How do I know if I’m addicted to porn, alcohol, drugs, pills, sex, relationships, work, gambling, my phone, food, love, shopping, etc.?
I googled this question on December 22nd, 2005 – and God used it to save my life. Literally.
What could be life-saving about this question? Because, if you don’t know and admit you’re addicted, you won’t get help. Things may even get worse before they get any better. That was my story.
People used to tell me, “I think you might have a drinking problem.” I would quickly snap back, “Are you kidding me? We were drinking together!” They would reason, “Yeah, but it’s different with you.” They were right, but I wasn’t ready to admit it. It was different with me…I drank scotch out of a coffee mug some mornings to hide my drinking. I would sneak drinks before dinners to appear like I was on pace with everyone else, when I was already multiple drinks into the night. I would drink until it was gone or I was gone. I would drink alone, and often preferred to do so, because no one would monitor the volume. Until I was ready to acknowledge my addiction, I wasn’t about to address it or seek to change. Thankfully, after a family intervention in 2005, I googled “How do you know if you’re an alcoholic?” and ended up “acing” the test that popped up from Alcoholics Anonymous.
In that moment, I didn’t feel sad, let down, disappointed, or ashamed…I felt relieved. It was as if I had this nagging, aching pain all of my life and finally a doctor told me I had cancer. There was shock and sadness that things would never be the same, but at least I knew the truth. “This finally makes sense,” I thought. Now, I could start addressing the illness and seek healing.
In reality, most of us don’t seek healing until we admit there is a problem. My hope today is that you’ll better understand your problem so that if you’re hurting…if you’re addicted…you can begin to seek help for healing.
Answer the following twelve questions and then we’ll talk next steps:
- Do your family and friends think you have a problem with _______? Yes or No
- Do you hide and lie about _____ to protect it and enjoy it although you know others wouldn’t approve? Yes or No
- Have you ever missed work or events because of _______? Yes or No
- Have you ever tried to stop _______ and find that you can’t go more than a week or two? Yes or No
- Has _______ caused relational, financial, marital, occupational, spiritual trouble in your life? Yes or No
- Do you find yourself daydreaming and planning your next use of _____? Yes or No
- Does _______ make you feel ashamed and yet you continue to do it? Yes or No
- Are you afraid that if someone knew the extent of your use of ______ it would be taken away? Yes or No
- Is ______ a main priority in your life (when you consider the amount of time/money/thought/energy spent on it)? Yes or No
- Is it hard to imagine your life without ________ in it? Yes or No
- Are other things in your life (relationships, work productivity, health) are starting to drop-off because _______ is getting more of your time/energy? Yes or No
- Do you engage in _______ alone so that no one will trouble you about it and you’d rather do it alone anyway? Yes or No
Now count up how many “YES” responses you gave.
If you answered yes to even one of these questions, our experience tells us that you may be struggling with addiction or close to becoming addicted. And, we often find that if people answer yes to one, they answer yes to many. Addiction creeps into every area of life.
BUT…THERE IS HOPE.
I didn’t know it back then, but alcohol wasn’t my problem…alcohol was my solution. It was my coping mechanism for the pains of life. I used it when I was lonely, tired, bored, angry, stressed…any reason really. It was my default; my go-to.
When I admitted I couldn’t get free on my own, that I was addicted to a poisonous solution, I cried out to God. I asked God to free me and give me a new life. I started walking daily with others who were trying to get free of their addictions. God became the person, the solution, that I went to when I was struggling with life. God responded to my request by flooding my life with peace, joy, purpose and freedom.
You don’t have to go through life addicted. Jesus came to set you free and give you a new life. Not a better or improved life; a new life. And who wouldn’t want that?!
Watch this video on Step 1 “Admit” to learn more about freedom!