Last time we talked briefly about making that conscious and deliberate decision to quit ________. The importance of this step cannot be emphasized enough.
If you recognize there is a problem, admit that what you are doing is wrong, but don’t make a decision to quit doing it, the flesh will win out every time. Temptations are extremely strong when we let them roll around in our heads. There is a very thin line between thinking about doing something and actually doing it.
According to the University of Baltimore the neurons in our brains initiate thoughts and memory. Without getting too technical, a synapse which either excites or inhibits the neuron, and when a neuron is excited enough, it causes action such as winking at a girl or reaching for a cupcake. This is why making a conscious decision to accomplish a goal – breaking an addiction – is imperative to literally accomplishing it.
We also talked about recognizing that God is in control. When we relinquish the reins of this addiction to Him, then we are setting our expectations high that God will take over the process of breaking the habit. Each and every time the thought of this addiction appears in our thoughts, we must take it to God, lay it at His feet and expect Him to cut the wires which are attaching it to our thoughts.
Numerous stimuli can create a longing for whatever we are addicted to. Our adult brains have about one trillion (1012) nerve cells with each one of those attached to about 20,000 other cells. No wonder smashing our thumbs with a hammer hurts so badly, and no wonder a smell or a sound can excite to action. Our brains can create a well-traveled pathway toward our addiction in less than 30 days. It takes at least 40 days to break that path. Therefore, no one is perfect, and we are usually our own worst critics, so don’t beat yourself up if you slip up.
Ask yourself this—Do you want to be a slave to _________? Why let something inanimate enslave an otherwise beautiful human created in God’s image? Is there anything else you would rather do with the money you are spending on ________? Do you really want to go through all this pain again?
Once you have completely decided and determined to quit, then there are some things that you must do to ensure your success.
[ ] Tell someone you intend to destroy all sources to your addiction, and to take serious preventative measures. (Food addiction is a little different, but you still must have an accountability partner. Make sure they come do a surprise spot check at least once a week to check your cabinets for junk food.) Ask them to follow-up on your plan (share this plan with them). You can find groups and people to share this with in the links area. A good source of help is your pastor or priest. If you are not attending church regularly, then be honest and tell them you need help with this addiction now and perhaps the church thing later. Make no mistake, your church family can be a super resource for you.
[ ] With complete reckless abandon, scour your house and DESTROY all things related to the addiction. (This means literal destruction – It does not mean give to your friends or sell to others, or leave it so someone else can find it – even by accident at the city dump). Choose a destruction method so the materials can no longer be used for their intended purpose, and can NOT be repaired. Take these same actions if you happen store pornography in a storage unit or somewhere else other than your home.
[ ] Destroy credit cards that facilitate the use of the addiction.
[ ] Destroy personal items that remind you of a life that you wish to leave.
[ ] Destroy video rental cards.
[ ] Destroy Photos that remind you of addictive encounters.
[ ] Destroy business cards that remind you of a past you wish to leave.
[ ] Delete electronic email addresses from your computer or online email to cut off your access to those with whom you've been in unhealthy affairs,etc.
[ ] Destroy books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, posters, calendars, clothes, paraphernalia that support addictive/sinful behavior of any sort. Replace the car scent thing that could trigger an unhealthy thought process.
[ ] Take your computer and put it in FULL VIEW IN THE MOST occupied place in your home. Addictions of sexual nature thrive in the dark – Get your computer out of the shadows.
[ ] Destroy all software that supports the habit – gambling software, games, sex related games, etc.
[ ] Completely scour your computer and destroy all references to things that support the habit, websites (favorites or bookmarks), photos, email addresses, websites you have created, recipes for unhealthy food, get off ALL mailing lists that help support your addiction. Delete all electronic cookies. Leave no stone unturned, because when you least expect it anything could trigger a relapse. Think about it, do you really want to go through all this again?
[ ] Get an internet filter and use it. Just remember that you can override any filter so it will be only as good as you allow it to be.
[ ] Place a block with your phone company on any 900 phone calls.
[ ] Delete any email accounts where you receive any questionable materials. Cancel all subscriptions to any questionable material. Call Sports Illustrated and get them to alter your subscription so you do not receive the swim suit issue but all other issues. (You will be glad you did!) Cancel catalog subscriptions like Victoria Secret or Taste of Home for food addicts. Get a new cell phone number if you have texts or phone calls from questionable sources.
[ ] If your addiction is with someone other than your wife or husband, do everything within your power to restore your marriage. Call upon the power of God for restoration. (You will have to earn their trust back, but it will be worth it.)
[ ] You must admit that you are deluding yourself with any “safer sites,” so you and you alone have the responsibility to do something about this little sneaky/peeky game that leads you to something worse. It is precisely like an alcoholic saying “I won't drink, I'll just lick the outside of this glass of rum”. You wouldn't drink just a “safe” amount of arsnic, would you?
Most importantly – Develop a spiritual hunger for God – the closer you draw to God, the less and less you will want ______________. Learn to seek God every day with your whole heart and mind. Ask Him to help you do this. That will take a lot of work up front, but as you draw closer to God, you will notice a marvelous thing happen. Your hunger for Him intensifies and you will look forward to your times with Him.
An excellent resouce is Setting Captives Free where there are some great 60 courses for freedom from self-mutilation, freedom from bad eating habits, freedom from pornography and several others.
Next time, we’ll look at some Scripture that will help us guard against the addiction.