Addicts can build a great deal of tolerance with their addiction, as they are able to use more of the substance more often.
As quantity and frequency increases, it can deceive the addict into believing that they can “handle it.”
I always say life demands payment. Every choice you make will cost you something. Even if you choose not to choose, that is still a choice which will have a cost.
This is similar with our addiction.
The addiction will cost the addict more as time goes on, as the price gets higher.
Soon, not only is the addiction costing the addict a great price, it is now costing personal and professional relationships as well.
Loved ones begin to be forced to bow to the beast.
Before recovery and through seduction of tolerance, the addict continues to believe everything is fine.
They believe they can have their drug of choice and still maintain the same level and quality relationships at home and at work.
Meanwhile, nothing could be further from the truth for those around them.
Once in treatment, the addict begins to sober up, coming out of the delusion of a false reality.
As most addicts want to be judged by their intentions, not their actions, they begin to realize how much their actions and behaviors have hurt others.
They continue to wrestle with and stop the double standard of judging others by their actions and not their intentions.
Slaying the dragon within of this type of thinking, beliefs of the mind, and vows of the heart takes diligence and practice.
This type of work takes humility to let others in and give them feedback, correct, redirect and challenge the faulty beliefs and vows.
Once “completing” an inpatient or outpatient program, the journey is just beginning; because now, the real work begins to practice what the addict has learned.
Life and stress begin to take hold.
Slowly meetings are missed, accountability is lost, and complacency sets in.
Tolerance once again comes knocking on the door trying to convince the addict that months and years have passed.
“One small drink or hit will not hurt you.”
“You once used so much more.”
Within a few days or weeks, their tolerance is equal to or greater than it once was.
What took years to build is back quickly and now with a vengeance greater and more powerful than ever.
The voice of tolerance will also play the other side after weeks, months, or years, making you believe “you can pick up where you left off.”
“You can drink, use, or look at the same type of porn you once did.”
“You can handle it.”
“It did not kill you then; it will not kill you now.”
Deceived, they take a hit with the amount they once used… but this time die of an overdose.
It has cost them their life.
This is common with heroine or an alcoholic that took one last drink and died of liver failure.
I have seen this in sex addiction treatment as well.
I have had clients who in the process of acting out sexually, striving for the newest exciting erotic high, paid the price with their life by asphyxiation, drowning, or foul play.
The seduction and deception of the serpent of tolerance is real.
This is not a “me” game.
This is a “we” game.
On the journey of recovery, you will need others to help you be victorious over the dragon and its seductive tongue.
Do not underestimate it.
Always have a buddy system to share the burden, to challenge your thinking and behaviors as well as be there to watch your back.
Cory Schortzman is an author, speaker, teacher and licensed mental health professional. Since 2008, he has served as the Executive Director of Transformed Hearts Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He is the founder of SARA, the Sexual Addiction Recovery Association. Cory is passionate about helping couples and individuals overcome sex addiction. He is also passionate about bringing awareness to the public and supporting the elimination of sex and human trafficking. Cory has been married since 1998 to his beautiful wife, Kerry, and lives in Colorado with their four daughters. He and Kerry have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery. He has also been heard on numerous radio programs.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.