Addiction 2 minutes to read

Sexual addiction is a process addiction—a coping behavior that has become compulsive. 

Every time the sexual addict acts out, a powerful chemical cocktail of peace and euphoria enters the pleasure/reward part of the brain, deepening and broadening the neural pathways. 

Acting out for a sexual addict becomes their drug of choice and the coping strategy is reinforced. Eventually, these addictive behaviors become a survival pattern. 

To bring healing to the addictive personality, we must retrain our limbic survival brain through learning to resolve double binds. A double bind is being stuck in a perceived “lose/lose” situation. Michael Dye clearly teaches this in Process Four of The Genesis Process.

But there is another issue that makes breaking the addictive mindset hard: shame. 

Shame is incredibly powerful and if not dealt with, there will be no healing from the addiction. Just as in Genesis 3 with the fall of man, when shame arrives in our lives we begin to hide, looking over our shoulder to see who might be checking on us. 

We fear the exposure of our addiction and the disaster that will follow.

Brené Brown’s research defines shame as “a powerful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” 

When we feel shame, we want to hide. We might overtly lie to others, or we go covert and withhold what we have thought or done for fear of being rejected, judged, abandoned, or publicly shamed. 

We all want to be loved and accepted. But we want to keep our addictive behaviors to ourselves. So we put on the mask (protective personality) that keeps us from truly being known and loved. All praise goes to the mask (protective personality). We can’t accept words of praise or validation because we fear abandonment, rejection, or humiliation.

True healing from both shame and addiction can only come in the context of community. 

Healing from the effects of sex addiction is what renewing the mind is about. Our brain development in the area of our sexuality has become mis-wired. To get well, we need to submit to the process of change by renewing our minds.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:1-2 (NIV)

In the context of a focused community (Romans 12:5, 15), we work together by bringing compassion and grace. As we learn to risk vulnerability and practice our recovery process, we find new healthy ways to cope with our addiction.

Remember, the right thing to do is usually the thing we have avoided. 

The right thing to do is the hard thing to do! The hardest part of recovery is to begin to trust others. 

Don’t struggle alone. 

For more information about sex addiction visit

*Originally posted at Genesis Process

Harry Flanagan

Harry is a Pastoral Sex Addiction Professional and a Clinician at Pure Desire Ministries. He has been with Pure Desire since 1993. Harry is a licensed pastor who has served in ministry for 30+ years. He also contributed to Pure Desire resources: Seven Pillars of Freedom and Connected.

1 Comment

  1. Bob

    As usual Harry you are spot on providing an understanding for how addiction works us and how we can work it right back into Victory.
    Thanks for what you do.

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