Rethinking Addiction

AddictionThis is a fascinating video that may just revolutionize the way you think about addictions and addicts.

Near the 4:45 mark of the video the statement is made about a new way of interacting with others. This, I believe, is what the Christian church should be doing. If we aren’t, I doubt we are living out the good news that Jesus taught. If you want to do an interesting study, check out how many times the phrase “let us” is used in the New Testament. Also note that the word saint never appears in the New Testament in the singular, but it is always saintS. This tells me that we were designed to be together.

“Human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find—the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe…. We should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’ A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.” —Johann Hari

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment below?

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5 Quotes To Protect Your Marriage From Pornography

Focus On The FamilyI recently finished reading a Focus On The Family reading plan on YouVersion called Infidelity: Protecting Your Marriage From Pornography. This is one part of a multi-part reading plan on healthy sexuality. I encourage you to check out all of these plans.

Here are some of the quotes I appreciated from this reading plan.

“Porn is powerful primarily because it offers a counterfeit form of intimacy and attachment—a replacement for the one-flesh bond between man and woman that God designed to function as the glue that holds the marriage relationship together (Genesis 2:24).”

“Mental health professionals report that the road to recovery is likely to be much longer and far more complicated for an individual engaged in an ongoing interpersonal cyber-affair than it is for a porn addict. That’s because ‘relationship’ at any level implies a degree of emotional entanglement. When the heart gets drawn into that web, the potential for pathology is inevitably raised.”

“Many porn addicts are sexually anorexic when it comes to normal marital relations. That’s because, through habit and practice, their sexual impulses have been alienated from their natural context—i.e., a healthy, committed personal relationship—and re-oriented around impersonal objects or illicit lusts or fetishes.”

“[Pornography] addiction is based on neurochemical changes that occur in the brain as a result of prolonged exposure to stimulating sexual imagery. Because of its neuro-chemical basis, it’s tenacious, progressive and destructive in nature.”

“Don’t assume that normal marital sexual relations will take the place of porn in [an addict’s] life. No living, breathing, thinking woman can possibly fill that role without doing untold damage to herself as a person. That’s because pornography addiction, in the final analysis, is not about sex. It’s a symptom of an intimacy disorder—a comprehensive psychological illness that compels an individual to avoid deep, meaningful interaction with another flesh-and-blood human being and to replace it with impersonal sensual imagery. Unless this disorder is addressed and rectified, your relationship cannot move forward on a healthy footing. Marriage will not fix the problem. It will only complicate matters and increase your pain.”

For more help, visit pureintimacy.org or Focus on the Family’s Help Center.You can also call the ministry’s Counseling Department for a free consultation at 855-771-HELP (4357).

Break Free From Porn—5 Quotes That Will Help You

The Porn CircuitThe Porn Circuit is a great book to make you aware of the dangers of pornography. You can read my full book review of this free downloadable book here, and check out the first set of quotes I shared by clicking here.

Here are some additional quotes specifically to help you break free from the hold pornography has on your life.

Your #1 strategy … LEARN TO HATE PORN!

Hate what it does to you, to your relationships, and to those involved in sex trafficking because of the porn industry.

#2 … Create some positive activities you can do when you’re tempted to look at porn.

“The prefrontal cortex is the decision-making logical part of the brain, and each time that a person resists temptation and each time a positive habit is reinforced, the prefrontal cortex gets stronger. That means a person’s willpower grows and the cues and cravings for porn use grow weaker.”

“This approach (of introducing positive habits) makes plastic sense because it grows a new brain circuit that gives pleasure and triggers dopamine release which, as we have seen, rewards the new activity and consolidates and grows new neural connections. This new circuit can eventually compete with the older one, and according to use it or lose it, the pathological networks will weaken. With this treatment we don’t so much ‘break’ bad habits as replace bad behaviors with better ones.” —Dr. Norman Doidge

“Whatever rewarding activity is pursued, it needs to be an activity that is reoccurring. Building new rewarding neural pathways requires time and ongoing repetition:

  1. Neurons that fire together wire together. Repeating a pleasurable activity instead of the compulsive activity, such as porn use, forms a new circuit that is gradually reinforced instead of the compulsion.
  2. Neurons that fire apart wire apart. When a person refuses to act on a compulsion, like porn and masturbation, it weakens the link between the activity and the idea that it will provide relief.”

#3 … Start using the 3-second rule.

“When watching TV, walking through the mall, or driving past billboards, temptation can strike when least expected. Many therapists recommend using the 3-Second Rule, which involves three steps:

  1. Alert: Realize that you see something inappropriate. It may only take a split-second to recognize a tempting situation.
  2. Avert: Close your eyes or look away. These first two steps should be instantaneous.
  3. Affirm: Give yourself a mental high-five to congratulate the effort. Say to yourself, ‘I saw that by mistake, and I quickly looked away. I’ve been clean for (xx number of days) and I’m going to stay that way.’”

3-Second Rule

#4 … Don’t forget to watch out for H.A.L.T. times.

“Physical care is vital to vigilance. HALT is the acronym often used by therapists to remind people of when they can be most vulnerable it stands for: hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Simply going to bed on a regular schedule to get a good night’s rest can help one’s brain be more focused on positive habits and more alert to fight temptations. Not only eating but also eating well can improve mood and feelings of well-being. Regular exercise keeps the mind more focused, the body feeling great, and improve sleep.”

11 More Quotes From “#struggles”

#strugglesCraig Groeschel nailed the tension between technology and relationships in his timely book #struggles. He doesn’t advocate getting rid of technology, but he does make a great case for not allowing technology to diminish our flesh-and-blood relationships. You can read my review of #struggles by clicking here. Below are some more quotes that caught my eye from this book.

“The highest percentage of consumers of pornography our children aged twelve to seventeen.”

“We have access to many opportunities online that—without accountability—can turn technological blessings into curses.”

“Over time and with repeated use, technology is eroding both our moral beliefs and our commitment to acting on what we believe. According to one study, ‘Roughly two-thirds (67 percent) of young adult men and one-half (49 percent) of young adult women now believe that viewing pornography is acceptable.’ … Times have changed. But that doesn’t mean morality should.” 

“If you want to live in a way that honors our Savior—if you want to follow Jesus in a sin-saturated, selfie-centered world—then you will have to be different. … Our convictions must be guided by God’s timeless principles, not by the ever-eroding popular opinion on whatever happens to be acceptable now.”

“Most people I know you don’t plan to ruin their lives. I don’t know anyone who thinks, ‘If I can connect with an old boyfriend on Facebook, I can totally wreck my life. I can almost guarantee an ugly divorce full of expensive lawyers helping us fight over custody rights for the kids. I can devastate my husband and drop a nuclear bomb of pain into my kids’ lives. And I can spend the next years of my life trying to forgive myself, rebuild my life, and regain my name.’ No one plans like that, but these things happen every day. Same with pornography. I don’t know a single man who wanted to crush the wife he loves when she discovered his ‘little secret.’ But one glance followed by another click often leads to an addiction that seems impossible to overcome.”

“When you think about it, no one stumbles into righteousness. People fall into sin and every day. But no one just falls into holiness. It requires making deliberate, prayerful choices and walking an intentional path.”

“Here’s what many people miss: when we misuse technology, we’re robbing ourselves of the peace we so desperately crave, because even the momentary escape is followed by waves of intense guilt. We want to numb the pain, but on the other side of our binge, the pain is still there, only worse. We love the momentary distraction, but then reality screams at us and our responsibilities pile up. We love the thrill of the lust, but the fear of getting caught haunts us and robs us of sleep and peace. Like a person dying of thirst who gulps salt water, that which is supposed to satisfy only intensifies our need. So life goes on as usual. More stress. More anxiety. More worries. And less peace.”

“Now is a great time to be brutally honest. Are you addicted to something online? Looking lustfully? Spending uncontrollably? Surfing endlessly? Playing continually? Gambling consistently? Scrolling incessantly?”

“If you are checking multiple times a day to see what people are saying about you, let’s call that what it is: idolatry. If your identity comes more from who follows you, who Likes you, what they say and what they think about you rather than who God says you are, it’s time to take this issue to God.”

“When our minds are idle, we’re not thinking about anything meaningful, and when we’re not intentionally living, it can be so easy to shift into neutral. When we don’t have a specific destination in mind, any road will do. And if our time and our resources aren’t precious, if we’re not doing anything important, it can be so easy to just pick up our phone, unlock the screen, and wonder aimlessly through cyberspace, wasting our time and our thoughts.”

“Maybe it’s time to power down and take a cyber Sabbath. Maybe it’s time to remember what life is like without your phone, tablet, or laptop. Maybe it’s time for your soul to rest.”

You can check out the other quotes I shared from #struggles by clicking here.

9 Quotes From “The Porn Circuit”

The Porn CircuitThe Porn Circuit is a marvelous ebook (and it’s a free download!) which shows the biological, emotional, and relational dangers of pornography. This is a great book to help protect you from the entanglements of porn, and it’s also a great help for those who want to break a porn addiction. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some of the quotes that caught my eye.

“Between 14,500 and 17,500 sex slaves are trafficked into the US each year. Another 300,000 American children are at risk for trafficking each year.”

“Our biggest sexual organ rests between our ears. The brain is where we truly experience intimacy, pleasure, love, and satisfaction. But it is also where we create negative feelings, bad habits, destructive compulsions, and addictions.”

“People, unlike any other animal, were designed to have sex with their spirit, soul, and body, says sex addiction therapist Dr. Doug Weiss…. Porn not only leaves out the spirit and soul, but also the tenderness and love expressed through a spouse’s body, their words, their giving, and on and on. Unlike real intimacy, there are multiple parts missing from the pornography puzzle.”

“It should be no surprise that pornography use is correlated with a 318% increase in infidelity.”

“Though not true for everyone, many porn users find they need a greater amount or more intense porn to activate a state of arousal. The brain has decided after multiple porn excursions that this amount of dopamine is excessive. So it has reduced the amount of dopamine in response to porn, and it has reduced the number of dopamine receptors for the neural circuits associated with porn use. To escape this desensitization, people, and men especially, expand their pornographic tastes to more novel stimuli. What was once considered hard core…is now considered mundane.”

“Like a path is created in the woods with each successive hiker, so do the neural paths set the course for the next time an erotic image is viewed. Over time these neural paths become wider as they are repeatedly traveled with each exposure to pornography. They become the automatic pathway through which interactions with women are routed. The neural circuitry anchors this process solidly in the brain. … All women become potential porn stars in the minds of these men. They have unknowingly created a neurological circuit that imprisons their ability to see women rightly.” —Dr. Williams Struthers

“Pornographers promise healthy pleasure and relief from sexual tension, but what they often deliver is an addiction, tolerance, and an eventual decrease in pleasure. Paradoxically, the male patients I worked with often craved pornography but didn’t like it.” —Dr. Norman Doidge

“Dr. Dolf Zillmann reports when young people are repeatedly exposed to pornography, it can have a long-lasting impact on their beliefs and behaviors. Frequently, men who habitually view pornography develop cynical attitudes about love and the need for affection between partners. They began to view the institution of marriage as sexually confining. Often, men develop a ‘tolerance’ for sexually explicit material, leading them to seek out more novel or bazaar material to achieve the same level of arousal.”

“You will never destroy an enemy you embrace.” —Dr. Doug Weiss

Coming soon: some quotes from The Porn Circuit to help you break free from pornography’s hold on your life.

The Porn Circuit (book review)

The Porn CircuitThere is scientific data, as well as anecdotal data, from researchers and therapists that pornography is an unfulfilling, relationship-destroying, life-controlling habit. Porn is NOT, as some people try to lead us to believe, harmless fun nor is it a victimless indulgence. The data about porn’s destructive potential, and the good news on how to break free from its stranglehold, is the subject Sam Black covers in an easy-to-read ebook called The Porn Circuit

Don’t let the mention of scientific data keep you from downloading this book. You don’t need a biology or chemistry background, because Sam Black explains the brain science of pornography in a way that anyone can grasp. The bottom line: porn is fooling your brain into false pleasure, and creating an addiction that can destroy your life just as easily as an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, or any other life-controlling substance.

But the good news is you can break the hold of porn on your life! After Sam lays out the case of how destructive pornography can be for your life and relationships, he then shares some solid strategies for getting the help you need to break free.

This is a FREE downloadable book from Covenant Eyes, so there is no reason for you not to download it right now. Click here to go to ebook page.

Don’t let pornography ruin your life. Get help to get free.

Book Reviews From 2015

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