Actions are a state of doing, where behaviors are a state of being.
Questions I’d like to think about today:
- Why is it important to think about addictive behaviors and addictive actions?
- Isn’t it the action that I need to flee from?
- What do my behaviors have to do with acting out in my addiction?
- How does this all apply to the Addiction Recovery Relationship?
To review, the addiction recovery relationship is A leads to B and B leads to C: where A is debilitating negative emotions, B is lust and C is sexually acting out.
If I’m following the same format for behaviors and actions, then, it would look like this: A, addictive behaviors lead to B, addictive actions.
Where do the addictive behaviors fit in the ABC equation?
According to Rhyll Croshaw, addictive behaviors include the following:
- being dishonest
- acting like a victim
- being emotionally disconnected
- being easily angered
- showing a lack of empathy
Addictive actions include:
- acting out sexually by viewing pornography
- engaging in any other sexual relationship outside of the marital relationship
When someone is in true recovery, the behaviors, and thus, the actions, don’t exist – they disappear.
If the behaviors are still present, recovery is absent.
Addictive behaviors, then, seem to be closely tied to the A of Debilitating Negative Emotions, or:
Debilitating Negative Emotions => Addictive Behaviors
As I have negative emotions like fear, anxiety, stress, loneliness, anger, resentment, confusion, sadness, or shame, these feelings then trigger the addictive behaviors of acting like a victim, becoming emotionally disconnected, hiding, becoming easily angered, minimizing my true feelings and actions, denying that anything is even wrong, blaming others for my issues, and showing a lack of empathy and understanding of how others feel.
These feelings and then behaviors lead to the B in the addiction recovery relationship, the Lust.
When we try to use food or sex to reduce isolation, loneliness, insecurity, fear, tension, or to cover our emotions, make us feel alive, help us escape, or satisfy our God hunger, we create an unnatural appetite that misuses and abuses the natural instinct.
Lust is the weapon used to try to hide, cover up, or cope with negative feelings and emotions. The addictive behaviors are the start of the transition from A to B in the Addiction Recovery Relationship. First I feel the feelings and emotions, then I try to cope with them via addictive behaviors, next I use objectifying, browsing, sex, fantasy, and other triggers (lust) to reduce the feelings of isolation, loneliness, insecurity, fear, tension, etc. This is the false drug – the pacifier in coping with feelings – the “quick fix.” As lust raises its ugly head via addictive behaviors, it’s only a matter of time before I’ve fallen back into the C of the relationship – the sexually acting out. And thus goes the addictive cycle…
It all seems so clear.
What, then, is recovery and how can I replace the venomous equation above with one that will keep me closely connected to God, to my wife, and to the things that are most important to me?
What’s the opposite of the Addiction Recovery Relationship?
One thing that’s certain is the A (debilitating negative emotions) is always going to be there, or at least those feelings are going to come from time to time despite all of my best efforts.
Feelings are part of the mortal journey.
I don’t know for sure, but I feel even Christ had feelings that he had to deal with. When he threw out the salesman at the temple, he had to be somewhat frustrated. As he dealt with the hypocritical Pharisees and sadducees, he had to at times get impatient.
But how did he deal with these negative feelings?
He surrendered to God. He submitted His will to the will of the Father.
And he practiced recovery behaviors – although he wasn’t recovering from anything.
Recovery behaviors include:
- being honest
- being respectful
- showing kindness
- being accountable
- emotionally available
Recovery actions include:
- attending 12-Step meetings
- going to therapy
- working the steps
- reading about recovery
- ongoing daily inventory & writing
- helping others (Step 12)
The Real Recovery Relationship, then, is as follows:
A leads to B and B leads to C where A is the same, debilitating negative emotions; B is a recognition of what one is feeling (Awareness); and C is a surrender to oneself, to a higher power and potentially to someone else that you trust will have your best interest in mind. B and C can be broken down even further with recovery behaviors and recovery actions.
B, the recognition of what one is feeling, is all about recovery behaviors: honesty, respect, kindness, accountability, patience, and being emotionally available. These characteristics will then naturally lead to the C of surrender and recovery actions: 12-step meetings, therapy, working the steps, reading about recovery, ongoing daily inventory and writing, and wanting to help others in their own recovery and discovery.
These are the true ingredients of addiction recovery.
Yes, scripture study, prayer, and other “seminary answers” can be helpful, but true recovery from addiction requires these other steps if one really wants to heal.
These are my thoughts for today.
What do you think about them? Comment below!