"Rise and shine!.. Rise and shine..!! It's time!!!"
Grace pounds her head into the pile of pillows on her bed hoping she was still dreaming.
"Up, up, up sweetheart... It's morning, we have to be on time for Church today.”
"Mom!! Can I have five more minutes please? P-pree-tie pleaseee" Grace muffled faintly.
May paused, took a long look at her daughter.
Grace was born almost ten years ago.
It felt like just yesterday, she was holding her little girl in her arms for the very first time. She was red and full of hair. Beautiful.
May made her way to the blinds. She flung them open from one side to the other. She waited until Grace got up, staggering to the bathroom.
Grace loved her pretty dresses.
She loved to look pretty- like a princess.
Her Sunday school teachers always said she was their little pop star.
She thought the boys in Sunday school were silly. Always lurking around and muttering incoherently. Sometimes cute. But silly.
Oh, but how she dreaded the morning ritual of grooming herself and getting ready for church. She much preferred her sleep.
Grace enjoyed spending her Sunday evenings at Lucy’s home. Lucy's family moved in next door about four months ago and they had immediately hit it off.
They would play with Lucy’s Barbie collection and usually close out the night watching TV in their basement, while the grownups chatted away upstairs.
On this night, they rummaged through the big box of VHS tapes. “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Lion King”, “Snow White”, the list went on. They settled on Grace’s favorite story, Cinderella.
Lights, Camera, Action!
The girls sat grimacing at what was on their TV screen. Everything around them seemed frozen in time.
Grace felt something going on within her thighs.
Like a fountain of gooey springs was forcing its way out of her tightly crossed legs.
Lucy jolted her friend out of it..
“Eeww.. what's that?”
“We shouldn't be watching that..”
“Where did that come from?”
Lucy and Grace were inundated by unfamiliar sounds of moaning and heavy breathing from the TV. Cinderella was naked but seemed to be enjoying the strange things Prince Charming was doing to her.
“This isn’t Cinderella.”
They watched for a few more minutes, hoping the tape would fix itself and reveal their heroine in a pretty dress and glass slippers.
Instead the naked man and woman, went on and on, oblivious- as though in mockery of the girls’ expectations.
They soon gave up and turned off the screen.
But the images would return to taunt them later that night.
Thus began a habit that would control Grace’s life for many decades.
As a teenager, she would come to accept that her sexual desires were natural. Her love for x-rated content was justified. Touching herself was a perfectly harmless and satisfying alternative- to having sex.
The fear of being labeled “a slut” was all that kept Grace from acting on her impulses with boys.
She would eventually have sex, but it just never seemed to be enough. So she continued to pleasure herself. Every morning as she took a shower. In between classes while in college. Every evening after work. Before sex. After sex. Any time she felt like it. And she felt like it 3 or 4 times a day. Sometimes more.
The dictionary defines addiction as the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to anything that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
How to identify an addiction??
As defined by Psychology today; Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continuation of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary responsibilities and concerns, such as work, relationships, or health. People who have developed an addiction may not be aware that their behavior is out of control, causing problems for themselves and others.
How to overcome an addiction
- Identify the addiction.
- Take responsibility.
- Be Open.
- Seek help (therapy, accountability partners, counseling, church groups etc..).
- Set realistic short term goals.
- Celebrate milestones.
- Forgive yourself and try again when relapse occurs.
- Seek God.
If you are not struggling with any addictions, here are some things to think about..
- Are you judgemental in your approach or interactions with people who have struggles?
- Are you open to helping someone by listening and empathizing with their struggles?
- Are you willing to sacrifice your time and resources in support of someone else's journey to wholeness?
I also recommend the book, Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions by Gerald G. May M.D.
Also, for additional information, check out the following websites:
Galanter, Marc. “Overcoming Addiction.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 1 Nov. 1992, https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199211/overcoming-addiction