quickly. Be aware of where you stand on the spectrum of substance use and recognize that you may be in a higher risk category for developing an addiction. For example: Does alcoholism run in your family.
  12. Gambling, internet, and pornography addictions are getting more attention and are being treated successfully.