What is your truth? Are you able to recognize it? Has it become obscured by denial, shrouded in secrecy, deflated by minimization,or inflated by maximization? Are you worried you’ve wanted multiple times to stop but just can’t seem to find the right time or reason? What is that thing or behavior? Can you name it, just to yourself?
If so, I encourage you to keep whatever that is in mind as you answer the following questions, based loosely on the “Am I an Addict?” questions from Narcotics Anonymous (NA). I’ve changed them so they aren’t focused on a set of substances but, rather, on a specific set of feelings and behaviors that could apply to any number of potentially addictive things.
Be honest in your answers; search inside yourself to find the truth. A very wise man once claimed the truth could set a person free. I wholeheartedly believe that, because I’ve seen truth unlock the door to freedom for others and have walked through that door myself.
I urge you to courageously and honestly answer the following questions about the thing(s) or behavior(s) you’ve identified as potentially addictive:
- Do you try to keep what you do a secret from others?
- Have you ever lied to others about what you do or how often you do it?
- Would you rather spend time doing this than being with other people?
- Do you avoid people who have expressed displeasure at what you do?
- Has your personal, school, or work life suffered because of this?
- Have you ever gotten into legal trouble because of it?
- Have you ever gotten into financial trouble because of it?
- Have you tried to reduce what you’re doing as a compromise instead of stopping?
- Have you ever questioned who you are as a person with this in your life?
- If others are aware of what you do, are you defensive or hostile?
- If others are aware of what you do, are you shameful or guilty?
- Are you preoccupied thinking about this?
- Do you feel justified using this as a reward for how difficult life is?
- Are you afraid you’ll always be this way and won’t be able to change?
- Does part of you want to change and part of you not want to change?
The presence of addiction, as NA says, isn’t a numerical calculation based on check marks. It’s a personal calculation based on the answers you gave to the questions above and how you felt as you answered them. If you’re concerned about some thing or behavior and you’re not sure about the presence of addiction, ask yourself just one more question: “Am I willing to stop, right now?”
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 37 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.