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The Addiction Checklist

The following are some fairly common addictive personality traits. Note the ones that apply to you. The more you identify with, the more you will see an addictive pattern in your life. Record in a private journal or notebook as many examples as you can for each item checked. The result will be a descriptive picture of your total addictive tendencies. Please, talk these over with a counselor or support group.

  • I tend to conceal certain behaviors
  • There is a slow deterioration of family “pride”
  • I protect the consequences of my behavior
  • I make secret pact(s) with other family members
  • I tend to deny what is obvious to others
  • I am feeling distant from other family members
  • I am increasing my use of alibis, excuses, and justification for my actions
  • There is a growing distrust within my family
  • I engage in self-righteous criticism and tend to judge others
  • I have more and more self-doubt and fear
  • I often feel superior to others
  • I neglect spiritual pursuits, including prayer and meditation
  • I tend to overlook my behavior
  • I sense changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • I distrust those outside my family
  • I’m having more accidents, illnesses, and injuries due to increased stress
  • I often rationalize my behavior
  • I find there’s more loss of time on the job
  • I often fantasize and obsess about my problems
  • My ability to work or function is decreasing
  • I hold the belief that if others changed, most of my problems would vanish
  • I am having a conflict with my former value system — my once-clear set of personal ethics
  • I attempt to “catch” or “trap” others in some act of which I do not approve
  • I have made attempts at suicide or have nurtured suicidal thoughts
  • My mood swings are intense, moving from high to low
  • I have increasing financial problems
  • I have a list of ongoing resentments and disappointments
  • I feel I am over-extended and over-involved in my work and other outside activities
  • I find myself losing friendships
  • More and more I am engaging in self-defeating or degrading behavior

The alcoholic, workaholic, rageaholic, stimulusaholic, and foodaholic  all incorporate their addictive behaviors into a life pattern that seems to work for them — a pattern their friends, colleagues, and family members are at their wits end to understand, much less accept.

Drinking relaxes the drinker, over-eating creates a sensation of fullness for the overeater; creating nonstop frantic, out-of-control conditions gives the stimulus-seeker an opportunity to manage his or her crisis, thus providing an opportunity for manipulation and control. It’s management based on a negative premise, but it is nonetheless “management.”

What we are learning is that most of this kind of activity should not be given clinical labels. Many of these addictive personality traits are simply manifestations of obsessive-compulsive behavior, a problem that demands a different type of treatment and seldom requires medication.

SOURCE: Appendix One in Losing Weight Permanently by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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