The Three Battlefronts

The first battlefront, the ERUPTION SYSTEM, has many different faces and rarely, if ever, does an individual only have one. Drug and alcohol abuse, pornography, high-risk sex, video gaming, family conflict, isolation and depression are often the most common. But equally harmful and challenging are gambling, apathy, self-harm, entitlement, self-sabotage, failure to launch and a lack of inner strength. It is vital to succeed in this battlefront. But if it’s the only one in which we have some success, it is short-lived and even dangerous! Here’s why.

Let me elaborate with a story from my coaching days. I took care of taping ankles and treating or triaging injuries. When taping ankles, over 10,000 times, I would occasionally see an infected sore on a boy’s thigh or calf. Sometimes the sore would become an outright boil. I know, it’s gross, but it is a perfect metaphor for what we need to work on here. Often it would be an isolated sore from being sweaty and then rubbed by the thigh pad. I would clean it out thoroughly with hydrogen peroxide, add some triple antibiotic ointment and cover it with a Band-Aid. If it healed and no other sores popped up, it was a single isolated infection. End of story. But if another sore popped up in another place, usually the calf, it was evident that the infection was not isolated to a specific spot on the skin but instead was an infection that would require the right antibiotic to kill it. In other words, it was a bigger problem than the one isolated sore. It was systemic, carried around his body by his blood and would inevitably produce more sores no matter how many I cleaned and treated individually. Like a slow-moving whack-a-mole game.

These faces of the ERUPTION battlefront are much like that, from substance abuse and porn to apathy and isolation, and they share a common origin; they are all an eruption of the CORE, the second battlefront. Just like the boils that popped up on the football players were symptoms of a systemic infection in the blood. A volcanic eruption, with its lava flow, explosions, volcanic ash, poisonous gases and heat, gets all the attention, and deservedly so, because it causes the most immediate danger. Similarly, human eruptions cause painful repercussions and suffering to the individual and their families and friends. But it’s the core of magma underneath the surface that drives volcanic eruptions, and with a human being, it’s a person’s deeper pain, emptiness, numbness or fear that drive their eruptions with alcohol/drugs, porn, etc. Healing the core is vital to stopping the eruptions and keeping them stopped.

Both the eruption and core exist within the third battlefront, the CONTEXT. Depending on the nature of the context, it can either influence the eruptions and core to worsen or to improve. Each battlefront interacts with and affects the other two. Consider real magma reservoirs and volcanic eruptions. They are in locations where the earth’s tectonic plates shift, causing an earthquake that creates a crack from which the magma spills out. Most of the time (75-80% of the time), this happens in a place where we never see an eruption because it is at the bottom of an ocean. Other times there is a magma pool that is farther away from a tectonic plate and therefore not as likely to erupt or it erupts less often and less severely. But sometimes a magma reservoir exists next to the boundary of a tectonic plate and is not under the sea. Examples of these eruptions are Mount St. Helens in the state of Washington and Mount Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii. The perfect context for an eruption: tectonic plate shift + earthquake + magma pool + volcanic eruption + not under the sea but on dry land = a Mount Vesuvius → Pompeii.

The good news about real volcanos is that we can discover the locations on the earth where the tectonic plates and magma reservoirs are, and we can predict when and where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions may occur, most of the time. The bad news is that we cannot change the tectonic plates and magma pools, nor prevent earthquakes and volcanoes. However, it is different with the CONTEXT of a person’s ERUPTIONS and CORE. We can discover its many aspects and we can change them in ways that heal the core, stop the eruptions and grow a deeper connection between the members of the family involved in the battle. The truth of the matter is, this battle can be transformative.

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