Q: How can I begin to be serious in this process?
This question came from an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I thought it was a good question and wanted to share parts of my answer.
The person also asked a similar question: ” Is it possible to begin the recovery journey without going through a severe crisis?”. I’ll answer this question on my blog tomorrow.
** All emails sent to Porn to Purity are private. No names or details will ever be shared that would identify you. The only things I’m sharing in this blog are my answers to what I think is a question many others are asking.
SEEING THE TRUTH OF WHERE I REALLY AM
I’m working on a post right now called “6 Breakthroughs in My Sexual Addiction Recovery”. One of the breakthroughs in my life was when I started to see the truth of where I really was. I was so far off base. I was so deceived by my sin that I thought God was actually OK with my behaviors, and I was in ministry! When I was confronted with my sin, exposed, and asked to leave my church, it was the wakeup call I needed. My sin had dragged me far away from where God wanted me to be.
Learning the truth of how far I had drifted was overwhelming for me. It was a personal crisis. I was broken, and I was ready to do something about it. I was willing to do whatever I needed to get well. And (most importantly) I followed through and took some steps I had never taken before (going to a sexual addiction counselor, going to a support group).
You might need to ask God to show you where you really are, how far you’ve drifted.
As we spend time in the truth we will see where we are and where God wants us to be. That’s why a guy in recovery needs to be in several atmospheres of truth. I need to be talking and listening to God in prayer. I need to be reading His word. I need to around others who can help me grow. I need accountability buddies to see the blind spots in my life and help me with my course. I need a counselor, a support group, a minister in my life. These are all sources where God will communicate His truth.
Just the fact that you listen to podcasts, read recovery material and talk with me is doing this. It’s all a part of putting yourself around truth or spiritual people who can help you.
SEEING THE CONSEQUENCES OF MY SIN
Another breakthrough for me was when I began seeing how my sin affected others. My sin cost me my job, my church, my church family. But my wife and kids were also affected. Trust was broken between me and my wife. Our sexual, emotional, and relational intimacy was corrupt. My relationships with my mentors were damaged. Our church family suffered and the church plant eventually closed. It cost me $5000 to move to Raleigh and multiple thousands of dollars in the counseling office over the last 4 years.
There is a lot that I still grieve. I still feel the consequences of my sins. They are a motivator for me.
Potential consequences are motivators too. Where could I have been? I could have done something illegal and be in prison now. I could have contracted an STD. I could have had an affair and damaged a lot more. I could have lost my marriage and family. I could be dead now.
These have been breakthrough moments from God for me. They have caused me to develop a sense of seriousness.
You might need to stop and make your own list.
SLIPS AND RELAPSES
There’s a big difference between slips and relapse. A slip is when you get off track. A relapse is when your train derails. Slips will happen, relapse doesn’t have to. Neither one of these things is irreversible. It’s just hard when we get off track or start going the other way to get back going the right direction. We step over lines, cross boundaries, and it makes our battle much tougher.
Masturbation was a painful think for me to stop doing. I went through major withdrawals. I needed major help. I slipped, often at first.
I’ve had the same troubles with TV, movies, Sunday circulars, magazines, and objectifying women… and other areas. I’m still working on some of these things. I still struggle and have bad days.
The biggest help to me right now is my support team. I go to group every week. I have a guy I talk with every week for accountability. I call guys several times a week. I try to keep my time with God fresh and journal on days when I’m feeling edgy. I don’t go to my counselor as frequently now, but he’s still and important part of my support team.
These things didn’t used to be there, but they are all essential for maintaining sobriety, finding continued healing, and for experiencing sexual purity.