Last time we talked about turning the page on your addiction; but now the question arises: what comes next?
In my book on quitting porn, Cutting It Off: Breaking Porn Addiction and How To Quit For Good , I make the case that quitting an addiction can’t be about running away from something, but running towards something else. It’s a re-structuring beyond recovery. In other words, quitting addiction can’t merely be about quitting, but expelling its force by the power of something greater.
When you finally decide to quit porn or pills or binging or your particular vice, you’ll find that you suddenly have fifteen to thirty hours free every week. The question then is, “What will I do with my newfound freedom?”
In Christian terms, we would say the way to stop sinning is not to stop sin, but to ultimately run towards Him. To quote the book:
“We are saved by His Grace — but that’s not the end. We are saved from something towards something better. If you truly want to kick porn — and sin and Satan and the grave itself — you’ll need to know not only what you’re called from, but what you’re called to. Whether you consider yourself a Christian or the furthest thing from one, I hope we can see that the missing component to all our living is often what we’re living for. I believe the Christian faith gives us not only the answer, but the power to live it out.”
As G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “And the more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.”
Whatever your beliefs might be, the larger point is that quitting addiction demands a momentum toward purpose, community, deep intimacy, and renewing your identity. (Tweet This!) Yes this does mean locking onto the right decisions each and every day, but it also means locking our individual wiring to a finish-line.
I know that also sounds simplistic, so before you decide what I’m saying, here’s what I’m not saying.
I’m not saying that the reason your friend or relative is still addicted is because you didn’t provide the right environment for them. You can do everything possible to help your friend out of addiction, but in the end, they still might choose to destroy themselves. You can’t blame yourself if your friend walks away.
I’m not saying that we’re just like rats (see part 1 of this post), because there’s an entire catalogue of variables that influence our vices. Things like trauma, abuse, mental illness, self-image, and your upbringing have a huge role in your direction.
I’m not saying that only changing your own environment or finding the right career will automatically break your addiction. Merely finding a good church or accountability partner are not the sole answers.
So what am I saying? I’m saying that life after addiction requires a holistic, communal thoughtfulness which will stretch our current paradigms.
Recovery in itself, while momentous, is the start of an arduous, lifelong, uphill journey. (Tweet This!) It is more than disease or choice; it is a side-by-side effort to create internal and external security hand-in-hand, eye-to-eye, as connected individuals.
Russell Brand, actor and former heroin addict, brings all sides of this battle into a crystal-clear focus. He writes,
“It is 10 years since I used drugs or drank alcohol and my life has improved immeasurably. I have a job, a house, a cat, good friendships and generally a bright outlook. The price of this is constant vigilance because the disease of addiction is not rational.”
“Even as I spin this beautifully dreaded web, I am reaching for my phone. I call someone: not a doctor or a sage, not a mystic or a physician, just a bloke like me, another alcoholic, who I know knows how I feel. The phone rings and I half hope he’ll just let it ring out. It’s 4am in London. He’s asleep, he can’t hear the phone, he won’t pick up … The ringing stops, then the dry mouthed nocturnal mumble: ‘Hello. You all right mate?’
“He picks up.
“And for another day, thank God, I don’t have to.”
Perhaps, after all, we can meet each other in that gritty space. Together.
Why do people get addicted to pornography?” Watch this video where Craig Gross explains: