While we may think that what we are struggling with is unique, the reality is that we are often retracing the same steps over and over. Those who study addiction tell us that they can identify a downward addictive spiral using the the Four C’s of Addiction::
Loss of Control of choice, amount, or frequency of use
Compulsion to use
Use despite Consequences.
In this model, our hurts, habits, and hang-ups push us toward something we want, our Craving. We want it badly. At first, we might be able to say “No” but, unless we break the addictive cycle, we get to a point where we start to lose Control. It might as simple as finding that we are doing this again when we said we had stopped. We may lose the ability to say “no”, we may also start to lose control over how much, how often, and in what circumstances.
We give into our addiction because, at least initially, it gives us what we want. We get some kind of positive feedback that Compels us to do it again. We feel good. Our pain goes away… for a while. But, all of the stuff we’re trying to hide from comes back, usually even stronger. So, we repeat this cycle again tomorrow, maybe today, maybe even before we leave the table, except next time we will need more. And more. We might have gotten “lucky” and avoided the Consequences of our actions but, as the cycle keeps repeating, deeper and deeper, at some point we may no longer care what the consequences are — we just want this thing to make the sting go away for a minute. We want more and more and more, and the costs — both money and to our lives, our jobs, our relationships — no longer matter.
Our addiction owns us.
Even worse, we may chose to fight this one addiction by sliding down the ladder of addiction into another. Watching a friend exchanging bad for worse is heart breaking to those who want to help. It’s even worse when it’s the face in the mirror. In the words of a CR Testimony we recently watched, Ashley described sliding down “the ladder of I’m-not-going-to-use-this-but-this, OK-I’ll-use-this-but-not-this” cycle until, as she put it, “I began to use absolutely everything.”
Despite all of the denials we will put ourselves and those around us through, we become the hiker who walks onto a flat green space to find ourselves sinking in quicksand. Every attempt to push our way out simply settles us even lower. Our head might be above ground right now, but the more we thrash about, the deeper we sink. We might even deny that we are trapped as we slowly sink, but sinking we are.
This is what an unmanageable life leads to.
Fortunately, for us quicksand-covered hikers, a Rescuer who has thrown us a rope, with the promise that He will help get us out, step by step. Steps 1, 2 and 3 walk us through the process of admitting that we are in trouble, and that it will take more power than we have to restore us to sanity. Since our addictive cycles are not getting us anywhere, it is time to make a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God. That begins a process of tapping God’s greater power greater to identify the sources of our hurt and find the causes for our cravings. As we do, we learn ways to allow God’s life-giving power to regain control, so we can make different choices next time.
If you want out of your quicksand, we are here to give you hope. Join us for a Monday large group meeting to hear from others just like you than have been at that same crisis, and have found recovery. Consider joining a Step Study to learn how your hurts, hang-ups and habits pull you into those loops and how this pattern can change.
You can break the cycle of the 4 C’s and Celebrate Recovery® is here to help.