Do you have a problem with firearms? Or are you a full-on gunaholic? Before you start looking for a Dropkick Murphy’s Drying-Out Academy for gun addiction, you should consider the signs and symptoms of this increasingly common addiction. Adapted from this site’s list of issues with an older but equally common addiction.
It’s hard to be objective when it comes to figuring out whether you or your loved one has a problem with gun collecting. Emotions run high, rationalizations and denials lead to confusion and it can seem hard to draw the line between what’s acceptable and what’s going too far. Although the boundaries are fuzzy, issues with guns are either classed as “gun problem” or “gun dependence.” Problem gun collectors don’t have a full-fledged addiction to guns, but their acquisition may be starting to take its toll on their everyday lives and they are at greatly increased risk for becoming dependent later. So while some of the warning signs of gun dependency are technically signs of problem gun acquisition, there is a lot of overlap, and identifying either one is cause for concern. Here are 10 of the most important things to look out for in yourself or your loved one:
- Lying About or Hiding Your Gun Collecting – Denial is common with people having problems with gun collecting, so both problem gun collectors and addicts might buy secretively or lie about how much they buy to make it seem like less of an issue. This can be hard to spot for anybody but the individual, due to its very nature, but it’s an important sign of a more serious problem.
- Collecting to Relax or Feel Better – Almost all people struggling with addiction abuse their substance of choice for emotional reasons. Whether it’s stress, depression, anxiety or anything else, using GunBroker as a method of easing negative feelings is a risky habit—the “relief” it provides is only temporary and it ordinarily makes things worse in the long run. If you bid more when you’ve had a stressful day or need to refresh your Watch List to feel like you can really relax, it’s a big sign that you’re using gun collecting as an emotional crutch.
- “Blacking Out” Regularly – Buying so much that you have no memory of what you have bought is another red flag for a problem with collecting. So is buying something because you forgot you already own one, or talking yourself into “upgrading” a piece when you know you’ll never part with the original. Simply put, it means you buy way too much. If you find this happening to you (or notice it happening to someone else), you have to ask what is driving you to collect so excessively? You don’t need to black out to have fun, so what’s the real reason?
- Being Unable to Stop Once You Start – If you always pursue every roll-marking variation once you’ve bought one piece, or hunt down every exotic sub-version when even another specialist’s eyes glaze over when you try to explain the hair-splitting difference, it’s another sign you aren’t in full control of your collecting and you may have a problem.
- Collecting in Dangerous Situations – Buying when you really shouldn’t—like browsing GunBroker at work, rerouting your convoy to go to the village where the elder’s uncle is a gunsmith in Darra Adam Khel, or buying against your wife’s orders when she’s one more little .25 from taking the kids and going back to her mother with half your stuff—is an important sign of problem collecting. Even if something hasn’t gone wrong yet, every time you do something like this you run the risk of serious consequences. Regularly taking those risks strongly implies that gun buying is the main priority in your life.
- Neglecting Your Responsibilities – If you’re having problems at work, school or with your household responsibilities because of your gun buying, you have a problem. Guns have crossed the line from an occasional indulgence to something that seriously impacts your day-to-day functioning.
- Having Trouble in Your Relationships – This is closely related to the last point, but it’s in many ways more important. If your collecting is causing problems with your closest friends, your significant other or your family, it’s an indication that guns are a bigger priority than even the most important people in your life. These last two symptoms are general signs of any addiction, and might mean that your issues are going beyond the problem-collector stage.
- Being Able to Collect More Than You Used To – Tolerance is another key sign of addiction, so if you can collect more than you used to and need to buy more than you did before in order to get that happy feeling, it’s a strong indicator that you’re becoming an gunoholic. It means your body is exposed to firearms regularly enough that it has adapted to cope with it better.
- Experiencing Withdrawal – Withdrawal is different from a hangover; it’s the reaction to the lack of gun acquisition rather than a direct effect of too much buying. If you start to feel irritable, tired, depressed, nauseous or anxious when you haven’t bought a gun, there’s a possibility you’re going through withdrawal. Other signs include having trouble sleeping, losing your appetite and experiencing shakiness or trembling.
- Trying to Quit but Being Unable to – If you have realized your gun collecting is becoming a problem (or someone who cares about you has) and tried to make a change but have been unsuccessful, you should seriously consider finding additional help. Deciding to quit gun collecting shows that you understand the impacts it’s having on your life, but the fact that you’re unable to means there’s a big chance you’re struggling with gun addiction.
(If you do seek help and decide to divest yourself, we can help you. Just sayin’. Not that we have a problem or anything. -Ed.)
It’s important to note that experiencing just one of these signs doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a problem collector or an gunoholic, but if you’re experiencing a few of them (or you see numerous signs in a loved one), there is a very strong possibility your collecting has gone too far. The latter five symptoms in particular are signs of addiction rather than problem buying.
It might not be an easy road ahead, but one day you’ll see deciding to get help as the day your life started to change for the better.
And like we said, if one of the guns screwing up your life is rare and Czech, give us a ring, we’ll make sure it finds a good home. Heh, heh.