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When you keep doing what you hate

10.7.12 Journal Blog post about my experience counseling in the inner city (For more context- please refer to Corporate Girl in an Inner City World)

 

What do you do when you keep doing what you hate?

Maybe it’s a hard core addiction- drugs, alcohol, porn, smoking, sex, an eating disorder…or maybe it’s a little more subtle like overeating, overspending, pride, an unhealthy on and off dating relatioship, serial dating, finding yourself attracted to the wrong type of person….you name it.

If you’re honest, it’s seriously impacting your job, your daily life, your spirit… your body and relationships…

What is addiction and why is it so hard to break??

 

The Anatomy of Addiction

Over the past two years, I’ve devoted myself to learning the inner workings of addiction and therapy in my doctorate program for psychology but the truth is, I’ve always had an ongoing fascination with the anatomy of addiction. What is addiction? Why is it so hard to break?

What causes someone in a domestic violence relationship to stay? How does a liquid (alcohol) have the ability to literally ruin a person’s life?

Why can pictures (pornography) destroy a man and his family? What causes someone to sit drapped over a toilet for hours in a day purging (bulimia) in fear of gaining weight?

Why??

Then I learned about the science behind addiction and took courses in neuropsychology and substance abuse…and I realized that when we open the door to start consuming an addictive substance or start an addictive behavior, we open the door to have our own bodies begin to start working against ourselves.

Yea, that’s right– our bodies react to addictive substances and behavior by locking us into a pattern that is very hard to break on our own.

Let’s put aside for a moment, the spiritual ramifications of ‘sin’ or the spiritual concept of ‘strongholds’…let’s put aside the exploration of why a person would even ’open the door’ in the first place….

The key here is that the brain is highly prone to addiction.

A quick science lesson: How does the brain get addicted?   (Reference: Addiction and the Brain’s Pleasure Pathway: Beyond Willpower by Nora D. Volkow, M.D.)

  • A person takes a drug of abuse, be it marijuana or cocaine or even alcohol,
    activating the same brain circuits as do behaviors linked to survival, such as
    eating, bonding and sex. The drug causes a surge in levels of a brain chemical
    called dopamine, which results in feelings of pleasure. The brain remembers this
    pleasure and wants it repeated.
  • Just as food is linked to survival in day-to-day living, drugs begin to take
    on the same significance for the addict. The need to obtain and take drugs
    becomes more important than any other need, including truly vital behaviors like
    eating. The addict no longer seeks the drug for pleasure, but for relieving
    distress.
  • Eventually, the drive to seek and use the drug is all that matters, despite
    devastating consequences.
  • Finally, control and choice and everything that once held value in a
    person’s life, such as family, job and community, are lost to the disease of
    addiction.

This is the very reason why things that seem somewhat harmless like porn can be as addictive as drugs because it impacts the brain the same way!

 

Forces at Play

Two forces I see as particularly strong in holding someone in addiction – drugs and sex.

With drugs, your body is working against you (as explained above). Sexual addiction works similarly but there’s something even stronger than the body that is at play!

In my blog article, “White as Snow: Sexual Healing,” I write –

“Firstly, sex is a spiritual experience. And in that spiritual experience, it was designed to unite two souls. It was designed for marriage…to make two become ‘one flesh’…That is why divorce or breaking up with someone you have slept with or lived with can be like tearing up the soul. It can consume your mind, will and emotions much greater than if sex was not involved…

And it is so when people ’sleep around’…it is as if they become ‘one’ with many.

…It was never designed to be that way!”

As I work with women in the shelter–about 90% from domestic violence situations, the question I have is – what will it take to break this cycle of people staying in the addiction cycle especially with a domestic violence partner?

I am learning about Domestic Violence but what I really want to learn about ways to help my clients break that pattern. It isn’t simply just
something someone knows in their head about what to do or not to do (it seems logical to get away from an abuser) but it is a spiritual matter!

I believe spiritually, God created sex as a very powerful spiritual force to keep two people together (like a ‘soul tie’) and when that is taken out of the context of marriage (or maybe even for those who are married to an abuser), it can tie a woman spiritually to the wrong person!

 

 

Breaking the Sick Cycle

What results out of addiction is what I call a very “sick cycle.” When I think about divorce, when I think about what ruins marriages and families, when I think about generations passing on addictions….

this is a “sick cycle”!

Breaking it may not be easy but there is hope.

 

If you find yourself in a “sick cycle,” if you’re the one that keeps doing what you hate….

1)Find out the root issue. Firstly, my recommendation is to be thoroughly committed to your own “inner healing” journey– for more on this, please check out my blog article: Emotional Health Check This is going to be key to finding out the root issue that has been causing the negative addictive behavior or ‘symptoms’ in your life. Do not settle for just dealing with this on the surface…dig up the root so you can eradicate it from the ground up.

Keep in mind that counseling is an amazing and lifechanging resource for you to have someone alongside to help you tease out the big ‘hairball’ of history and emotions that you may find in your life!

Along with finding the root issue, is understanding any generational dynamics that may be at play. For more, check out my blog article: You are just like your father

2)Learn to feel. Secondly, I believe with my whole heart that a common denominator with all addictions I have encountered is the inability to properly and healthily deal with negative emotions. More on this in my blog article: Learning to Feel Again –learn to not run away, stuff, or avoid!

3)Choose Freedom. Think about the legacy you want to leave and what kind of life you want. Along with taking steps to get the help you need, it will be critical that you make the decision and resolve to choose freedom. Noone else can do this for you! For more, check out my blog article: Freedom is a Choice

 

 

Heart Check

1) What addictive substance or addictive behavior is impacting your life currently? What are some ways that it has negatively impacted your life, your body, your spirit, and your relationships?

2)What did you learn from this article about why you keep doing what you hate?

3)What is 1 thing you can do this week to make steps to choose freedom and break this ‘sick cycle’ in your life?

  • SO good! These articles need to be compiled in paper form!

    Josh

    October 21, 2012

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