07 2021
The Drive to Connect

Two weeks ago our fourth granddaughter was born. The day after her arrival, I was able to hold this precious new life in my arms for about 45 minutes. Having experienced the stress of being born, she was content to sleep most of the time. She barely moved. But when she heard my voice and others in the room, she would open her eyes trying to connect. This unmistakable inner need for connection was there from the beginning. Gradually, she was introduced to her immediate and extended family. She will form new connections as she grows. The desire to connect will remain with her for the rest of her life, as it is for all of us.

Decades ago, the famed Austrian behaviorist Konrad Lorenz conducted an experiment with a duck. He believed a newborn duckling would treat the first living thing it encountered as its mother or primary connection. The experiment proved true and the duckling followed him wherever he went. (See above) Apparently, this life force inhabits most living things.

Sex addiction is a disease of misconnection. Most addicts, through circumstances and experiences, did not make healthy connections growing up. Instead of finding people we could confide in about our struggles, we turned away into fantasy, pornography and other illicit and secretive behaviors. The consequences caused us even more pain, eventually enveloping those around us too. True recovery must bring us back into these much needed healthy connections in order for us to find lasting freedom and happiness.

Jesus spoke about the need for authentic connection with him when he taught the following in John 15.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Jesus had also previously spoken of authentic human connection in John 13.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

In the 1930’s, a friend of AA, Carl Jung wrote a letter to Bill W. the co-founder of AA in which he said the two most essential experiences necessary to recovery were (I am paraphrasing here) a life changing spiritual experience and a deep connection in honest, transparent fellowship with other strugglers. This remains true today. Many people testify that in their 12 Step group that they can finally be known for who they really are.

We cannot change the past. But the past can be redeemed by the kind of deeper healthy connections we all need. How can these connections be made? They are made when two addicts share coffee or lunch, in 12 step meetings, in retreats and conferences or in working Steps together, and in honestly sharing our weakness with someone else. True connection can also be made in quiet meditation and prayer with the Source of our life. It all begins with understanding and legitimizing this deep, innate desire to connect, one that that we all experience.

Connections are inevitable. They are part of being human. The only question is: what kind of connections will we make? And are they healthy or not? Our program provides the guidance we need. The choice is ours.