Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The Variable Drive to Recovery

Dear Support Group Facilitator,

Greetings! We would like to thank you for your faithfulness and commitment to the members of your Support Group. We pray the Lord will inspire you in spirit, mind and body to continue helping others to Live In Freedom Everyday!

Every addict responds to the challenge of recovery differently, largely in part because each person has a unique perception of what has happened to them. Some will naturally minimize it, others will outright dismiss it. Much of this can be tied to our human nature in coping with crisis, trauma or dilemma. Each person will cope differently. This interesting dynamic will create a variable drive for recovery that can be applied to some well known laws of nature.

Cause and effect is the relationship between two things when one thing makes something else happen. For example, if we eat too much food and do not exercise, we gain weight. Sexual addiction can be an obvious example of this principle. If we persist in acting out sexually over time, our lives and the other people in them will be negatively impacted. This negative impaction leads us to another behavioral principle in recovery.

Isaac Newton’s third law of motion says that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” In recovery from sexual addiction we can formulate a concept using Newton’s third law to say; “recovery is directly proportional to the index rating of experienced trauma.” In other words, the sex addict’s perception of how serious, traumatic and destructive the action has been will usually dictate how responsive he or she will be to recovery. More simply stated:

The motivation, desire and intensity of your recovery efforts is in direct proportion to how extreme or traumatic your consequences were.

The acting out is either disclosed, discovered or intervened upon. Some of us were facing loss of jobs, marriages and in some severe cases, our freedom. Others were threatened with consequences that usually never came. Perhaps we remember an addict coming to our meeting who said; “My wife will leave me if I don’t come here.” Or perhaps it was a motive of monetary losses that compelled some to seek recovery. The bottom line was that denial really held the motive, if you didn’t think that what you had done was all that bad, you generally weren’t going to go the lengths called for by many facilitators and programs for those who have truly felt the burden of the destructive consequences.

One of the first questions I ask someone who says they are ready to commit to a program of recovery is; “What have you got to lose?” How seriously some people will take recovery, the efforts they are willing to apply, is directly tied to what they have to lose. Those who stay superficial in recovery are those who don’t have much to lose. Real recovery begins when we “hit bottom” (which is defined differently for each individual). Hitting bottom or suffering loss is part of the process.

These principles are for you, the facilitator to think about. You are faced with the task of discerning which people in your groups are really going to go the journey and which ones will flee when the rubber starts to hit the road. Denial will more often be the obstacle for motivation to recover. Those addicts who don’t think that what they’ve done was all that bad will generally resist the lengths called for by many facilitators. Thinking about these dynamics in human behavior can help us with how to direct our resources, and allocate our efforts. As long as we remain open to the Holy Spirit’s gift of discernment, we will be able to identify those sexual addicts in whom is “The Variable Drive For Recovery.”

With Shields Locked,
Larry G