Lie # 4 – You Must Fix This Addiction Yourself ~ blog
My wife sent me a TED talk to listen to yesterday. The link will be at the bottom of the email and I hope you watch it.
For over 100 years society’s approach to addictions has been to reject the addicts and condemn them. Laws were established to use incarceration for drug addicts because we made drugs and their use illegal. This was done because people believed drug addicts were a danger to themselves and to society and if we punished them and locked them up their addiction would end.
In his book – Chasing the Scream – The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, Johann Hari studies this problem of drug addiction and discovers some quite amazing things by learning what countries around the world have done and are doing.
I read this book 6 years ago and was fascinated by what I learned. And what the author learned … and what I learned from him is that our societies approach to stopping addiction by using shame and imprisonment of drug addicts has been an absolute failure and only made the drug problem worse.
Dr. Bruce Alexander did an interesting experiment and wrote about it in a book called; Addiction: The View from Rat Park. First, he took a rat and placed it in a cage with two water bottles. One filled with water and the other filled with water laced with heroin. The rat almost always preferred the water with heroin and in a short amount of time would die by overdose.
Then Alexander built a cage he called Rat Park and filled it with all kinds of things rats like to do and put a number of rats in there together. The two water bottles were there just like in the cage where the rat was alone. He discovered that none of the rats used the drug-laced water and instead busied themselves having fun in Rat Park with the other rats.
The conclusion was that it was the isolation that caused the rat to bond with the drugs when it was alone but bonded with the other rats when it was living in a community of other rats. So, from this Johann Hari draws the conclusion that
Sobriety is not Abstinence or One Trying to Stop on Their Own
Sobriety is Connection … or living in Community.
There is one country in the world that has been trying to solve their drug problem in a different way than putting people in prison. Portugal has made all drugs legal. Heroin, crack cocaine, pot … everything is legal in Portugal. Then they have taken all the money they used to use arresting and imprisoning drug addicts and instead created places where they can come to get help. They help them find jobs and tell the employer they will pay ½ of their wages for the first year if they hire the addict.
They also create a small business loan program so drug addicts could have the money to start their own businesses and employ others so that they could make a living for themselves. The result has been drug use has decreased by 50% and drug overdoses have dropped even more.
I am afraid to say it but, in many ways, churches have made the problem of sex and porn addiction even worse by causing men and women who have become addicted to sex and porn to feel extreme shame. Because sex of any kind is clearly condemned by the Bible except what is experienced between a husband and wife, those who become addicted to porn and sex feel a huge amount of condemnation.
So, many Christians slip away from fellowship into isolation and begin to live a secret life so that we can feed our addiction. We put on a mask telling people everything is fine when in reality we are being pulled into a dark world of sexual sin and have urges that never decrease but are almost always increasing. This compounds the problem where we are driven to go beyond virtual sex online to actually having sexual contact with another person.
Unfortunately, for many spouses, if this becomes discovered and it is too much for them to handle. They choose divorce instead of forgiveness and the tremendous amount of work it will take to repair the damage that sexual sin creates.
So, the addict isolates with their addiction and try to live in their cage, all alone and like the isolated rat finds themselves going back to the heroin laced water bottle. I know this full well because I lived in my isolated cage for over 8 years trying to stop my addictive behavior on my own. I could not tell anyone about my sex addiction because I was the Senior Pastor of a church and disclosure would cause me to lose my job … which I really needed to do in reality.
This is why at 180 Ministries we are trying to create safe places where men can meet, face to face using online streaming and have a place where they can be completely honest. Where we can talk about how we are really doing and instead of a week of failures being met with condemnation and rejection, we find other men who understand and are willing to help each other learn from their mistakes.
In the 180 Online Support Teams, you will find men who are progressing in their recovery from sex addiction helping one another with no condemnation. I don’t care how many falls a man has had during the week. We just want everyone to tell the truth so that we can give that person support and encouragement. We help one another learn from our mistakes and how to make better choices and urge one another to keep walking in the Spirit.
Contact me if you would like to sit in on one of our Online Support Teams to see how our community can be the solution to the addiction you have while living in isolation.
TED Talk – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY9DcIMGxMs