How to avoid becoming the next Anthony Weiner
NEW YORK CITY, September 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner made headlines again recently, this time posting a picture of his crotch with his young child next to him.
Is Weiner a compulsive sext addict?
Psychologist Kimberly Young says "yes." The pioneer in Internet addiction told the Albuquerque Journal, “Addiction is an irrational behavior, and (Weiner) is definitely acting out, especially with a highly visible wife.”
Sexting, or "Pocket Porn," is a growing phenomenon among adolescents and young adults. Young says there is a connection between sexting and low self-esteem. “It’s a juvenile behavior," she explained. “We see it a lot in those with social anxiety."
Experts speculate that sexting may have similar effects on the brain as pornography addiction. Dr. Young explains that sexting may have a "biological component," releasing dopamine in the brain, which causes the user to seek more of the activity.
As the Albuquerque Journal summarizes, the activity in the brain is similar to "a heroin rush. The more a person does it, the more he or she wants to keep doing it."
XXXchurch.com founder Craig Gross ministers to those who become addicted to pornography and those hurt by working in the porn industry. He told LifeSiteNews that all too often addicts like Weiner "don’t take things serious enough or pay enough attention to getting help until they face extreme consequences like losing a marriage or a job."
"Just because your spouse stays with you doesn’t mean that your problem goes away," Gross explained, noting that forgiveness can be offered and received without the necessary work and commitment to healing one's addiction. "Addiction is real, and my personal opinion is that Anthony never wanted to get help, he just was unfortunate and got caught and in his case keeps getting caught."
Reports indicate Weiner might have hit rock bottom. A day after the media reported Weiner's latest sexting, his wife, Huma Abedin, announced she was separating from the former congressman. It also was revealed that child welfare officials are investigating Weiner, who in one sext pictured his underwear-clad crotch next to his four-year-old son.
Noah Filipiak is the founding pastor of Crossroads Church in Lansing, Michigan, and the author of "Beyond The Battle," a book for men on finding identity in Christ in an over-sexualized world. He shared with LifeSiteNews that Weiner's case is unfortunately typical for porn addicts. "It's amazing what a person will risk for their addiction," he said. "We see this all the time with drug abusers who steal in order to finance their next fix, or with alcoholics who choose the bottle over their family. Sex addiction is no different."
"The only difference is that porn is socially acceptable to the point where only the most extreme cases would be labeled as 'addiction,' but in reality, millions of people are caught in this addictive snare," Filipiak elaborated.
"Is Anthony Weiner addicted to sex? Yes," Filipiak concluded. "But so are the millions (billions?) who go back to porn time and time again, many who think there's nothing wrong with it."
"Many find that porn takes them to awful places. Places they never thought they'd ever be," the Internet blogger/pastor to addicts said.
LifeSiteNews asked Gross and Filipiak how can someone already ensnared in pornography addiction turn his or her life around, and save their marriage and/or their job?
Gross' response was immediate and direct. "Nothing changes if nothing changes," he said, indicating that it is up to the addict to seek healing. "Someone needs to want it more then anyone in your life wants it for you."
"I believe it when the Bible says, 'Lust will never be satisfied.' Things will progressively get worse for you. You will start to take bigger changes and doing things like sexting with a photo next to your child is one example."
Gross warned, "Look at these stories and realize if you have an issue with porn, sexting, affairs, prostitution or strip clubs and you are hiding these things from the people you love, they will eventually be found out."
The XXXchurch pastor offered hope for the porn addict, but only if he or she seeks healing. "Find a safe place and get around some people that can relate with you and help you," Gross said. "We have almost a thousand people in our online small groups at x3groups.com, meeting once a week with 10 other people that are dealing with the same things. Don’t believe you are the only one dealing with these things."
Filipiak's experience with porn addicts shows that the pivotal point in healing from addiction is to expose it. "The most important step in stopping the additive cycle of sex is to tell someone about it; to get it out in the open," the Crossroads pastor said. "It's amazing what our minds can rationalize when we are the only ones who know about something."
But healing is not just found in openness and honesty about one's addiction. "Not only is regular accountability needed, but the source of the need must be addressed," Filipiak said.
"What every man and woman engaging in sex outside of marriage is really looking for is intimacy, validation and approval," Filipiak explained. "These things can ultimately only be found in Jesus. Even a spouse cannot provide these things. This is the essential foundation to the counseling process that can turn someone's longings into gratitude and contentment."