Havertown Seventh-day Adventist Church

The "IT" Test
 
Ask yourself these thirty questions about any person, situation, idea, emotion, substance, lifestyle, thought pattern, endeavor, decision, behavior, or object that is within your realm of choices.  The subject or aspect of your life that you choose becomes the “IT” of the questionnaire.  Choose something that you are concerned may be problematic in your life - like your spending, a relationship, a custom you keep - and see if your concern has merit. Chose something you have no concerns about and see if there are differences between the results of the two tests.  
 
The  "IT" Test
 
  1. Have you ever determined that IT is not in your best interests or not good to have in your life?
  2. Have you ever made excuses or rationalizations for having IT or keeping IT in your life?
  3. Have you ever engaged in IT, despite not wanting to or making effort not to engage in IT or do you engage in IT more than you believe you should?
  4. Has IT ever made you question your sanity or ability to remain in control of yourself?
  5. Has IT ever made you question the quality of person you are?
  6. Have you ever been afraid of IT remaining in your life in ITs present form or at its present level?
  7. Have you ever determined that God, or your moral center does not/would not approve of the manner and/or quantity of IT in your life?
  8. Have you ever deliberated about whether IT is a problem, or do you already know that IT is a problem?
  9. Have you ever done serious investigation of any kind to determine whether or not IT is a problem?
  10. Have you ever repeatedly wished or prayed that IT would go away, or not be so prevalent in your life?
  11. Have you been unsuccessful in engaging in IT at levels that work for you?
  12. Have you been unsuccessful in limiting IT to levels that are acceptable to God?
  13. Have you ever tried to control or manipulate others to keep them from seeing IT’s negative impact in your life?
  14. Have you ever made a decision to stop IT and then returned to IT?
  15. Have you made the decision to stop IT more than once and returned to IT more than once?
  16. Have you ever lied about, downplayed your use of IT, or hid the fact that you are concerned about IT, from your closest friends or family?
  17. Have you ever lied about, downplayed your use of IT, or hid the fact that you are concerned about IT, from your spouse or partner?
  18. Have you ever committed to not do IT today, but did IT today despite your commitment?
  19. Have you ever committed to not do IT this week, this month, this year, but did IT despite your commitment?
  20. Have you ever engaged in (used IT, done IT) to an extent that exceeded a commitment you made to control IT (EXAMPLE: you commit to spending a set amount, but you end up spending at a discomforting level above that amount)?
  21. Do you ever feel trapped by IT?
  22. Does IT ever bring you shame or guilt, or does IT ever cause you ongoing distress of any kind?
  23. Do you ever feel consumed, or obsessed, or fixated, or even possessed by IT?
  24. Does IT ever negatively interfere with work, school, church, or other personal endeavors, in any way?
  25. Do you ever think of or try to harm yourself, or other desperate measures, even for a moment, to get away from IT?
  26. Does IT ever seem to have a life or will of ITs own to the extent that IT seems to overpower or control you at times?
  27. Does IT ever cause any problems in your life that would not otherwise be there, except for IT?
  28. Do you repeatedly waste your money or time on IT or repeatedly spend more money or time on IT than you believe you should?
  29. Do you repeatedly engage in IT despite knowing, believing or suspecting that IT might harm you or have negative consequences for you or for others?
  30. Does IT, in any way, negatively affect your relationship with God, or your conscience, or your personal moral standards?
 
If you answer yes about any particular “IT’ in such a way that an addictive pattern develops, then you have tested positive and have most likely uncovered an addiction.  An addictive pattern is comprised of negative belief, plus loss of control, plus a present negative consequence.  Most definitions of addiction include:
 
  • Negative beliefs about “IT” being in your life – meaning that you are somehow maintaining something in your life that you believe is not good for you or has a negative impact.
  • Inability to completely control engagement in “IT” – meaning that you have extended efforts to cease, delete, or decrease “IT”, and that your efforts to do so have not been successful enough to eliminate your negative belief about “IT” remaining in your life.
  • Present patterns of negative consequences from “IT” – meaning that you can identify and itemize the negative impact (the resultant problems) that “IT” has in your present life.
Look at the list of questions.  If any particular “IT” in your life has at least one yes from each set of questions 1 – 10, 11 – 20, and 21 – 30, respectively, then you have tested positive and your “IT” is most likely an addiction.
 
Questions one through ten determine your historical perspective regarding how “IT” has affected you in terms of your beliefs about IT, and the consequences you have experienced from IT.  Here you analyze ITs effect on your life and any yes answers mean that, per your assessment, IT is, or has been, a problem.  Go back and look at the first ten questions, all of them ask about the adversity “IT” has caused in your life.
 
Questions eleven through twenty describe what you have done to try to control IT.  They also make it clear that your efforts have been unsuccessful.  These questions indicate a loss of control.  If you had control over IT you would either make IT go away or prevent IT from remaining problematic.  If you are still trying to control IT, then IT must still be a problem or a potential problem.  If you had control over IT, IT would no longer pose problems; the fact that IT does, despite your efforts, evidences the loss or lack of control that you have over IT.
 
Questions twenty-one through thirty present the present picture of IT in your life.  Any yes answers reveal that you believe IT is still problematic now.
 
If you answer yes to a first section question, then you have a historical negative belief about IT or you have experienced negative consequences from IT.
 
If you answer positively to a section two question, then you have attempted to control IT in some form or fashion.
 
If you answer in the affirmative to a section three question, then your efforts to control IT have not been successful because IT remains in your live in a manner that is problematic or troubling to you now – in the present.  
 
If you were not addicted to IT, your efforts to stop or control IT would have been successful, but because they were not, and IT remains a source of concern, then most likely you are looking at addiction.  No one keeps behaviors in their lives that they don’t want in their lives (remember you tried to change and control IT), unless they are addicted to those behaviors.
 
As any addiction is your internal process, it is your cognitions that must be used to make the determination.  Only you know what your thoughts about IT are.  Only you know what your experience of IT is.  Only you know how much IT distresses you, or how much you have done, or how hard you have tried to control IT.  Understand that if you are still struggling with IT, if IT remains an internal something that you cannot control, IT is only because you are addicted to IT – otherwise you would have gotten rid of IT as you have done to the unwanted areas of your life to which you are not addicted. 
 
Think about the many conscious changes you have made in your life. Think about how many times you have looked at some aspect of your being and decided that it was not what you wanted, or was not good for you - and you successfully made it go away.  You have probably applied even more effort and energy into expunging the “ITs’ you plugged into the IT Test, yet they remain in your life.  Why?  Because you are addicted to them and they are simply beyond your ability to eradicate.  You, as does every other addict of every type, need God’s intervention to resolve any IT to which you are addicted. 
 
This test works for both “overt” and “covert” addictions.  Often overt addictions create problems that are intense and obvious to others, even if not to you, like the alcoholic who misses work because he’s hung-over.  The IT Test is particularly helpful in unearthing our covert addictions, whose problems often do not manifest in consequences that are as obvious (like someone with a shopping addiction).  So let’s take a look at some examples.
 
Dianne sometimes wonders about her spending so she chooses shopping as her “IT’.  She answered yes only to the following questions:
 
  1. Have you ever deliberated about whether IT is a problem, or do you know that IT is a problem?
11. Have you been unsuccessful in engaging in IT at levels that work for you?
 
Using the test, she determines that while she may have concern, she is not presently experiencing negative consequences, as she had no “yeses” in section 3. The lack of anything from section 3 means that even though she has had unsuccessful attempts to change, at some point she was able to make the changes she needed, because the problems from section 1 are no longer problems.  Dianne concludes correctly that she has no shopping addiction.  (This of course presumes that she answered the section 3 questions honestly.)
 
Now if Dianne had also answered yes to question twenty-eight:
 
  1. Do you repeatedly waste your money or time on IT or repeatedly spend more money or time on IT than you believe you should?
Now she has a positive test result and is most likely looking at a shopping/spending addiction.  Why?  Because the inclusion of question twenty-eight adds a negative consequence in the present, and sheds a different light on the adjustments she has made.  Even if she now shops at a decreased level, her answer to question twenty-eight says that she continues to spend money contrary to her beliefs, which evidences an inability to control her shopping at a level that is acceptable to her – that’s addiction.  IT’s addiction because she knows that her shopping results in wasted or misspent money, which constitutes a problem, one that remains problematic even though she may have adjusted her shopping behavior.  IT is addiction because despite her efforts to control “IT’, the consequences remain, and the behavior continues at a problematic level.  Were she not addicted, then the behavior would be at a level where there were no negative consequences.  Note that this is not a one-time occurrence, but a pattern of repeated behavior that yields ongoing results that she identifies as not in her best interest – that is addiction.  

Click ​​The "IT" Test for Primary Addiction to continue with the next test.
Click ​The 12 Steps to Wholeness to learn more if you haven't​.