So today we had our third session on ‘Mental Health & Spiritual Wholeness’. The topic of conversation this time around was addiction. A nasty topic one might say. After all, some addictions are dark whilst others are just downright weird. Regardless of which one or if any you might have: it’s a problem. After all, addictions isolate us, damages our relationships, our everydays lives and leave us totally dependent like a puppet on a string.
Before we get into the meet of what was discussed. What is an addiction? According to well me…”addiction is a condition that leaves an individual dependent on a particular substance or behaviour in order for them to function properly”. For a more professional definition please click here.
Now that’s out of the way. What did we learn addiction in our third session of the series? Addiction comes in two different forms:
A physical addiction is when an individual gets addicted to a substance. Like any type of addiction, we tend to develop an increased level of tolerance to whatever it is we have become addicted to. Now I won’t say anything like physical addiction is something that we just fall into or anything like that. Rather, we end up at that stage through the abuse of some type of substance or the constant repetition of a particular behavior that leads the body to become dependent. Sure none of us don’t want to get to that stage and if we do it’s not so simple to stop as it was to start.After all, the body will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms if you begin to drastically decrease your intake of whatever it is you have become hooked on. Not to scare you, but some of these withdrawal symptoms could include:
* Nausea and vomiting
* Body aches
* Changes to pulse rate
* Changes to blood pressure
* Noticeable shaking or body tremors
* High temperatures
* Changes to respiratory rate
People might develop addictions through either a lack of emotional development or perhaps because of constant rejection and relationship failures. Those who normal face this type of addiction have a deep urge to be accepted or to be loved. Therefore, they become dependent on particular unhealthy behaviours to fill that longing. Normally this could manifest itself through drinking, sex, etc or becoming fully depenedent on a particular person for support. Before you know it, there are people you absolutely cannot live without, behaviours you can’t go without fulfilling.
NATURE OF SELF WITH ADDICTION
Unfortunately, there is no one way that a person can develop an addiction. However, we as human beings have a lot to do with the type of beaviours and habits we develop throughout our lives. In our session, we also looked at the nature of self and the role it plays when it comes to developing addictions. Don’t worry, it’s not as deep and philosophical as it sounds, just bare with me whilst I unpack everything. Okay! As human beings, the sum of our actual selves is never really what someone sees on the outside. If we look at ourselves as a whole person with a few layers we can begin to see what I mean by this. For example,
Let’s say that we’re like an onion. An onion with four inside layers that is wrapped around a firm solid structure which is you. The four layers are:
1.Will: At the centre of your being is your will. If you were a company your will would be the CEO. It is in charge of every decision that you make or will ever make. Being the CEO means that your Will wants whats best for the company (you) at all times in order for you to thrive, make great decisions and to be successful. However, your Will doesn’t exist within a vacuum. Therefore, it is affected by the rest of your personhood, which in turns means that the decisions that you make throughout your life will be varied and might in time or through extenuating circumstances be dramatically different from your natural behaviour.
2.Mind: Your mind is the thing that holds your thoughts, your feelings and your perspective on life and what it should look like. Whatever you put in your mind develops a particular appetite. Therefore, if all you put in your mind is sex then all you will have an appetite for is sex. Now I’m not tryna say sex is wrong, but hey…too much of anything without any restraint or boundaries is never a good thing.
3.Body: Now your is like messenger boy of your mind. The appetites that you develop from whatever it is that you put in your mind then become habitual actions that you act out through some sort of physical behaviour.
4.Relationships: The relationships you have plays a very important role on you as a person. Despite the habits and the behaviours that you have developed from the appetites that you’ve fed in your mind, there is still a possibility for change. A part of that change comes from your friends and those who you align yourself with, as they can help to either reinforce or extinguish a particular behaviour.
The problem that normally occurs with the self that leads to addiction is that the body begins to lead the soul. What I mean by that is that normally the will (CEO of yourself), wants you to develop good habits and appetites. However, if the appetites that you fuel in your mind are unhealthy then you will develop unhealthy behaviours. You will then begin to act out those unhealthy habits through your body and develop unhealthy relationships that reinforce such behaviours. Therefore, you then become a slave to fulfilling the desires of the body and go through the cycle all other again by constantly feeding those appetites in your mind to develop even more outrageous habits for your body to fulfill. To sum it up, your Will gets weakened and the whole soul gets affected as you become addicted to your appetites.
IDEAL NATURE OF SELF
We’ve seen in the last section how the self can develop addictions when the body leads the soul. Combating such a problem to lower your risk of developing addictive and unhealthy behaviours is not an easy thing to do. However, it is not impossible. As mentioned, the Will wants nothing but the best for you, so the question is. How do we get your will to fully govern your body? Firstly, we need to develop good appetites. The only way we can do that is by putting things that are good for us in our minds. In turn, we will want to fulfill these appetites, which in turn will become healthy habits that we act on and develop through our body. Additionally, we then develop and maintain relationships that will reinforce our good habits and curb any negative ones we might develop or perhaps already have. In turn, you will find that your Will (CEO of your body) will be able to do his job. Sounds simple right? Yeah, it does. However, it’s not that simple, but it is possible. A major part of this process is to truly get a grasp on what is God for you.
In our world today what is good can be very subjective. It changes with time, perspectives. However, what we at Sanctuary have found is that God’s definition of what is good is unchanging and the ideal self (who lives a life for the good of himself and others around him) allows his Will, Mind, Body, and Relationships to be governed by the Spirit of God.