The question for our lives is not whether we will surrender, but to whom or what will we surrender.
In this chapter of Surfing for God, Michael Cusick lays out the importance of understanding your own cycle of acting out. He calls it your Soul Snare Cycle. Being able to understand this cycle helps in three ways,
First, it gives us a sense that our feelings, behavior, and thought patterns are not random and completely unpredictable. Knowing the pattern and issues contributing to the obsession is empowering.
Second, understanding the cycle as it applies to our individual stories allows us to identify what is happening beneath the surface in our souls. Linking the pattern of porn use to our brokenness and emotions allows us to see what drives our behavior. As we realize what drives our behavior, our areas of brokenness are exposed, and deep healing can begin.
Third, once we identify the pattern and our reasons for acting out, we can understand why the soul snare cycle is a vicious never ending sequence...
The soul snare cycle begins with our soul brokenness--wickedness, woundedness, weakness, and warfare. These are the logs and branches vulnerable to being ignited. The next stage of the cycle involves our triggers--people, places, events, and experiences that light the kindling of our brokenness on fire and set the cycle in motion. The cycle then leads us to soul preoccupation, when our focus, attention, and passion become absorbed and directed toward the pursuit of sexual gratification. After that, we enter the soul snare by crossing the line from desire to action, anticipation, and indulgance. The soul snare cycle then leads us to the soul shame stage. Not only do we feel a great sense of regret, guilt, or shame, but our actions also confirm our belief in our personal worthlessness and inadequacy. Finally, in the penance stage, we resolve to change our behavior in a way that actually perpetuates the cycle of addiction.
Each time the cycle concludes and repeats, we descend deeper into a downward spiral that reinforces the previous cycle. In my case, I turned to porn and sex to relieve the pain of my brokenness. But each time I gave in, my shame poured gasoline on the fire, which increased my brokenness, which in turn increased my need to find relief. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Michael goes on to explain more about the above. This is a powerful, powerful chapter to help you get to the heart of the matter with regards to your sexual compulsions and struggles. He helps you begin the walk through your brokenness and shame to freedom.