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  • Erik Frederickson - Life Coach and Recovery Coach

There I was five months into a very intense addiction treatment program. I was young (21yrs old to be exact) and naive but in my mind which had been warped by addiction, I was certain that I had life all figured out.

This particular addiction program I had begrudgingly entered into was called Odyssey House and was located in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. The typical length of stay was 9-12 months and they decided when you were finished.

Five months into the community/dormitory style treatment living I was doing rather well. Around 40-50 men packed into a large house had amplified the intense nature of early recovery, but in five months, I had reached the third level of a four-level program.


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It was then that my insides started on a slow boil. This new psychobabble and long-drawn-out conversations about feelings and childhood issues were stirring an unbearable discomfort that bothered the very core of me. The nature of change and growth was too new and too fast. I was accustomed to a dark cloud that constantly hovered over me as if it was attached with hooks to my very soul.


Maybe you can relate?

These new glimpses of freedom were foreign and peculiar to me, and this new unknown reality of facing my issues was different. I had done a pretty good job of following rules and sidestepping the deep needed processing of my internal turmoil to that point, but as the levels progressed so did the intensity of my addiction treatment. I was beginning to feel exposed and vulnerable. This rehab wasn't like having a one-on-one sober coach, no, this group setting had me feeling vulnerable.

It was like looking through a peephole out of my self-imposed cage of addiction. From the inside looking out, I felt I didn’t deserve freedom. And if by some chance I did deserve it, it felt strangely irresponsible.

My internal dialogue went as such, “What if these people find out everything I’ve done? Why am I trusting these people? I’m a fake, I can’t live free from my addiction and the mess I’ve already created. Why try...”


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The internal slow boil of emotions was jumping up a few degrees moment by moment. My inner world couldn’t handle the heat, and I needed a numbing agent to cope with the uncomfortable feelings within.

Then it happened.


I walked right out the front door of this drug and alcohol treatment center. I didn’t get my stuff, and I didn’t talk to anyone. I had to go. Where was I going? I didn’t know, but I had to leave the environment that was inching closer and closer to breaking down my defenses and making real progress in my healing process.

This decision to run, instead of face my fears and recover, sent me into five more years of destruction. I was high that same night and in less than a month I totaled my car while blackout drunk.



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Before I ran out the door of the Odyssey House I was most likely only a few more uncomfortable conversations away from a little more freedom and a little more healing, but the friction of early recovery was too much to bear. I wasn’t ready at that time.

It would be five more years of destruction, five more years of chaos, five more years of extreme spiritual darkness, and five more years of guilt and shame before I would taste the purity that life truly has to offer when walking in recovery and being in a relationship with God.

The tension is real in early recovery, but the freedom on the other side is more real. Face it now, whatever you’re facing, just face it and get on with living in recovery. It's worth it. You may not make it back to get another attempt. Life is too good to let it pass by without ever truly living.


 


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If you, or a loved one, is struggling with drug and/or alcohol addiction please set up a time to connect with us. We have been coaching people into freedom from addiction for over 8yrs now. Let's talk... - text or call - 619-880-6935

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  • Erik Frederickson - Life Coach and Recovery Coach

Updated: Sep 1

I don’t know if I’ve met anyone that came limping into recovery that wasn’t carrying multiple addictions with them. I wasn’t any different.


Roughly 13yrs ago my recovery journey began and a year and a half or so into my recovery I was still hooked on pornography, and I hated it. The shame, the guilt, and hiding in the shadows felt the same in many regards as drug and alcohol addiction did.


Once I finally began to try and face this dark addiction I would sometimes be able to refrain for a week, a month, maybe two months but it would always come back. It felt like I was wearing an invisible jacket that was filthy and stunk of B.O. when I was actively looking at pornography.


One may ask, what does sexual addictions have to do with drug and alcohol addictions? Far more than one might realize.



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Recent research on this subject gives us some good insights into how porn addiction and drug and alcohol addiction are very similar in their effects on the brain and body.


In 2013 a Documentary was released called, “Porn on the Brain.” The documentary cites, “Cambridge University Study: Internet porn addiction mirrors drug addiction.”


In the same way that drugs and alcohol activate feel-good chemicals in our brain and body, so does porn. Our brain and body go wild with “feel-good chemicals” when pornographic images hit the mind and light up the brain, and these “feel-good chemicals” that are released are the same ones that drugs and alcohol release into our brain and body.


Watching porn releases dopamine in the part of the brain responsible for our emotions. This is why many people that have subjected themselves to porn often have trouble communicating their emotional state to their loved ones. Norepinephrine is also activated, which increases alertness and focus, followed by a crash in energy.

Viewing porn also triggers the release of oxytocin, the love hormone. This is why many people that struggle with porn have a hard time maintaining long and healthy relationships. When someone engages in an unnatural activity (watching other people act out sex is not natural) it tricks our brain. Oxytocin is a healthy chemical that helps us bond with people we love. Well, when our brain starts to register a release of oxytocin by viewing porn our brain gets tricked into thinking that cheap sex is what real love is all about.

Watching porn also releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer. And, of course, watching porn also causes the feel-good chemical serotonin to be released. Serotonin is the main hormone that stabilizes our well-being, mood, and happiness. When someone creates the habit of viewing porn to activate this natural "feel-good chemical" we form a way of thinking that tells us that we need to watch and engage in unhealthy and unnatural sexual acts in order to feel good.


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The effects of porn can go a step further and darker. What do serial killers Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Ramirez, David Berkowitz, and more all have in common? Every single one of them went on record to state that their porn addiction fueled dark and violent fantasies that led them to dark and violent actions. Why? Because it's never enough, once that door is open the addiction just gets darker and heavier.


The porn industry is also a business, a huge business as a matter of fact. "Worldwide pornography revenues were $100 billion annually in 2010. This is more than the combined revenues of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Apple, and Netflix. In the U.S., the porn industry makes $13 billion annually. That is more than the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and the National Basketball Association combined." -Dr. John Foubert


 

My addiction to porn got its hooks in me during the same window of time that the drugs and alcohol did. I remember the first time I was introduced to pornography. I was about 14yrs old. A group of us were at a friend's house and we had just smoked weed.


His father had a collection of pornography magazines and my friend pulled a bunch of them out, and we all started looking through them. That seemingly innocent act of sexual exploration left me addicted for the next 13yrs.


Fast forward 13yrs and there I was a little over a year into my journey of freedom from drugs and alcohol and I was still addicted to pornography. Many people wouldn’t see a problem with that, but as I sought God more and more this filthy and repetitive behavior didn't feel right anymore. It made me feel like active drug and alcohol addiction did in many ways.


What I didn’t know at the time was that watching porn fired up the same brain chemicals as drugs and alcohol, and brought about the same feelings of shame, guilt, and remorse. It felt far too familiar, always hiding and “feeling good” for a short period of time followed by quickly feeling gross thereafter.


This wasn’t God’s intention for my life. I prayed and prayed and wanted it gone with everything in me, but it would always creep back into my mind and actions. It was when I started talking with other men about it and relentlessly praying that God (as He always does) brought victory.


Then an encounter with God changed my life. As I lay in bed one night after another day of sobriety those dark whispers began to speak to my heart. Thoughts of sex and pornographic images started shooting across my mind like broken reels in an abandoned movie theater.


I lay there dreading what I was certain was coming next. Up until that point, even with all my praying and calling out to God for help to defeat this demon, I was defenseless when this onslaught targeted me. I didn’t have the power to defeat this on my own. I lay there trying to fight off the idea of “feeling good” for a moment, only to be followed by feeling disgusting until I fell asleep and into the next day.


At that moment the only thing I could think of was to get on my knees and plead for help from above. So I crawled out of bed with images flooding my mind, and my brain and body screaming out for a shot of “feel good” chemicals, and I got on my knees on the end of my bed. What happened next was glorious, and unexpected.


As I knelt there on the floor in my little room praying, time froze for a moment. All of the sudden, God showed up.



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I was pleading for freedom. I was pleading for help. I was pleading for strength. I was just pleading, period. “Help me, God,” I was internally screaming. And at that moment it felt like someone was standing over top of me and began steadily pouring a giant pitcher of warm oil over my head.


I could feel the warmth drip down my whole body as it made its way to my feet. It probably lasted 10-20 seconds, but it seemed like it lasted 10-20 minutes. Tears of freedom pushed their way through my closed eyes as my whole body felt lighter and stronger.


The images ceased and being a slave to the dark master named porn left my life that night. It hasn't returned.


If you are fighting this battle, don't be ashamed. Millions of men and women are fighting the same battle. Know this though, God can and will set you free. Keep seeking help, keep praying, and keep believing that God loves you and wants this gone from your life even more than you do.


3 Keys For Breaking Porn Addiction Off Your Life


1- Get help

James 5:16 "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." (ESV) Bring it into the light and get help and prayer from someone that lives free from this addiction.



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2- Believe God can and will do it

In my pursuit of freedom, I never stopped praying and believing that God wanted that addiction gone from my life and that He could do it. James 1:6 "But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (NASB) God loves you. He wants you free more than you want to be free. Keep pursuing Him and keep pursuing His freedom. He will do it!


3- Get back up if you fall

Proverbs 24:16 For the lovers of God may suffer adversity and stumble seven times, but they will continue to rise over and over again. But the unrighteous are brought down by just one calamity and will never be able to rise again. (TPT) There were times when I'd fall into the temptation of viewing porn, and I'd pray right after and keep on praying. I just didn't stop praying and believing until it was gone.


My experience is most likely not going to be your experience, but God will do for you what He did for me. God is going to do it for you, don't give up!


 

Set up a time to connect with Erik about one on one coaching/support for pornography addiction - info@recoveringreality.com


Join the thousands of people that have gone through our FREE YouVersion Devotional, "Freedom from Addiction" - JOIN HERE


If you, or a loved one, is struggling with drug and/or alcohol addiction please set up a time to connect with us. We have been coaching people into freedom from addiction for over 8yrs now. Let's talk... - text or call - 619-880-6935

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  • Erik Frederickson - Life Coach and Recovery Coach

Updated: Sep 6

I believe it's normal and healthy to expect good things.


Deep down I think most people expect good for themselves until the world throws some bad stuff their way. We should always be believing in good coming our way, but I think that hope for good can begin to drift when we experience enough bad events in our lives.

Is there a way to change this? My experience tells me, yes.

I feel it’s safe to say that most people coming out of addiction and into recovery have struggled with having a controlling mentality.


I certainly did. Because I experienced so much bad in my life, I thought the only way to bring good out of a situation was if I somehow controlled the outcome in my favor.

Addiction-driven mentalities don’t just warp the psyche (soul and spirit), but it also leaves a lingering residue in our thinking and actions. One of the joys of my recovery has been learning how to live in a space of expecting good things to happen as a result of my hard work but learning to lose the expectation of how I think these good things have to happen.

Expectation is a deceitful acquaintance that masquerades as a friend.

Imagine a friend whose goal is to continually trick you into thinking that things should always go the way you think they should go. And while this phony friend tricks you they ingrain an intensely counterproductive mode of operation into your psyche called the “victim mentality.”

This is what the fake friend called expectation does to us.

By the time someone has allowed expectation to sink its teeth into their mind, there is a good chance that the roots of entitlement have also sunk deep into the soil of their heart. This divisive stance then brings us a false sense of superiority and as a result the finger-pointing and accusing others of our problems is a byproduct, ultimately positioning oneself for isolation and unhealthy relationships.

So you may be asking, how then do we go about expecting good things?

I believe living in expectancy is the answer, and there is a vast difference between expectation and expectancy.

Expectancy is a quiet and humble confidence of knowing that if I do my part, God will do His part in bringing about my success. Expectancy is when you go into a situation expecting to gain from it one way or another, but not having to control how that happens.

Expectation, on the other hand, is fueled by pride. Expectation is saying that I know best, I know exactly how this should work out and if it doesn’t someone is to blame.

Expectancy is fueled by knowing that the best is coming my way, but when I try to manipulate how that comes about I shrink my world down to my size instead of the graceful and expansive world God has for me.

Expectancy is a healthy faith of knowing that good is my portion and I will put in my hard work in relationships, personal life, and career and I will do everything I can to celebrate others' success and help them achieve it in the process. I have experienced more good than I could have imagined as I grow in this mode of operation.


 


Check out this 2 min video for more clarity on this topic.


 

I have an expectancy that all the good God has planned for my life will become my reality.

But if I slip back into the controlling way of expectation I can quickly become blind to all the endless opportunities and possibilities where good could come into my life.

The freeing way of life found in expectancy drives me to receive more than I could ever ask, think, or imagine. I get to enter situations knowing that good is coming my way, but without creating an expectation of how that has to happen.

So...


Are you living in expectation?

Or are you living in expectancy?


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What is Recovery Coaching?


Join the thousands of people that have gone through our FREE YouVersion Devotional, "Freedom from Addiction" - JOIN HERE


If you, or a loved one, is struggling with drug and/or alcohol addiction please set up a time to connect with us. We have been coaching people into freedom from addiction for over 8yrs now. Let's talk... - text or call - 619-880-6935

Follow us here -

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Recovering Reality Instagram

Recovering Reality Podcast

Recovering Reality YouTube

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