Causes of Addiction
When you feel good your brain releases a neurotransmitter that reaches a receptor and tells you to feel good… The limbic system is the center where our feelings originate. It is activated by our brains. Drugs that affect the brain are called psycho active because they are mood altering. This is why one refers to being under the influence as being “high!” However after prolonged use the brain chemistry becomes altered and adjusts, it gradually takes more in order to achieve a “high!” The more one uses, the more they begin to crave, the more they use! Guess what? This is the road to Addiction! So now we have a vicious self-destructive cycle!
Addiction affects not only the mind but the body and spirit as well! Addiction takes on many forms. When addiction involves, overeating, caffeine, nicotine, gambling, promiscuity, shopping, workaholic, cultish, religion, exercise and hobbies society has a tendency to accept them a tad more. An addiction can also be of a sexual nature. There are serious consequences when one becomes addicted! The addiction itself is a symptom of an underlying unresolved issue. Which is really “A plea for help!”
Emotional pain that is suppressed and has not been properly addressed is often the root cause. One who has low self-esteem lacking coping skill will sometimes turn to drugs. Someone who has been abused or molested will turn to drugs. Domestic violence can cause someone to turn to drugs. Someone who has been abandoned will turn to drugs. Someone who is grieving a loss or grieving may turn to drugs. One who may have been injured in a fall or accident and is prescribed pain medication can also become addicted! They often use the injury to rationalize the addiction. There is a plethora of reasons for addiction…
Finding better ways to cope is crucial. One must come out of denial and take ownership of their behavior. When an addiction becomes full-blown it affects everyone involved. For instance cigarette smoke impacts others as they breathe in the secondary smoke. It also results in low birth weight in babies whose mother’s continue to smoke. It has now become clear that cigarette smoking causes cancer therefore smoking has been banned in many public buildings, restaurants and places… After many years of smoking cigarettes it can result in health complications as well as cancer that can eventually cause death. What is so very interesting the number of people who continue to smoke anyway knowing that smoking is not good for their health! This is also due to the fact that smoking has been socially accepted to a large degree making it easier for the addiction to persist!
Drugs usually make us feel good! This in itself makes it hard for the addict to simply just say “NO”! Feelings dictate their behavior and due to their lack of self-discipline they usually succumb! The addictive drug user seeks the euphoria that the drugs or smoking provides over all else at the expense of their health and wellbeing. Momentarily they are able to escape and numb their inner pain.
Addiction affects, mind, body and soul. The reasons why people become addicted are complex, vast and each individual is different. Addiction is being out of control and accompanied with compulsive behaviors. Next we will discuss; some of the ways drugs affect you body!
Marriage & Addiction
Marriage & Addiction
Step 3 Regular Usage
When addiction progresses it requires a regular fix. The substance abuser will now use others in their attempt to satisfy their addiction. This often leads to a multiplicity of dysfunction on many levels. Satisfying the addiction is often done in secrecy as well as with others. The frequency in which they do so has now escalated and impedes on their day-to-day life. The addiction can still go undetected because they cleverly camouflage or conceal their addiction of choice! As one looks closely the signs are all there. A spouse may not be aware because they can appear normal to a degree. A multiplicity of excuses is rendered when they are questioned? Deception comes along with addiction it can destroy your marriage and other relationships as well
Truth and intimacy are important components in building a good strong marriage!
Step 4 full-blown
Day in and day out the addiction has now taken over. The addict will now do whatever to satisfy his or her obsession that has completely taken control. Their life cycle is getting, using, doing drugs, alcohol or whatever the addiction is… They are now compulsively spiraling increasingly downhill… For many it takes hitting rock bottom before they will admit they need help!
They have indulged themselves to the point that their brain chemistry has changed! To attempt to stop means that they will go through a period of painful withdrawal! The high that they used to receive is now an insatiable voracious uncontrollable craving! A mere ferocious “monkey on their back!” They cannot feel normal unless they are under the influence or indulging in the activity! Their family, friends, job, talents, resources are all being destroyed by their inability to control their compulsive need for a fix!
How interesting that they so paradoxically “Need a fix!” What really needs to be fixed is their deep cavernous inner pain… Addiction is a vicious cycle. If your spouse is in any of these stages it is important to confront them in love. Redemptive confrontation is a way to begin to address whatever the addiction is. If not confronted your love one’s life will spiral out of control if in fact that is not the case already.
Marriage is a wonderful relationship God has created for us to learn how to properly relate to our spouses. It is the ultimate monogamous sacred co-worker relationship! It is through a committed marriage with God as the center one can learn how to overcome their weaknesses. Addiction is a weakness. Drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, pornography or whatever … are all used to help them feel good! However as an addict they have no boundaries and they are constantly seeking more ways to alleviate their uncontrollable desires. This only drives them deeper into despair and uncertainty. Marriage was wonderfully designed by God so we could get some of our needs met. There are some needs that can only be met by God!
A spouse can facilitate the cycle of dysfunctional addiction being broken!!
An intervention is necessary! Once the addiction has been confronted it is important to seek healthier ways to cope. Remember there are many forms of addiction! It can be an addiction to just about anything! Remember; Addiction is a plea for help! There are healthier ways to fill that inner void! There is absolutely nothing in your life that God is not aware of! He Loves you! He wants you to reach out to Him!
Developing a genuine intimate personal relationship with the Lord will help you begin to better cope! Here one must be careful as well! There are those who develop an addiction to religion. They become very religious which also creates a void! It becomes just another escape! This is not the same thing as having a personal relationship with the Lord! It is important to spend time in His Word getting to know Him through His Word! Here you can discover what life is really all about!
One must seek to discover who they are without the addiction! Now that it is out in the open the addiction is exposed! This is what the road to recovery is all about. One must begin to monitor their feelings to see what triggers their desires. What is the root cause of them losing themselves into addiction? How do I begin to move from the addiction being the center of my life? God does have a better way! There is a way out of addiction. Focusing now on your spouse’s strengths is very important! God wants to be the center of your life. “Jesus came that you might have life and has it to the full.” John 10.
Next we will discuss some of the causes of addiction!
See Part 4
For the co-dependent it is necessary to realize that God is really not a respecter of persons. We are equal yet different as His children. Although scripture tells us “it is not by works that we are saved” a codependent can be manipulated into many activities. This is fueled by their need of approval. This often causes them to develop a surface relationship with God. Their busyness leaves little time to “be still” and find the freedom and rest only God can provide.
What is happening to our Christian families? Codependency has become a major dysfunction. Families are experiencing a famine in the area of healthy nurturing. Let’s begin to break generational cycles of codependency. Why is this necessary? A person who is co-dependent is trapped in a compulsive cycle of control. They are usually over achievers who are virtually motivated by their desire to be loved. They often have been subject to major rejection in their early childhood. In order to feel a sense of security they will over extend themselves in many activities in order to gain the approval of others. It is very difficult for a co-dependent to deal with someone who they can not control. They will often even appear submissive in order to gain control of someone. This behavior is really manipulation in order to dominate.
The boundaries of a co-dependent are usually blurred. The hurts of childhood abandonment and rejection fuel their need to control. They have a great need as well to be the center of attention. Unable to let go of the past they really feel empty and unloved. They are usually high maintenance people. Their constant need of approval is countered by resentment when not satisfied since they suffer from low self-esteem. As I have said before and will say again and again “your true security and significance can only be found in God”.
For the co-dependent it is necessary to realize that God is really not a respecter of persons. We are equal yet different as His children. Although scripture tells us “it is not by works that we are saved” a codependent can be manipulated into many activities. This is fueled by their need of approval. This often causes them to develop a surface relationship with God. Their busyness leaves little time to “be still” and find the freedom and rest only God can provide. Contrary to popular belief you are not required by God to participate in most man ordained auxiliaries especially at the expense of neglecting your family. Pastors as well as Christian workers who suffer from co-dependency must be careful not to be pre-occupied at the expense of not having some time for their own families. Your works should display your faith not someone else’s. Creating healthy boundaries are necessary. Spend some time developing your personal intimate relationship with God. Begin to implement His principles in your life. Grace and peace is multiplied when you increase your knowledge of GOD!
Consciously allow what God desires and requires of you to override your need to control and/ or gain the approval of others. Don’t be a people pleaser! God is not impressed by manipulation. Always examine your motives in the light of His WORD. Take charge by letting go, which is the opposite of controlling. Remember scripture says it is “the meek that will inherit the earth.” Meekness is not weakness it is power under control. Cycles are hard to break but with God even the impossible is possible.
The family system of a co-dependent usually has a powerful effect on their behavior dynamics. Often there is a scapegoat, a martyr and a hero in the co-dependent family. The scapegoat gives everyone something to focus on rather than deal with the real problem. The martyr sacrifices for everyone and feels sorry for themselves. The hero makes the family look good to outsiders. A multigenerational pattern of faulty unhealthy dynamics can appear as normal. Do you notice any generational patterns? Unconsciously the family will fight to keep these dynamics operating.
All families have an element of dysfunction. Destructive family dynamics have been in operation since the beginning of time. The story of Joseph tells how his Dad favored him over his brothers. Joseph’s father gave him a beautiful coat. This caused so much jealously between them that they designed a plan to destroy Joseph. His brothers called him a dreamer. Little did they know that the Lord had His hand on Joseph. God being in control worked this to good although their plans were evil. In the final analysis Joseph became the chief provider for his family as well as country. Eli was a priest. Although a servant of the Lord he had two sons who were outwardly rebellious. They disrespected not only the offerings but the people of God as well. I wonder how much time Eli spent nurturing his own sons?
Family secrets such as mental illness, incest, abuse and alcohol or drug addictions often go unaddressed in the co-dependent family. Denial becomes a survival dynamic for the family. This fosters an unhealthy physical as well as spiritual environment. Family secrets are often described as though one has a white elephant in the living room. Everyone just walks around it as though it doesn’t exist. Or they just avoid it altogether. Thinking it will just go away. It won’t! Christians need to take a stand and move to a higher level of functioning. We must learn to address the sin issues in our families and not continue to make excuses. Sin is anything that separates us from the Lord. God has promised to direct our paths when we put our trust in Him. We must learn to responsibly take responsibility.
God in His Omniscience is well aware of the shortcomings of all of us. We must look at the unhealthy dynamics in our family of origin and consciously find ways to abandon the generational cycles. Don’t continue to sweep things under the rug. Learn to confront issues as they arise. It’s never to late! Start by not supporting or reinforcing any unfavorable behavior. The truth must be faced to break free and enjoy the present.
Sometimes it is necessary to pursue professional assistance to resolve family conflict. A conscientious therapist should be well informed about inappropriate behavior. They objectively are able to recognize that the faulty behavior presented is really a mask for an underlying unmet need. The co-dependent needs to find a positive channel to release inner tensions. A family intervention is useful in most situations. Then proceeding to establishing a way in which their unmet needs can be satisfied is recommended.
In a Therapy environment a healthy atmosphere is crucial. The equal safety of the client and the safety of the therapist should always be a priority. A committed Christian therapist knows the importance of establishing healthy boundaries. A congruent environment implies that the therapist is trustworthy, genuine, integrated, and openly honest. There are many cultural differences that can inhibit a fluent understanding of the client. Stereotype thinking must be abandoned. Each client must be viewed as an individual. Labeling often changes peoples perceptions of others. There is a substantial diversity among any given group of people.
Christian therapy although not new is often unwelcomed from anyone other than the pastor in some instances. Many pastors who may be well-versed in scripture may not be equipped in some areas of counseling. Many on the other hand or overwhelmed by their ministerial duties. There are some pastors who should not counsel, especailly if there is a history of infidelity… The sincere efforts of a Christian therapist although well meaning may be often misconstrued as out of line and unwelcomed.
The use of small cell groups can often be quite therapeutic and beneficial for the co-dependent as well as for managing other interpersonal problems. A conscientious facilitator will maintain order and model control. Confidentiality and free expression should be encouraged. Conflict arises when individuals become resistant to someone’s insight or opinions that have been communicated. Uncontrolled anger is not welcomed in a cell group. Establish boundaries. Keep the group spiritually based. Making use of regular Bible study and prayer are key elements for success.
Emerging from codependency is painful. The compulsion to rescue dependent people is really a form of bondage. God never intended for any of us to be slaves to sin. Self-control is a fruit of His Spirit. His resources are unlimited. The co-dependent person first must acknowledge their compulsion to control. They must work towards redirecting their inclination towards other control to self-control. To seek healthy ways to have their unmet needs fulfilled. To process dispelling dysfunctional cycles this is a must. Don’t allow pride to hinder your progress. It is an obstacle to your well-being. God also hates pride it is an abomination to Him. Confess any known sin and press forward. It takes courage and a lot of hard work. It is in our weakness that we can become strong through God’s awesome power. God has left the Comforter which is His Holy Spirit to lead teach and direct you. Never forget God loves you! Take control by taking control of yourself. Learn the benefits of meekness. Know that your body is the Temple where God’s Holy Spirit resides. It is so very important to learn how to trust God, daily embrace HIS principles and know that everywhere you are GOD is always a prayer away. The truth really will set you FREE!!!