Posts Tagged ‘Spirit’

I think I missed something. Or maybe its just my screwed up decision making. Regardless of why, I most definitely didn’t completely understand the purpose of Step Four. Let me explain. I think I told you that Step Four was the step I most dreaded after I started working through the steps. I truly didn’t want to have to face my own flaws. I knew they were there but just felt that it was easier to blame God for why I was the way I was than actually look at myself and how my character defects kept me in a never ending cycle of sin and shame. The only upside of Step Four to me was that I at least would have dealt with those character flaws and they would be gone and therefore I wouldn’t have to worry about them anymore. That is what I believed would happen.

This may come as a surprise to some of you. I truly hope not. They didn’t all go away. I know, shocked aren’t you? Ok, you can stop laughing at me now. I really thought that they were gone. Or maybe I told myself that so I wouldn’t dwell on what they are. Manipulation, lying, pride. Things I didn’t want to continue to face. Somehow, they are still there. They show up when I am stressed, angry, isolated, emotional, even when I am just not strong enough on my own and don’t give God control in the moment .  Basically at the same times they used to show up before recovery.  So what is the difference between now and recovery?

Let me try to muddle through this. Recently, I was talking with my wife. We were just catching up at the end of a long day. The TV was on, a normal evening. That’s how it started, normal. Anyway, I wasn’t really paying attention to what was on the TV but did hear a female begin to speak in an English accent. To set the stage here, one of my affair partners was English. My wife had actually spoken with her. In an instant, without forethought or delay, I started changing to another station. I was really good, or so I thought. I stated how I had just remembered we had one of the shows we liked saved and I wanted to start it.

My wife got silent. Dangerously silent. She said, and I quote, “I know what you are doing.” I said what do you mean? She told me not to insult her intelligence. She said I was trying to manipulate her by turning the channel. Ouch.

Yeah, manipulation. Right up there at the top of my list of character flaws. The only problem is, everyone close to me knows my flaws. I have named them for them. They have agreed and added a little more clarification to make sure I knew they recognize them when they manifest. Exactly what my wife just did. She called me out. I wish I could say I recognized it, immediately dealt with it, and know I won’t respond that way again.  I didn’t. I tried to say no, I want to watch a show. You know…manipulate.  Again.

So I stopped, listened again, listened to myself, and heard the truth. I was manipulating. I was going back to a character flaw. I thought when I brought them to God they were truly gone. Actually, they are part of my sin nature. I have lived in that nature for so long, my character flaws won’t just magically disappear. I do have one thing going for me now. I know what they are, so do my loved ones, and we can address them. The manipulation is still there. However, my recognition of it is heightening. Thank you, God, for that.

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.

The Iceberg Model

In today’s Castimonia meeting I presented what is referred to as the “Iceberg” Model of behavior and addiction.   I was fortunate enough to come across these two great articles (linked at the bottom) on the front page of the Focus on the Family website.  I remember reviewing the Iceberg Model in my Sex Addiction Specialist training but it seems we did not spend enough time on it.  However, the two-part article linked at the bottom does an excellent job at explaining the concept.  For the sake of the meeting time and group sharing, I will try to summarize it to the best of my ability.

The diagram to the left was passed out during our meeting.  It displays the overall concept of the Iceberg Model.  In understanding this model a reference to the Titanic was made.  This reference, quoted below, came from the first part of the article linked at the bottom.

Titanic Parallel Quote:

“A computer simulation of the crash indicated there would have been less damage and loss of life if the ship had hit the iceberg head-on, instead of trying to skirt around it at the last minute. That point hits close to home, too, doesn’t it? Even when our foolhardy behaviors lead us on a collision course, we do all we can to avoid the impact, rather than face our struggle head on. We deny, lie, ignore, shift blame, lash out, and further medicate ourselves to avoid coming to the conclusion that our life is quickly sinking.”

Many times during our addiction-filled years, when a partner caught us, we tried to minimize the behavior or problem.  We used lines such as “every guy does it” or “it’s not as bad as you think.”  It is only when we confront the problem with the truth, that we begin to find healing!


At the top of the iceberg and above the water line are the behaviors.  These behaviors are what are noticeable to others and to ourselves (particularly when we step out of our denial).  These “acting-out” behaviors can be explosive rage and anger, excessive alcohol drinking, illegal drug use, use of pornography, or sexually acting out in destructive ways.  These behaviors are visible and tangible items.  In recovery, we learn to stop these behaviors.  However, that is not enough.  Simply stopping the behaviors will not allow God to heal us.  Other destructive behaviors may come forward to take the place of the subdued behavior.  A sex addict may being compulsive eating.  An alcoholic may have fits of anger and rage.  A drug user may begin acting out sexually.  We call this the “whack-a-mole” syndrome.  When one acting out behavior is subdued, another one pops up elsewhere!


One level beneath the water surface are our thoughts.  We examine what we are thinking and why.  We look at ourselves and what we think about ourselves, what negative thoughts we have been fed or have fed ourselves.  We look at our “stinking thinking” and bring it out to the open.  In the open, we can analyze and allow for clarity and healing.  We use our recovery tools to stop these intrusive thoughts, even sexual ones!


Moving down to the next section, we view our personal emotions.  We need to be able to ask ourselves, “What am I feeling?” or “Why am I feeling this way?”  It may not seem “manly” to get in touch with our feelings, but this is a very important part of why we act out.

“Left untreated, emotional wounds fester, leading to pain worse than the original wound. Paradoxically, until the painful consequences of our reactive behavior feels worse than the emotional pain we’re trying to medicate, we will continue to engage in harmful behaviors. In other words, we only stop when the iceberg sinks us.”

We need to understand our feelings in order to find healing.  As the old saying goes, “God heals what I feel.”


Finally, at the base, we look at our spirit.  Our spirit is where we are most like God.  I believe God has designed us to need and want him.  The quote below summarizes this concept.

“Many refer to the “God-shaped void” we supposedly have inside us. A more complete view of our spirit reveals that God created us to need, above all else, intimacy. By our nature, we are driven to seek an intimate connection with Him. No drug, religion, person, sex act, or consuming hobby can ever take the place of that connection.”

It is also important to distinguish between religion and a relationship with God.  What we need in recovery is a relationship with God.  Unfortunately, many of us (myself included) have dived into a religion rather than a relationship with God.  It is the relationship we need to seek to fill the void inside us.  No religious ritual will ever replace an intimate relationship with God.  A perfect example in the way I have set a barrier is in trusting God. “Am I able to transfer trust to God when it comes to issues like my relational, emotional, spiritual, and physical security? ”  This is a question I will want to quickly answer “yes” until I think about my family.  I am very quick to take all power from God and hold it for myself when it comes to the security and safety of my family.  This is one place I want to let go and let God.  Baby steps….

Take what you like and leave the rest!

ARTICLE: Understanding Intimacy Disorder and Addictions 1

ARTICLE: Understanding Intimacy Disorder and Addictions 2