MMNTP: An Addiction Poll

Today’s Monday Morning Non-Theological Poll

Do you know a member of the church (yourself or someone else) who is addicted to one of the following things? (More than one answer is possible)

[Edited to add:] Please include all eating disorders with overeating; Please include all sexual disorders with pornography. Please add anything else you need to in the comments.

Please react to the poll, comment anonymously (or onymously) on your answer, or say something silly below.

One sticking point: Being mean is not allowed.

Bookmark MMNTP: An Addiction Poll


  1. How do you define member of the church?

    I am of the opinion that ‘pornography’ and ‘addiction’ are too often lumped together in the church, as if you can’t have porn without an addiction to it.

  2. Let’s call them “eating disorders” rather than overeating Johnny.

  3. Where’s Diet Coke, breakfast of champions?

  4. I think I know someone in every category except gambling. Odd. My own particular vices are Diet Pepsi and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

    I do know that the folks at LDS Family Services who deal with addiction indicate that the men they are counseling with for addiction to gambling or alcohol, are also addicted to porn, almost without exception.

  5. Diet Coke would certainly win.

  6. I would amend “Cigarettes” to “Tobacco.”

  7. Katie M. says:

    How about an option for “No I do not,” so we compare that to the rest of the numbers.

  8. Not that I drink the vile stuff.

  9. Does “blogging” not rate its own category? :) (Okay, I guess it fits in the last one.)

  10. Hunter (#6), or Tomacco.

  11. Margaret Young says:

    Hmmm. Drugs usually imply illegal drugs, but of course prescription drugs are a real problem. Sadly, I am not able to sleep without bonafide prescription pills. However, my prescription has not changed in fifteen years. There are some nuances here. I have a sleeping disorder. Others have to take anti-depressants, which would also qualify as drugs. I’d modify that question a bit. Drugs such as crystal meth, heroine, cocaine, or anything Rush Limbaugh has confessed to. (He is addicted to meanness, though, which is not allowed in this survfey.)

  12. How are we defining “addicted?” Are we assuming all users are addicted?

  13. Natalie B. says:

    I adore World of Warcraft. I’m already “exalted” there. But, alas, I don’t really have time to play anymore.

  14. I have assumed addiction to drugs, for this poll, to mean abusive use of prescription or illegal drugs, which gives Margaret an out. The individual I know of is addicted to Oxycontin, Rush’s drug of choice. It has led to meanness, also like Rush. Circumstantial? I think not.

  15. Although, as has been discussed in other posts, chronic intense pain can also lead to meanness.

  16. While I agree with mmiles’ (#1) point re: pornography, I won’t say I verbalize support here, lest everyone think I view porn myself.

  17. Hmm, I don’t know anyone personally (that I know of) who is addicted to any of these things. I agree that you need to have a voting button that would allow for that, as well as one for caffeinated beverages!

  18. I guess I know someone in every category except online (or otherwise) gaming and gambling. But if the membership is made up of members of the Earth, of course we would know members with these struggles. And I don’t think it is that big of a deal — meaning, it is a big deal to the person suffering with the addiction, and painful for the family and friends, but I don’t think it is a big deal in the “oh noes!!! someone is doing something naughty on a regular basis!!!” kind of way. People have problems, addictions are otherwise, and those problems will be around for as long as people are around. People will be dealing with them the best they can and with the help of the Lord, hopefully, will be able to make progress on overcoming them.

  19. correction = addictions or [not are] otherwise

  20. There is a distinction between physical dependence/addiction and psychological dependence/addiction. Detoxification can end the purely physical dependence/addiction, but not the psychological dependence. Thus, many soldiers who returned from Vietnam addicted to heroin were able to give it up after going through detoxification and modest rehabilitation, only 12% of those who were addicted in Vietnam became re-addicted after their return.

  21. Mark Brown says:

    7 for 7.

  22. Mush all eating disorders together with overeating. Mush all sexual disorders together with porn. Mush all drug abuse together. I leave it to the voter to decide what qualifies as addiction or as a member.

    As to those of you lucky enough to not know anybody who is an addict, that’s what the comments are for.

  23. John, you need a none of the above bucket as a control group for this. You aren’t catching a large percent of your demorgraphic. (ie- people who don’t know if anyone who has one of these problems).

  24. Amazing to me that a person with a disorder who needs prescription drugs has no sympathy for Limbaugh who got addicted to pain killers due to chronic back pain. Just because we hate someone it doesn’t mean we can’t sympathize with them.

  25. I assume I know people who are compulsive pornography users, but since they haven’t shared that with me, I’ll have to go with 0 for 7. Same caveat probably applies to others in the list.

  26. jjohnsen says:

    I know various members that use all or any of those things, but wouldn’t feel comfortable labeling them as addicted. I know too many people that rush to identify someone that uses pornography or does something that goes against the WoW as an addict.

  27. No one realizes they are addicted until they try to stop and can’t. Even then a surprising number of people choose to disregard their inability to stop and consider themselves casual partakers of a minor vice.

  28. Well, not no one, how about few. Few realize…

  29. The sort of addiction to Oxycontin and other pain killers that I have know about started with a prescription for pain, but the user, with a previous history of addictive behavior, ramped up quickly to abusive levels, which included doctor shopping, buying pharmaceuticals online from foreign countries, and in some cases, through really questionable illegal third parties. Part of the addiction aspect is the increasing disregard for external constraints, for the concerns of loved ones, and for one’s own safety and well being. That for me tells me when it crosses over from legitimate usage of prescription drugs to addiction. The same would apply for video game addiction, for addiction to porn, and addiction to gambling, or any other addictive behavior.

    If the prescription drugs help you to function as a normal human being in the eyes of your peers, that’s not a problem. When you don’t care what others think of you, that is a problem.

    I have heard a local stake president mention that there have been divorces in his stake over video game addiction. Jami, I think you’ve described how this usually goes. Everyone else knows it is a problem long before the addict does, and then they come up with all sorts of rationalizations about their inability to quit.

  30. BTW, I’m willing to cut Rush some slack, because it appears that he has it under control now. In all fairness, the drugs didn’t make him mean. I think he was already mean before.

  31. I know church members addicted to the first three plus tobacco. I have a hard time defining overeating. Morbidly obese?

  32. bbell, I think that morbidly obese can’t really be the definition. There are plenty of plenty of thin people who have eating disorders. I’d say the same kind of issues are involved in food addiction. The inability to stop whichever food behavior (binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, food rituals, etc.) is a big part of the definition. Add in lying, hiding, stealing, going from store to store so no one realizes the quantity of food being consumed, and in general acting weirdly about food. I think one of the fundamental issues of addiction is turning to the [sex, porn, tobacco, food, internet, pain meds, alcohol, etc] to escape or artificially enhance reality. Overeating is just one manifestation of food addiction. (It’s my issue, btw.)

  33. StillConfused says:

    I know members in all categories except for the gambling. In lieu of gambling, I could add that I know plenty of members who start or participate in multi-level marketing businesses/scams. And I would say that the addiction mentality is similar in both — trying to be handed money that was not earned by the sweat of one’s brow.

    I do find that people who are very religious often time (in my limited experience) also have a higher propensity towards addiction issues. There may be something similar in the personality types.

  34. Can someone be addicted to online poll taking?

  35. I attest that we all have some addiction or another. As human beings we all have certian wants that become needs yet exist beyond the survival necessities.
    You should have included some of my favorites: Shopping, Movies (including G Rated), T.V., Music, I bet the if included the numer 1 addiction in the LDS Church membership would either be Golf, Basketball, or Fishing.

    Me for one, I have an addiction to my family, it is an unnatural craving to spend all the time I can with them.
    I have even commuted daily to a business conferance and home on a three day venture 150 miles between. (of course my child was only 8 months old) I’d consider that addiction.



    Utah leads nation in Internet Porn subscriptions. Weird and interesting.

  37. kevinf, so given #30, we could update #14 to say: “Circumstantial? I think so.” BTW, I am not advocating we cut Rush slack on his prescription drug abuse, but just that we should have sympathy for anyone who gets addicted to a prescription drug they legitimately need. Really sucks, as lots of people can attest.

  38. Jacob J, I have an addiction to Rush-bashing that I cannot control.

  39. nlroper says:

    # 36, you might want to read another article before you assume that the one you read was entirely accurate:
    Also, T&S has a good post by Adam Greenwood, with more discussion, and pertinent links.

  40. nlroper, the Get Religion debunking is a bit off. But always good to throw traffic the way of T&S.

  41. Yeah, T&S sorta needs the extra love these days. BCC is kicking its trash. Oh wait . . .

  42. zoiks!

  43. Ok, I have personally had addictions to 3 of the catagories and probably would have had two more except that my husband was smart enough to keep me away from them. The only addiction I have left is an eating disorder, although the whole diet soda thing is a bit out of control as well. Of course, I didn’t join the church until I was 36 so I had more of a chance to develop addictions than most of you.

    Is there a point to this survey?

  44. nlroper says:

    Steve, I would love to hear specifically why you think GetReligion’s article is a bit off. And in response to the poll, I’ve known a couple of young men who had serious trouble with porn, and have heard, anecdotally, that it is a big, pervasive problem at BYU. Also, since I’ve been dieting, I’ve decided that I am definitely addicted to food. Drat!
    One more comment, then I’ll go take shelter somewhere…
    I love Rush Limbaugh. I think he is funny, a classic happy warrior for conservatives, very satirical, and a master at puncturing liberal pretensions and wrongheadedness. (Which is not to say that I think all liberals are pretentious and wrongheaded, or that liberals are the only people who are pretentious and wrongheaded.) I love that he unabashedly loves America, and wants to maintain the core, founding principles that have made it such a great nation of freedom and democracy. I guess you could say I’m addicted to his honesty, optimism and fearlessness.

  45. Eric Russell says:

    This is the best commentary I’ve ever seen on addiction. These young boys have much to teach us.

  46. I can’t be the only one that thinks that if you don’t get 7 out of 7 you either

    A. Don’t know many people
    B. Don’t know the people you do know well enough.

  47. About Pornography and Mormons. Sorry, I read the T&S after I made the post. However, this thread was on members of the church being addicted to, among other things, pornography. The article referred to was published in a refereed journal by a reputable scholar.

    Benjamin Edelman is Assistant Professor of Business Aministration, Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts.

    Granted the data is a hint at the possible underlying connections, but the hint is rather strong. I mean, he even points out that registrations drop in the religious states on Sundays. The data is internally consistent and substantial.

    Is there something about religion which makes people more prone to be addicted to pornography? The data seem to suggest this. Or perhaps the non-mormons in Utah are 8 times more addicted to pornography because they are embedded with the righteous?

  48. We have adult bookstores within 20 minutes of us in two directions. People around here just go rent a movie for their porn fix. Unless things have changed, I don’t think you can do that in Utah.

  49. Thomas Parkin says:

    I can quit anytime I want.

    I wish you’d all just lay off for once. ~

  50. Thomas Parkin says:

    re: Pornography in Utah.

    It seems very likely to me that there are more people _paying_ for online porn in Utah because that is the primary outlet for people so inclined. In Seattle, you can pay into the sex industry in many ways, many of which are more directly enticing than online porn and easily available. I’d never of thought of paying for porn in Seattle, because when I wanted some kind of sexual experience and was up for paying for it, there were places to go.

    We now live in Logan, and a couple times I’ve thought … you know, I couldn’t have committed any of those sins here. I could, however, have paid for online porn and almost certainly would have. ~

  51. One guys wife went to visit family for the week and he spent over 40 hours straight playing WoW missing appointments and church. But I have seen people addicted to all sorts of online stuff, especially facebook, doing their hitman, mob war, hippy van, poking, birthday cake, drug and ninja deals. I mean facebook is just for looking up high school classmates and seeing pictures of how old they have gotten.

  52. MadChemist says:

    I request a post from Steve on what he finds “a bit off” on the get religion article. There’s much more “off” with the original paper than there is with the get religion post.

  53. Ditto, madchemist. I asked, but he hasn’t responded.

  54. Have either of you read the original paper? I’m not talking about the New Scientist article, which I agree was pretty hopelessly slanted.

    Sorry, no time to write the post for you.

  55. Katie M. says:

    Since the comments are closed on the actual post, I thought I’d leave a note here to say thank you to BCC for putting the “50 Conversations About One Thing” piece together. I found it incredibly interesting and thought provoking. You guys are quite smart and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

  56. I’m going to disagree with Ronito and say that I don’t know anyone that I would feel comfortable classifying as “addicted” to any of these things. I think that word is tossed around much too carelessly. To me, it means more than a frequent user. It means someone who has lost control. I can’t think of anyone that I’m sure is an out of control user of these things.

  57. MCQ (#56): Thanks for a sensible point. Surely not all overuse of a substance is addiction. I seriously doubt, for example, whether many people are actually addicted to Diet Coke, at least not unless they are drinking the stuff by the gallon. And I am not sure what “addiction” means in reference to something like pornography rather than substance abuse. The word is far too over-used.