Your Brain has a Mind of Its Own

Believe it or not, your brain has a mind of its own—especially when it comes to relapse.

The Candy Reward

Let’s think about something you may be familiar with.  A parent goes into a store with a small child. The child is fussy so the parent gives the child a piece of candy. It works the child quiets down. Next week the same thing happens and the parent, once again, gives the child candy. Let’s say this goes on for several months.

Finally the parent says to himself, “This has to stop! I’m not going to reward that child with candy any more.” So the parent stops giving the candy and the child complains even louder. But the parent holds firm. Finally the child sees that he’s not getting candy. But he doesn't want to believe it, so every once and awhile he throws a tantrum to see what will happen.  If the parent holds strong, the child will finally quit trying.

But what happens if the parent, after several weeks, gives in just once or twice.  Well you know what happens.  The child learns that if he complains long enough or at just the right time he will eventually be rewarded.

Back to Relapse 

When we decide to stop feeding our addiction our brains complain.  They have been trained to expect our addictive candy.  And when we stop giving that candy our brains throw a tantrum.  After a while that tantrum will die down.  However, every once in a while the brain will try again to test us—to see if we will give in.

So let’s just say that we have been sober for xxx months and suddenly we feel a strong urge to act out. What then? Well, if we resist, our brain will get the message—at least for a while.  But it will probably try again just to see if we are really serious. So what might happen if just once or twice we give in?

I think you can guess what happens. If we give in, even just once, we have just let our brain know that we are not quite as resolved as we intended to be, and that if it tempts us enough, we might give in again.

Resolve To Quit

To retrain our brain we must resolve to NEVER ACT OUT AGAIN. If we leave even a small crack in that door our brain will never give up on asking for that candy.  So don’t just say to yourself, “I’m going to be sober for 90 days!” What you are really saying is, “I am already planning to act out in 90 days or less.”

Some think that masturbation is not as big a problem as pornography. In thinking that they are telling their brain, “Hey, that’s my weak spot. That’s where the candy is!” And then they wonder why they can’t give it up.

If you never resolve to quit for good you have actually decided not to quit.

Your addicted brain, if you allow it, will try to control your thoughts and actions.

To find out how our addiction effects our brain, see this link


Paul said...

This is very true. You have to stop and literally "bury your weapons of war". There is no going back and digging them up only to realize you need to bury them again. Bury them so deep you won't dig them up and then have others help you to not even grab the shovel.

Unknown said...

This is very interesting, but you are still dancing around some concepts. If you substitute "your spirit" for your "brain" and the evil spirit for "tantrum," you'll start getting closer to the real reasons behind porn.

Elder Hartman Rector, Jr., called what you are describing as "feeding the evil desire." He taught that addictions have a spiritual component and that if you die with an addiction, you will still have it as a spirit.

Porn addiction is a spiritual illness, not a physical illness.