There are many personal destructive addictive behaviors. Some can be categorized as illegal, some unethical, some unhealthy, and others morally destructive. It is a father’s responsibility to demonstrate mastery over all such behaviors, so that he may impart to his children the necessary confidence and self-esteem in knowing that any addictive behavior can be overcome.
Every child will have to face diverse temptations. It is not a parent’s job to keep their adult children from these temptations. However, it is a parent’s job to prepare their young children to overcome such temptations by modeling responsible behavior, and by correcting them when they stray, as they inevitably will.
A study performed on US prisons found that almost all prisoners had a bad or non-existent relationship with their fathers. These prisoners were unprepared to manage the temptations that confront every man. Rather than practicing to overcome such temptations when the consequences of failure were relatively mild in a family environment, they failed as adults where such consequences are severe.
As I raise my son, my heart grieves for those children who are not being fathered, and for those young adults who are not prepared to face temptations on their own. Let me try to share some fatherly advice to those young adults who do not feel that they can overcome an addictive behavior, whether sex, drugs, alcohol, Internet pornography, gambling smoking, gluttony, etc.
Firstly, you need to understand that you can avoid becoming addicted to any type of addictive behavior by simply choosing not to engage in it. I know that this is easier said than done. However, it is the most efficient way to live your life.
You see, there are three equally effective ways of learning life’s basic lessons:
1. by obeying responsible instructions;
2. by observing the failure of others; and
3. by experiencing the failure for yourself.
The principal difference in these methods is the time required to learn. Once you have learned the basic lessons, you can then proceed to learn more advanced lessons. The first method takes the least amount of time. The second takes a bit more time. The last may take decades. However, those who consistently choose the third method are destined to learn only a few lessons because we have a finite amount of time on this earth.
Secondly, if you find yourself addicted to irresponsible behavior, then you can stop at any time – once you are serious. Many struggle with addictions for years, principally because they are not serious – they wish to leave the door slightly open, so that they can have the option of returning to experience the pleasure that engaging in the behavior brought.
If you are a father, and you are engaging in addictive behavior, whether extra-marital sex, drugs, alcohol, Internet pornography, gambling, smoking, gluttony, etc, then unless you get serious about stopping, you are simply ensuring that your children will have to fight your unfinished battles, while being completely unprepared to do so. Thus, you are securing their failure, and destining them to many years of failing to overcome the behavior which you refused to overcome.
If you are serious about stopping, then let me suggest the following three steps.
Step 1 – Tell God, who knows your true intents, that you will never do the deed again.
Step 2 – Demonstrate your commitment by getting rid of and cutting yourself off from everything associated with that behavior.
Step 3 – You will be tempted often. Choose to stop thinking about it, look away, and spend the time that you used to spend in addictive behavior habitually doing something responsible.
You may fail subsequent temptations. However, the difference is that you are now walking upright and going somewhere. You may stumble and fall, but get up quickly and keep walking. The person who is addicted stays down for a long while.
Let me recommend that you listen to the following song – it is in two parts.
You can also watch the dramatic presentation below.
This one may also be useful: