More About Addictions

I’ve been finding articles about how more and more people are being diagnosed as sex addicts.  There have always been sex addicts I suppose, consider the condition of nymphomania, but now a lot of people are becoming addicted to pornography as well.  The reason for this increase, according to the articles I read, is the easy access to porn provided by the internet.

In my work on the help lines we are hearing more and more stories about how internet affairs are breaking up relationships but we also get an awful lot of men who try to use the help lines as a sex aid.

They masturbate while talking about their sexual fantasies or just to the sound of a female voice if they can get the counsellor to do the talking.  I used to get so angry and disgusted with them for tying up the lines like that when so many genuine callers, callers who need help, can’t get through.

These articles are making me rethink my attitude.  Perhaps those men are to be pitied rather than condemned.

Before I got addicted to gambling I could never understand the real nature of addictions.  I have addictions to diet coke and nicotine and I understood those addictions.  They, similar to heroin etc, are physical dependencies on a substance the body has gotten used to.

The body is a powerful force when it comes to making it give up something it is used to and its power over the mind should not be underestimated!  I understood that.

When I got addicted to gambling I was completely gobsmacked.  I couldn’t believe it was happening.  I couldn’t believe it was an addiction.  I thought I was just failing to get a grip on myself and, if I tried a bit harder, I would have no more problems.

Gambling isn’t a substance so I couldn’t see how it could qualify as a genuine addiction and I am still not certain how it happens.

Maybe the addiction is to the rush of endorphins or something the body releases when you win but, whatever it is, it is certainly an addiction.

Perhaps it’s the same for sex and pornography addicts.  The body releases substances when they are indulging that make them feel good and they get addicted to those substances?  I don’t know but I do know it’s possible to get addicted to an activity – my gambling addiction has taught me that!

I think what triggered my change of heart was reading how people have lost everything because they couldn’t stop accessing porn.

Their wives have left them taking their money, children, homes and other assets and they still can’t stop – not even to get it all back.  I know that feeling well.

I didn’t want to see my savings go down to nothing, I didn’t want to ruin my own life, I just couldn’t stop.  I couldn’t stop because I didn’t want to.  That’s the worst thing about addictions – you don’t want to stop – you just want the negative consequences to stop!  In the end it’s the negative consequences that provide the motivation to stop not a desire to give up the addiction itself.

Speaking of addictions – I am so indignant!

The game I have been playing, see more about that here, has cut me off and sent me to an area it called “unknown hell” where I can no longer play the game!  It said I was cheating, hacking or modding and banned my character so I can’t play the lottery in there any more.  To get to the area the lottery is in your character needs to be a certain level and have completed a number of quests.

The only thing I can think of that may have triggered the game to think I was cheating was the fact it kept giving me certain items to complete a quest.  I was selling the items as fast as the game was giving them to me to get money to buy lottery tickets instead of trying to complete the quest.

I’m currently trying to build another character up to a level where I can play the lottery again but it’s going to take days to do it.

I deleted the character the game banned.  I didn’t like being in unknown hell but it’s rather ironic to find the game generating the same sort of consequences for my gambling addiction that real life hands out.

I lost everything and went to a black place where I can no longer do anything.

I don’t know where all this is going to end up.  I have transferred the worst of my gambling addiction over to these games and I am getting my kicks in there but it can’t go on forever.  I have already gotten bored with the other games I play so it won’t be long before I get bored with this one.  Even sooner if it keeps on banning my characters!

As a Christian I know there is supposed to be more to my life than this.  I know addictions are not supposed to be part of my life.  I know Jesus died to set me free from such bonds.  I just don’t know how to make myself let go of them.

As a psychologist I know the theories about overcoming addictions but, like the Christian path, it isn’t as easy as it sounds and I am having only partial success.

That seems to be the norm for me.  Partial success.  I am doing some of the things that, as a Christian, I should be doing and I am able to maintain some control over my gambling addiction but there is still such a long way to go before I can claim victory over myself.

The only thing I know for sure is I am not beaten.  I have not lost the fight no matter how many times I lose the battles.  The only way to really lose is to stop trying and I will never do that!

More than anything else, that is what my faith in God gives me, the ability to get up off the floor every time I get knocked down and keep on trying!  God gives me the strength I need to keep at it.

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