The Addiction Cycle

The first step in gaining freedom is to understand some of the dynamics of addiction. The addiction cycle describes the reoccurring process that takes place as we struggle with our addictions. It begins with stress.

Addiction Cycle

Stress is caused by a variety of things that we encounter in life and can come from past or present experiences and circumstances. Some examples of stressors are: the expectations of others, fear of rejection, lack of sleep, school, anger, relationships and a fear of failure. There are many stressors out there, but this short list is to give you a feel for what they look like.

"Acting out" are the behaviors we do in trying to relieve our stress in inappropriate, destructive ways. As Christians this is what we call sin. Its where we look to other things or people, rather than God, to find life. One recovering alcoholic once said that anything you look to for life becomes your god. Once again some of the ways of acting out could be an indulgence or over indulgence in Facebook, chocolate, TV, pornography, food, drugs, gambling, self-stimulation, fantasizing about a romantic relationship, sports, etc...

After acting out there is usually immediate guilt and remorse, due to the fact that we know what is sin and we feel badly about sinning. This leads to shame and depression where we move from feeling badly about the act to feeling badly about ourselves. We feel like failures and slide into depression. As a way to rebalance and climb out of our depression we tend to make recommitments, "I will never do that again," or, "I'll get help this time." These recommitments drive us to want to perform better. Having to perform is always stressful and we find ourselves back accumulating stress, which drives us to acting out, and the cycle begins anew.

So how do we break out of the addiction cycle? Read on.

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