I am a recent college graduate. Shortly before graduation, I got a job at a hotel, working with the banquet department. We handle parties like weddings & bar mitzvahs plus seminars in the hotel. My friend got me this job. This friend is an OxyContin addict.

I first used OxyContin 3 or 4 years ago, when this friend introduced the drug to me. We'd crush it up and swallow it. I would only take it when he offered it to me, once a month, maybe more. I'd also go for months and months without it with no problem. Never had any cravings and it would rarely enter my mind when I did use it.

But once I got this job in the last week of April, I was on my feet a lot, working late into the night (1, 2, 3 am) and sometimes working 12+ hours at once, all with a lot of heavy lifting. And believe me, when my friend offered me Oxy on nights like these, it was a welcome relief from the work and I never turned it down.

During the last week of May, I graduated. No worries from Oxy yet. But as I started making more and more money, I figured, why not? I'll get my own. It took me so little to feel good... I'd take it after work for some fun. After all, most of my friends worked during weekdays (except of course, my Oxy friend), and I worked weekend nights. My social life was taking a dive and I needed to have some fun & relaxation .

I eventually started taking it more often... Every other night I worked, then every night I worked. I'd make sure to stop taking Oxy whenever I went out with my friends, in case we got a few beers, and I didn't feel any ill affects.

Then I started taking Oxy before work... Why not? It'll help keep me going through the night. Then I'll take some after work for some more fun. This started sometime in June, probably around the middle of the month.

This soon became an every workday occurrence, and shortly, because I wanted to feel good on my days off, I'd take it then too.

Anyway, now it's late September. I've been taking Oxy this way consistently, every day, two or three times a day since June. I'll stop for a few days and go through the unpleasantness of separation from Oxy more or less completely, but then start right up again for another week or two. During those few days, I'd think "If only I had some Oxy, I'd feel just fine... I'd feel great!" I went from taking 5mg in May to feel good, to now 20mg. And right now, as I type this, I'm feeling those unpleasant effects from separation - primarily crawling skin, anxiousness, and insomnia.

Yesterday I went for over 24 hours without it before taking the last of my stash before bed (and I worked 8.5 hours with no worse feeling than anxiety and tired feet, I couldn't resist... ), but I still couldn't sleep... I've been up all day yesterday, all last night, and all today, and still can't sleep!

But anyway, considering this time frame (3-4 months), my behavior (using on a daily basis, finding it difficult to stop for an extended period of time, finding my mind wandering to Oxy when I'm not taking it), and withdrawal symptoms, I'm starting to think: am I an addict? I know I've become physically dependent... that much is obvious from what i feel when I stop using. But how do I know I've fallen into an addiction? What's the difference, if any, between dependence and addiction? Please, any help would be greatly appreciated!!