The vicious cycle of addiction: it truly is vicious in every sense of the word. It rips lives apart, rips families apart, it destroys futures and leaves the addict alone and empty inside. However, there is HOPE! The hope lies in the fact that one does not need to continue in the cycle of addiction. God has promised a way of escape. Freedom is possible for YOU.
In review of Part 1 of the blog post on “The Vicious Cycle”, the cycle starts with “Triggers” and ends with “Abstinence”, then typically repeats itself. However, the Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (NASB). I want to emphasize that [tweet_dis]God ALWAYS makes a way of escape[/tweet_dis] when we are tempted. You must start looking for the way of escape when temptation comes your way. It may be a paradigm shift for you to start looking for the way of escape rather than focusing on the temptation.
In Part 1 (http://wp.me/p122Xf-2m ) I defined the stages of triggers, tempting thoughts, SUDS (seemingly unimportant decisions), and indulgence. I also gave some thoughts to consider concerning ways of escape and questions to ask yourself and to ask Father God. Let’s take one more look at the diagram of the cycle of addiction. I will then address the final stages.
As I walk you through these final stages of the cycle of addiction I want to show you what to look for, and how to prepare ahead of time to find God’s escape route. With each stage of the cycle of addiction, God DOES provide a way of escape.
Defeated Interpretations is when we feel we have broken our promises to ourselves. We justify that we may as well continue sinning since we already indulged. We messed up so we might as well indulge in a big way.
Eventually we move to guilt which prolongs defeated thoughts.
A note about repentance. Repentance is not being sorry you got caught in some activity. True repentance is a godly sorrow over your sin. It is a change of heart and mind that leads to a change in action and attitude. Simply being sorry for your sin does not cause change, but rather a genuine remorse that you have grieved a loving God. If you do not sense this true repentance within your heart, ask God to give you a repentant heart. He will answer your prayer.
Move into penance to try to do good to make up for what we did that was bad. Try to get ourselves “clean”.
This leads to a time of abstinence. And the cycle tends to repeats itself.
After taking a look at the stages of the addiction cycle, can you recognize this cycle taking place in your life? Is it making sense how an initial trigger spirals into the entire acting out process (indulging), then to its repercussions and back to the beginning of the cycle? There is a “starting point” that is prior to the actual acting out. Sometimes there is an extended period of time between the trigger and the acting out, other times it happens very quickly. However, there is a space of time. What are you going to do with that time?
Again, I remind you of the Bible verse in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that assures us that God has a way of escape for us. In all of these stages of the addiction cycle, there are ways of escape and you need to watch for them. If you are mindlessly going to stay in the cycle and have not thought through these stages of addiction, you will continue to repeat the cycle and not even notice the escape routes as you pass them. In order to succeed in finding the escape routes, you must
ABOVE ALL, the planning and actions that you take need to be done with wisdom and strength from Father God. He is the One who can help you see the escape routes and give you the strength to use the escape routes.
Have you found escape routes to help you out of the cycle of addiction? Any creative ideas that have helped you? I encourage you to leave your ideas in the comment section of this blog post. Your creative solutions may help someone else find their escape route.
I leave you with a verse from the Bible that has encouraged me many times. In Philippians 1:6 it says “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (NIV).
God has begun a work in you; He has promised to complete what He starts. He will not give up on you. Don’t give up on yourself!