Saturday, May 29, 2021

Overcoming Addictions

Understanding and overcoming bad habits and addictions


  • Introduction
  • Traits of Wholeness
  • Anxiety Review
  • Temptation
  • Habits
  • Addictions
  • Strongholds
  • Causes of Addiction
  • Solution: Resetting Your Brain’s Reward Value
    • Analyze the triggering emotion
    • Analyze the behavior
    • Analyze the thought pattern
    • Come up with an action plan (replace it)
  • How to be Set Free Indeed


  • 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • 2 Corinthians 10: 3-6
  • John 8: 31-36

1 Corinthians 10:13

13 No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

No sin that is tempting is too much for you to handle

Then why do we keep falling?

The bible says:  “my people perish because of a lack of knowledge”

  • Today hopefully we’ll get some knowledge to help us

Today we’ll look at

  • Habits
  • Addictions

Traits of Wholeness

We are in our series called Seeking Wholeness

How can we be  _______ healthy

  • spiritually
  • emotionally
  • mentally

Dealing with life’s current stresses and also being healed from experiences/wounds of the past

We’re not just supposed to get eternal life

  • We’re supposed to have: joy, peace, patience, and self control here on earth

Traits of Wholeness

  1. Authenticity
  2. Honesty
  3. Kindness
  4. Not seeking external approval / validation
  5. Living by values and principles
  6. Setting Boundaries
  7. Taking ownership of your responsibilities
  8. Living with purpose and passion
  9. Optimism
  10. Confidence
  11. Healthy relationships with others
  12. Not losing control of your emotions
  13. Free from addictions
  14. Addressing Conflict
  15. Vulnerability
  16. Not critical or Judgmental
  17. Not jealous
    1. Genuinely applaud the success of others
  18. Forgive those who have wronged you in the past
  19. Know that you’re worthy of receiving love
  20. Not afraid to fail
  21. Able to manage irrational fear, worry, and anxiety
  22. Selfless encounters with others
  23. Not manipulating others trying to control their actions/reactions
  24. You care about how others feel
  25. Patient
  26. Don’t give into peer/social pressure
  27. Can communicate directly
  28. Being led by the Spirit

Anxiety Review

We had 4 lessons on “Dealing With Anxiety”

Stress, worry, anxiety

What are some things you took out of the mini-series on Anxiety?

Anxiety is not a disease. It’s a response to a stresser or a toxic thought pattern.

4 types of solutions

  1. Spiritual
  1. Memory verses
  2. Trust that God is in control
  3. Prayer
  1. Grounding Techniques
  1. Attention redirection
  1. Splash water on face
  2. Rubberband
  1. Physiological
  1. Breathing
  1. Lifestyle Changes
  1. Exercise
  2. Get into nature
  1. Thought / Mindset Changes
  1. Increase faith
  1.  Trust that God is in control
  1. Let go of perfectionism


1 Corinthians 10:13*

13 No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

We are all tempted

  • Sometimes we fall
  • Sometimes we get up
  • Sometimes we stay down in the mud

The Lord's prayer says “lead us not into temptation“

Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by Satan

  • Jesus was tempted in the wilderness

The devil tempted Jesus when he was hungry

When you’re hungry

  • You eat junk
  • You try to turn stones into bread
  • Eat your roommate’s food
  • Take something that doesn’t belong to you
  • You try to eat stuff that won’t satisfy you

Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry

When we continually succumb to temptation we develop bad habits and addictions


  • Stressed
  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired


A habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.

They help us learn something once, so that we can then automatically act it out without thinking

Example: driving

  • Where to hold your hands
  • Where to put your left foot
  • When to check your mirrors
  • When to put on your blinker

Coping Mechanisms can become habits

The Brain’s Reward System

Trigger > behavior > reward

Sugar = calories = good

My brain sends a reward signal whenever we eat sugar because it wants to remind us that the calories are good.

Emotional Trigger

But our brain then does this when we feel bad to make us feel good as well.

Now when we feel bad and we want to feel good

Our brain says...oh I know...sugar = good

So now instead of the hunger trigger, it is an emotional trigger that triggers the urge to eat.  

Our brains are designed to prefer food with more calories.

Smoking = cool

We see cool > we smoke to be cool > we feel cool

We learned a habit based on how rewarding it is


The more rewarding the behavior is the stronger the habit

Our brains also associated with people, places, and things

  • The nightclub
  • Your cell phone

Something good happens

  •  your brain says that’s good; keep doing that
  • memory
  • behavior = good.

Example: cell phone

Maybe it was something good that happened on your phone.  The next time you get an alert on your phone that triggers you to feel good.

And when something bad happens, look at our phone and it makes us feel better. This lays down a memory whenever something bad happens, look at your phone.

What emotion do you get when you get a text notification?

  • When you’re home bored?
  • When you’re on a date?

Anxiety Triggers Our Habits

Anxiety hides in bad habits.

When stress or anxiety is the trigger our brain tries to figure out what to do to relieve it.

  • Our brain gets in the habit of trying it every time we are stressed or anxious.


We distract ourselves

  • Smart phone
  • Social media
  • TV
  • Netflix

We rarely actually come up with a habit that fixes the actual problem.

When do you find yourself looking at your phone?

  • Anxious
  • Bathroom
  • Bored

The Anxiety Cycle

Anxiety can trigger itself.

Example: a lot to do

worry about all the things that you have to do today

  •  worried about the fact that you can’t get it done.  
  • The stress triggers more worry

So you can have two different habit loops.

  • One is a habit loop of distraction.
  • The other is a habit loop of anxiety and worry.

The more you get caught up in this behavior the more automatic it becomes.  



a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, even though it is causing harm.


a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences.


medicate from thoughts you don’t want to think and the emotions you don’t want to feel

When we get triggered by negative thoughts or emotions we know that our addiction will take us away from it

  1. Alcohol
  2. Pornography
  3. Over eating
  4. Shopping
  5. Gambling

Distracts You From Negative Thoughts

Your brain becomes focused on something else and you have pleasurable emotions in your body

The whole time that you are in the environment or participating in your addiction you aren’t thinking about the negative thoughts and you are experiencing pleasurable feelings

The addictive behavior is a coping strategy.  

Are You Addicted?

If you stop doing the behavior for one week and cravings arise then that means that you are addicted

If you stop doing it and no cravings arise, that means that you are not addicted

You might discover that you are addicted to things that you wouldn’t have normally thought that you were addicted to

The most common addictions are

  • Drugs
  • Food
  • Pornography
  • Alcohol
  • TV
  • Internet
  • Video games
  • Socialization
  • Shopping
  • Work
  • Gossip
  • Thinking
  • Coffee
  • Cigarettes

The path

  1. First it was fun.
  2. Then it was fun with problems.
  3. Now it is only a problem.

Socially Acceptable Habits

What are some socially acceptable habits or addictions?

Some socially acceptable addictions include

  • Work
  • Fitness
  • Being the leader in your relationships or groups
  • Money
  • Fame
  • Going to beautiful places
  • Having beautiful experiences
  • Fine dining
  • Procrastination
  • Relationships
    • Feel inadequate unless you’re in a relationship
  • Filling your time with people
  • Filling your time with social activities
  • Busyness
  • Social Media
  • Worry

They may not actually enjoy the experience being so focused on taking pictures of it


What’s an idol?

The addiction is bad when you turn to it for escape.

When a good thing becomes an ultimate thing


2 Corinthians 10: 3-6

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

  • Destroy argument
  • Take every thought captive


The argument is the excuse you give for continuing to sin

  • People can do whatever makes them happy as long as they’re not hurting anyone
  • The bible was an old book…
  • The bible was written in a patriarchal society..
  • … all of it is an applicable anymore

You raise this argument over the knowledge of God

Be Like God

Like Adam and Eve

  • You want to be like God
  • You want to define what’s good and what’s evil

Take every thought captive

thought > emotion > habit

To do this you have to be aware of every thought

Sometimes we just go straight into the habit when we feel the emotion

Causes of Addiction

  1. Anxiety
  2. Feelings of emptiness
  3. Shame
  4. Lack of self love
  5. Trauma


When you’re stressed or worried

  • Feel a lack of control

Fight or flight

Not using the logical part of our brain

  • this is the first part of our brain goes off-line when we get stressed
  • Prefrontal cortex

We are much more likely to yell at our spouse or kids when we are stressed out or tired

When the prefrontal cortex goes off-line, we fall back into our old habits

Feelings of emptiness

This is the fear of emptiness that you feel when you are alone with nothing to do

Addictions are distractions and escapes from this emptiness fear that all of us have



shame: A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

shame: an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self

Some psychologists say the shame of the single biggest cause of most of our psychological issues.  

The Shame Cycle

  • Experience Pain
  • Turn to your habit/addiction
    • Alcohol, drugs, food, sex, gambling
  • Temporary relief
  • The fall out occurs
  • Shame and guilt
  • You feel bad
  • Repeat

Lack of Self Love

One of the test as whether or not you can be at ease alone

  • That means that when you are alone you don’t feel a lack

Trauma / Bad Memories

You don’t want to remember the horrible things that you’ve been through

Avoiding thoughts and memories

Solution: Resetting Your Brain’s Reward Value

  • Influenced by a clinically proven method by Dr. Judd Brewer

More than Will Power

We take the approach of telling people “just stop it”. We want to use sheer willpower.

Skit: The doctor solution to everything is “just stop it“

Emotional trigger > behavior > reward

We usually focus on the behavior


63 days

  • You need three 21 day cycles to heal your mind.

To change your habit we need new information to learn whatever value we had placed on it before is outdated.  

We have to take our brain out of auto pilot and think about how rewarding the activity is right now.

Instead of telling people to stop smoking, have them pay attention when they smoke.  

  • Taste
  • Smell

This helps us reset the reward value in our brain and helps us break bad habits.  

Be curious

Ask God to help you at every step

  1. Analyze the triggering emotion
  2. Analyze the behavior
  3. Analyze the thought pattern
  4. Come up with an action plan (replace it)
  5. Take it to God

Analyze the Triggering Emotion


People will turn to their addictions when they are triggered. What they need to do is before they react… Just pause. Before you plow forward you should pause.  

When you pause is actually when you feel the pain. This is the place that you need to explore.   The tension in your life is threatening to come up at this point so you go to your coping strategy.  That is the point where you need to try to determine what the pain is.  

We Return to our phone so quickly to distract ourselves that we don’t have time to process it and see what is going on.  We have all of these habits that we formed and we don’t know how we got there.

Ask yourself

  • Do I feel Empty, depressed or anxious
  • Am I angry?
  • Think… “Hmmmm, Where do I feel this anxiety in my body?“
  • Ask God for clarity

Self judgment can be a trigger

  • “That was stupid”
  • “I can’t believe I did that”

Analyze the Behavior

  • Analyze the habit/addiction

Don’t zone out while you’re doing it

Ask yourself

  1. What am I saying
  2. What am I doing?
  3. Is it working?
  4. What habit am I engaging in?

Analyze the Actual Sensations of the Response

Awareness is critical for changing habits.  

  • Awareness helps us reduce the reward value of a behavior.

example: pay attention to the taste of a cigarette and the smell when they are smoking.  

Ask yourself

  • Is it a habitual response?
  • Am I really hungry?
  • Is it because I’m not getting something that I want?
  • Is my response improving my relationship?
  • When am I doing the behavior?
  • What am I benefiting from it?
  • What needs need to be met?

Analyze the Result of Your Behavior

Ask yourself “how content do I feel after overeating versus not over eating“

Worry: Pay attention to whether or not worry is solving the problem.


  • Anxiety > stress eat > guilt
  • I see that over eating
  • makes me overweight
  • gives me a sugar rush and I crash.

This is because our body is telling us “make me feel better now quickly“

Ask yourself

  • Is this habit serving me?
  • Am I ashamed that I did it?
  • Is it keeping me mentally and physically well?
  • Why do I do this
  • How does it help me?
  • Do my feelings lead to decisions or actions or things I regret?
  • What am I getting or avoiding by indulging in these behavior patterns?


Potato Chips with Her Daughter

 woman who ate a bag of chips to bond with her daughter over TV

  • woman realized she was satisfied after 2 chips

Smoking Study

majority of subjects had tried this before and fell on average 6 times

 instead focus on being curious

We allowed them to smoke but told them to be curious about the experience

Mindful smoking: smells like stinky cheese, tastes like chemicals… Yuck

She started to become disenchanted with her behavior

Analyze Your Thought Pattern

Ask Yourself

  • Am I willing to let go of my self-centered ego centric point of view
  • Am I willing to stop blaming others and let go of resentment
  • Am I willing to let go of my old plan and adopt a new plan in my life
  • Am I willing to except that there are more powerful forces then I and that I cannot do this on my own
  • Is it becoming clear that my old pattern isn’t working
  • Is it clear that I need a new plan for fulfillment
  • Am I open to a different plan
  • Am I open to being guided
  • Do I need to apologize to someone?

Come Up With An Action (Replace it)

  • Awareness has to be followed by action

If you replace something with another habit you become addicted to that new habit.

  • If we replace smoking with eating candy we become overweight.

The best thing is to replace it with our things that are intrinsic because they don’t become habituated.  Replace with things that make you feel better.

How else can I fill that need?


Every Friday night you get drunk

  • You get lonely
  • You get depressed with your life
  • You worry about your relationship status

You used to go clubbing every Friday night

Plan something that connects you with others on Friday night

  • Go to the gym

How to be Set Free Indeed

John 8: 31-36

31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly My disciples;

32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.

35 “Now the slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.

36 “So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.

Example: washing board

  • You bought your grandmother a washing machine
  • She keeps using the washing board
  • You tell her that there has been something provided that is better than her effort at cleaning the clothes
  • We keep trying to clean ourselves up using our own effort

I told you how to become free

  • Now I’ll tell you how to become “really free”

Harriet Tubman

When the slaves escaped with Harriet Tubman they had to look over their shoulders.

  • They were free, but they weren’t free indeed.
  • If the slave owners had set them free then they would have been free indeed.

If you use the technique alone you may be set free

  • But you need to bring in Jesus to become free indeed

Take it To God

  • Pray
  • Take the desire away
  • Point out the real issue
  • Heal the real issue
  • Ask what steps to take
  • Ask God to intervene in your life


  • Reading the word
  • Strengthen your relationship with Jesus
  • Prayer

Freedom From Bondage

When the Israelites left Egypt they were Runaway slaves.  

  • Even if they outran Pharaoh they would always be runaway slaves.  
  • As long as Pharaoh was chasing them ...
  • As long as the oppressor lived it was a potential to be oppressed again.

You don’t have to be in bondage to be oppressed by fear.

  • Wondering if you will bring that addiction back in your life.

As long as you allow Pharaoh to chase you you will always be a slave.

Red Sea

Pharaoh followed them to the water.  

  • Everything that was of God came out of the water.
  • Everything that was not of God didn’t come out of the water.

There are some things that God takes you through just to destroy what is chasing you.  

You might be in a season right now that seems like you are drowning

  • It is meant to drown your oppressors

The reason they were at the Red Sea was because it was a good drowning place.

Sometimes God will allow you to get into trouble because the trouble is a good drowning place.  


  • Everything of God was supposed to come out
  • Everything not of God was supposed to stay in the water

For some they were dirty after they came out of the water

They brought with them

  • Lust
  • Unforgiveness
  • Pain from the past
  • Addictions
  • Thoughts of revenge

God brought some through another season to cleanse them

Some people know their conversion date/moment

  • Some people remember the exact moment when they gave something up

For some... it will be May 25th 2021 (today)

  • Right now
  • When he took your addiction away

Presenter: Michael Leadon


Caroline Leaf Podcast 273: how to break the cycles of worry and fear to heal your mind with Dr. Judd Brewer

Override addictions

Tony Evans

There is purpose in your pain

TD Jakes

Hacking Your Brain’s “Reward System” to Change Habits

Dr. Judson Brewer

Unwinding Anxiety (book)

Dr. Judson Brewer

A simple way to break habits

Dr. Judson Brewer


Gene Wagstaff

Overcoming addiction – the root cause of every addiction ever

No temptation has overtaken you

Steven Furtick


Read Romans 6,7,8

‭‭James‬ ‭4:5-8‬ ‭NASB2020‬‬

“Or do you think that the Scripture says to no purpose, “ He jealously desires the Spirit whom He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

Example: Juneteenth

  • 1863 the Emancipation proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln
  • June 19, 1865 The slaves in Texas found out
  • There was a gap between legal freedom and the experience of freedom

You can stay a slave

  1. Nobody told you how to be free
  2. Someone could tell you that you were free but you’re so used to living on the plantation you don’t exercise the freedom that you have

On the cross Jesus signed your emancipation proclamation

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