Addictions exist in countless forms and are manifest in the lives of many. From eating addictions to sexual addictions, the addiction itself is only a symptom of a greater root problem.
When my wife, Ruthie, was pregnant, she developed an addiction to ice. The official word for what happened to Ruthie is pica. Pica is an eating disorder which is characterized by compulsive cravings to eat nonfood items such as dirt, clay, paint, and plaster. I’m so glad she didn’t crave paint, especially Sherwin Williams’ high-gloss oil (exterior)!
We learned with the earlier kids that Ruthie’s craving for ice was a symptom of iron deficiency anemia—low iron in her blood. The day each child was born, the craving went south—totally! Hello brain, there’s no iron in ice!
The concept of pica is behind dozens of common psychological maladies. It is a great example of how the mind reacts when something is not right with the body. In the same way, coping mechanisms are formed in order to deal with subconscious obstacles in the mind that can result from emotional trauma. For example, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) develops in the mind of people living with excessive fears; multiple personalities are created in the minds of those attempting to cope with rejection. In fact, there are a host of addictions resulting from an attempt to satiate rejection, trauma, or wounds from either a parent, or some other source. But none of these “fixes” deal with the root issue. The mind’s fix for what is emotionally deficient in a person’s life is like shooting at a black bear in the pitch dark.
Sex, or rather the temporary comfort derived from sex, is one way the mind aims to protect people with emotional pain through physical gratification. However, in the same way that ice could never fix Ruthie’s anemia, sex could never put out the fire of the pain within. A persistent sexual drive is often connected to unresolved pain or anger inside a person’s heart.
For example, a person who lacked affection growing up may crave intimacy. Oftentimes, they will attempt to satisfy this craving with sex. Since sex does not necessarily equate to intimacy, it could impede on his or her ability to sustain healthy relationships. In the same way, some people develop an addiction to pornography in a misguided way to find esteem with the opposite sex. These coping mechanisms are futile attempts to correct what is not right within the mind or heart of a person.
In, To Kill a Lion: Destroying the Power of Lust from the Root, I provide many examples of different sexual addictions and the testimonies of those who have overcome them. Although, addiction can manifest itself in many forms, there is only one answer for its root issue. Learn how God can take you to the control room of your heart and heal your sexual addiction once and for all.