Four Questions About My Addiction

Using the CBA (Cost-Benefit Analysis Tool)

1.What do I enjoy about my addiction, what does it do for me (be specific)?

List as many things as you can that you liked about whatever you are/were addicted to.

a. Where possible, find alternative ways of achieving the same goals.
b. Recognize positive thinking about the addiction as a potential relapse warning sign.
c. Realize that there are some things you liked about the addiction you will have to learn to live without.
d. List what you enjoy about your addiction so you can ask yourself if it is really worth the price. e.

Realize that you aren’t stupid; you did get something from your addiction. It just may not be working on your behalf anymore.

2. What do I hate about my addiction, what does it do to me (give specific examples)?

List as many of the bad, undesirable results of your addiction as you can. Here it is extremely important that you use specific examples. Specific examples have much greater emotional impact and motivational force!

a. Ask yourself honestly “If my addiction was a used car, would I pay this much for it?”
b. Review this list often, especially if you are having a lot of positive, happy thoughts about all the great things your addiction did for you.

3. What do I think I will like about giving up my addiction?

List what good things you think/fantasize will happen when you stop your addiction.

a. This provides you with a list of goals to achieve and things to look forward to as a result of your new addiction free lifestyle.
b. This list also helps you to reality test your expectations. If they are unrealistic, they can lead to a disappointment based relapse.

4. What do I think I won’t like about giving up my addiction?

List what you think you are going to hate, dread or merely dislike about living without your addiction.

a. This list tells you what kinds of new coping skills, behaviours and lifestyle changes you need to develop in order to stay addiction free.
b. It also serves as another relapse warning list. If all you think about is how much life sucks now that you are not doing your addiction, you are in a relapse thought pattern that is just as dangerous as only focusing on what you liked about your addiction.


This is not a do once and forget about it exercise. It is an ongoing project. Most people simply can’t remember all of the positive and negative aspects of addiction and recovery at any one time.

Furthermore, seeing all the negative consequences of addiction listed in one place is very powerful. On the positive side, no one really knows what they like or don’t like about living free of their addiction until they have done so for some time. I know of people who continued to add items to all four questions for a full 6 months.

See Also: CBA Worksheet


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