How to Identify and Overcome Addictions

When we are addicted to someone or something, it means we behave like a slave because we allow the person or strong habit to control us. It is what we do in excess in order to avoid our painful feelings (hurt, anger, fear, loneliness, emptiness, etc.). Therefore, addictions are often the symptoms and not the causes of our troubles. They make us feel better for a short period of time but then we soon need another “fix”, because we still have the pain from the underlying negative feelings.

Ironically, our addictions cause us even more problems and result in additional pain. For example, an alcoholic often loses his or her job, has unsuccessful relationships, and suffers from physical problems brought on by the alcohol. The workaholic finds their loved ones complaining that they are never around. They may make more money but probably spend more for medical problems because of their self-induced stress.

The first helpful thing to do to overcome your addictions is to be honest with yourself and recognize your extreme behaviors. The following questionnaire will help you to identify your unhealthy habits.

Put a check next to the description of your behavior.

A. I eat or drink in excess:

______1. Food

______2. Alcohol

______3. Coffee

______4. Carbonated beverages

______5. Chocolate

______6. Ice cream

______7. Candy

______8. Pastry

______9. Bread

______10. Other _____

B. I feel a compulsion (not in control of myself) to do a lot of:

______1. Work

______ 2. Running/Sports

______3. Shopping

______4. Yelling

______5. Creating

______ 6. Smoking

______ 7. Gambling

______ 8. Drugs

______ 9. Cleaning/organizing

______ 10. Other ___________

C. I feel no matter how much I have, I always want more:

______1. Money

______ 2. Sex

______ 3. Affection

______ 4. Cars

______ 5. Clothes

______ 6. Material things

______7. Attention

______ 8. Machines/Tools (including computers)

______ 9. Power

______ 10. Other _____

D. I spend a lot of time:

______1. Playing

______2. Reading

______3. Writing

______4. Watching television/movies

______5. Collecting things

______6. At the computer

______7. Complaining

______8. Fixing things

______9. Joking

______10. Other _____

To further understand yourself, fill in the following statements:

E. When I am upset I:

1. ______________________________________________________

2. ______________________________________________________

3. ______________________________________________________

F. I have a habit of:

1. ______________________________________________________

2. ______________________________________________________

3. ______________________________________________________

G. I am addicted to:

1. ______________________________________________________

2. ______________________________________________________

3. ______________________________________________________

H. I wish that I could stop (a behavior):

1. ______________________________________________________

2. ______________________________________________________

3. ______________________________________________________

Positive Behavior

Now that you understand your avoidance habits, write a check next to the following things that appeal to you to help you overcome your addictions.

When I am aware of my habit controlling me, I can do the following:

______1. Take at least ten slow, deep breaths (count to six on the inhale and exhale).

______2. Ask myself, “What negative thought am I thinking?” Then imagine that I am burning it away and replacing it with a positive thought.

______3. Listen to a self-help tape.

______4. Read a self-help book.

______5. Drink water with or without lemon.

______6. Eat a low calorie vegetable.

______7. Take a walk.

______8. Call someone I trust and share my feelings with them.

______9. Take a class to raise my self-esteem.

Congratulate yourself for being willing to identify and overcome your addictions, choose healthier habits, and take control of your life.