This past month has been a rough one for my recovery, as I have reset my sobriety date. I spent several days very angry with internalized rage. I was angry about all the deception and lies throughout the world around me, the sexual immorality and sex trafficking in our society. You see, I was really… really angry. I was so angry I felt as though I was not even in my own body, and things around me seemed surreal. I was not sleeping well, as I would awaken with negative thoughts and emotions. I knew if I did not get a grip on this and let it go it was going to affect my personal and professional life like a dangerous time bomb.
I wrestled with this for several days. My wife and I would talk and try to process what was going on, but I believed I was justified in my anger. Are we not to be angry about the injustices of the world? How could this world be so deceived? It was over a week later when I was meeting with a client that God revealed to me that I was deeply… OFFENDED. [BAM] I felt like I was hit with a bat!
I fell into my old addiction… yet again. How does this continue to happen? I have been in recovery how many years? How can I keep falling into this trap?
I have discovered beneath any and every addiction is an even deeper root cause that has been hidden and is rarely ever discussed in the recovery world. This addiction is so deceptive and cunning rarely is it ever detected. It is an addiction to being offended or the Offended Addiction.
I have an addiction to being offended. I am an addict of offense. I love to drink from the cup of offense. It is sweet, warm, cozy, and soothes my being… in the short term. It is the most amazing thing you will ever drink, and it is only laced with a tiny drop of poison. However, if you drink it often and long enough, it will kill you.
So, after meeting with my client, I realized I had fallen into my addiction to being offended. So I reset my sobriety date, because, ultimately, I was complaining. Complaining (which is always justified in our own mind) is destructive, because what I am saying when I am complaining whether it’s a real or an imagined offense by whatever or whomever is bothering me is really stating, “God you are doing this wrong. It needs to be done this way. I don’t trust you know what you are doing.” Crazy…isn’t it?
I have mentioned before the book entitled The Bait of Satan by John Bevere. If you have never read the book, it is an absolute must read for every person in recovery. I would also recommend The Bonds that Make us Free by Terry Warner as well as The Anatomy of Peace and Leadership and Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute.
John Bevere writes: “Offense is the breeding ground for deception.” If we are in deception, we are then offended. How often have I been deceived in my life because of my thinking and believing that others have hurt me? Terry Warner writes: “Every time you feel a negative emotion you are believing a lie.” I remember the first time I read those words and I could not receive them, because my whole life (even at the time of 8 years into recovery) I felt negative emotions all the time. How could this be true?
Eventually, I realized I had learned how to allow my negative emotions to dictate how my behaviors. If I learned this, I could also unlearn this and learn how to live differently. And so the journey began, as this revelation took me even deeper into the core of what fed my other addictions. I cannot fathom all the times I allowed myself to become offended by my negative emotions about someone or something when I believed I was “right,” and they were “wrong.” Deceived, I was. This was difficult to admit about myself, but the freedom has been priceless!
Do you have an addiction to being offended? Take our Offended Test.
You see, ultimately, I realized I was offended with…God. Pride took root in my heart by drinking from the sweet cup of offense. I suddenly realized the world was not deceived. I was because I was… offended. As long as I am offended, it is impossible to clearly hear from God and live effectively in relationship with others, because in offense I put myself in a place of authority to be the Judge and to act like and be like God. In the long term, this would drive me to want to medicate in any of my other addictions. I asked for God’s forgiveness. He forgave me. The next day God not only showed up, but He showed off!
Who and what have you been offended by? Are you a complainer?
We live in a culture full of people who have an addiction to being offended as well as those in an emotional addiction [http://transformedhearts.com/understanding-emotional-addiction/] who are deceived by their own emotional reality believing that their misfortunes and negative emotions in life are everyone else’s fault. They are entitled to what you have yet they themselves have never worked for it. The addiction to being offended is an epidemic. We can’t change others, but we can change the world tomorrow by starting with ourselves today.
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.