The Basis of the Genesis Process

Romans 7:15-23
Why do we do the very thing we don't what to do?

The Bible tells us that trying to change behaviors without changing internal thoughts and beliefs  that reside in our heart is an exercise in exhaustion that usually leads to failure. The Genesis Process recognizes that a person's self-destructive behavior is the expression of their distorted beliefs and worth. Along with focusing on changing behaviors, Genesis also concentrates on identifying and changing the faulty belief systems that drive self-destructive behaviors. Genesis tools have been shown to be effective for anyone stuck in self-defeating behavior patterns and truly want to change. The Genesis Workbooks are not designed as a self-help books. Genesis relies on the insight of a trained Genesis counselor in the one on one process or a facilitator lead Genesis Change group to partner with God to produce lasting change. 


The Addictive Brain Overview

What’s Broken?

The limbic (addictive) part of the brain basically controls these areas; emotion, experiential learning and memory, dreaming, attention, pleasure, reward and arousal. It also controls the way we perceive emotional, motivational, sexual, and social behavior, including the formation of loving attachments. The limbic system not only controls the capacity to experience love and sorrow, it also governs and monitors our basic needs. This includes hunger and thirst, cravings for pleasure-inducing experiences such as
drugs, food, sex and other real or imagined needs. Most of the limbic system actions and reactions are subconscious. Anything that has to do with survival (our ability to cope) can become an addiction. The three main areas the survival part of our brain (the limbic system) is in control of, and can become addicted to by creating cravings are; food, sex, and safety. Safety is where things like alcohol; drugs, work, codependency, anger and other compulsive self-destructive behavior come in. When we feel out of sorts anything that helps us cope or feel normal gives us a temporary feeling of safety and can become addictive. 

Which of these areas do you struggle with? 

In our formative years, abuse, neglect, accidents, poverty or any condition of chronic inescapable stress or fear can cause limbic problems and reactions. The three limbic responses to real or imagined survival (fear) are: fight (aggression) flight (running away) and freeze (going numb).  

Which do you tend to respond with?

The Limbic System is part of what the Bible calls the heart. The Bible tells us that if you want to change destructive behaviors and emotions you must change your Heart. The Limbic System (the heart) is negatively programmed through painful experiences with people we trusted, especially in our formative years. Not trusting or being able to bond with others leads to fear, anxiety, loneliness, isolation and self gratification. Since the heart is negatively programmed through hurtful experiences with others, it must be healed through opposite experiences. When we can’t get our needs met from others we have to learn to self gratify. All addiction is self-gratification. This is why recovery that heals what drives self-destructive behaviors is a process of learning to trust again. The process of trust that heals our heart usually begins with God and then people.  

Key Thought

Recovery is a process of learning to trust again. 

Our brain can become conditioned to be hyper vigilant (super focused) on anything that can create a real or imagined feeling of well being or safety (freedom from stress and fear). The bottom line is that addicts don’t chronically use to get high, they use to feel normal. Addition is about feeling normal and being able to cope. When this survival part of the brain is damaged the ability to concentrate, handle stress, and experience reward and pleasure is diminished. People with limbic problems are at high risk to become addicted to anything that can help them to function, feel safe, normal or a sense of pleasure. So anything that makes us feel safe and reduces stress, raises coping neuro-chemicals in the Limbic System, causing the brain to associate it with survival, or feeling normal. The limbic system can actually equate painful or fearful emotions with death (the ability to cope and survive) and create a focused attentiveness (craving) for what we did in the past to feel ok again. Cravings can become difficult or impossible to say no to. This whole process is mostly subconscious which is why we can’t control addictive behaviors. The more the survival behavior is repeated, the more ingrained it becomes, resulting in a loss of control, thus an addiction. This is why we do the very thing we don’t want to do. 

The Limbic System is very simple. It has a memory system that records experiences that have to do with pleasure and reward and fear and pain. It sets up systems of thoughts; emotions and reactions to avoid what ever caused fear and pain in the past. It also sets up systems to repeat whatever reduced fear and pain or produce a feeling of pleasure. Fear and pain, avoid it; pleasure and reward, do it again. Thus, the addictive brain.  In order to change behaviors you have to change the beliefs that drive them. 

Beliefs > Emotions > Behaviors and Reactions

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