First a great quote by author Tim Keller – “You know you’re an addict when you’re trying to deal with your distress with the very thing that caused your distress.”
Recently someone shared with me this article – The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think.
It’s not really surprising to me at all that there is more to addiction than the chemically addictive nature of the drugs themselves (or the chemically addictive nature of sexual addiction). The article claims, and I think this is pretty obvious, that possibly the biggest factor is the condition of life of the person taking the drug. If they are alone, depressed, and isolated from other people, then they will become addicted and keep going back to the drug until they die.
So in proposing solutions to the drug addiction problem he says – “So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.” Of course, if people have a good life and good relationships with others, then drugs, or pornography, or may I add, crossdressing, will have less appeal.
But the article is a bit too optimistic. It’s one thing to say what we need to improve, it’s another thing to do it. You might as well say that all the problems of this world come from our sinful selfish human nature (which is pretty much true, aside from the added problem of Satan). But it’s one thing to name the problem, and another thing to solve it. There is no magic button to repair everyone’s fallen sinful nature. And there is no magic button to give everyone good human connection.
I think this world is a broken place. Not everyone gets a happy childhood and good human connections. Some people grow up with abuse, some people have their spouses leave them, some kids get bullied, etc. Until Jesus gets back, there are going to be people who are drawn to addictive behaviors because of their isolation and deep pain. There is no magic button, but there is a solution, and that solution is the person of Jesus, the Lord and Savior for this world. It is only through him that we can be forgiven, have our sinful nature transformed, and have the kind of relationships with other people we are supposed to have. And it is only through Jesus and his 2nd coming, that this world will finally be made perfect.
I would add to the article that it’s not just lack of human connection that causes addiction. It’s a lack of divine contact. We were made, created, to have a relationship with our loving God. When we are disconnected from him, this is a far worse and painful and damaging isolation than isolation from other people. And the opposite is also true. When we finally have our relationship with God repaired, when we have that connection through faith in Jesus as our savior, then we have comfort, peace, and rest in our soul. We have a friendship with the God of the universe. When we really enjoy that relationship, all addiction can fall by the wayside.
I have noticed something in all my counseling of guys struggling with crossdressing. There are some who can just simply stop, which is what I did for the most part. And there are others for who it is a continual struggle. There are other factors involved of course, and it is much more complicated than how I am about to say it. But at times it seems that the men with well balanced lives, good marriages, and vibrant faith, they are able to stop quite easily. But the men with hurting marriages, broken relationships, doubting faith, and difficult financial situations, they have a tremendously much more difficult time stopping. The stress and worry and disconnection from all of these problems continues to drive them back to addiction, some of them to multiple types of addictions all at once, beyond the one addiction of crossdressing.
So this means that recovery from crossdressing has to be holistic. You can’t try to fight the addictive behavior unless you are also going to give your life to Jesus, go back to church, work on growing in faith, reconciling your marriage, learning to deal with your anger, forgiving those who hurt you, trying to meet new people, growing in God’s Word, and finding healthy work to do.