Relief or Freedom?

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Contemplating our addictions, temptations, and other common “issues” – self-pity, co-dependency, whatever it might be – and I keep coming to this thought:

When we are struggling with these things, giving in to “the thing” actually makes us feel like we have relief and some sense of control. We feel better because we no longer have the internal struggle that is present while we are trying to resist. It is interesting that when we give in and are experiencing this momentary state of relief and “peace,” it is that very moment that the thing/issue/addiction/temptation has its greatest hold on us. So, I guess we have to choose whether to feel relieved or to be free. It’s a tough choice.

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5 thoughts on “Relief or Freedom?

  1. I think this is where the Enemy does his best work. The relief lasts but a moment, then comes guilt and a sense of worthlessness and the fact that we have no control. The false peace comes from being done with the battle but its temporary and the cycle begins again…

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    • So true, Joanie. Glad you pointed out that the control issue is also a vicious cycle. There’s a false sense of control that prompts the behavior, but actually is a sign of being out of control.

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  2. Uh, Lisa, you tossed depression in with addiction and behavioral issues. Depression is a medical condition and NO ONE indulges in it for relief. I think maybe you meant negative thinking and self-pity, which probably often gets termed “depression” (as in “I am so depressed today.” when there’s no such thing as one day depression) and which can mimic the outward symptoms thereof. It’s still incorrect; depression is a medical condition, not a bad habit, and is often fiercely battled by its sufferers. Addiction is, of course, a medical issue as well, but also behavioral (you can choose not to indulge an addiction, you cannot choose not to have depression or any other mental health condition) and not quite the same thing. Being depressive also doesn’t give anyone a sense of being “in control”, rather the opposite; it doesn’t belong on this list.

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    • Thank you so much for your input, Heather. I think you are correct that it doesn’t belong on this list (and will edit my post to reflect my agreement). Having suffered severe depression since my sister’s death, however, I do know there are times when I “give in” to behaviors which are produced by depression and are not helpful to me overall (may go into a list of those behaviors in a future post).

      I also agree with your list of things that mask themselves as depression (self-pity and such). Will not be adding those to the list, though – ah, the conundrums associated with trying to be brief on a topic that is anything but simple.

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  3. Thanks for responding to my concern, and for opening the topic in the first place, since it’s an interesting one. However, I don’t know what is this “brief” you speak of…

    I never thought you didn’t understand the difference, because I know that you are a wise and compassionate gal but y’all have readers, and it was impossible for me to let it slide by without –illumination is a nicer word than rant, right? I’ve spent every day for years dealing with the soul- and body-crushing struggles of my loved ones and have become considerably versed on the subject, so it leaped out at me in a way it wouldn’t others. I’ve also resultingly become a self-appointed soldier wading onto a field mined with well-meaning ignorance (most of it aimed and fired by relatives, so that’s awesome) and have rather a hair-trigger 😀

    I understand and empathize (I”m an emotional eater, as my jeans will testify) completely with the thesis of the post. Usually, though, I would say, it’s a false relief, because you know even at the time that you’ll regret the indulgence and then, boy, do you. And most days I fight the good fight on all fronts. [Why the war metaphors this morning?? I don’t know.] But there are definitely times when I feel like the sweetest words in the English language must be I. QUIT!

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