Questions to ask an Addict

Justin Lakemacher, Program Manager

I was recently asked in a course I’m taking to compile a list of questions that I would want to ask when working with someone in addiction.  I thought the list would be beneficial to post here for those who are working with people in addiction.  I’ve organized it into three sections.  The first section contains questions about getting to know someone wherever they are in the addiction/recovery process.  The second section contains categories of questions to ask after you’ve established some type of relationship with them.  The third section contains questions about helping them develop an action plan which is so important in recovery.  Not all of these questions are necessarily intended to be asked directly to the person.  Think of them more as categories of questions aimed at helping you know a person so that you can care for them.  As biblical counselors, we aren’t here to fix a person, we are care-takers who are to provide counsel from God’s Word as we love people in the midst of their struggle.

1.      Learning the person’s story

  • What is hard/difficult in life?   

  • When did you start using drugs/alcohol?  What were the circumstances happening in life at that time?

  • What do you like about                     (Substance of choice)?  What does alcohol/drugs/sex give you?  

  • Where are you at in the battle? (Wanting to change, unsure, fighting, giving-in, etc.)

  • Do you believe you can control your use?

  • How do you see yourself now?  How do you see God?  How do you think He sees you?

2.      Walking with them through the process of change

  • How is Scripture speaking to you at this point in the battle?

  • Where is the flesh still winning?  Where is it hard to say ‘no’?

  • Where is the Spirit at work?  Where are you saying 'yes' to God?

  • Where is God's truth confronting lies that you believe/have believed?

  • How are you being transformed?  What idols are being exposed/revealed to you?

  • How are you seeing God now?  Is he becoming satisfying? What is He saying?

  • How are your relationships with others? Any amends you need to make? Any resentments?

3.      Developing an accountability plan

  • What steps in the right direction do you need to take today?  What does obedience to God look like in this moment right now?

  • What are some non-negotiable commitments you need to make (daily devotions, church, counseling, prayer meeting, weekly recovery meeting, call mentor daily, etc.)?

  • Who are the wise people you need to be in touch with regularly?

  • Where do you need to run away from your addiction or people/places/things connected to it?  How will you do this?

  • What are some of the means of grace God has provided to help you honor Him today?

  • How can you serve and participate in your local church using the gifts God has given you?  How you can serve someone else today?

Hopefully these questions will help you along the way as you attempt to care for those struggling with addiction.  Feel free to comment below with any additional questions you would ask.