The Addiction and Stress Connection
For the last 20 years, we’ve heard about stress from everywhere. Recently, I was told by the head of a large corporation that to him, stress means the difference between a profit and a loss for the year. See, recent research shows that the more stressed employees are, the more sick days they take, the more they cost the company in health insurance, and the more likely they are to quit or be fired, which means tens of thousands of dollars and time in training now has to be done all over again.
You hear about it in marriage too. In fact, the first think you probably thought just now was that the stress has to be relieved or it will destroy the marriage—and you’d be right. But most of all, you hear about stress being related to health problems. Dr. Bruce Lipton at Stanford Medical School says that 95 percent of all illness and disease comes from stress. The US Government actually upped their estimate a couple years back, from 85 percent to 90.
Bottom line, if you’ve got any problem in your life, you should probably start by looking for the stress.
We also seem to be hearing more and more about addictions. Lately, the one in the news all the time is the opioid addiction crisis, which has gotten so bad that here in the USA we’re talking about passing new laws to fight it. Addiction has been a subject of study for a long time now, with doctors, therapists, and researchers devoting their careers to finding a solution—many of them really smart people. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have done very well, and you don’t have to take my word for it. A quick Google search will show you that all the major addictions have a high 90s relapse rate. On the one hand, I’m a big fan a AA, NA, and all the other A’s. I’ve talked to so many people over the years who have been greatly helped by those organizations. But most experts cite a 95 percent plus relapse rate, even there. You might think that the expensive clinical inpatient programs would deliver better results, but sorry, most researchers cite a 98 or 99 percent relapse rate even there.
So what can we do? Let’s start by looking at the stress. At its most basic, stress means pain. Whether it’s physical, emotional, relational, or any other type, you can’t have stress without pain. Every addiction is simply a way of dealing with pain—and a perceived lack of pleasure absolutely qualifies as painful. Ask someone who has not been intimate in their marriage in years, or even just someone who loves chocolate and is depriving themselves of it for a diet. Stress causes pain, and addictions come in to try and alleviate or distract ourselves from it. We get caught in a chemical vicious cycle, with adrenaline, cortisol, and dopamine forming a chemical cocktail that can be as addictive as cocaine. It pulls us in like quicksand, and many of us never get out.
So let’s unwind the problem. If it started with stress, maybe resolving the cause of that stress can reverse our problem. Very often, that’s exactly what it does. Except for life-or-death emergencies, stress is always caused by a lie that you’re a believing, thinking, feeling, and acting on. In fact, the lie detectors sometimes used by police really just work by detecting stress! Anorexia is a great example of this—a lie so powerful that it can cause a beautiful, precious teenage girl to literally look in the mirror and see something that is not there.
Want to beat it? My prescription starts with lots and lost of prayer about healing your lies—even if you don’t know what they are—and starting to believe the truth. Every day, use Trilogy and Memory Engineering on any lies that you do know about. An easy way to start identifying them is with this question: what’s bothering you more than anything else right now? Rate that issue zero-to-ten, then identify the biggest negative emotion related to that problem. Finally, think back to the earliest or most powerful memory of your life with that same negative emotion—not just about that same problem, but about anything, as long as it has the same emotion. That memory is virtually guaranteed to have a lie in it. It may have really happened, it may have really been a negative event, but the biggest problem is never the event, it’s your interpretation of that event. Dad yelled at me, therefore I must be a bad person—that was one of mine. Keep working on it until it’s no longer bothering you, then find the next earliest memory until you can’t find anymore that still bother you.
One last thing. That first event is where you lost your peace. All subsequent events are because you lost your peace. Heal those early memories and your peace will come back, and addiction and stress are usually resolved on their own. I’ve even had people who had been addicted to heavy chemicals for years do this, and then stop cold turkey with no withdrawal symptoms at all, which is not supposed to be possible. But your mind and body are capable of miracles when you get the lies out.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!
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