STONE 6: RE-WIRED



You have been supernatually transformed by God's holy spirit to awaken your willpower! It's worth celebrating!

This transformation happened when you confessed and repented. You began to pull your miraculous God-designed machine (body and brain) out of the pit when you walked through the work of forgiveness.

Now that you've spent time working on living a new way, it's important to take notice of the changes happening within you. 

At this point of the journey, you may feel lighter. You should feel redeemed. I pray you can see the mountain top.

You have the desire to complete the climb. What you are experiencing is God's machine, well oiled, and living by it's divine design. 

This stone will feel light. It will be easy to remove. This is the last mile that must walked, however, if you want to ensure a lasting change.

Brain scans have actually shown that the firing of previous pathways die out when they are not stimulated.  What fires together does actually wire together!  What doesn't fire, dies.

The good news is "the brain is plastic. It can change.  It can rewire.  Change is possible.  We can rewire our brains! God designed an amazong machine which works just as designed when operated with care.

The behaviors we've adjusted were the beginning of shutting down the previous way of living.  However, addictive behaviors are a response to the things we allow to hijack our minds.  

The triggers we've put in place are designed to help stop the reactions.  Now it's time to re-wire and open up new reactions. 

Research has proven that when you use Internet pornography as a means to heighten your sexual fantasies, all you must do in order to call up these same feelings and images is call on the memory.  

Once that memory is called, it can begin to fire your brain to produce a craving. Let's be clear, erasing memories is hardly what we are suggesting. This is why triggers for new reactions are necessary until you are able to re-wire those memories to elicit non-pleasant feelings. 

One of the most effective weapons against the memories hijacking your recovery is to place a trigger for prayer into the equation. When the memory fires up and images flood your mind, use that moment to pray for the "actors" in that memory. Ask God to bless their lives and the lives of their families.

 Now, it's time to focus on replacing those behaviors with something greater, something exciting and new.  You need to find or remember your purpose in life.

How we look at ourselves

As you fully embrace and believe you have the power to rewire your brain, you will notice your triggers.  You will put a name on your urge. You will become the change-agent in control of the action versus the victim of the reaction. 

Aaron T. Beck, the foremost cognitive behavioral psychiatrist in America, writes: "Merely telling patients to become more aware of their thinking can be sufficient.

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.  
                                 - Frank Outlaw

We have thoughts, behaviors, and feelings.   We must remember that we are not the vicitm, rather we have a role as the instigator of action. We call this - "willpower".

 When you are able to name the behavior and review it mentally, then you will be able to change the course of your reaction. 

If you think about a blue sky and I tell you to now think about a red truck - you can do that.  You can change your thoughts - you have willpower to change your mind.

Just as we discussed in STONE #5, your willpower is restored when God supernaturally intervenes through confession and repentance.

When you embrace and believe there is part of you that has the ability to objectively view your addiction without acting,  to think about your actions and emotions differently, then you will believe change is possible.



NEW WIRING

It is important to understand that your addictions and obsessions are made up of four components.  

  1.  Doing /  Action:  This is the behavior or action you perform with your body.  (We turn on the computer, type in an address, walk to a hidden area)
     
  2. Thinking:  These are the thoughts you have before or after the behavior.  "I deserve this," or "I don't get joy otherwise," or "I am a failure," or "I will never get over this so I might as well not try." 
     
  3. Feeling:  These are the emotions you generate as a result of the thoughts or the behaviors we act upon, such as depression, guilt, sadness, disappointment, disgust.
     
  4. Physiology:   As a result of our thoughts, actions and feelings, the brain releases neurochemicals and hormones that cause a physiological response in the body.  This response is generally pleasurable for the moment.  This body response can then drive more of the behavior as the body builds up a tolerance.  (William Glasser, Control Theory)

MENTAL FORCE

Our goal is to build a new neural pathway to replace the old one that is addictive, compulsive and destructive.   The more we fire the neurons on the new pathway, the weaker the old ones will become.  

Brain research has shown that this replacement cannot be casual.  In order for your brain to change, it must be aware and focused on the new behavior with all the force of will and mind power available. 

Research has also shown there is a split-second of time between a thought or urge and the resulting action.  They call it "free won't."  This small but powerful gap is where your life begins anew and becomes re-wired. 

This gap between stimulus and response is your brain's willingness to take second seat to your thoughts. You have the final vote to allow the reaction to follow or to veto the action and send it to the waste bin. 

Work on establishing those new behaviors when you are focused, awake, and away from any temptation of porn.  You are in charge of the new behavior. What should you choose? What new behaviors would you like to establish? 

The first place to look is your skills, talents, and abilities. Now is the time to ask God, "Who did you make me to be? What purpose have you given me?"  Instead of getting lost in finding your purpose, focus on these 2 truths.

  1. God's perfect will and purpose for your life is to love Him with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And to love others as you love yourself.  He never dictates your career, your choices, your friends, your hobbies. He only asks that you use every aspect of your life to love him and love others.  This is non-negotiable and set in stone. It takes the worry out of "who does God want me to be?" He wants you to be the man who will commit to this truth. 
     
  2. God gave you special abilities, talents, skills, and a mind to accomplish those things. Finding your interests are at the heart of your new behaviors. This is your work for this STONE. 

ASSIGNMENT #1

To choose behaviors that you can do and behaviors you actually enjoy will require some Q&A time with others. 

  • Write down the things which come easy and natural to you. Are you good at Math? Writing? Art? Sports? Analyzing things? etc.  
     
  • Try to remember what the people around you consistently compliment about you.  When they say things like, "you're such a natural at this", "that comes so easy for you", "you are really good at doing that", "I wish I could do that like you do that", etc.
     
  • Then ask at least 10 people what they percieve your talents and skills to be. What do they say you about you, your personality, and your strengths?

Now that you have a list of things you feel are your best strengths,

  • Match those up to the things others feel are your best strengths.
  • Now look for activities, hobbies, volunteer work, etc., which relies on these skills
  • Make a list and begin using this new pursuit to take the place of your old behavior
  • Finally, ensure you are using this new found behavior to honor God and love others

When the negative urge arises, do this behavior first.  While you are doing this behavior, focus all your attention and willpower on it.  Become totally immersed in the sensations and emotions of the new experience. 

Remember, the power of thought?  Remember how only a memory can trigger your brain to crave porn until it's rewired? These thoughts must be captured and thrown away. 

ASSIGNMENT #2

Make a plan to re-wire your thoughts and new behavior. 

  • What will you need to know to get started?
  • What anchors and trash will you need to remove to take the first step?
  • What will your life look like with this new behavior?
  • How long will it take you to get started?
  • On what day and at what time take the first step? 

HOW TO THROW AWAY THE MEMORIES AND EXPOSURE TO SKIN (PORN)

When the first thought or image comes to mind or flashes on the screen, stop and tell youreself, "Oh, this is a pornographic image that has come up.  My brain is throwing up this image or the screen is throwing up this image,".  

The faster you can refocus your thought, before it turns into a feeling, emotion,  or an act, the easier it is to change.   With only your thoughts, you can rapidly shift those images to something repulsive or hard to see by making the image out of focus.

 Once you identify that you are seeing porn in your memory or in real-time on a screen, switch to the new thought and image you've created of your new life.

Allow the people you love to become part of your new behavior - and remember their acceptance, their love, and how proud they are of your new freedom. Honor that image first and throw the old image away. 


 Once you have fully embraced your new behavior and have made plan to win, it's time celebrate your new life and do the lasting work of STONE 7: Freedom