Three Taverns Church

Question 20: Have I evaluated why I am in the Addiction Cycle?


This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself in the Addiction Cycle. If you do not stop to evaluate why you are in the Cycle you will not learn from your mistakes and you will repeat them again in the future. When you find yourself in the Cycle you need to mentally review your day to see where you failed. Some questions you can ask yourself are:

  • Which of the 8 Steps did I fail to work effectively?
  • What was it about the trigger that sent me into the Addiction Cycle?
  • What was I feeling just prior to entering the Cycle?
  • Why do I honestly think I am in the Addiction Cycle now?

Asking that last question is very hard because if you are honest with yourself you will find that you allowed yourself to enter the Addiction Cycle; you wanted to act out. It’s OK, I’ve been there. Heck, I am still ‘there’. You remember that woman across the street from my office? I still find myself glancing at her window from time to time because there’s a part of me that hopes she will be there again.

If you are honest about why you are in the Cycle, even if you act out, you have a greater chance for long-term healing and success. This same principle applies to your efforts to diet, to watch less TV, and to exercise more. Let me give you an example.

There are many days I do not want to work out and it is easy to offer up simple rationalizations: I’m too tired; I’m too busy; there’s not enough time for a ‘good’ workout; I’m too hungry/full…the list goes on. If I have the courage to ask myself why I missed a workout these answers may come to mind first, but if I keep asking I’ll get the real answer: When I miss a workout I am being lazy.

Today’s Challenge: Think back to the last time you were in the Addiction Cycle or the last time you failed to meet a personal goal. Ask yourself, “Why did I fail? Why did I fall back into the addiction Cycle?”

7 thoughts on “Question 20: Have I evaluated why I am in the Addiction Cycle?

  1. When one does/or thinks to do an action or behavior they consider negative or wrong but they do it anyway, s/he might find resolution in changing that habit by answering the question, “WHAT AM I AFRAID OF”. In your case, rabidmongoose, regarding your addiction to pornography, when you “feel triggered” by a situation, right then and there ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” Your thinking might go something like this:
    Q. “What am I afraid of?”
    A. “I’m afraid that I am too weak to resist this bad, wrong, sinful behavior.”
    Q. “What am I afraid of?”
    A. “I’m afraid that my weakness causes me to be out of control. I am afraid to be ‘out of control’ of my behavior. I am afraid to think of myself and have others think of me as bad, wrong, and sinful. I am afraid not to be perfect. If I am not perfect then I am not as great as I think I am.”
    Q. “What am I afraid of?”
    A. “I am afraid that if I give in to this bad, wrong, sinful behavior I am bad, wrong, and sinful. My wife, my friends, my family, my coworkers, the people at church, all people who know me, including myself, will know that I am not someone that they will like and want to be associated with. I am afraid that I will be rejected by them. I am afraid of needing to reject myself. Even God might reject me.”
    Q. “What am I afraid of?”
    A. “I am afraid of being rejected. I feel shame and guilt. I feel small and out of control. I am aftaid of my feelings. I am afraid to be vulnerable. I am afraid of feeling vulnerable and weak. I am afraid of being out of control. I am afraid that I can’t fix this situation. I am afraid that I might be like this the rest of my life. I am afraid this might lead to major relationship losses in my life. I am afraid of hiding my insecurities about this. I am afraid that I might never be healed of this.”
    Q. “What am I afraid of?”
    A. “I am afraid of being a failure. I am afraid I will be a failure at my job(s), in my marriage, in my parenting, with my health and intellectual capacities. I am afraid that I will not be loved by those I want to love me, those who are closest to me.” I am afraid of being isolated and alone. I am afraid of being unloveable.”
    Q. “What am I afraid of?”
    A. “I am afraid that I am unloveable. Even I don’t love myself! I am worthless and hopeless.”
    Q. “What am I afraid of?”
    A. “I am afraid that there is NO LOVE FOR ME. ;( And that makes me feel sad 😦

    Can you see how asking the question “WHAT AM I AFRAID OF?” can uncover buried, subcnscious thoughts that trigger deep-seated negative (fear-related) feelings that are present in the mind. The “trigger” triggers the underlying currents of thought, which are translated into feelings that are uncomfortable when they start to surface, still subconscious yet perhaps felt in the body. One ‘gets the itch’. That underlying feeling needs to be suppressed by engaging in some form of “relief”, some behavior that WE HAVE the power to use—-that unacceptable and/or unhealthy, “bad”, wrong and/or sinful behavior.

    Try it sometime, right when you feel the temptation. Right away, ask yourself,”What am I afraid of?” Feel your feelings. Then follow them back to the thought(s) behind the feeling.

  2. Fantastic! This is pretty much a blog post unto itself, and should probably be re-posted that way in the future. I’ve used this technique in the past and it is a really powerful tool, as you have powerfully shown. I know that what I’m afraid of is being alone and unaccepted, and that I have almost no relationship with myself. These are things I am working on.

    I would challenge you, Mary, to speak in terms of what you are afraid of rather than trying to guess what it is I am afraid of. It will be much easier for you to share your insights into your own feelings and challenges. Thank you for the terrific response!

    • I wasn’t speaking about myself. I was speaking in general terms to you. I addressed it to you because you are mentioning examples from your own life that seem personal and current. So I am responding back at that level. If you read your blog back to yourself, your personal examples seem current. And, of course you are talking about your experiences with references to other people in your family, and in the context of “ongoing” struggles and addiction.

      • Totally understand…what I’m asking is that rather than trying to use ‘general terms’ or speaking at ‘my level’, I would encourage you to speak at your level. share your own struggles and stories. I think that would really encourage others!

      • I don’t consider it appropriate to broadcast my personal life over the internet.

  3. Hey, RM. Thanks for being inappropriate. You’re helping more people than you’ll ever realize.
    Hey, Mary. Ask yourself this question: “What am I afraid of?” You may be missing out on an opportunity to help more people (or yourself) than you’ll ever realize! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s