Here is an excerpt from a new LifeSTAR workbook I just finished creating that will soon be available to participants in our LifeSTAR of the Central Valley program.
The Lie of Lust
Would you consider the possibility that lust is unhealthy and not worth holding onto, despite its familiarity? If lust is your drug of choice, expect to feel resistant to the idea of living without it. Though it is familiar to sexual addicts, the experience of lust deepens disconnection with everything that is important in life.
Lust is a mirage. From a distance, it looks inviting and soothing. Yet once the cup is dipped in that pool and raised to parched lips, it results only in a mouthful of sand. It promises connection but never quenches the thirst for it. Lust breeds more lust. Those who consume it only desire more. Even worse, those who pursue lust as a solution to their pain, experience more pain in the end. After moments of temporary pleasure, the user awakens to the consequences of their choices, which often involve the destruction of themselves and those they care for. There is always a cost to lust.
The unending thirst for lust makes sense on a neurological level. Sexual addiction is not an addiction to sex but an addiction to the chemicals produced in a sexual experience. One of the primary neurotransmitters involved in sexual addiction is dopamine. Kelly McGonigal writes that “a dopamine rush doesn’t create happiness itself” but alerts the brain to “the possibility of feeling good”, motivating us to pursue more of that feeling. Dopamine makes the brain anticipate reward but never creates satisfaction. This is a perfect description of the experience of lust. A lifetime of lust would never be enough. You will always want more.
A childhood lacking true connection, leaves individuals thirsty for authentic connection. Lust may feel like connection but never truly is. Genuine connection meets the need that lust seeks to fill. Love is the antidote for lust. Learning to truly connect is the solution that satisfies, like lust never could. Connection disarms lust and the thirst is quenched.
You may believe in your head that lust is destructive yet continue to long for it in your heart. As you recover, there may be part of you that continues to wish you could return to lust. Just as when a friend dies, you will likely feel a sense of loss. If you mourn its absence, wishing for it to return, that is completely normal. Up to this point, your addiction has played a key role in your life. Learning how to live without it will be disorienting and confusing initially. This is another reason why learning to connect will be so important. It will provide a sturdy support system that you can lean on as you abandon life under the influence of lust.