As I’ve progressed in my recovery journey and work with men on a regular basis do the same, I feel like I’ve learned some pretty important truths along the way. One of those truths is learning to understand how an addiction actually finds its start.
Even before an addiction manifests into some kind of compulsive behavior, the damage has mostly likely already happened in the mind. Why is that the case?
I think it comes down to the common denominator we all share: PAIN. Pain signifies a deeper problem going within a person’s life, just like the lights on the dashboard of the car indicate the need for an oil change or an overheated engine.
When pain in a person’s life is tended to in a healthy way, that person has all the potential to grow and become better from the experience. But when pain is ignored, buried, stuffed down, it doesn’t go away. It begins to infect the entire person. And so people medicate with substances, pornography, or whatever they can get their hands on in an attempt to ease the pain.
Pain, while being an excellent indicator of a problem, can also be interpreted the wrong way as well. Because of how powerful pain can be physically, emotionally, and psychologically, it can also cause us to develop beliefs about ourselves that aren’t true. And so we begin to buy into lies about ourselves and others.
As Christians, this can most certainly bleed over into our spiritual lives as well. When we’re hurting, we’re vulnerable and so oftentimes what happens is that the enemy of our souls, the devil, comes in and whispers lies to us. Remember, he is called the Father of lies for a reason. It’s about the only thing he’s good at.
I love this quote from Pastor Chris Hodges:
“Any time we’ve fallen into the hands of the enemy, it isn’t because he forced it, it’s because we believed it. The devil attacks by putting lies into our mind that we believe.”
How true this can be! Just think about how easy is it to believe even the slightest suggestion of something that isn’t real verses really buying in and committing to the truth. Oftentimes, it takes us effort to really believe in what is true. And I believe this is a good thing because being a person of truth is worth it.
Ephesians 6 takes this so seriously as to suggest that we should be wearing specific armor to fight the battle over our lives:
“Embrace the power of salvation’s full deliverance, like a helmet to protect your thoughts from lies.” (Ephesians 6:17)
But just a few verses earlier, a command is given to us in order to win the hard fought battles against lies:
“Put on truth as a belt to strengthen you to stand in triumph.” (Ephesians 6:14)
I believe for many, this could very well be the starting place for their addiction: Unhealed pain which manifests in unhealthy core beliefs about one’s self. A wound that begins in the heart and travels north to the brain where other voices and opinions are entertained. After a while, agreements and assumptions are made. A scenario that never could have been conceived of before is now imagined and believed to be true. Before you know it, you have believed a lie, which only takes you further down the path of pain. And the cycle continues.
Small Groups Online helps to surround you with a community of men or women who will encourage you with truth. You will have the opportunity to meet weekly in a safe and secure online meeting space via Zoom to help you process the pain you’re walking through. SGO is both affordable and effective and will help get you started in recovery the right way. Check it out today.
Truth has to be something we CHOOSE each day. Despite all that we’ve faced and the pain that we’ve walked through, the choice is still ours to make. No one else is responsible and no one else can make that choice. Scripture is clear that it’s through God and His word that we are victorious against the lies that we’ve believed. Lies don’t have to control us or dictate our future.
Frank is passionate about helping individuals live with sexual integrity. He also works alongside his wife Tracey in helping spouses who have been devastated by their partner’s addiction. Frank & Tracey live in beautiful southern Delaware with their two children: Nathan and Addison.