To truly understand pornography addiction, we must first define it and realize it is actually a type of sex addiction. Although there are many definitions for sex addiction, the one I like best was developed by Dr. Mark Laaser:
Sexual addiction is “any persistent and escalating unhealthy pattern of sexual behavior. It is compulsive in nature, and used to avoid or change feelings despite destructive consequences to self and others.”
Click below to take the test and truly see if you are addicted.
God created the human brain to be an intricate combination of visible and invisible material. It is what created computers, learn different languages, remember lyrics to songs, catch a ball in midair but also love our family, write love letters and pray without speaking a word. All these things occur in the brain. When you hear someone feels from their heart, what they really mean is their brain. Each of these skills demand thinking and feeling. As a skill is practiced, neurons are working together. New skills and old skills require different sets of neurons in combination. Picture learning a new activity like using Facebook. You had to first learn how to navigate through the site to figure out what it was even about. Then you had to decide which pictures to use for your profile and also how to even figure out how to upload a picture. Then you got to where you’d go to Facebook or to see what friends and family were up to, get your news and even remember people’s birthdays. Over time, you become an expert and could log on while you’re in line for coffee or sitting in your car filling up at the gas station because your brain had been taking in lots of information and telling other parts how to respond to where it became an automatic check in each day. But how did these messages from one area of your brain get transferred to other areas? The answer is through neural networks. As neurons work together the connections between them become stronger. The more you engage in the activity, the stronger that connection becomes. That is the essence of a neural pathway.
Dopamine is one of several neurochemicals that neurons transmit to each other. One neuron releases dopamine to signal salience (saying “pay attention to this”) to another neuron. Dopamine is central to most things we do, not just addiction. Remember in school working on a math problem. You struggled to find the answer, but when you finally did, you had a sense of relief and pleasure. That’s dopamine. But just like learning to talk or drive, sex addiction uses neurons and dopamine to create neural pathways. It is the same process. The neurons that wire together, over time, wire together. They form tight connections, and therefore acting out can get to where it’s on autopilot. Meaning, you don’t even to plan and think about doing it, it just happens so naturally. Think about how long you’ve been driving a car. When was the last time you had to think about where to place your feel on the brake or how to put the car in drive? Neural pathways are automatic habits like this that don’t requiring us to even think about.
The beautiful complexity of the brain also allows for change all throughout the course of our life. There’s no time limit to when that stops. The concept is called neural plasticity. What it means is that neural pathways can both be created and altered. If a neural pathway isn’t used any longer, the connections break down. Picture the electric wires down a remote country road that no one visits any more. The electric company doesn’t want to spend the money to come remove them so they are left in ruins never being repaired. The entire time they sit there with no electricity running through them, getting pelted with wind, rain and sun until the wires start splitting, cracking and falling apart and the wood beams start to rot.
It is all part of God’s perfect plan. God did not make mistakes the mind is formed in his image and he gives us a way to repair it when things go wrong. Sex addiction recovery is the gradual shrinking of or starving that wire while you learn how to replace it with new pleasurable or learning experiences. The video below offers a visual way to understand this discussion of neural pathways and dopamine. Romans 12:2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2 Amplified Bible
2 And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [a]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].
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