Addicted (Week 8 of “Stressed-Less Living”)

addiction_definition

“People who are addicted will find that they are doing something…all the time.”
(page 159 of Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles)

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Hi, I am Pat, and I am a former endorphin junkie. One of my spiritual gifts is the gift of helps.  I tell you this not to brag on myself, but to explain how I became addicted to helping others.

Ten years ago I went back to college at age 42.  One of my first classes was a speech class (more on my aversion to public speaking in a later post).  My speech professor gave us many topics to speak about, but my favorite was a speech on a quote.  I chose this: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)

As I studied the effect of helping others I found out that when we do something nice for another person, our bodies release endorphins.  Our bodies produce endorphins during exercise and/or excitement, and this substance gives us a nice feeling of well-being.  Ever hear of a “runner’s high”?  This is produced by endorphins.  In preparation of my speech, I read the book The Healing Power of Doing Good by Dr. Allan Luks; numerous studies showed how elderly people who do volunteer work actually live longer.  Since the printing of this book, more studies have been done by other doctors using MRIs to show the effects on the brain when people do acts of charity or nice things for others.

As I gathered research for my speech, I was so amazed at how God made our bodies.  What I did NOT learn was that even though we ARE refreshed from helping others, we can also get addicted to this feeling.  People who are addicted to helping are addicted to the “feeling of feeling good” that is produced from the endorphins.  Without realizing it, I had done this.  As I helped more and more (sometimes WITHOUT praying first—a GREAT BIG NO-NO!!), I became more and more stressed.  It was a very vicious cycle that thankfully the LORD showed me a few years ago.  He delivered me from this addiction and now I always pray before saying “yes”… and my life is way less stressful.

Are you a helping junkie?  My prayer is that you will ask the LORD to reveal this to you and that you seek Him first before saying “yes”.

 

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16 thoughts on “Addicted (Week 8 of “Stressed-Less Living”)

  1. You know, Pat? I never would have considered myself an endorphin addict, but I do believe I just might be. (Oh, how I wish it were to exercsie! 😉 ) More praying first – yes to that for me, too.

  2. I like where you said to pray first before saying yes. I find sometimes I will say yes and realize I should have said no, because my stress level would elevate and fear of not accomplishing the task at hand to someones elses expectations would occur. I am learning that dependence on God is what I need to do more. We sometimes help when maybe God wants someone else to do it. Thanks for sharing this, not realizing we can be an addit to the endorphin our body produces in the high of helping other.

    • Amen, Marilyn!! We DO need to depend more on God and ask Him first before we dive in. You’re also right that sometimes our saying “yes” too soon takes the blessing away from someone else. Thank YOU for bringing up these points!! 😀

  3. Hi. My name is Nancy. I am addicted to helping others. You really nailed it. I am going to copy your blog and add it to my Stress-Less journal. Thanks!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Nancy. Just keep studying God’s Word and ask Him to reveal to you if you need to make changes. I was stressed from my over-helping, so changes were necessary for me.

    • I love what Tracie says on page 165: John 9:4 says, “We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.” Here we we Jesus telling his disciples that they were to be busy with God’s business. Not just busy with impressive acts of service but busy using their time wisely and in big and small ways int heir everyday lives that would glorify God.”

      Right above this she writes: “….when we allow the good things of life to become deterrents to our spiritual lives and cause us chronic stress, then changes are necessary.”

      For me, my quiet time was suffering, my family time was suffering and I was stressed. A change WAS necessary for me!

  4. Pat,
    Yes, yes & yes!! I am a helping junkie and it has gotten me in trouble numerous times in my life. My husband says I have too big of a heart….so I am taking that as a good trait but a bad trait as well. I do pray that one day I can learn to recognize the difference between helping (good) and helping (bad:().

    • Oh, me, too, Kelly!! I never relished “the compliments and pats on the back received from others” (page 159) and didn’t realize that by saying “yes” too soon, that I very well could be taking the blessing away from someone else. Pray, pray, pray, girl…BEFORE you say “yes”!! ❤

  5. I had never, ever thought of being addicted to helping other people. It’s a very interesting take, I will admit I get myself into things because I feel guilty that no one else steps up. . . and then I get stressed out from doing so much! I am (slowly) learning that I do not need to be the one that takes up all the slack!

    Kris (OBS Small Group Leader)

  6. Hi Pat! I walked through a time in my life saying “yes” to every request that was thrown at me. I think my motivation was more of wanting to make people happy and not disappoint anyone…which all probably play into the same category! Like you, I was awakened to the truth and set free! Thanking God with you for deliverance! 🙂 Love, Shelly (OBS Leader)

    • I did, too, Shelly!! I was a new Christian at 33 and just wanted to help—just being so excited what Christ had done for me that I wanted to help wherever I could! Thankful for your deliverance as well!! 😀

  7. Pat lots of good info and glad to hear it because I see myself getting more and more like that. Helping and giving – I don’t want to be addicted to that too, but I need to start talking to God more about what I am doing. Debbie W. (OBS Group Leader)

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