This Page - Gay Christian, Gay Christians, Lesbian Christians healthy self-esteem, discussion on overcoming additions, and compulsive behaviors. (The negative and dysfunctional effects and results of drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, excessive shopping or spending money, work-a-holics and becoming overachievers, perfectionism, obsessive about personal appearance, body shape or body building, pack-rat, never throwing away anything, dependent on material things, addiction to romance, the need for excitement in life, the need to stay busy all the time, never spend any time alone, always needing people around, becoming possessive of people or things, never satisfied, always needing to change things, and sex).
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s time has passed and as I have spent time assisting people in furthering their walk with Jesus it is my firm belief the majority of difficulties people experience regarding sexuality and sexual orientation really have nothing to do with these issues.
Rather, I believe they instead wrestle with self-love, self-image, self-acceptance, self-actualization and self-esteem. When these truer issues are addressed in Jesus Christ then the sexuality and sexual orientation will naturally and without effort fall into place and its proper holy expression.
Instead of learning how to properly deal with life, we often times try to avoid it. One of the ways people often avoid life is by escaping into addictions and compulsive behaviors. Such things mask and numb life, provide a temporary fix, but are ever fleeting. God is eternal, and God desires to develop within us eternal skills, to deal rightly and properly with life and our sexuality.
Here I am referring to chemical addictions. This includes not just addictions to illegal drugs and the abuse of alcohol, but addictions to legal drugs, or even to chemicals your body produces.
When I was in college, biofeedback was new and all the rage, the "cure all" for every problem. I greatly objected to this, because I felt it only helped manage not cure, it did nothing to relieve the causes of life's stresses. After a man's lowered his blood pressure and relaxed through biofeedback, his wife is still divorcing him, his truck is still broke and his dog is still dead, and nothing has been done to help him manage with those things. Luckily, today we now use biofeedback as only one of the many tools to help people set a healthy environment in which to then cope with and manage their life struggles, and not think of it as a cure for them. The man can use biofeedback to help him focus better, to be more in tune with self, but he must further learn coping and managing skills to deal with the divorce, and a dead dog.
Many people turn to things, techniques, philosophies and lifestyles as a way of masking, or escaping from their lives and themselves. Many people turn to chemical addictions as a way of masking the pains of real life, instead of learning coping and managing skills for dealing with real life. Drugs and alcohol are an easy escape from dealing with the reality of being gay. Many gays and lesbians are addicted to substances, like drugs, alcohol, smoking, sugar, caffeine, or even the chemicals their bodies produce through sex or exercise.
Today, I fear we are misusing medications for the treatment of depression and anxiety, too. Like the misunderstanding over the use of biofeedback in the past, it is too easy for many professionals today to just prescribe anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, than it is to take the time to really counsel and help people manage life. Many people do have real chemical imbalances that cause depression and they need medications. Many people really need medications to help them have a better and healthier environment to set the stage to deal with life issues. But, I think most people do not. It is too easy, too convenient to escape into a pill that makes you feel good but which doesn't actually give you the skills to handle life. It is too easy to become addicted to such medications.
You may use these substances to try to numb the feelings of internalized false shame, to ward off feelings you don't want or don't know how to handle. You may try to use these substances to escape, to hide, or to bury your emotions or feelings, or even bury self entirely. The high is a quick fix, but it always wears off, and you are forced to either return to the high or deal with self and life; sadly, it's so much easier to escape again. Further, your body develops tolerances to certain levels of substances, and you often must intake more and more to get the same effect. You may use the substances to just mask symptoms, and not deal with the real issues of life.
Substance addiction and abuse can become a self-continuing cycle, becoming physically and psychologically addictive. The original reason for turning to substances may change, but the emotional or physical need or desire for them remains. Then you are not only dealing with the issue of life but the further physical and emotional addiction to chemicals.
Substance addiction will make you risk everything in life, your job, career, family, and even your health. You may engage in sex in unhealthy ways or in dangerous or risky places to get an adrenaline rush of excitement. You may risk losing your job or career to get high. You're willing to risk everything to be nothing, to get high to be brought low. You're willing to just numb your life and remain in is present cycles. Why? Would it not be better to learn to live openly and honestly in life? Life is always going to send you difficulties, but wouldn't it be better to learn how to deal with them, instead of running from them?
There is a high percentage of drug and alcohol use within the gay and lesbian community. There are a high percentage of gays and lesbians on anti-depressants. What does this tell us? That being gay is wrong? No, it tells us the majority of gays and lesbians do not have good and healthy self-images, have not been given the tools or opportunities in life to develop such. If gays and lesbians were allowed to develop normal and positive self-images, the addiction to or need for many substances would decline.
You are not so terrible a person to need to drown yourself in substance abuse. You are not so terrible a person to destroy yourself, your life, your family, your career, your self-dignity, or your self-esteem. You are of value, of inherent worth. You can be free from addictions to substance abuse when you see these substances for what they are. What they are is not Love. Your body was created to be the temple of the Holy Spirit, you are to reverence and take good care of it, not abuse it or self, for that is not Love.
Love yourself through learning the reasons behind your turning to substance addictions. Turn instead to your Savior, Jesus Christ, and the good counsel of professionals and friends who can help you learn how better to deal with your life.
Compulsive behaviors are not the same as additions. You can live without drugs or alcohol, for example, but it's often difficult to live without clothes, food, and many other things. Another word for compulsive behaviors is "idols." An idol is not just something you worship instead of God, or which you value more than God. It is anything that takes on unhealthy or out of proportion importance in your life to the point that it interferes with life.
Idols are another form of avoidance. Instead of dealing with the "real" it's an escape to the "unreal." Instead of dealing with the "real" problems, idols mask and cover them up, give a false sense of security or comfort. This false sense of comfort or security is fleeting, doesn't last, it is temporal. You have to worship these idols more and more to keep the masking cycles going.
Idols may take on the form of many compulsive behaviors, including but not limited to:
But, one of the strongest, most common compulsive behavior, or idol within the gay and lesbian community can be:
See Also: Ethics.
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