Articles

THE ADDICTION REQUIRES MORE AND MORE

8. October, 2013Mental Health Counseling, Ministries, SexualityNo comments

All addictions require more and more stimuli to attain the desired effect. Smokers don’t start out smoking two packs a day. They build up to that level over time. Gamblers start with one bet. Those addicted to power started with their first position of authority. The love and hoarding of money began with not sharing. The same is true with pornography. What excited you sexually when you began using pornography is most likely boring and blah to you now. To get the level of excitement they need, men will seek more graphic, explicit, and lewd materials so they can become aroused and climax. Addictions are progressive, and even if they are put aside for a time, the person will pick up right where he left off. For example, if a one-pack-a-day smoker quits for a time, when he resumes the habit he will be back at one pack in no time—and will most likely advance to two packs a day. With any habit, you cannot go back to the beginning stages and go through the initial steps again. The addiction controls the need to get to the point of destruction. That is the only expected and logical outcome of an addiction. The addiction requires more and more, because what was once tantalizing is no longer enough. You now need to go deeper and deeper into the types of materials—maybe even more graphic or to images of children or animals or to sadism or masochism. The endless degree to which some men will go creates greater isolation. Part of the effect it has on you and the people around you is that you are taking away from them. Whether it is the sleep you miss while engaged in activities you prefer to keep secret, the time you spend with your family, the sexual intimacy you are taking away from your wife, or the honesty—being truthful and realistic with her. Take an inventory of the effects this addiction is having on your relationship. Is there open and honest communication with your wife? What else are you hiding that also needs to be revealed? If you think that using pornography affects only you, you are lying to yourself. It doesn’t affect only you—it affects all the people around you. The closer you become to pornography, the greater the distance you are building between yourself and your wife and family. By requiring more and more, the addiction also takes more and more away from those people around you. It erodes the very hearts of your relationships. It is truly a roaring lion seeking whom it may devour.

Points to Consider

1. What level is your behavior?
2. How deep are you into this?
3. How many hours a day, how many days a week? How graphic is the material you need to become aroused?
4. What is the outcome of my choice to use pornography?

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:15-19

Frederick, Dennis (2011-07-29). Conquering Pornography: Overcoming the Addiction. WinePress Publishing. Kindle Edition.

THE TRIGGERS THAT GOT YOU HOOKED

16. September, 2013SexualityNo comments

Many things can trigger a person to be attracted to pornography. Sometimes it’s loneliness or the lack of healthy relationships. It could be a sense of not being loved by anyone or perhaps not even loving yourself. It may be triggered by anger—something deep down inside that tells you that you deserve more; I want something I can’t have. Men often identify stress as the trigger that pushed them into their addiction to pornography; they see it as a form of release from the pressures of their job or their life or financial concerns. Many triggers, if not recognized and avoided, could lead men into using pornography. Knowing what your triggers are—what the driving force is behind your addiction—and then knowing what you are trying to escape from through pornography is part of the cure.

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 10:5

Frederick, Dennis (2011-07-29). Conquering Pornography: Overcoming the Addiction (Kindle Locations 560-576). WinePress Publishing. Kindle Edition.

LONELINESS AND ISOLATION

4. September, 2013SexualityNo comments

The use of pornography can often emerge from feelings of loneliness and isolation. Men use it to fill a void. “I don’t have a girlfriend or wife.” “My relationship with my wife isn’t fulfilling.” “I’m not what I want to be.” So you go to pornography to live in a fantasy world, which perpetuates the isolation. Once you are into pornography, you become more isolated because of the guilt, the taboo, or the social embarrassment. You may even feel exhilarated because, like a little boy, you think you are “getting away with something” and only you will know about it. Some men even hold back on revealing the addiction because they fear it will affect their career or their Christian status in the community or how their family feels about them. This feeds the vicious cycle of isolation. Isolation breeds more isolation.

Frederick, Dennis (2011-07-29). Conquering Pornography: Overcoming the Addiction (Kindle Locations 512-518). WinePress Publishing. Kindle Edition.

THE LIE OF DECEPTION

3. September, 2013SexualityNo comments

In general, when men are initially exposed to pornography, the lie that is formulated and perpetrated is this: “I’m just curious; I just want to see what the pictures look like; I found this site on the Internet and scrolled through the pages; I didn’t want to look like a nerd to my buddies; I wanted to fit in with the rest of the guys; I think it’s kind of exciting; I just want to know what it’s all about.” I think of one young man who got into using pornography without even thinking of the consequences. It was available, and he liked looking at it because it was fun. He was naïve, and it didn’t occur to him that this was wrong. Another teen whom I counseled thought he would be accepted if he brought some pornographic images depicting a well-known cartoon character that someone had drawn engaging in graphic activities. He decided that taking these to school would be a way to show he was cool and maybe help him be accepted. When the other students saw the drawings, the school bully threatened to beat up the teen if he didn’t go home and print out another set. When the bully was presented with the printouts the next morning in the school hallway, the vice principal caught the youths. They were busted, and their parents became involved in the incident. That teen learned a valuable life lesson. The lie of pornography comes in various forms. Thinking that your involvement will make you more accepted or will teach you important techniques is the hook that drags you into the addiction. What you soon find, however, is that you need more and more. The disturbing thing about this process is that it is subtle, carefully crafted by the “evil one,” which can cause any person to stumble without knowing they have fallen.

Frederick, Dennis (2011-07-29). Conquering Pornography: Overcoming the Addiction (Kindle Location 494). WinePress Publishing. Kindle Edition.

The Uniqueness of Sexual Sin

29. August, 2013SexualityNo comments

Sexual addictions are unique because they directly affect the soul. According to the Bible, when we sin against our own bodies, it affects our minds as well as our whole selves. There can be alcohol addictions or gambling and smoking addictions—literally the list is endless for the types of things people can find themselves being controlled by. However, a sexual addiction is unique. It also is the one addiction that can kick in endorphins.

Frederick, Dennis (2011-07-29). Conquering Pornography: Overcoming the Addiction (Kindle Locations 421-424). WinePress Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Dr. Frederick’s New Book

7. August, 2013SexualityNo comments

Dr. Frederick and the staff of Tern Christian Counseling have begun work an exciting new book “Simpler Journey”. The focus of Dr. Denny Frederick’s new book will be on how to simplify your life; especially as you look forward towards retirement.

Sexually Addicted People

15. July, 2013Articles, Mental Health Counseling2 comments

New cover for 2013 edition.

Sexually addicted people are preoccupied with or persistently craving sex. Sex addicts want to cut down and often have made unsuccessful attempts to limit sexual activity. Continually engaging in excessive sexual practices despite a desire to stop is another symptom of sexual addiction. Sexually addicted people often spend a great deal of time in activities related to sex, such as looking for partners or spending hours online visiting pornographic Web sites. Neglecting obligations such as work, school or family in pursuit of sex is a common trait of those who are sexually addicted. Continually engaging in the sexual behavior despite negative consequences, such as broken relationships, financial hardships, or potential health risks is a symptom of sexual addiction.

Sexually addicted people escalate the scope or frequency of sexual activity to achieve the desired effect, such as more frequent visits to prostitutes or more sex partners. The withdrawal symptoms of sexual addiction include: Feeling irritable when unable to engage in the desired sexual behavior. Also, an individual must show a pattern of sexual activity in response to unpleasant mood states, such as feeling depressed, or a pattern of repeatedly using sex as a way of coping with stress. A sex addict will continue to engage in certain sexual behaviors despite facing potential health risks, financial problems, shattered relationships, or even arrest. As a result sexually addicted people suffer from increasing feelings of guilt, remorse, and even suicidal thoughts. Common behaviors exhibited by active sexual addicts include: Compulsive masturbation with or without pornography as well as exhibitionism or voyeurism.

Sexually addicted people abuse sexual fantasy to produce the intense, pleasurable feelings that provide temporary relief and freedom from life stressors. Over time, the hidden fantasies, rituals and acts of the sexually addicted person can lead to a double life of lies to self and others, manipulation, splitting, rationalization, and denial. These defenses allow sex addicts temporarily to escape their core feelings of low self-worth, fears of abandonment and depression or anxiety, as sexual fantasy and sexual acts are abused in an attempt to fulfill unmet emotional needs. For sexually addicted people sexual acting out most often takes place in secret. The problem can occur regardless of outward success, intelligence, physical attractiveness, or existing intimate relationship commitments or marriage. Adapted from “Symptoms of Sexual Addiction” by Michael Herkov, Ph.D.  http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/symptoms-of-sexual-addiction/

At Tern Christian Counseling we believe that an intimate relationship with God is a crucial to dealing with all addictions including sexual addictions. Adopting a Biblical view of sexuality as He designed it is an effective weapon in battling sexual addictions. Dr. Frederick wrote and publish a very practical approach to sexual addictions in his book “Conquering Pornography: Overcoming The Addiction”. Dr. Frederick’s book is available through Amazon.com as well as Barnes and Noble.com.

 

From Pop-Ups to Sexting: The New Deceptions of Pornography

12. June, 2012Adolescents, ArticlesNo comments

I came out of my counseling office to the waiting room to greet my fifth grade patient who was seeing me for anger issues and found him playing a game on his mother’s cell phone. The three of us walked back to my office together, and as a simple icebreaker before the counseling session, I talked to him about the game. He said the game was “Bubbles” where you simply try to eliminate all of the little bubbles. Trying to be friendly, I played it with him. Immediately a pop-up at the bottom of the screen said, “Hot Babes.” Read more

The Worth Of Our Lives

13. February, 2012ArticlesNo comments

The Worth Of Our Lives

A well-known speaker started off his seminar holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?” Hands started going up. He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.” He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill. He then asked, “Who still wants it…?” Still the hands were up in the air. “Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. “Now, who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air. “My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We may feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE.

Be Not Afraid

14. December, 2011ArticlesNo comments

Picture this quiet scene… shepherds late at night tending their flocks. Maybe they were sitting around a camp fire, gazing at the stars, or just laying down to sleep. There is no sound of freeway traffic, no cell phones, and no airplanes flying over head. Now imagine the shock when suddenly, out of the night sky “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Luke 2:9). As we would expect, these shepherds were terrified. The angel’s first words to these shocked onlookers were words of comfort: “do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people” (Luke 2:10).

The shepherd’s natural response to this shocking situation was fear. Often it is the unknown which is the most frightening to us. In today’s world, we encounter many more unknowns. An unstable economy, shifting cultural norms, natural disasters, and threats of terrorism are just some of the unknowns that we live with on a daily basis. Still, God’s word to us is the same: “Do not be afraid”.
Emotions (especially fear) often seem to be beyond our control. So how do we obey God’s command not to be afraid? We change our feelings by changing our thoughts. Isaiah 26:3 says “you will keep in perfect peace him who’s mind is fixed on you”. The cure for fear is focusing on God’s promises. As we focus on God’s promises of provision (Mt. 6:31-34), protection (Ps. 91), and eternal life (John 3:16) we find peace in all circumstances (Phil. 4:7). I encourage you to take the opportunity to fix your eyes on Jesus this holiday season and be not afraid.

-Carla Munger BA

Copyright Tern Christian Counseling 2011