99Relapses Podcast Episode #23 Part IV- The Addicted Brain (Function)

Hi, I’m James Egidio your host of the 99relapses podcast. The podcast that moves you from recovery to discovery through the grace and mercy of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. This is episode number 23. Part four of the addicted brain function. And this is the final episode of this four part series. Just to recap, episode number 22, I compared and contrasted the function of the normal brain in the limbic system that is versus the traumatized or stressed or addicted limbic system. And in this final episode of this four-part series, I will conclude with the function of the addicted brain or the limbic system of the brain. The addicted brain or what’s called the reward deficiency brain. processes, various events that come through our senses and are relayed to various parts of the brain. And the limbic system colors or tags, these events. By processing them with a response as either safe or dangerous. As I had mentioned the fight or flight response, or even the freeze response. And if process is dangerous. Big because of trauma. Both real or imagined it reacts by creating anxiety or depression. And in episode number 20, titled the addicted brain structure. I mentioned that the limbic system does not have a memory like the neocortex, which is the front of the brain, that another section of the brain that I had mentioned in episode number 20 so in essence, the limbic system. Cannot distinguish the difference between yesterday and 30 years ago. I also mentioned this in a previous episode and this explains why some of our childhood traumas still trigger us today. If any event is tagged or processed having to do with survival that is that fight or flight response or that freeze response the limbic system. Will create or can create a focus craving for a behavior that’s associated with survival in the past or that survival response in the past fight or flight response and this craving focuses our attention on that behavior. Until. We feel safer, normal. And again, We usually turn to some addictive behavior or substance. And this is how an addiction is created. Now the takeaway from all this is that a lot of times addiction is not about when it comes to substance abuse, getting high. But it’s more of a way to feel normal and free from that stress. That comes on through that fight or flight response through the limbic system. The conscious mind or cortex learns to cooperate with the survival behavior that is the addiction and it protects it from being challenged by a filtering process called denial. So you’ll find that when a lot of people are struggling with an addiction where or may have even struggled with an addiction and you’re in the middle of an out of control addiction that is you’ll end up. A lot of times being in denial about that. And especially when there’s intervention involved. And this of course results in the addicted brain. When you’re in a state of fear, anxiety, or stress the limbic system kicks in and works independently from your conscious mind and this explains why we, a lot of times, do the things that we don’t want to do. The best example of this where the limbic system is programmed. Or has become programmed is when, let’s say for instance, you grew up in a dysfunctional family that resulted in feelings of vulnerability, hurt, abandonment, and even isolation. So the way this works is in order to survive in that type of environment, day after day. Your brain’s limbic system becomes programmed to believe that you don’t need anybody, then you’re not vulnerable. And if you’re not vulnerable, you won’t get hurt. And of course this in turn allows the limbic system to respond with an automatic flight, fight or freeze response to these perceived fears of vulnerability. So what happens is the limbic system response automatically and even subconsciously when trust issues come up. And then the limbic system even react as it was programmed throughout childhood, responding with that anxiety that overreacting. To perceived fear or vulnerabilities. The next thing I want to talk about is what’s called the Limbic Lag and the way this works. Is. Even though you may have discovered an experience, false beliefs. And I talked about false beliefs in episodes, number 15 through 17, and I highly encourage you the listener to go back and listen to those episodes on false beliefs and true beliefs. Belief systems. And. Like I said the way this works. Is with uncovered lies. And a new truth. Takes place. Okay. So you’re in childhood. These false beliefs come from lies that may have been told to you and from the time that you learned those false beliefs or even those true beliefs, but primarily the false beliefs there’s a time lag between what your limbic system believes and what your neocortex again, the neocortex is the front of the brain that stores the memory has learned. And this is called the Limbic Lag. And this is a process. That can be anywhere from a couple of months to years. But it does become and does get shorter as you continue to challenge those false beliefs The way you challenge those false beliefs and those traumatic memories is through risk. And that risk is moving toward those fears. Now you have to remember. As I had mentioned in previous episodes, that change. That you have to make to overcome those false beliefs comes from risk and risk of course comes from faith. And that faith comes from trusting in Jesus Christ in all situations in your life. And one of the best bible verses when it comes to trusting Jesus speaks volumes. In Matthew 14:24-31 and it reads. meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble, far away from land. For a strong wind had risen and they were fighting heavy waves. And about three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water. They were terrified. In their fear, they cried out. It’s a ghost! But Jesus spoke to them at once. Don’t be afraid. He said, Take courage. I am here. Then Peter called to him, Lord. If it’s really, you tell me to come to you. Walking on the water. Yes come. Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. Save me, Lord. He shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. You have so little faith. Jesus said. Why did you doubt me? And that verse speaks volumes, When you’re going through the middle of an addiction and you’re going through that storm, depression, anxiety and those hopeless feelings and you take your eyes off Jesus you become very anxious, depressed and hopeless. And I can’t emphasize it enough that keeping your eyes on the Lord through your addiction and even without addiction, that is, so important to get through these storms in life. And like I said, I can’t emphasize that enough. For your sobriety. The. The other verse that I would like to share with you comes from 2Timothy 1:6-7. And that reads. This is why remind you to fan into the flames, the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power love. And self-discipline. So that’s another bible verse to keep in mind when you’re going through the storms of addiction through the anxiety and the fear. Another characteristic of the limbic system is that as anxiety and fear increase the limbic system will focus on the addictive behavior. And it will use that addictive behavior as a comfort mechanism. And. It’s used. For past events to make that fear subside. So it becomes like a safety net that addiction does. And this is called craving and. The important thing to take away from this is that with the new identity based on new beliefs you can change this pattern and reprogram your limbic system. Addictions don’t actually make the fear go away they only anesthetize the awareness of it. And you may have even heard that expression numbing the pain with, you could fill in the blank on that. And that’s all it does. That’s all these addictions do is they just numb the pain? You’ve hear people say that all the time that are addicted and change happens one decision at a time and when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior through your addiction and I had an episode that I did. With a gentleman by the name of Paul Ganger and we talked about that we talked about how it’s baby steps when it comes to addiction and accepting faith through your addiction. So the thing to keep in mind is that again, These changes happen one decision at a time. No matter what your emotions tell you would feel good to do through drugs, alcohol, pornography, food, or whatever listen to what your mind knows and capture those thoughts and do what is best or right and this is even illustrated in 2 Corinthians 10:5 which reads. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture the rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey God. So not trusting or being able to bond. With others as I mentioned in earlier episodes. That whole thing about support structures with other people leads to a lot of fear, anxiety and loneliness. And even isolation, even self gratification. The thing to remember is since the heart is negatively programed through these hurtful experiences with others. It must be healed through opposite experiences. And I’ll even talk about that with forgiveness because forgiveness plays a huge role in overcoming anxiety, loneliness and isolation that addicted individuals tend to do. We Isolate ourselves from other people when we can’t get our needs met from others, we learn to self gratify and self-medicate. And addiction stems from this self-gratification in this rebellion and in the end what ends up happening is we heard ourselves and loved ones and as I said before in previous episodes, it leads to a multitude of sins and this is why recovery that heals and what drives self-destructive behavior is a process of learning to trust again that’s so important to keep in mind. The main thing is there’s hope. And that hope comes from Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior. I just want to thank you so much for joining me in this four part series on the brain. On the structure and function of the brain. That is episodes 23, 24. And I just really appreciate you listening to the 99 relapses podcast. Thank you for joining me this episode of the 99 relapses podcast. For current podcast episodes, episode show notes, episode memory verses as well as episode recovery lessons and tools. Go to the 99 relapses podcast. That’s the number 99 relapses.org. That’s the number 99 relapses.org. Also, if you’d like to make a prayer request for yourself, family or friend. Please do not hesitate to email me your prayer requests, at 99Relapses. Again, that’s the number 99 relapses. And do not forget to like me on Facebook. Also as a side note, if you have an interesting story to share about how God has changed your life through addiction and recovery or you’re an expert in the field of Christian addiction and recovery, you published a book, a podcast or a website, and we’d like to be featured as a guest on the 99 relapses podcast. Please email me any time at James@99relapses.org and I’ll respond within 24. To 48 hours thank you so much and God Bless