99Relapses Podcast Episode #6 Part I- Show Transcript

Hi, I’m James Egidio welcome to the 99 relapses 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 six, titled 5 Characteristics of Addiction.

In this episode, I’ll start by defining addiction and how it applies to the five characteristics of addiction, I will define security addictions, as well as attraction and aversion addictions. When most people hear the word addiction, the first thing that comes to mind are drugs and alcohol and with good reason, these are two of the most common addictions that are normally publicized the most in mainstream media, especially among high profile personalities in society, such as movie stars, professional athletes, musicians, politicians, and even pastors. That’s right. I said, pastors.

As I had mentioned in episode number four on desire and how it relates to addiction we all suffer from some sort of addiction and it’s usually more than one addiction, which are considered co-occurring addictions. It’s just part of our broken nature our sin nature and in episodes number 8 and 9 I titled this two part series Iis Addiction Sin? I will go into more detail about how addiction is sin, but in this episode you’ll have a clearer understanding as to what addiction is and how it relates to the five characteristics of addiction and like I said, I also cover three of the five characteristics of addiction and why we are all addicted to something and then finally in episode number seven, which is the second part of this episode I’ll also go over the two characteristics of addiction. But without further ado, let me just get into The subject matter of this particular podcast, which of course is defining addiction and clearly defining addiction as a whole, and the way I would do that is I would define addiction as any compulsive habitual behavior that limits the freedom of human desire and I talked about desire in episodes, number four and five, and it’s caused by the attachment or nailing of that desire to a specific object or objects and I mentioned desire and attachment with the word behavior. So when you talk about and define addiction, the word behavior is important in the definition because this indicates that the action is essential to addiction. The desire and how it relates to the addiction equals the action. So if you can visualize desire, equaling action. So when the behavior of that addiction subsides from the addiction, the brain never completely forgets its old attachments. So the absence of conscious desire does not necessarily mean the attachment has gone. And this is especially true in working with porn addicted clients in the past who have an addiction to visual objects of attachment, when they look at pornography online or in print and porn addiction has long-term psychological and physiological consequences for future and current relationships with significant others spouses a girlfriend or a boyfriend, and it takes time to overcome porn addiction is not something that’s broken overnight because society views sex addiction as something that’s normal or natural when in fact it becomes an out of control addiction. And it has a huge impact like I say on relationships and on marriages.

Some interesting statistics on porn addiction are. A study that was done by what’s called the Barna Group and Covenant eyes and what they revealed is that, initial exposure to porn begins in childhood and progresses. Access to porn is increasingly easy due to the wide variety of formats now available such as printed materials and of course the internet and more interesting statistics are that especially in society and in the churches is that over 40 million Americans are regular visitors to porn websites, and the average visit lasts six minutes and 29 seconds.

There’s around 42 million porn websites, which totals around 370 million pages of porn and this increases every day and every year. The porn Industry’s annual revenue is more than the NFL, the NBA, major league baseball combined and also more than the combined revenues of ABC, CBS and NBC.

47% of families in the United States reported that pornography is a problem in their home and pornography use increases the marital infidelity rate by more than 300%. 11 is the average age that a child is first exposed to porn and 94% of children will see porn by the age of 14.

56% of American divorces involve one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites. 70% of Christian youth pastors report that they’ve had at least one teen come to them for help and dealing with pornography in the past 12 months. 68% of church going men and over 50% of pastors view porn on a regular basis.

And of young Christian adults, 18 to 24 years old, 76% actively search for porn. 59% of pastor said that married men seek their help for porn use. 33% of women aged 25 and under search for porn at least once per month. Only 13% of self identified, Christian women say they never watched porn. 87% of Christian women have watched porn.

55% of married men and 25% of married women say they watch porn at least once a month. 57% of pastor’s say porn addiction is the most damaging issue in their congregation and 69% say porn has adversely impacted the church. So you can see, that when I am rattling off these statistics that Pornography Is a major epidemic in the United States and even worldwide and when these thoughts of this behavior which equates to desire and that desire to action or let’s say the behavior being part of the definition of addiction and that desire becomes an action the most important thing to keep in mind is that these are thoughts that are going through our minds that we put into action and there’s a verse in the Bible that talks about cat capturing our thoughts as They come into our mind and it comes from 2 Corinthians 10:5, which reads we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captivity every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Taking this verse into consideration when struggling with an addiction, we have to realize that these behaviors that manifest themselves are not just limited to these external activities but also internal activity in our mind and in our thinking especially obsessive thinking. That’s also an addiction and a lot of people can relate to this, especially at night or you may have had a sleepless night and with a racing mind and I call that a mind of doing with images going through your mind, memories, fantasies, ideas, concepts and even certain feelings and states that can become objects of attachment and once these obsessive thoughts become an attachment they become addictions and one of the most profound obsessive thoughts for all of us or for most people was in 2020 during the COVID pandemic of the thoughts and worries and fears that we’re being put out there by the media perpetually by the media about the news of COVID and the bias and the misleading and fear-mongering that evolved in reporting the COVID-19 virus in the last two years, and especially the use of fear, the fear tactic, which was a tool used by the media, which is a tool used by the enemy by, Satan. As believers in Jesus Christ, we should persistently live in faith and not fear and always look in the Bible for answers, especially when it comes to fear.

Two verses that come to mind when it comes to fear or come out of Psalm 34:4, which reads, I prayed to the Lord and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.

Joshua 1:9 reads this is my command. Be strong and courageous do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. And then of course, the verse that comes to mind with the current state of affairs or the past state of affairs with COVID comes from

Psalm 91 and that reads. Those who live in the shelter of the most high will find rest in the shadow of the almighty. This I declare about the Lord. He alone is my refuge my place of safety. He is my God. And I trust him. For, he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will show to you with his wings, his faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Do not be afraid. Of the terrors of the night nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side. Though 10,000 are dying around you. These evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes and see how the wicked are punished.

If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the most high your shelter, no evil will conquer you. No play will come near your home. For He will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras you’ll crush, fierce lions and serpents under your feet.

The Lord says I will rescue those who loved me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer. I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life. And give them my salvation.

That there in itself explains everything about how we’re to not fear but to have faith in the Lord.

I’m going to take a commercial break when I come back I will discuss three of the five characteristics of addiction

Okay, we’ll come back to the 99 relapses podcast. In the first half of this episode, The five of the five characteristics of addiction I discussed and defined the definition of addiction and of course, how it relates to the behavior and how it behavior leads to action and this action of course is also manifested in external activity as I’ve mentioned; in our thinking and our way of thinking, which of course leads to obsessive thoughts, like worry and fear. I had mentioned that we’re not to live in fear but that were to live in faith. And I had backed that up with some really good biblical verses on that. Now what I’d like to address in this half of the podcast, is, three of the five characteristics of addiction starting with Tolerance. When we talk about tolerance; tolerance is expressed by wanting or needing more of that addictive behavior or object of attachment in order to feel satisfied and when it comes to tolerance, you can never get enough with an addiction or with that addictive behavior or substance especially with substances, like illicit drugs. When it comes to addictive drugs and tolerance. You’ll sometimes hear reference to jonesing or needing more of that addictive substance and it sounds something like this from an addicted person may say something like, oh, if only I could get some more, everything would be fine. However on the flip side of that with non addictive substances or behavioral addictions, like money and work, which go hand in hand. It turns into working more to make more money and then adjusting of course your lifestyle with more work, for more money and I call this the hamster wheel effect or the hamster wheel mentality and this often leads to other areas in life that become neglected like marriages and health. The essential dynamic of tolerance then is that the person becomes used to what they’re attached to and this accustomedness removes the desired effect and leads to the need for more of that addictive substance or behavior and the biblical verse that backs this up and that comes to mind and resonates with this truth comes from Proverbs 23:4, which reads, don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich, be wise enough to know when to quit.

The second characteristic of addiction, is withdrawal symptoms and I’m sure most of you have heard about withdrawal symptoms, especially, when it comes to opiates and I’ll discuss that in a minute, but there’s two types of withdrawal symptoms when addiction is curtailed. The first is stress.

That is physiological through the nervous system that manifest itself into a psychological outburst of a mild uneasiness and irritability to even extreme agitation and accompanied by a rapid pulse tremors and overwhelming panic and this happens a lot of times when for instance, someone is trying to diet and they’re used to eating certain foods that they enjoy a lot and their brain is an overdrive, I’ll discuss this in a future podcast, but their brains in overdrive with the neurotransmitter chemicals of addiction and they’re not getting that addictive need fulfilled so they become very irritable and agitated and they panic. Same thing with cigarettes, but of course, cigarettes also has a physiological addictive trigger to it with nicotine because nicotine is a drug. The second type of withdrawal symptoms, what we call rebound or backlash reaction and this occurs when the person experiences symptoms that are the exact opposite of those caused by the addictive behavior. Example, a person who is addicted to cocaine or methamphetamine may present paranoia hyperactivity, insomnia, and restlessness, and then we’ll completely crash and fall asleep for days and maybe even weeks sometimes, and become very depressed and again I’ll talk about in a future podcast about the biochemistry and physiology of addiction and how that affects the psychology of addiction. I just want to backtrack a little bit get back to this withdrawal symptoms. I see that a lot with physiological withdrawal symptoms or did see that a lot in the clinical setting with clients who were addicted to opiates, pain pills and heroin. They would have physiological withdrawal symptoms vomiting, diarrhea, hot, cold sweats until they got their next fix or they were sometimes more than likely placed on a medication to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms.

On the flip side of substance abuse, chemical withdrawal that is, there’s withdrawal from of course, non substance abuse, for example, if you look for people’s approval through excessive use of social media addiction where people will do in order to feel good about themselves. Is they don’t receive approval and acceptance back through, let’s say, likes on Facebook and they’ll experience considerable stress and outright rejection, which leads to anger and this is an addiction. We’re not, we’re aware of this. When that bell goes off in social media and people run to their phone or they have their phone in their hand they have to always check it every two seconds they experience this rebound effect of feeling bad about themselves in trying to get approval from other people with, like I say, with likes on Facebook. This also occurs with social media profiles of people you may know, and you start comparing your life to their life. When you look on their social media profile and these have a physiological and a psychological effect on the brain with these withdrawals and these feelings of low self esteem.

The third characteristic of addiction, number three is self deception and this is one of the most pronounced characteristics of addiction. This is where the addicted brain uses mind tricks. I call this allowing Santan or the enemy to attack. Which I will devote two podcast episodes number eight and nine, where Satan does not want you sober, but with self-deception comes of course, denial rationalization, displacement. and lying to yourself and to others and this self-deception leads us down the path of sin and addiction. It’s all part of that sin component that I was mentioning of addiction because addiction is sin and we need to repent for that. We need to go to the cross and repent and ask Jesus Christ for forgiveness.

This self-deception and the mind tricks have a devastating effect on our self-esteem, but more importantly, on our spirit, in our faith and it blocks out our love for God and others, as I was mentioning in an earlier podcast. These are the three of the five characteristics of addiction that I wanted to address in this particular podcast and then episode number seven, part two of this these two podcast, I’ll address the last two. And then I’ll talk about aversion and attraction addictions. But for now, I just want to thank you so much for listening to the 99 relapses podcasts. And I’d like to close out this podcast out with a prayer.

Heavenly father, I just come to you on this awesome glorious day, this day that you provide for us Lord this day that I can present this podcast knowing that you’re an almighty God, you’re a powerful God, an omnipotent God, omnipresent God, a loving God, a God who gives us strength and courage, a God who instills peace in our heart and light in our lives and a God who brought his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior our Messiah, our King of Kings, our Lord of Lords our prince of peace, who you brought here in a physical body to be sacrificed at the cross and we thank you for that Lord and as I pray Lord, I thank you so much for this opportunity to be able to present this podcast to those that are out there, struggling with addictions and I ask that you continue to open up their hearts and minds to your word and to your son, Jesus Christ knowing that he’s the only one that can heal these addictions and these struggles that everybody that’s listening to this podcast are going through Lord and I ask that you open up everyone’s hearts and minds for that and as I continue to pray, Lord, I ask that anybody that’s listening to this podcast knows that any of the thoughts that are going through their minds that lead to these addictive behaviors can be redeemed and be forgiven by your son Jesus Christ and I ask that you place a hedge of protection on everyone that’s listening to this podcast and you heal them from those addictions and I thank you so much again, for this opportunity to present this without you Lord, I couldn’t do it and I thank you so much in your son’s name. Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thank you for listening to this episode of the 99Relapses podcast for current and past podcast episodes, show notes, episode memory verses, episode recovery exercises, as well as Bibles and books on addiction and recovery, go to 99Relapses.org., That’s 99Relapses.org. If you would like prayer request for yourself, family or friends please do not hesitate to send me your prayer requests by going to the contact page at 99Relapses.org. If you have an interesting story to share about how God changed your life through addiction and recovery are an expert in the field of Christian addiction and recovery have published a book, have a Christian addiction recovery podcast, or website and you would like to promote it on the 99 relapses podcast please email me anytime by going to 99Relapses.org and go to the contact page to message me. I will respond within 24 to 48 hours and finally, the 99 relapses podcast is a nonprofit 501C3 ministry and a donation would be much appreciated in order to get God’s word out during this perilous times when confronted with an out of control addiction.

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