Tuesday, November 10, 2015
When I wrote my post about the roller coaster of addiction, I had just begun to formulate the idea of a default setting. I am still trying to put into words exactly how the concept of "default settings" fits into the treatment and recovery of those struggling with addiction. The trouble is that like many things, this is not a fix-all, easy answer that will render addiction immediately powerless and guarantee no more relapsing into the addiction-recovery cycle.
What is a "Default Setting"?
Simply put, the default setting of something is the pre-programmed setting at which the original programmer or designer intended an item to operate. This is a technical term, but anyone who has ever worked with computers has had at least some dealing with "default settings". An example of this is when I upgraded my computers from regular CRT monitors to LCD flat panel monitors. The LCD monitors had a much higher resolution than the CRT monitors, but when connected to the computer, they looked no different. I had to go into the controls and change the resolution of the display driver to a new setting in order to get the benefit of the high definition screens. Now, when I go into those computers and click the restore "default settings" button, the computer reverts to the lower resolution because that is the program that was last set as the default. now if I were a computer programmer, I could go into the internal programming and change the default so the new higher setting is now what the system defaults to, but since the default is most often the optimum setting recommended by the manufacturer, the new setting may cause things to not work as they were intended.
So how does this fit into the world of recovery? We have discussed the idea of the "God shaped hole" in past blogs, the concept that when God made us, he programmed a need into our lives, a need to be connected to or part of something altogether greater and outside of ourselves. A need that we have come to refer to as the divine void, that longing albeit undefined, for connection to a divine person or being, which drives us to look for divinity in the world around us. It is our contention that this programmed void is the necessary result of the lost relationship with God as a result of mankind's fall, and that God left the void there to remind us of our created purpose. Accordingly, the only think that can ever satiate this void is genuine connection with the loving creator God who Himself wrote the default program.
From the very beginning, man has sought for some way to compensate for this void. Over its history, mankind has tried every conceivable method of self medicating in a vain attempt to cover this longing. the result, man has become addicted to everything from work and religion, to alcohol and drugs, all in the pursuit of a sense of connection or numbing the sense of disconnection they experience. It is also our belief that life circumstances can make the divine void more pronounced. Traumatic life experiences, like loss of a loved one, or physical or emotional abuse are just a few examples. These stimuli somehow magnify the sense of disconnectedness and are often key elements in driving he addiction cycle.
Each of thees things that we look to to cover or medicate or fill up the missing part of our life, can be described as alternate settings. They are not the original default setting, they are some other setting that a person is attempting to change the setting to. The trouble is, that in the case of the human computer, in order to alter the programming, one need only to do something often enough for it to become a habit, and in the cases of some mind altering substances, only one use is sufficient to alter the natural programming. IN any case, the result is that a longing, a sense of disconnectedness that was intended by the always good Creator -God to point our default towards seeking relationship with Himself, instead becomes corrupted and points towards some counterfeit alternative.The new default settings are no longer optimum, and the end result will be more not-as-it-should-be-ness. We will talk next time about correcting the default setting.