Written By: Greg Yost, Certified Addiction Counselor and NLB Alumni
For men in a faith-based addiction treatment program like No Longer Bound, they uncover two things:
- Their need for love
- How their thoughts and actions are pathways to getting their needs met
Everyone’s thoughts, actions, and words fall into one of two opposing categories:
- An attempt to gain value for ourselves or increase our chance of acceptance
- To protect or insulate ourselves from feeling that we are not accepted.
Innate Needs: Love, Acceptance, Worth, and Security
Growing up, men in addiction tried to obtain approval, attention, and affection, as do most young children. However, later in life, they denied that they had these needs at all. Over time, they practiced ways to protect themselves from feeling the pain of rejection.
At No Longer Bound, men are taught that they do have needs, and they are important. Their innate needs are love, acceptance, worth, and security – what we call LAWS. They take an inventory of their lives, understanding the value placed on the acceptance and affection from others.
False Beliefs Shape Our Identity
Most men in our program deny that they care about or even need the approval of others. However, to break free from this way of thinking, they learn to uncover the faulty core beliefs about themselves. They learn that their unhealthy coping mechanisms stem from their false beliefs.
This is where the assignment on “The Roots and Fruits of Rejection” is so impactful. Men list seven memories of their formative years (earliest memories up to age 12-13). Then, they describe the attached emotions and formed beliefs.
Common beliefs would be:
- I am alone.
- I am unwanted.
- I am not enough.
- No one cares about me.
- I am valued if I do well.
When a father never shows up to any of his son’s ball games, he could come to some traumatizing beliefs about himself, like, “why am I not important?” A boy could come to the conclusion that he will never be good enough no matter how hard he works since his father always re-mows the lawn.
Uncovering Your True Identity
Some of these lies that we tell ourselves can be so far from the truth of what happened. And yet, it is the reality that our subconscious uses to build all of our coping mechanisms. The enemy works hard to whisper in children’s ears that what they are experiencing is an indicator of who they are.
In many traumatic or life-changing memories, the victim can logically see that it wasn’t their fault, but their feelings tell them a different story. They find it so hard to find freedom from the lie.
When it comes to addiction recovery or healing from trauma, this is the emotional mound that must be removed. Through this assignment, the men lean on each other and God to expose these lies, call them for what they are, and boldly step into their identity.
However, once the lie is exposed, the work is not done. They must develop self-awareness in order to see the dysfunctional coping mechanism in the moment and remember the truth about who they are.
This concept takes months to practice until it can be done successfully in the moment. It’s normal for negative emotions to stir inside you when someone makes you feel disrespected, ignored, or under-appreciated. But the healthy way to respond is to remember that those emotions are due to the lie we believe about ourselves – not because of the person. Freedom is found in that realization.
Learn more about our faith-based approach to addiction recovery.