There’s a moment in every addiction where you cross over into an imaginary world in which everything is okay. You don’t have to exist in your world any more and the problems that you have created or that have been created for you….they blur. The hard edges of everything blurr and you, too, blurrr for a moment, into an alternate version of the person who you are and who you can be.
It’s one of the main purposes of addiction (I think), to hit that sweet spot, the Forgetting Point.
For some it’s alcohol or smoking weed or swiping an already over-loaded credit card on a shopping spree. For me, I create fantasy spaces in my head by watching porn. Others eat too much, or too little, or eat and purge to stay in control.
Most of the time I know what I’m doing.
It might start out as an insecurity about who I am, or simply a desire for a moment of pleasure, but it always forms the same pattern of escaping into an alternate future (or alternate past, with different outcomes to failed moments). And in the moment of forgetting, only that one moment exists and I’m free to kiss who I want, to build whatever future I want, to have that guy from that tv show as my husband…for a moment.
I used to feel an incredible flood of guilt. But I remember time after time, Jesus being very gentle with his reproach, weeping with my tears and reminding me that I’m loved and that that isn’t who I am. Now, I don’t spiral from good moment, to guilt, good moment to guilt… Knowing I’m forgiven plays an important part in keeping me sane, even in moments of crashing, and I’m sure this is true of other addictions too. It’s so important to remember God’s grace in the moments of self defeat.
Being forgiven is not enough of an excuse to never examine the root causes and to try to find ways to handle addictions. Yes, in God’s eyes, we are beautiful no matter what, but how amazing it is to give God worship in actions as well as words… I’ve been there, occasionally, knowing that even the simple act of choosing not to watch porn is an act of worship that brings God great glory. Colossians 3:5 says (firmly, but gently), “Put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry….” If these things are idolatry, then we know the opposite is also true, that not engaging in immorality, greed or evil desires is an act of worship.
In strong moments of faith, when I feel like a conqueror and I’m resting in my position as a Son of God adopted by him, I can take these steps towards this kind of worship. I leave my computer downstairs. I focus on thankfulness as I’m going to sleep. I choose to believe that God has my future securely in place for me.
But in moments of pain, when I’ve been hurt, and in moments of loss…faith fails (or I fail it?) and I choose instead to hit pause and Forget. I reach the Forgetting Point and for a moment everything is better and I exist in an alternate universe where nothing can get me and there’s a happy ending to every story.
Yet, my situation doesn’t change. I wake up, and I have still been hurt. There is still great loss. Forgetting changes nothing except my frame of mind, and that doesn’t last.
In order to really engage with freedom from the Forgetting Point, I need to remember who I am (not who I fantasize that I am, but who God made me to be), I need to acknowledge the pain of complicated life and take it to Jesus and let him keep healing the hurts and I need to Trust in God’s future.
This is the big one for me. Trust. Do I trust that God has got my future, or do I keep longing to create a fantasy one? How do I hold onto that faith even in moments of doubt? What does it look like to hold onto hope? These are the questions I’m grappling with at the moment.
If I find some answers, I’ll let you know. Until then, here’s a picture that I recently drew in my diary, which helps remind me what it looks like to place your future right into the centre of God.
As always, follow me and send feedback to @mattdrapps on Twitter.
This article is great and full of helpful Bible verses about self-control and trust: https://husbandrevolution.com/27-verses-to-help-us-men-who-lack-self-control-and-self-discipline/
*Disclaimer: When I’m talking about healing and hope for the future, I am not referring to healing from being Gay or hope to change (although I know this brings life to some), I’m talking about healing from life’s hurts, and hope for whatever future God has planned for me — boyfriend, family, single, missionary, Buxton, Sheffield, Bible smuggler, hotel worker, etc, whatever that might look like.