The western culture in which we live has a problem of having more choices available than ever before. This rings true for people who desire to address their own escape behaviors. There are currently so many options of escape, from drugs to surgical procedures, that it is very important to make sure the method used is not just a band aid. In other words, it is not enough to simply address symptoms; a person must address the reason for the behavior.
One SFT participant who had a problem with food addiction received gastric bypass surgery. Gastric bypass surgery is a procedure that prevents the stomach from allowing as much food intake as before. The problem the participant ran into was that she still wanted to overeat regardless of what size her stomach was. She had applied a band aid without addressing why she was overeating in the first place. She addressed a symptom rather than the problem.
On old country song by Webb Pierce provides a lyrical representation of this problem.
“There stands the glass… That will ease all my pain… That will settle my brain… It’s my first one today… There stands the glass… That will hide all my tears… That will drown all my fears… Brother, I’m on my way…
“I’m wondering where you are tonight… I’m wondering if you are alright… I wonder if you think of me… In my misery… There stands the glass… Fill it up to the brim… ‘Til my troubles grow dim… It’s my first one to day.”
The song correctly illustrates the reason for his behavior, namely to escape what hurts him and forget about what is causing pain.
It is interesting to note that many programs available go straight into addressing the behavior without addressing the reason for the behavior. This is the reason people who have had gastic bypass surgery still overeat. It is why containment of a behavior alone will not be enough. Luke 6:43-45 says:
“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasures of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
In other words, if someone comes to SFT training and claims to stuggle with alcohol, we could say “do not drink anymore.” However, that would be like expecting an apple tree to produce oranges. Apple trees only produce apples and orange trees only produce oranges. Therefore, rather than address the fruit a person is producing, it makes more sense to address the tree (person).
A person who stops a behavior without changing himself is still the same person as before. This means that a relapse, a switch in behaviors, or “white knuckle” living is inevitable. Only when a person works to completely change himself can he fully shut down an unwanted behavior.