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Monday, February 16, 2015

Red Flags

It's common to hear someone say that after dealing with an ex-spouse's addiction or after seeing someone else deal with their spouse's addiction that they would recognize warning signs and red flags in someone else. 

I think this is possibly a load of crud.

They may be able to recognize warning signs, they may be able to recognize red flags. But then again, red flags aren't always clear.

For instance. Sometimes a warning sign that someone has a sexual addiction is that they isolate themselves. On the other hand, many "sober," clean men are introverts. 

And then you have the addicts that are anything but isolated. They are the life of the party, outgoing. On the other hand, there are lots of non-addicts that are extremely social.

See what I mean? It's not always clear. And addicts can be really good liars, which confuses the situation. 

It's like when you learned in math class:

A=B, but B doesn't always = A. Dogs always have fur, but things with fur aren't always dogs.

Same thing with recognizing signs of addiction. 

Except for the signs of catching them in the act. I'd say that's pretty clear.

So where does that leave us? Can we learn from our situations? Of course. Dealing with someone who has an addiction may not give you magical addiction glasses that allow you to recognize other addicts right off the bat, but it does give you a sense of what to look for in the future. 

You may not be able to be sure, but you can recognize a need to look into those red flags further  before you become even more serious with this person.

I share this because many spouses of addicts say that they feel stupid that they didn't recognize red flags. 

What I say to that is that many red flags are only truly red in hindsight and that judging yourself in hindsight is harsh. And there are other flags that you didn't know were red until you learned more about the addiction.

But, if you do see what you think is a warning sign, please pay attention to it.

It would be nice to compile a list of red flags or warning signs to possibly share in a future post. If anyone reading this has anything they'd like to share or comment on red flags they've experienced, please send me a private message. You can comment if you want to as well.

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