Part 2 The Individual’s Tendency for Cycle-Preservation: Why does a person seem so committed to their destructive behavior, even when they say they want to change? Again, we will use the simple concept of a circle to understand this aspect of addictive/destructive behavior. A circle is a circle because the curve remains constant. In other words, at any point in the circle, the line’s curve is the same. The result is a circle that will continue to repeat itself indefinitely. The steps of pre-occupation, impaired thinking, ritual behaviors, addictive acting-out, and shame & despair will always lead to one another. But. . .
What if we change the curve? If the curve is altered, at any point, to any degree, the circle changes and the cycle cannot repeat itself. It is here we find freedom. There is a catch, however. If alterations can be made to the curve in one direction, they can also be made it it’s opposite. Changes can be changed back.
Why, if someone is making healthy changes in their life, would they go back to the way they were? Perhaps, we have sat with them as they recalled their past behaviors with horror, disgusted at themselves. What does lapse into destructive, sinful behavior mean? The Apostle Paul puts it this way in Romans 7:15-19-
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
The mind can be thought of like an old-fashioned set of scales, the kind that required weights to be measured against one another. The mind desires balance, not health. Often, our way of achieving balance is to give-in to our sin. Changes, even those which are healthy, blessed by God, create a time of imbalance. The scales are skewed and the individual experiences discomfort. It is at this point, corrective actions are taken remedy the problem. The individual sabotages success, going back the old curve, the old cycle, and achieves balance once more.
It is not a matter of whether or not a person will work against their recovery, it is a matter of when. Much of the work in Christian Counseling and support programs is found in identifying and changing this sin pattern. As believers, we see our sinful nature as a result of the fall of man. Man, ultimately, is in need of a Savior and there is hope. Paul goes on to say:
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. Romans 7:24-25
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