Looking back over the time you have engaged in a repeated behavior (i. e. gambling or sex) or used a particular substance (alcohol, legal or illegal substances) do you notice that you have increased the use of the behavior or substance?
Do you feel bad emotionally or physically when stopping the behavior or substance for a period of time?
Do you set limits on the behavior or substance use but change your mind later and exceed those limits?
Does the time spent on the behavior or in obtaining or using a substance, or in recovering from its effects take a lot of time?
Have you given up time for relationships, your job, or other interests?
Do you continue to engage in the behavior or substance use even though it affects your relationships, job, future health, or impacts you financially or legally?
Do you ever drive under the influence of any substance?
Are you frequently agitated, anxious, or down?
Did you ever experience a blackout?
Any incidents of aggression?
Do you experience fatigue, pain, or sleeplessness?
Do you have distinct episodes of feeling on edge, shaky, or a pounding heart, shortness of breath, or tightness in your chest?
Do your hands feel cold or clammy, or your mouth dry, stomach upset, or do you have urinary frequency, or trouble swallowing?
Once described as both the cause and solution to all of life’s problems, addiction may not start as a problem, but unintentionally becomes one. Or, it may be a way to cope with difficult life circumstances. Signs of an addiction include “unintended outcomes,” the problems that develop due to preoccupation, compulsion, wanting more of the behavior or substance over time, or feeling emotionally or physically worse without it. Treatment approaches at Blair Counseling include stress management, craving reduction, motivational interviewing and establishing a support system.
Addictions don’t start as addictions. They are often behavior that at one time was not a problem, or was a way to cope with difficult life circumstances. Physical reactions caused by substances are turned into cravings by the part of the brain called the insula. What makes a “bad habit” into an addiction is preoccupation, compulsion, increased tolerance of the behavior or substance, symptoms of withdrawal, and continued use despite negative consequences. Blair Counseling looks for ways to reduce stress and the craving for a particular behavior or substance, and find the right support system.
For educational resources explore The Recovery Village.
STEP ONE is about recognizing our brokenness.
We admitted we were powerless – that our lives had become unmanageable.
What were you taught about the substance or behavior in question by your family?
List current problems.
List all the enticements of the substance or behavior in question.
List current secrets.
How was it manageable, and then become unmanageable?
What were the warning signs that it was becoming unmanageable?
How did you justify the continued use of the substances or behavior?
List all the consequences of the use of the substance or behavior in question.
Why did it take so long to see that it was unmanageable?
What were your worst moments?
Are you one hundred percent convinced you are powerless to control it on your own?
Patrick Carnes references in his books on addiction four core beliefs that can drive addiction:
1. I am basically bad and unworthy.
2. No one would love me as I am.
3. My needs are never going to be met if I have to depend on others.
4. (My addiction) is my most important need.
STEP TWO is about the birth of faith in us.
Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
How often do you ask for help, or turn to someone you can trust? How about while you were growing up?
How do you view God? Punishing? Accepting? Non-involved? Nonexistent?
Who or what has influenced your view of God?
STEP THREE involves a decision to let a Higher Power, bigger than the self alone, be in charge of our lives.
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
What would prevent you from turning your life over and trusting a Higher Power?
How is a Higher Power working in your life now?
How would you answer the question, “I’m only loveable if . . .. ”
“My wounds are my teachers. I am open to their lessons. I embrace my past.”
“Trusting life comes from making some meaning of who we are, of what we are all about. When we confront shame, we become aware of emptiness, a spiritual hunger. Our attempts to fill this hunger with controlling, compulsive behaviors only lead to pain and remorse. Carl Jung was aware of this compulsive “filling of the void.” He wrote to Bill Wilson, the cofounder of AA, saying that he though alcoholism was the search for wholeness, for a ‘union with God’” (Merle A. Fossum and Marilyn J. Mason, Facing Shame: Families in Recovery).
STEP FOUR involves self-examination.
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, positive and negative.
Patrick Carnes uses an inventory called the Personal Craziness Index:
Next, these signs can be used to develop relapse prevention including:
STEP FIVE is the discipline of confession.
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
STEP SIX is an inner transformation sometimes called repentance.
Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
STEP SEVEN involves the transformation or purification of our character
Humbly relied on a Higher Power to remove our shortcomings.
A sobriety statement includes one’s personal definition of sobriety using:
Patrick Carnes also suggests the use of the following tools:
“Emergency First Aid Kit”
“Letter to Yourself”
STEP EIGHT involves examining our relationships and preparing ourselves to make amends.
Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
STEP NINE is the discipline of making amends.
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
STEP TEN is about maintaining progress in recovery.
Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
More tools that can be used in this step include:
STEP ELEVEN involves the spiritual disciplines of prayer and meditation.
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with a Higher Power, praying only for knowledge and the power to carry that out.
STEP TWELVE is about ministry.
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
This confidential screening is for adult completion. It is not diagnostic and shall not be interpreted to indicate the need for treatment. It is not a substitute for clinical evaluation.