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Finding Freedom from Addiction (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
June 9, 2021 6:00 am

Finding Freedom from Addiction (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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June 9, 2021 6:00 am

Dr. Gregory Jantz helps define what an addiction is, contrasting it with other practices that don’t interfere with daily living, and what drives people to addiction. He also tackles the tough questions about intervention for family members who refuse to seek help.

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Man I knew my marriage was falling apart. I just didn't know how to fix it. I felt like I would always be alone even if I stayed married at Focus on the Family's hope restored marriage intensive. We offer hope to couples in crisis so they can have a marriage they've always dreamed of. For the first time I felt like my husband truly heard me. I received some great tools from the counselors of change my life and my marriage to begin the journey of finding health go to hope today.

Nobody ever starts out saying hey I want to be an addict work that way dislike the person well now I wanted to be an alcoholic. No addiction is two things so sneaky and then it gets a strong Dr. Greg Janssen is our guest again today on Focus on the Family offering hope to those who are addicted, you can find freedom in Christ, your hostess focus Pres. and Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller. If you missed last time, get the smart phone app or go to the website Focus on the Family to get the download we want to get that in your hands covered some amazing material and encouragement for those who are addicted or thinking they might be addicted. In addition to all that we have current Christian counselors here to help and I want to make sure we say that right from the start. The last time we talked with Dr. Jantz. He defined force.

What addictions are and helped us to identify those addictions. We might be experiencing and maybe not even know really well that's an eating addiction that one cuts, close.

I do enjoy hamburger probably do often and that you know that is a problem eating can be in addiction all the way down to the classic addictions of alcoholism and drug abuse and pornography. And here's the point that you might be saying wait a minute. I'm listening to a Christian station. I'm listening to Focus on the Family. I'll tell you the church has almost as much difficulty with addictions as the world but there is something tremendous about our way out a relationship with Jesus Christ and man that is so critical in giving you the ability to understand who you are in Christ and the ability to come out of this pit of addiction and be on the counseling that you mentioned Jim. We also have this book is great, but the Dr. Jantz Road called healing the scars of addiction stop by our website or give us a call for your copy or to talk to one of our counselors are numbers 800 a family and you can also find a link in the episode notes Greg welcome back to Focus on the Family.

I am so glad we can talk about part two of addiction because there's so much to say. There is and I think a good place to start will be a little bit of comment that we talked about last time we didn't call it this, but it is what it is and that is the gorilla that some people are confronting. How do you know your addicted and what do you do well. One of the things you know your addicted. First of all you're trying to keep things secret so addiction thrives on deception. So I'm deceiving other people and ultimately I'm deceiving myself one of the things that I just recently heard from a pastor who came to get some help. He said I wish I wouldn't have waited so long. You see addiction causes you to be afraid. It causes you not to feel like I can do anything else.

Addiction lies to you, it says I can handle this.

This is no big deal and addiction doesn't tell you the truth it creates a non-reality yeah and and but it raises the point you try to believe you, you're a rational person and that you would not self harm, especially as believers right dinner wine do the right thing be the right thing behave appropriately, etc. have all these things controlled so they don't get out of the box called humanness. Yeah, I know we want to live in the spirit we want to live favorably in the eyes of God and all those things that were still human right that with the apostle Paul said those things I wish I didn't do I do and the things I do.

I wish I didn't do right and that's summarizes it quite well. That's what happens here yeah and that is it. So why is it so difficult for a person struggling with addiction to imagine how much better their life would be a believer and nonbeliever were on this boat together at his level. So why is it so difficult for say you know if we make better decisions if we did this differently we would have better outcomes. It's difficult because it paralyzes you because it is lying to you and it's difficult because that word addict to go Campion addict Atticus somebody down the streets and so there's a lot of emotion around that word addict and there's images that come to mind, and there is such a thing as a functional alcoholic you go through your day-to-day life. Things seem normal.

But underneath there is a volcano that simmering that will eventually go off. That is so good and the yearbook covers so much territory.

That's what I love about it it's it's things that we all think about his addictions and then it's the softer things that maybe we don't think about addictions and I so appreciate that they all fall under come in the same category. I do, there's a term we use called process addiction will that's all the normal things that could be TV watching. It could be gaming could be food, so it could be the digital world, things that are he would look at and I will. That's not an addiction. Let me ask you, you know, some of those things are coping mechanism. Yes, that would be a term we would use is that always bad or is it good to as I would say veg out a little bit flipping through news, weather and sports click click click I mean how does it when does it become addictive versus just a way to relax it becomes addictive when it begins to harm other relationships. It's like the lady who told me she says you know what it's easier to be intimate with food than it is with my husband and she was just talking about emotional intimacy. My relationship with food meet certain needs.

It's easier than talking to my husband but let me ask you this, and I enjoy football season sure I like watching football. It is that a problem if I watched her mother and then what's the number is that one game, or if I watch two games and Thursday night. Of course, and then nurse well college on Saturday. If if I did that at the expense of other things or other relationships or I was not attending to normal life. Nope. Duties and right so for though you just need to be self-aware hate.

Maybe this is been too much time uniting 12 games this week.

Well, if you are around again.

Yeah, you did use the keyword season yeah but IE do need to pull back and make as you can get lost in these things. And before you know it you spent 12 hours on Saturday watching college football and that's what happens with addiction it's it's like asking the person struggling for alcohol well how many how many beers did you have ago I had to will they really had to sixpacks right right yet they lose track down that's the case, let's get to some I would say some sensitive issues in your book you talk about sex and relationship editions that are common problem in our culture today and we know the reasons why of the availability especially on pornography, etc. but sure about the differences between sexual addiction and relationship addictions. What are the differences and how do those addictions present themselves.

Yes, there is a person who could have a relationship addiction which is different. I may go from relationship to relationship in an addictive way. Always looking for just the right lessee the right guy and will I make that observation and distant does gender play into that I would see women having relationship addictions more often not exclusively in men having an energetic little statement.

I think that would be true. And so it but it's the person they're looking for something they have a unrealized picture in their mind about this relationship. Suddenly it doesn't match that picture. They go into crisis. They try to fix that person it doesn't work out the relationship ends and I jump right into the next relationship so that could be a relationship if you will, addiction, not a sexual addiction I can involve officer pornography, it could involve affairs that could involve prostitutes and so there's a continuum of sexual addiction.

You know Greg when you look at those types of addictions. What is the human heart. Actually going after because it's not typically what's obvious there's more to it yes is a note though a sexual addiction can. After a while, like pornography, it will alter brain chemistry. That's amazing. And when we look at the scans of the brain.

We can look and see these areas that are highlighted that look a lot like a cocaine brain.

The same is true of the binge eater brain so we know over time. Brain chemistries do get altered by our behaviors at some and by what we put in our mouths. So there is a physiological side as well because then you have something called cravings.

So I may have a physical craving for it, but I also have an emotional craving for it.

The person that falls into the sexual addiction and they say will not gonna do that anymore and three days later there back into it. So that's an addiction. It robs you of intimacy robs you of closeness and I'm to say intimacy with with God you soon. Addiction takes that away and diminishes intimacy.

It's an intimacy Robert Young Greg, let me go to third category of addiction. I think a lot of his parents are concerned about this because it's so widespread. This technology issues he has and we touched on it yesterday, but I do want to bring it back for the new listeners today. If your child is over gaming or just on social media so much I can't put it down at the dinner table, etc. first of all, I guess help parents to know the signs of addiction of technology. What would that look like well it's it's your kid who keeps the earbuds in their ears and stays in their room and you know gaming is really switch to the more mobile. Oh yes, we have got gaming consoles. Those are still popular but now what they can do on their mobile device and all the apps for games and the video chat apps so it's just keeps expanding, but I suggest that one of the things that we need to be aware of is setting guardrails for our kids. They're going to have technology but how much time they spend on it. We can help regulate and when they do it. So if you go to bed and your 16-year-old is up all night gaming that's a problem right okay so for young men, the technology addiction can step over because the average age to exposure of pornography on the Internet used to be age 9. Now were hearing it's closer to age 7 is desiderata so the more time you spent online, the higher probability.

Ultimately this can be some exposure to pornography.

So we need to build talk about those things. What to do when that happens. So Greg, let's say that I've got a teenage son, 13, 14, 15, and the horse is out of the barn, so to speak. Yes, so he's doing what you just said he's up all night long.

What do I do to start to get a control of the situation yes and I just want to say I have two sons, though one is married. I still have a son at home and I do know what it's like to personally work on regulating technology so I speak as a parent as well. One of the things is accessibility so we even our son. That's home. He still has to plug is that we call the device's phone into. At a certain time on the charger or you don't have it the next day so we still use the old-fashioned timer and allow so much time on that old-fashioned timer buzzer goes off.

That's it.

Phones there, or he doesn't get it back yet, so we we control time now. We also are aware of what what he's doing what and what kinds of things are you doing in a virtual reality is really big right now. Well, there's some okay stuff and some stuff that's not okay. You know that's really good and helpful. You have an expression the book about Humpty Dumpty lessons so I think I get it, but explain Humpty Dumpty Well you know you're going to fall over the edge and sometimes you or your family member will be injured and we get to a point where there be regret and I'm all about stopping the regret. Whether it's that 16-year-old son or it's our own personal life.

Use this as a time to reset technology in your home. If you're chasing notifications all day on your device and you your device told you to spent 12 hours on it today. That's probably too much. Okay so we have to have something called self-regulation. Okay, we need to develop that ourselves so that we can then help our family members do it. We have basic rules like okay it at the dinner table. You do not pull out your phone and text message.

If you have something you want to show us from ask, but when were together were going to have eye contact and were going to spend time real life together and enough for parent not to fear to engage mine. Sometimes you know I bow, confess and I pull back and it seems like a hassle and it's not that bad and you know all those it is that you can make but engage it, is what I'm hearing you say let's move to a common refrain that addictions don't really harm anybody else but me.

So what's the problem I'm it's my decision my choice.

I can hear the discussion with the 1617-year-old right that the parent is concerned and were not aiming this program apparent summonses about valuing the scars of addiction. Apparently, but that I know parents are struggling with that but you can apply that broadly the alcoholic in their 20s, 30s, 60s who says you know it's it's really not anybody else's business. I'm not hurting anybody else.

It's victimless and that's the great lie and that's the great lie of the pornography use as well and there is always victims in addiction.

It is taking you away from other things. It diminishes your sense of self. Addiction is like it chisels away who you are and your personality. It does affect you. The problem is you don't see it. Addiction makes you less friendly.

It makes you less able to be fully present with people because you have a preoccupation in your mind about what you want to do next and it is controlling you. So that's the big lie that it's victimless by that's interesting. It really grabs you and your consume with the thought of how can I get back to whatever I want to do or need to do. It's always there in your mind, something that you wrote about a man called David who had suffered from addiction since high school. I think you just probably an amalgamation, or maybe someone you had in mind. And that that addiction eventually led to a family intervention. What happened to this David quote quote and what does that say about the challenges of trying to help a family member. There are challenges. We'll we want to help a family member again by letting them know how much their loved in bringing this to their attention. So number one's awareness. They need to know that you're aware this is going on. So let's not you know this. Take the elephant out of the living room, so to speak. Let them know you're aware you can do this in a loving way. It's not about attacking them and you're going to give them an opportunity will what would you like to do about this because we are going to need to do something about this so you cut it in a way putting a loving notice that okay this can't continue. So always keep it where you can talk about it. I know it's fear is a big thing and you're afraid of their reaction, but it also in the story of David.

I share about there comes a point where you may need to do more of what we call an intervention right and intervention. You know, you think of these where you never do it necessarily alone family members come together and they all of talked about how this has affected each of them at times. They may even write up a letter outlining how I was affected by this. How much I love the person struggling and I have had situations where I've been a part of it where family members have met with the person struggling and they've read these letters and there's a lot of tears and most of the times the least where I've been involved the person says okay okay okay I didn't want to lose their family and their addiction will take your life and so were intervening, meaning literally to save your life now will they feel that right of first know they won't, yet they may be angry and feel threatened know feel threatened that they may feel a lot of embarrassment may feel tracked but you're bringing this out in the open with other family members that is is so good and you know we want you to be in a better place.

That's the goal your touching on this, but after that intervention. What are some of the practical things people can do to get that help did you just give sure full underthings is we need somebody who's really if you come spearheading are leading this intervention. So we need to identify family member who's going to be in charge of what happens here and there some really good information on how to do this and I know that one of the focus. Counselors can also give guidance in this, one of the things you want to be able to do is have a plan okay so we just don't intervene and not have a plan. The plan would be always give two choices there's a choice. Here's a couple choices that we believe are very good ones for getting some help and we have made arrangements with Guardian looked into it and I so you can explain how this is going to happen, but the other choice is if you choose not to.

There are some consequences there not punishments. Their natural consequences. Sometimes it means you can no longer live here. Other times it means we we can no longer financially support you, so you need to know what are the natural consequences and then where and what's the plan for getting the help you have is so good, you know, obviously were Christian-based yeah Focus on the Family is about the Lord and I don't want to let this get away from us. The idea that he is our healer.

He is our great physician and we see that in Scripture. How important is the person's relationship with God to help them navigate all this. How does the Lord give people strength yes before I would do any intervention I would say let's make this prayer driven and pray for wisdom pray for a receptive heart praying you know it may be ready to come together as a family working to be praying for the right outcomes and so let's be prayer driven. Let's also you know what it is bringing the person back to the realization of God's love for them that Christ loves them and there's a different plan for their life.

And guess what, you may be really saving their life to get him back on the God path for them and they may think you later. I have had people who've come on the go you. You don't realize it, but you save my life. Yeah let's touch on that for the person who feels there's no hope. In fact, you like to quote at the center in Edmon, Washington Jeremiah 2911. What is that verse so it it's that we all have all of us a future and hope.

And so Jeremiah you know he lost everything you love dearly, but yet he believed in the future and a hope. God gave them that word we have that verse on the entrance when you walk to the door. It applies to everybody that comes in.

God has a plan and you have hope. Hope comes we have a plan so we need to help create the plan for the person struggling with addiction. They haven't been able to do that plan, and so part of this is helping them create the plan. That's when we get help and we wanted to be a God plan in effect that verse disturbing is it for I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope future and a function grade apply that to the zoo family member who is saying alright. I'm working up a plan I been praying about it but actually I might lose this relationship.

There is a price, sometimes initially, to pay, and it may be this relationship you may lose it for a period of time. They may be, may feel like they've rejected you, you may be the target of all their anger they may blame you. I told you I didn't have a problem. Why did you do this, you're the problem they may try to put back on you and so I just know I always say that's the addiction talking that's really not the person you love.

That's the addiction talking and I guess we have to be willing to risk the relationship with. Ultimately we care for that person. We are risking a relationship in order to save a life. Yeah Greg, I want to end on that positive story. When you look at your years of intervention in the years of counseling and that you have provided at the center. What is that story that keeps you motivated. That person you helped. That was so miraculous. You knew God was working well. I am part of what keeps me going is I do see lives changed and I see lives and that's part of what keeps me passionate and so one that comes to my mind, I received a letter last week and I couldn't even remember the person's name. It was from years ago, but they said I have to just catch you up to date and this was a person who alcoholism is a big deal as well as probably some sexual addiction was in there and I want to let you know that when I was at the center. I dedicated my life to Christ and it hasn't been easy, but my life is radically changed I gone back to school to become a counselor and I just wanted to share that with you. Thank you for saving my life.

It was a two-page letter, but that's what I remember from it and I go okay that's what really keeps me going and it's so beautiful.

That's the goal for those of us in the Christian community that are not only trying to live it well, but trying to reach a handout to those who are struggling. That's what it's all about hello yes and Jim the seed you're planning now. They may come back later so let's keep doing it. Years later, but Dr. Jantz, thank you so much for being with us today.

Last time and I so appreciate it. What a great book, healing the scars of addiction.

If that's where you're living. I would say the first step is give us a call and let us know that you're in that place of that pain and our counseling team will get back to you and John will provide that phone number. In a moment. Don't feel your beyond God's reach at all, or that you're going to be embarrassed by what you struggling with. We have been at this for over 43 years we get it and our counseling team is awesome just like Dr. Jantz's team in Edmonds, Washington.

I know you know that a 36 year ice and so anyway don't hold back because you think your problems are so deep so bad that nobody is going to understand you. We will and just call us right now. That's right, make today the day decision yet.

Not tomorrow. Yeah, and their number is 880 family just ask for our counseling team will arrange a time for somebody to call you back and that consultation is free. We have generous donors who make it possible for us to have these caring Christian counselors on staff we've mentioned in a number of times healing the scars of addiction and Jim you really want people to get this book you've made it clear. If you have a need for the book. Call us will send it to you if you're in a spot we can donate. We sure would appreciate it. Your donations make the counseling team make resources.

All that happens here and focus on family possible and your generous donation today will make it possible for us to continue reaching out as we have done these past couple days with Dr. Jantz, beginner number 880 family or click the link on your screen. Dr. Jantz great to have you. Thanks for being with us. Thank you for having me. I can't wait to have you back. I'll be back on behalf of Jim Daly in the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back.

As we once again, you and your family thrive in Christ. When a woman discovers her husband struggled with pornography. She needs a practical plan. The latest book from Focus on the Family aftershock but professional counselor Joanne Conti will help you through the seven steps of self-care and to learn how to deal with the emotions involved in the discovery of your husband's addiction, but Joanne Conti's timeless wisdom. If you hope, even while you're in your own season of aftershock. Learn more about

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