Understanding Addictions

I have struggled with addictions for much of my life. And I know that no one is addicted to something because they want to be addicted to it. They are addicted because they can’t stop it. They are in prison, and they can’t get out of that prison. Yes, the addict enjoys the positive sensations associated with the substance or the behavior. This is what keeps drawing them back to the addiction again and again. But no addict wants to be a slave to anything. 

The Addiction Experience

Early in the addiction, there is usually a lot of pleasure and relatively small negative consequences associated with the substance or behavior of choice. If it was the other way around, no one would end up in an addiction. If the first time you used the substance or participated in the behavior, your hand painfully rotted off, you wouldn’t go back to that substance or behavior again. And your example would help others avoid the substance or behavior as well. 

Because you get a lot of pleasure, and you have relatively small negative consequences at the beginning, you estimate that the pleasure is well worth the small consequences. But over time, the scales begin to tip. There is still pleasure, but it takes more of the substance or a greater intensity of the behavior to get the same effect as before, until eventually you can never reach those early experiences of pleasure you once had. 

Over time, the negative consequences increase in number and intensity, and you find yourself in an upside-down situation. The negative consequences are more and more constant and severe, and the only thing that helps you “surface” out of the misery is increasing doses of your substance or behavior. If the substance or behavior finally fails to help you surface from the misery to a sufficient degree, you will stop using it and switch to or add another substance or behavior that will continue to help you surface to escape the misery. 

Your baseline level of pleasure decreases with each use of the substance or behavior, so that eventually your “high” is what your baseline used to be, and you can only get back to “normal” with the continued use of the substance or behavior. But even that diminishes so that nothing you do can get you back to what normal used to be. You have slowly descended into an ever-increasing hell from which you find no escape. This is the natural progression of an addiction. 

The Cause of Addictions

But where does an addiction come from in the first place? It is driven by a missing need in your life. For every need you have, there is an uncomfortable symptom to tell you the need is not being sufficiently supplied. You need water, and if it is lacking you feel thirst. You need food, and if it is lacking you feel hunger. You need oxygen, and if it is lacking you feel suffocation. So, what is the need that is missing which is at the foundation of every addiction? It is love. The lack of love is the driving force behind every addiction. If everyone was full of love, there would never be an addict. 

There are many aspects of love, such as acceptance, belonging, honesty, security, appreciation, understanding, kindness, gentleness, and the list goes on. And when love is lacking, there is a void, a gnawing, or an emptiness. Sometimes it is a difficult-to-pinpoint discomfort in the background of our lives. Other times it is clearer, manifesting in feelings of rejection, loneliness, betrayal, dejection, misunderstanding, etc. And every addict knows that their addiction is worse when they feel lonely, betrayed, rejected, misunderstood, and so on. 

With that love void in the background, the addict tries some substance or behavior that happens to provide a euphoria or pleasure that numbs the love void temporarily. Associated with this euphoria is the release of dopamine in the brain. Any substance or behavior that causes a larger-than-normal release of dopamine is a potential candidate as an addictive substance or behavior. And the greater the potential for eliciting a dopamine surge, the greater addiction potential that substance or behavior has. 

No one is addicted to broccoli, carrots, or lettuce, because the consumption of these foods is not associated with an excessive dopamine surge. But foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar do have addiction potential—foods such as pastries, candies, ice cream, chocolate, cheese, seasoned meat, or the ranch dressing you eat your salad and vegetables with. Behaviors such as winning a competition, buying a new item, gambling, pornography, and sexual encounters outside of a committed marriage relationship between a man and a woman are potential candidates, as are drugs such as caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, narcotics, and other street drugs. 

When an individual who is experiencing a love void uses or participates in one of these substances or behaviors and there is a resulting euphoria and dopamine rush, they lose the sensation of the love void for a while. The void is buried under the euphoria until the euphoria wears off and the dopamine levels subside. Then the void “comes back,” and they are left a little worse off than before. Now, instead of having supplied their need of love with the love that can fulfill their need, they have simply numbed the sensation temporarily. It is like being hungry and eating Styrofoam. You may feel full after eating the Styrofoam, but it won’t give you any strength, and you will have additional negative consequences from eating it. Having numbed the void, but not supplied the need, over time there is a growing sense of guilt associated with the use of that substance or participation in that behavior. 

As with Adam and Eve, a sense of guilt causes the individual to separate themselves from God (to hide from Him), who is the source of the love they need. They need a love that is full, constant, personal, and unselfish, and only God has that kind of love for them. So, if they are already deficient in that love, because they haven’t been coming to God to get the love they need, and now they use a substance or participate in a behavior that results in guilt, they draw even farther away from God. The guilt adds to their love void, making the void even worse, which makes them want to avoid the negative sensation of the void. So, they go back to the substance or behavior that “helped” them last time, and the cycle is repeated. Imperceptibly, they have already started the descent into the inevitable hell described above. 

The Addict’s Thoughts

The addict who is religious will have an exaggerated guilt response when participating in the addiction. They know that it is wrong. They know that God knows it is wrong. They make promises to God that they will do better next time. They try to make behavioral changes related to the addiction (throwing away the substance and paraphernalia associated with its use, deleting files or subscriptions or memberships, ending relationships, etc.), but none of these resolve the underlying problem. Each time they fail and give in to the substance or behavior again, they then beat themselves up with guilt, shame, and self-hatred in an unconscious effort to “pay” for their sin and “earn” their right to come back to God for forgiveness. As long as they can get enough time between their last use and now, then they can come to God and ask for His forgiveness. 

As guilt drove Adam and Eve away from God in the Garden of Eden, it does the same for the addict. And it leads to secrecy. The addict may be open about their substance use and behavior with those they believe will not reject them and will not lay greater shame upon them for their use (fellow users, etc.), but they will try to hide their use, as much as possible, from those whom they believe will condemn and reject them for that use. So, in an addiction, the addict must pretend, evade, or outright lie to avoid discovery and rejection by those whom they fear will reject them for their use. If you are looking at an addict, you are looking at a liar. It’s not that they want to be a liar. It is that they can’t stop the addiction cycle, but they fear losing important relationships by that addiction, so they lie about the addiction to maintain the relationships. Eventually, this fails, and then everything starts falling apart. 

So, what does an addict need to overcome addiction and be truly free? We will discuss that in our next newsletter. 

Prayer Team

If you would like to be a part of our PRAYER TEAM, please send your name and email address to [email protected] and we will add you to our team. We are grateful for all who have volunteered and are always looking for more prayer warriors. 

Ministry Updates

New Paradigm Camp Meeting!

We are going to have our first ever New Paradigm Camp Meeting September 20-24, 2023, on our property in Cabool, Missouri. Tentatively, we will have Joshua White from A Thinking Generation speaking about true education and parenting, Khris Hayes giving us practical teaching and hands-on experience in agriculture, and Dr. Sandoval speaking about righteousness by faith and mental health. By then, we should have 8-10 RV spots available (4 50-amp, and 4-6 30-amp), as well as camping space. There are also a couple hotels within 30 minutes-drive of our property. Please plan to join us as you put those dates in your calendar. More information will come as the details are finalized. 

Group Sessions are Now Available!

Our counseling appointments are filling up quickly. Currently, if someone wants an appointment, they will have to wait at least 7 weeks for the next available appointment. For many, that is too long to wait. We have been praying about what else we can do to accommodate everyone’s needs, and in response we have started offering group sessions on Zoom every Monday evening from 6:30-8:30pm Central Time. At the beginning of the group session, Dr. Sandoval presents a topic, and then the meeting is open for anyone to ask their questions or present their situations. We have had 2 group sessions so far, with 20+ actively participating in the first group session and 40+ in the 2nd group session. You are invited to join us and to invite your friends and family to join as well. The zoom link for each meeting is: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/87592054012, which will be the same link for every subsequent group session. 

If you can’t join the meetings in person, you can watch them later on our YouTube channel HERE

German Series Available

The series that Dr. Sandoval shared in Germany in August has been edited and made available on YouTube. If you have friends or family who speak German (or English) that would benefit from these presentations on righteousness by faith and overcoming negative thoughts, please share the links with them. The presentations include Licht ist Dunkel; Dunkel ist Licht, Lügen entlarven, Negative Gedanken überwinden (Workshop), Wahrheit entdecken, and Heilendes Licht. 

The entire series can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QM5tFQ5uCWg&list=PLf7s2ibatN_z9nXYz0hi9UsfjVdtqZDTe

Wildwood, Georgia

We had the blessing of spending a long weekend with our friends and family (and new friends) at the Wildwood SDA Church in Wildwood, Georgia. We were able to present 7 presentations over the long weekend and offer books, soaps, lotions, lip balms, salves, and more to the participants. The meetings were held in Wildwood Institute’s new community center, and our oldest daughter, Amalee, and one of our “adopted” daughters, Nasaya, were able to join us for the weekend. 

Liberty & Health Alliance – Tampa, FL

From Wildwood, Georgia, we went to Alabama and spent a couple of days at Uchee Pines Institute before heading down to Tampa, Florida to help with the Liberty and Health Alliance’s Upside-Down event at the Tampa Convention Center. Physicians, dentists, optometrists, allied health professionals, chaplains and pastors, lawyers, and many others volunteered to offer free medical services, mental health services, hydrotherapy, legal advice, and clothing to those in need in the Tampa area. Two days were dedicated to these free services. Dr. Sandoval helped organize and run the mental health section. He also had 2 presentations, participated in an expert panel discussion, and got pulled into being the backstage manager of one of the breakout session tracks. There were also many other expert presenters looking at issues of religious and personal liberty, and family and relationship issues. It was a busy and exhausting week, but very rewarding. 

Sandpoint, Idaho / Video Recording

After getting home from Tampa, we hit the road again a couple of days later and headed for Sandpoint, Idaho, where Dr. Sandoval presented a new series entitled Reversing Disease, Depression, and Damaged Relationships. Some of you may recognize that as the subtitle of Dr. Sandoval’s book, The Law of Life. But if you are familiar with the Law of Life series that Dr. Sandoval has been presenting, this one was different (except for the first presentation). He was able to focus on topics and areas that he has not previously presented, incorporating many new slides and illustrations. To see that series, click HERE. Dr. Sandoval was also able to finish recording the Law of Life series that follows the entire Law of Life book. When the series is edited, it will involve 16 presentations professionally recorded and edited. We will let you know when that series is available. 

Lessons From Covid

Lessons From Covid is a 11-part series that Dr. Sandoval developed to look at what happened in the Covid pandemic from a scriptural standpoint. The 17 lessons outlined in these 11 presentations are important for us today as we consider other infections, future epidemics or pandemics, vaccine mandates, and other coercive measures of enforcement that will recur in the future and how we are to relate to these things from a scriptural standpoint. Lessons From Covid is now available in HD on flash drive, with 9 hours of video, 11 presentations, and all the PowerPoint slides and PDF files for the entire series—all for only $45 (with free shipping in the US). To order yours, please email us at [email protected].

Office/Studio Update

We finally finished our office & studio! The last piece missing was carpet. Now, we have extra insulation, padding, and soundproofing on the floor. It is nice to have this addition to our little office/studio. 

Pavilion Plans

We were so grateful to find a property with a pavilion already in place with 2 bathrooms. We have done some minor maintenance and renovations to the bathrooms. Now, the pavilion roof needs to be replaced, but before we replace the roof, we would like to add an addition on to the side of it for a kitchen, laundry room, and two more bathrooms. That way, we can much better accommodate the needs of those who come to visit (like all of you who will come to our camp meeting next year 😊) or stay with us temporarily. So, keep this project in prayer. 

Counseling or Health Consultations

If you are struggling with personal, relationship, or health challenges, we are available to counsel with you. Virtual appointments can be scheduled through our website at https://www.npmin.org/appointments  

Scheduling Seminars

If you would like to schedule Dr. Sandoval to speak for your church or community, you can contact us at [email protected]. Schedule soon, because he is already booked through much of 2023. 

Upcoming Events

October 21-23, 2022

Dr. Sandoval will be sharing the Law of Life series at the Decatur SDA Church in Decatur, Arkansas. 

November 10-13, 2022

Anthony Sandoval will be leading out at the AYM Youth Retreat in Claremore, Oklahoma.

November 13-16, 2022

Dr. Sandoval will be attending the American College of Lifestyle Medicine conference in Orlando, Florida.

December 9-11, 2022

Dr. Sandoval will be speaking about mental health and New Paradigm Ministries at the Seventh-day Adventist church in Melbourne, Florida. 

December 28-January 1

 We plan to have a booth at the GYC conference in Phoenix, Arizona, so stop by and see us. 

January 11-15, 2023

Dr. Sandoval will be speaking at the Pearland International SDA Church in Pearland, Texas. 

January 17-22, 2023

The Sandoval family will be attending the Adventist Agricultural Association’s annual meeting in Glen Rose, Texas. We will have a booth at the conference and would love to see you there. 

March 17-19, 2023

Dr. Sandoval will be speaking at Oklahoma Academy for a health/mental health weekend. 

May 11-12, 2023

Dr. Sandoval will be speaking for Wildwood Health Retreat’s Diabetes Seminar in Wildwood, Georgia. 

May 20-21, 2023

Dr. Sandoval will be speaking at the SDA church in Landsdale, Pennsylvania. 

June 28-July 2, 2023

Dr. Sandoval will be speaking at the Red River Camp Meeting in Stanton, Kentucky.

July 24-30, 2023

Dr. Sandoval will be speaking for the Family Camp in Pearland, Texas. 

August 2-5, 2023

The Sandoval family plan to attend the international ASI convention. We plan to have a booth at the conference, so come see us at the booth.

August 30-September 2, 2023

Dr. Sandoval will be speaking at the MEET Ministry camp meeting in Huntingdon, Tennessee. 

September 20-24, 2023

Plan to join us in Cabool, Missouri for our first New Paradigm Ministries camp meeting!

September 28-30, 2023

New Paradigm Ministries plans to join the North American Outpost Centers International leadership retreat. 


If the Lord is laying it upon your heart to support the work of New Paradigm Ministries financially, we would be most appreciative. Your tax-deductible donations can be given via check to:

New Paradigm Ministries
Cabool, MO 65689
14527 Berry Rd.

Or you can donate on our website HERE