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Identifying a Toxic State

Being toxic is when one is anxious, agitated, or jumpy--and likely to act out. Often someone close to an addict knows when the addict is going to act out, even though the addict doesn't have a clue about it! Below are examples of behavior that are indicative of a toxic state. You may want to print out this form and circle the behaviors that relate to you. Feel free to add other behaviors and list specific examples of any of them for yourself. The point of this is to be able to notice your agitation and take action to reduce it. When you first enter recovery the behaviors below may describe you most of the time. This is no surprise!

Signs of a toxic state

  • Being fidgety (moving arms, legs, playing with keys, etc.) more than usual
  • Being generally compulsive (increased neatness and orderliness, increased eating/smoking, compulsive cleaning, running around in anxiety with no clear purpose)
  • Avoiding day to day responsibilities
  • Obsessive thinking (being mentally preoccupied)
  • Talking fast, walking fast, doing everything fast
  • Feeling driven
  • Being unable to enjoy quiet activities
  • Being unable to tolerate people who are not their “very favorite people”
  • Being irritable
  • Being rageful
  • Being judgmental
  • Feeling lots of self pity
  • All or nothing thinking
  • And others--the above are just suggestions