Personal Screening — Easy & Infallible
Congratulations, your screening is almost complete!
If you have cleared your mind of all the nonsense associated with what most people believe an online screening tool to be, you are now free to open yourself up to the only issue that really matters. The only issue that encapsulates the essence of a true personal screening:
'Do you have the desire to change a particular destructive pattern in your life?'
If you do, what more can a screening tell you about whether or not you should make such a change? Nothing. You've identified an area in your life that you want to improve upon and no additional validation is needed. To seek it anyway is to take a passive, novelty approach to the recovery process...which can be an obstacle towards making permanent changes in your life.
And if you don't have the motivation and/or desire to change such patterns...or you feel strongly that no such patterns exist? Well, let's just say that if your spouse, God, your children, your career, etc., can't motivate you/convince you...do you really think that the results from an online screening will? Of course not. So again, the screening process becomes nothing more than a distraction to the individual seeking confirmation, anyway.
Now, don't misunderstand, screenings can be effective tools for outsiders ( e.g. therapists, researchers) in identifying, measuring and gathering information related to a particular affliction. They can also be useful in helping you to better understand your own patterns and progress —AFTER the decision to change has been made. In fact, we use a comprehensive screening and assessment process in the Recovery Workshop, which provides us with an enormous amount of information with which to base initial severity and overall progress. But, it is only valuable because it is being used in the context of active change. Otherwise, it would be a literal waste of time in terms of progress towards recovery. Online screenings will never provide you with the impetus to make permanent, successful changes to your life.
"So, how do I know if I am addicted?"
What you need to understand, is that it doesn't matter. Not one bit. Not when we are dealing with whether or not you want to change a particular pattern of behavior. Whether you cross the threshold of addiction, or whether you struggle with a pattern of compulsive behavior...or whether you merely engage in behaviors that might be considered destructive or devaluing matters not. Should you make the decision to change these patterns, then it matters. Matters quite a bit. But until then, such distinctions are distractions —nothing more.
"But a screening will tell me if I need help to deal with this problem."
No, it won't. A screening will only identify with some probability that a problem exists. That is useless information to you —the unique individual with the unique life. You already know if a problem exists. It may not be an addiction. It may not require treatment. But all that is irrelevant for the moment. What matters is that you identify the need to address a particular problem in your life. That is when screenings become useful. That is when they have a purpose in your life.
The only screening you'll ever need:
"Are you engaging in behavior that is causing a disruption to your life or the lives of others?"
These disruptions can range from emotional (guilt, shame, depression, anger, anxiety, aloofness, etc.) to sociological (relationships, friendships, isolation, imprisonment, etc.) to physical (injury, threats, increased death risk) to personal (jeopardize career, not meeting potential, financial, self-care incompetence). The list is endless...which is why it is so critical that you empty your mind of all preconceived thoughts and responses...and have an absolutely honest, heart-to-heart conversation with yourself. Challenge yourself by asking the most difficult, soul-searching, vulnerable questions you can imagine...then answer them with that same honesty. That is your screening. That is where you will find the answers that you seek. Not in some arbitrary, online question and answer form filled out on the Internet.
And, should you discover that you do want to change certain patterns in your life...that is where the motivation to make such changes will be found.