The Jumanji Of Addiction.
The Cycle of Addictive Behavior
The addictive compulsive personality gains experience through making the same mistakes many many times through the same door that changes positions on an irregular bases. The inhibitors in the brain that send messages telling us for example, I’ve had enough to eat, I’ve had enough exercise, I’ve had enough fun, sleep, work and dozens of other activities, in a healthy balanced person keep them form overdoing life. They know when enough is enough. The motto, “all things in moderation” seems to fit well with the healthy balanced person.
One of the telling aspects of an individual stuck in the cycle of compulsive behavior is their inability to deny themselves gratification until a later date. The , “I want it now and I want it supersized and I want seconds and even thirds and I want thirds before anyone else has their first” mentality, is a plague of this latter generation. We see the effects of this on a national scale as politicians and other leaders of business now in a position of power, have such an insatiable appetite for more money than they could ever spend, more power than they could ever handle with less responsibility and no accountability.
Historically, along with the golden rule regarding how others are to be treated, was the lesson of self denial. Self restraint is now a memory. Gone are the days when chastity before marriage and complete fidelity after marriage was the order of the day. We can clearly see the coming collapse caused by amoral and immoral termites as they have chipped away at the national foundation, the traditional family. It seems that the entire nation is now suffering the addictive cycle of compulsive behavior.
My intent in this chapter is to help those stuck in the cycle of addictive behavior break this pattern. Growing up, I thought I could resist anything except temptation. I wanted to do the right thing, I was powerless once tempted to turn away. In the movie Jumanji, Robin Williams was sucked into the board game and didn’t resurface for 10 years. Once the game started it had to be finished. In the bible 1st Corinthians 10:13 it reads, “There is no temptation taken you which is common to man.” In other words , you don’t get an extra dose over and above anyone else. You are not special that way, it’s the same for everyone. When I was younger I knew boys my same age that didn’t seem to suffer the degree of opposition that I did in the way of temptation.
With my upbringing I was taught to compulsively satisfy cravings the instant the idea or suggestion appeared. Thus fighting became a compulsion and instant reaction for me.
Continuing with the previous verse, “but God is faithful and will with temptation make a way for you to escape that you may be able to bear it.” Here is the key to recovery and survival for the compulsive personality. There will always be a warning! I repeat, there will always be a warning! In the movie Jumanji, the two kids were warned of the impending danger with the sound of the drum beat. Instead of throwing the game away, they were tempted and they hesitated. Once they rolled the dice it was too late to turn back.
As I have recovered from addiction and the learned behavior of a compulsive personality, the counsel from God to “wait a little longer” has been a powerful ingredient in my recovery. You see, as we have been trained in the destruction of immediate gratification, we didn’t know yet that we had power. Our very addictive nature caused us to give in without resistance. When temptation came, so did the cloud of darkness to gross darken our mind. In the very beginning of the temptation, one needs to just wait a little longer. With the passion of temptation the power of reason flees. Our ability to think is swallowed up in the passion . In the first few moments of a temptation, the surge seems overwhelming. We must train ourselves to wait a little longer. As we wait and do not act immediately on the temptation, the surge will begin to diminish. We will notice reason will return almost spontaneously. At that point we become a free agent once again. Once we can think again, our ability to turn away is strengthened. Those who have been early navigators away from the drum beat of temptation , may never experience the surge that the compulsive personality suffers under. This does not make them less experienced with temptation, their experience has just been different than ours. God is faithful; he warns us ahead of the temptation, we have had to learn through many difficult trials over many years. The very power to resist is only strengthened by exercising the freedom to resist.
The city of Phoenix is surrounded by flash flood canals. About every 100 yards there are warning signs. “Danger flash floods” A few years ago I watched in horror as three grown men entered the canal to body surf during a rain storm. They were having the time of their lives sliding down the canal at about 30 miles an hour. When they attempted to extricate themselves from the fast moving water is when reality began to set in. The water was moving too fast and the canal walls were too steep. They were powerless against the elements. The county tried and tried to rescue them but failed for the most part. Every few hundred yards the rescue workers stretched nylon netting across the canal to try and snag those trapped by the current. After several failed attempts the victims had very little strength left to hold on. One lucky survivor was pulled from the current at the very last minute. He was stripped naked by the rapids and stumbled into the waiting arms of his frantic and grateful wife.
With one net left to grab, the final attempt by the last victim only lasted a brief moment. His resignation to his fate was witnessed by his wife and screaming children as he submerged into the underground tunnel and was found the next day in the dry lake bed where the water left his lifeless body.
The addictive personality has to learn through trial and error to heed the early warning signs. When we see the sign or hear the drum beat, then is the time to turn away. Hesitation will only suck us into the current and then spit our lifeless soul into the empty lake bed of despair. It almost seems an impossible task this road to recovery. This is usually because of hundreds of failed attempts. This pattern of failure can be changed into a pattern of success. There have been times in the early days of my recovery that I didn’t have the human strength to hold on. It seemed that as my human strength was ebbing and I had nothing left to hold on with, I felt His hands holding on for me. His grace is sufficient. As a matter of fact, his grace is always sufficient and it is always within reach. When we have used all we have which is little , then we feel his enabling power, which helps us hold on a little tighter and also a little longer. Learning to heed the early warning signs is one way of showing our gratitude and our trust in His rescuing hands.