Posts Tagged ‘masturbation’


https://applyingmybeliefs.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/evidence-of-recovery/

by applyingmybeliefs

How do I know that he/she is getting better?  This, or something like it, is the question that mentors, sponsors and counselors get from those that are partnered with highly compulsive people such as addicts.  These partners are most often spouses, but could be a parent or a business person.

Most of those who are in recovery will admit that it was their actions that got them there.  There are some in recovery from losses where they were on the wrong end of someone else’s actions.  Either way, what we are about to look at is true.  God says this:

Gal 5:19-21(a) – Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.

Those of us who have stepped out of denial will admit that some of these words in the scripture above described our behaviors, or the actions of those who have hurt us.  For those still in denial, look at the last phrase of this piece of God’s word.

Having established that all of us in recovery are affected by a past that included many of these deeds of darkness, we can now address the original question.  In the same general passage of scripture (Gal 5:16-26) we see God’s answer and we see how this answer can be true.  The answer to “How can I know he/she is getting better?” is this:

  • The fruit of the Spirit will be evident and growing in abundance.

What is the fruit?

Gal 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

What we see in a person is that the nine pieces of fruit are becoming more evident in a recovering person’s life.  For example, a person will be becoming more patient or more loving with those around them.  Not drinking or not looking at pornography or not flying into rages does not provide evidence of recovery; they are all good things that can be managed, but they don’t signal real change.  The fruit of the Spirit cannot be managed as it can only become evident when a person is allowing themselves to walk by the Spirit.

Walking by the Spirit (from Gal 5:25) is what the scriptures encourage us to do if we truly desire to overcome the sources of the deeds of the flesh listed above.  All walking by the Spirit, also called living by the Spirit, means is to do life God’s way.

It sounds simple doesn’t it?  Well it is!  All of us in recovery, from rookies to veterans, ought to remember this daily.  We also ought to tell others who are struggling with things that there are answers in God’s word, and the key is to walk with the Spirit.  The fruit of the Spirit in us will be the evidence of our own recovery to them.


http://dalepartridge.com/5-things-ill-teach-my-boys-about-pornography/

 By Dale Partridge On 11/30/2014

No healthy person wants to think of a child watching pornography.

Sadly, pornographic nudity is almost impossible to escape these days. TV shows and movies that once were wholesome and respectable are now leveraging attention by adding borderline soft-core sex scenes, lustful interactions, and revealing clothing.

Or last week, which was the release of Kim Kardashian’s nude photos. I scrolled through Facebook as I watched various links with clever titles beg me to click for a glimpse. I didn’t. At the core, I knew all it was really asking for is me to compare her body with my wife’s. A twisted desire that would only hurt my marriage.

But as we know, men continue to define women as objects. We see it in a musician’s lyrics or in a magazine editor’s content. All while we wonder why the sex trafficking and prostitution industries continue to thrive.

We watch as our little girls begin interpreting their value in the size of their breasts and the way their butt looks in their jeans. They flaunt themselves in figure framing yoga pants and short skirts hoping men might see their worth through its fabric. And yet, we still wonder why eating disorders continue to skyrocket.

Men are stuck struggling with sexual contentment. Women can never be pretty enough. And cosmetic surgery for implants of the breasts, butt, and even calves also continue to increase.

But let’s get real everyone.

There is a consequence to sexual brokenness. Divorce rates, adultery, and broken homes are all around us. Lustful thoughts and distorted views of sexuality are not only destroying our state of relationships, but it’s revoking the purity of our minds.

And my story… was anything but pure. My early definition of sexuality caused both pain in my marriage and shame in my emotions. It fractured the intimacy with my wife and has taken years of counseling to repair.

But where does it begin? How does it start? How can we prevent it?

Science tells us children define gender roles and sexual value patterns between age 2-5 and form more advanced views by age 10. As parents and leaders, we must recognize a warped definition of sexuality at age 9 will likely produce significant damage in a child’s ability to form healthy relationships as an adult.

So, how can we protect our boys and set them up for a successful and healthy sex life with their spouse? How can we help these little gentlemen protect and respect women for more than their bodies?

Here Are 5 Things I’ll Teach My Boys About Pornography:

1. She’s someone’s daughter, sister, and friend.
No father hopes his daughter will be the next star in a hardcore porno. No. He hoped she would be a marketing manager or a chef or a loving mother. The real question you must ask is this: Would you want someone watching your daughter or sister or mother have sex? Remember, finding pleasure in anything that causes pain for another, is always wrong.

2. You can’t always control what you see, but you can control the second look.
Your eyes are the gateway to your soul. Protect them at all costs. You will be unable to escape all the images but you can control your stare. You can choose to look away or even remove yourself. This act of self control is what truly makes a good man.

3. Don’t confuse beauty with pornography.
Pornography is stealing intimacy that never belonged to you. It cheapens the value of the real thing and distorts your definition of beauty. What truly makes a woman beautiful is her character. The way she loves, her compassion and creativity, her dreams and desires, her reactions to moments of importance, and the purity of her emotions. Her body is a gift to her future husband and it is to be appreciated within a marriage, not objectified on a screen.

4. Your sexuality is connected to your spirituality.
Sex was created by God for a man and woman to experience pleasure and procreation within a marriage. Outside of its purpose, it’s often the culprit of shame, guilt, and trauma. And while sex is the joining of two people, it’s also the connection of two souls. If practiced incorrectly outside of marriage or through internet masturbation, you will experience unnecessary spiritual brokenness that will require deep healing in your future.

5. Your willingness to watch, fuels someone else’s brokenness.
As consumers, we vote with our attention and our dollars. Like the quote says, “What gets rewarded, gets repeated.” Every moment you affirm a woman’s revealing clothing with your stare, you affirm her value is in her body. Every time you buy a sexually dominant magazine (Cosmopolitan, Maxim, etc), you encourage the creators of it to continue to objectify women. But when you stand for a woman’s worth and even help redefine it, you become a part in the greater story. A story of healing.

What would you tell your boys about pornography? Has pornography hurt anyone around you? Let me know in the comments below.

 


https://www.createspace.com/5554305

I am humbled to announce the publishing of our ministry’s resource book:

CASTIMONIA

THUMBNAIL_IMAGE

Authored by Servants of Christ
Edition: First Edition

Castimonia is Latin for “moral purity” something every man should strive for.

Castimonia is a Christ-centered 12-Step Support and Recovery program for sexual impurity or sexual addiction with the goal to achieve a Biblically-based sexual purity. We share our experience, strength, and hope with each other so that we may achieve sexual purity and help others overcome sexual impurity or compulsive sexual behaviors.

This book is used for working the 12-step Castimonia program and should be used with the guidance of a Sponsor only.  The first edition includes text on the 12 Steps as well, stories from men in the group, and a work book for working the 12-Steps.

Many thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous for paving the way in the 12-Step world as well as the countless men in recovery and the therapists that have helped facilitate God’s healing of their wounds.  Most importantly, thank you to the patient spouses who have put up with our issues long enough to make this ministry and book possible.

Publication Date: Aug 22 2015

ISBN/EAN13: 1515310235 / 9781515310235
Page Count: 448
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 6″ x 9″
Language: English
Color: Black and White
Related Categories: Self-Help / Twelve-Step Programs

 

The book can be purchased at any Castimonia meeting beginning next week (or as soon as books arrive from the publisher) or via the Create Space store:

https://www.createspace.com/5554305



Galatians 5:1 – “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

“His irresponsibility is making my life miserable,” Jen began. She then went on to tell me a terrible story of how her husband had successfully avoided adulthood for many years at her expense. She had suffered greatly at the hands of his behavior, both financially and sexually.

As I listened, though, I could see that her deep sense of hopelessness kept her in prison. I could see countless ways she could be free from her husband’s patterns of behavior. She could make numerous choices to help both herself and the relationship. But the sad thing was that she could not see the same choices that were so clear to me.

“Why don’t you stop paying for his mistakes and bailing him out? Why do you keep rescuing him from the messes he gets himself into?” I asked.

“What are you talking about?” Jen asked, alternating between muffled sobs and a scornful expression. “There’s nothing I can do. This is the way he is, and I just have to live with it.”

I could not tell if she was sad about what she perceived as a hopeless case or angry with me for suggesting she had choices. As we talked further, I discovered an underlying problem that kept Jen from making such choices.

She did not experience herself as a free agent. It never occurred to her that she had the freedom to respond, to make choices, to limit the ways his behavior affected her. She felt that she was a victim of whatever he did or did not do.

God designed the entire creation for freedom. We were not meant to be enslaved by each other; we were meant to love each other freely. God designed us to have freedom of choice as we responded to life, to other people, to God, and to ourselves. But when we turned from God, we lost our freedom. We became enslaved to sin, to self-centeredness, to other people, to guilt, and to a whole host of other dynamics. She did not experience herself as a free agent. It never occurred to her that she had the freedom to respond, to make choices, to limit the ways his behavior affected her.

Boundaries help us to realize our freedom once again. Listen to the way that Paul tells the Galatians to set boundaries against any type of control and become free: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). Jen felt herself enslaved by her husband’s patterns of behavior and did not see the choices available to her. But God tells us to not be subject to any kind of enslaving control at all.

For love to work, each spouse has to realize his or her freedom. And boundaries help define the freedom we have and the freedom we do not have. Marriage is not slavery. It is based on a love relationship deeply rooted in freedom. Each partner is free from the other and therefore free to love the other. Where there is control, or perception of control, there is not love. Love only exists where there is freedom.

Today’s content is drawn from Boundaries in Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Copyright 2002 by Zondervan; all rights reserved. Visit BoundariesBooks.com for more information.


Proverbs 4:23 – “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

“I know I’m supposed to forgive,” a woman to me (Dr. Cloud) at a recent seminar. “But, I just can’t open myself up to that kind of hurt anymore. I know I should forgive him and trust him, but if I let him back in, the same thing will happen, and I can’t go through that again.”

“Who said anything about ‘trusting’ him?” I asked. “I don’t think you should trust him either.”

“But you said I was supposed to forgive him, and if I do that, doesn’t that mean giving him another chance? Don’t I have to open up to him again?”

“No, you don’t,” I replied. “Forgiveness and trust are two totally different things. In fact, that’s part of your problem. Every time he’s done this, he’s come back and apologized, and you have just accepted him right back into your life, and nothing has changed. You trusted him, nothing was different, and he did it again. I don’t think that’s wise.”

“Well,” she asked, “How can I forgive him without opening myself up to being hurt again?”

Good question. We hear this problem over and over again. People have been hurt, and they do one of two things. Either they confront the other person about something that has happened, the other person says he’s sorry, and they forgive, open themselves up again, and blindly trust. Or, in fear of opening themselves up again, they avoid the conversation altogether and hold onto the hurt, fearing that forgiveness will make them vulnerable once again.

How do you resolve this dilemma?

The simplest way to help you to organize your thoughts as you confront this problem is to remember three points:

1. Forgiveness has to do with the past. Forgiveness is not holding something someone has done against her. It is letting it go. It only takes one to offer forgiveness. And just as God has offered forgiveness to everyone, we are expected to do the same (see Matthew 6:12&18:35).

2. Reconciliation has to do with the present. It occurs when the other person apologizes and accepts forgiveness. It takes two to reconcile.

3. Trust has to do with the future. It deals with both what you will risk happening again and what you will open yourself up to. A person must show through his actions that he is trustworthy before you trust him again (see Matthew 3:8; Proverbs 4:23).

You could have a conversation that deals with two of these issues, or all three. In some good boundary conversations, you forgive the other person for the past, reconcile in the present, and then discuss what the limits of trust will be in the future. The main point is this: Keep the future clearly differentiated from the past.

As you discuss the future, you clearly delineate what your expectations are, what limits you will set, what the conditions will be, or what the consequences (good or bad) of various actions will be. As the proverb says, “A righteous man is cautious in friendship” (see Proverbs 12:26). Differentiating between forgiveness and trust does a number of things:

First, you prevent the other person from being able to say that not opening up again means you are “holding it against me.”

Second, you draw a clear line from the past to the possibility of a good future with a new beginning point of today, with a new plan and new expectations. If you have had flimsy boundaries in the past, you are sending a clear message that you are going to do things differently in the future.

Third, you give the relationship a new opportunity to go forward. You can make a new plan, with the other person potentially feeling cleansed and feeling as though the past will not be used to shame or hurt him. As a forgiven person, he can become an enthusiastic partner in the future of the relationship instead of a guilty convict trying to work his way out of relational purgatory. And you can feel free, not burdened by bitterness and punitive feelings, while at the same time being wise about the future.

This devotional is drawn from Boundaries in Dating, by John Townsend and Henry Cloud.


http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/can_connection_cure_addiction

By Johann Hari | January 27, 2015 |

The best way to win the drug war might not be police or prisons, argues Johann Hari. Instead, we should strive to reduce feelings of isolation.

It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned—and all through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction by our teachers and by our governments. This story is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we take it for granted: There are strong chemical hooks in these drugs, so if we stopped on day twenty-one, our bodies would need the chemical. We would have a ferocious craving. We would be addicted. That’s what addiction means.

This theory was first established, in part, through rat experiments—ones that were injected into the American psyche in the 1980s, in a famous advertisement by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. You may remember it. The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

The ad explains: “Only one drug is so addictive, nine out of ten laboratory rats will use it. And use it. And use it. Until dead. It’s called cocaine. And it can do the same thing to you.”

But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently?

So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?

In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.

The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.

At first, I thought this was merely a quirk of rats, until I discovered that there was—at the same time as the Rat Park experiment—a helpful human equivalent taking place. It was called the Vietnam War. Time magazine reported using heroin was “as common as chewing gum” among U.S. soldiers, and there is solid evidence to back this up: some 20 percent of U.S. soldiers had become addicted to heroin there, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Many people were understandably terrified; they believed a huge number of addicts were about to head home when the war ended.

But in fact some 95 percent of the addicted soldiers—according to the same study—simply stopped. Very few had rehab. They shifted from a terrifying cage back to a pleasant one, so didn’t want the drug any more.

Professor Alexander argues this discovery is a profound challenge both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by too much hedonistic partying, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you. It’s your cage.

Rats in the park

After the first phase of Rat Park, Professor Alexander then took this test further. He reran the early experiments, where the rats were left alone, and became compulsive users of the drug. He let them use for fifty-seven days—if anything can hook you, it’s that.

Then he took them out of isolation, and placed them in Rat Park. He wanted to know, if you fall into that state of addiction, is your brain hijacked, so you can’t recover? Do the drugs take you over? What happened is—again—striking. The rats seemed to have a few twitches of withdrawal, but they soon stopped their heavy use, and went back to having a normal life. The good cage saved them.

When I first learned about this, I was puzzled. How can this be? This new theory is such a radical assault on what we have been told that it felt like it could not be true. But the more scientists I interviewed, and the more I looked at their studies, the more I discovered things that don’t seem to make sense—unless you take account of this new approach.

Here’s one example of an experiment that is happening all around you, and may well happen to you one day. If you get run over today and you break your hip, you will probably be given diamorphine, the medical name for heroin. In the hospital around you, there will be plenty of people also given heroin for long periods, for pain relief.

The heroin you will get from the doctor will have a much higher purity and potency than the heroin being used by street-addicts, who have to buy from criminals who adulterate it. So if the old theory of addiction is right—it’s the drugs that cause it; they make your body need them—then it’s obvious what should happen. Loads of people should leave the hospital and try to score smack on the streets to meet their habit.

But here’s the strange thing: It virtually never happens. As the Canadian doctor Gabor Mate was the first to explain to me, medical users just stop, despite months of use. The same drug, used for the same length of time, turns street-users into desperate addicts and leaves medical patients unaffected.

If you still believe, as I used to, that chemical hooks are what cause addiction, then this makes no sense.

But if you believe Bruce Alexander’s theory, the picture falls into place. The street-addict is like the rats in the first cage, isolated, alone, with only one source of solace to turn to. The medical patient is like the rats in the second cage. She is going home to a life where she is surrounded by the people she loves. The drug is the same, but the environment is different.

The opposite of addiction

This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts.

Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find—the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’ A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.

So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.

When I learned all this, I found it slowly persuading me, but I still couldn’t shake off a nagging doubt. Are these scientists saying chemical hooks make no difference? It was explained to me—you can become addicted to gambling, and nobody thinks you inject a pack of cards into your veins. You can have all the addiction, and none of the chemical hooks. I went to a Gamblers’ Anonymous meeting in Las Vegas (with the permission of everyone present, who knew I was there to observe) and they were as plainly addicted as the cocaine and heroin addicts I have known in my life. Yet there are no chemical hooks on a craps table.

But still, surely, I asked, there is some role for the chemicals? It turns out there is an experiment which gives us the answer to this in quite precise terms, which I learned about in Richard DeGrandpre’s book The Cult of Pharmacology.

Everyone agrees cigarette smoking is one of the most addictive processes around. The chemical hooks in tobacco come from a drug inside it called nicotine. So when nicotine patches were developed in the early 1990s, there was a huge surge of optimism—cigarette smokers could get all of their chemical hooks, without the other filthy (and deadly) effects of cigarette smoking. They would be freed.

But the Office of the Surgeon General has found that just 17.7 percent of cigarette smokers are able to stop using nicotine patches. That’s not nothing. If the chemicals drive 17.7 percent of addiction, as this shows, that’s still millions of lives ruined globally. But what it reveals again is that the story we have been taught about chemical hooks is, in fact, real, only a minor part of a much bigger picture.

This has huge implications for the one-hundred-year-old war on drugs. This massive war—which kills people from the malls of Mexico to the streets of Liverpool—is based on the claim that we need to physically eradicate a whole array of chemicals because they hijack people’s brains and cause addiction. But if drugs aren’t the driver of addiction—if, in fact, it is disconnection that drives addiction—then this makes no sense.

Ironically, the war on drugs actually increases all those larger drivers of addiction. For example, I went to a prison in Arizona—Tent City—where inmates are detained in tiny stone isolation cages (‘The Hole’) for weeks and weeks on end to punish them for drug use. It is as close to a human recreation of the cages that guaranteed deadly addiction in rats as I can imagine. And when those prisoners get out, they will be unemployable because of their criminal record, guaranteeing they with be cut off ever more.

The cure is connection

There is an alternative. You can build a system that is designed to help drug addicts to reconnect with the world—and so leave behind their addictions.

This isn’t theoretical. It is happening. I have seen it. Nearly fifteen years ago, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe, with one percent of the population addicted to heroin. They had tried a drug war, and the problem just kept getting worse.

So they decided to do something radically different. They resolved to decriminalize all drugs, and transfer all the money they used to spend on arresting and jailing drug addicts, and spend it instead on reconnecting them—to their own feelings, and to the wider society. The most crucial step is to get them secure housing, and subsidized jobs so they have a purpose in life, and something to get out of bed for. I watched as they are helped, in warm and welcoming clinics, to learn how to reconnect with their feelings, after years of trauma and stunning them into silence with drugs.

One group of addicts were given a loan to set up a removals firm. Suddenly, they were a group, all bonded to each other, and to the society, and responsible for each other’s care.

The results of all this are now in. An independent study by the British Journal of Criminology found that since total decriminalization, addiction has fallen, and injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. I’ll repeat that: injecting drug use is down by 50 percent.

Decriminalization has been such a manifest success that very few people in Portugal want to go back to the old system. The main campaigner against the decriminalization back in 2000 was Joao Figueira, the country’s top drug cop. He offered all the dire warnings that we would expect: more crime, more addicts. But when we sat together in Lisbon, he told me that everything he predicted had not come to pass—and he now hopes the whole world will follow Portugal’s example.

This isn’t only relevant to addicts. It is relevant to all of us, because it forces us to think differently about ourselves. Human beings are bonding animals. We need to connect and love. The wisest sentence of the twentieth century was E.M. Forster’s: “only connect.” But we have created an environment and a culture that cut us off from connection, or offer only the parody of it offered by the Internet. The rise of addiction is a symptom of a deeper sickness in the way we live–constantly directing our gaze towards the next shiny object we should buy, rather than the human beings all around us.

The writer George Monbiot has called this “the age of loneliness.” We have created human societies where it is easier for people to become cut off from all human connections than ever before. Bruce Alexander, the creator of Rat Park, told me that for too long, we have talked exclusively about individual recovery from addiction. We need now to talk about social recovery—how we all recover, together, from the sickness of isolation that is sinking on us like a thick fog.

But this new evidence isn’t just a challenge to us politically. It doesn’t just force us to change our minds. It forces us to change our hearts.

Loving an addict is really hard. When I looked at the addicts I love, it was always tempting to follow the tough love advice doled out by reality shows like Intervention—tell the addict to shape up, or cut them off. Their message is that an addict who won’t stop should be shunned. It’s the logic of the drug war, imported into our private lives.

But in fact, I learned, that will only deepen their addiction—and you may lose them altogether. I came home determined to tie the addicts in my life closer to me than ever—to let them know I love them unconditionally, whether they stop, or whether they can’t.

Learn more about the research behind Chasing the Scream at www.chasingthescream.com.