Puke It Out!

by Jeff Fisher on March 27, 2015

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** The author of this blog thought long and hard about including some gross pictures.  His wife thought otherwise, and we settled on this picture.  :)

One sign that a person is ready to work on his sexual recovery is when he PUKES IT OUT.

 

  • A person comes to support group for the first time. Broken. Hurting. At his end. And dumps out his story.
  • A visit to the counselor opens up a flood of hurts and wounds from the past.
  • An email comes to our porntopurity@gmail.com where someone vents their frustrations, dismay, and hurts.

 

Some are in a place of desperation.  Some finally feel it’s safe to share. Or God may have just turned on the faucet of the person’s emotions.

 

We can only keep things inside of us for so long.  We cannot keep secrets forever.  The dam has built up deep inside a person for too long, and must burst.  The stuff that has been welling up inside us must come out, and when it does, it’s raw.

 

THOUGHTS ON PUKE
Puke is messy … so stick with the person.

Puke is a nuisance to some … don’t be that person.

Puke is beautiful to someone who understands recovery … make sure you’re that person.

Puke is a gateway to recovery … encourage it.

Puke is intense and emotional ...  full of anger, grief, sadness, and fear …  these can be healthy and often lead to healing.

Puke takes time … let it happen, give it some air time.

Puke is exhausting, but feels good ... it reminds us how important it is to share our junk.

Pukers need care and comfort … be the person to help them through.

My counselor asked me to share my story with a group of pastors recently.  The Pastor’s meeting was focusing on ministering to the broken and he thought my story would be helpful.  He also asked me to share how ministers helped me through my sexual addiction recovery and how they could have helped me.  Most of my thoughts have to do with the Crisis Stage of Sexual Addiction, the immediate few months after my secret sin was revealed. 

Here’s some of what I shared:

 

TWO WAYS MY PASTOR FRIENDS HELPED ME

  1. They loved me enough to confront me – My two pastor friends found out about my computer usage a couple of weeks earlier.  They lovingly waited for the right time to confront me and spent a lot of time thinking through their strategy knowing that it would bring my family to a screeching halt and put our new church plant in jeopardy.
  2. They helped us financially – The director I worked for was able to help our family out with a couple of month’s pay while we were leaving our church and preparing to leave the area.

WAYS MINISTERS COULD HAVE HELPED ME

  1. Being safe people to share with – Many ministers we have been around don’t feel safe.  Safety is much more than confidentiality.  It also means love, grace, compassion, mercy.  Instead, we have felt condemnation, anger, and outcast like lepers by some ministers.
  2. Pointing us toward resources – It took us a long time to find resources.  We thought we were alone.
  3. Helping us find a support structure – Our ministers didn’t have to be the experts for us.  We did need ministers to help us find God in the midst of our crisis.  Ministers should point us to experts – counselors, ministries, other individuals or couples who could help us.
  4. Walking in the mud with me and my wife – We were told by our minister friends that they would help us through, but there was little to no follow up.  We never felt like they were committed to walk in the mud with us.  Instead, we were quietly encouraged to leave and go find help somewhere else.
  5. Special support for my wife – My world blew apart, but my wife had the biggest shock.  She felt very alone.  She struggled with her own issues related to my addiction.   She was forced to take over leadership in our family and make decisions.  In the middle of her trauma, she went into survival mode.  She thought she was alone.

Most of our help through my sexual sin has come from outside of the churches we’ve been a part of.  We’re not angry at our ministers, just sad that they weren’t better equipped to help us, especially in the first few months of our crisis.

I hope my story and these tips are helpful to you as you work with people in your congregations and parishes who come to you with sexual struggles.

 

 

 

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST OF THIS BLOG
A while back in Season 1 of my Top Tips For Sexual Purity Podcast, I recorded this blog into a podcast.
Click here to download or listen to the show


 

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How Do I Get Serious About My Recovery?

by Jeff Fisher on March 25, 2015

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Q:  How can I begin to be serious in this process?

This question came from an email to porntopurity@gmail.com.   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.

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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.

 

 

Q:  Is it possible to begin the recovery journey without going through a severe crisis?

Yesterday, I shared my response to an email that came to our porntopurity@gmail.com address.  The person asked “How do I get serious about my recovery?”

Today, I share a similar question from the same listener.

** 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.

——————

Sure, we begin our recovery journeys at all kinds of levels.  Most of us have already been trying to stop our behaviors and work on our sexual problems on our own.  The problem, however, is WAY too big to handle on our own.  Some guys never seem to get that.

We are trying to break free from something that goes deeper than just bad behaviors.  We have emotional damage underneath.  We’ve had a history of acting out sexually.  We’ve had imperfect parents.  We’ve been in relationships that weren’t healthy.

The biggest thing is that we are trying to medicate something with the porn and the sexually acting out.  There are deep needs in us, and we’ve found that going to porn makes us feel good, makes us feel powerful, important, not rejected, not lonely, not bored… maybe we like being in control, we like the power, we like the conquest, we like going to forbidden places.  We are trying to medicate something deep inside.

There has to be some level of breaking, though.

God can get my attention in many ways. He can speak to me very quietly in church  and say, “Jeff, you need to drop this.” Or “Jeff, you need to surrender this over to me.” Or “Jeff, let me heal this in your life.”

God disciplines His children.  So he will sometimes allow hardship to come our way to get our attention.  He might take a girlfriend away from us or allow us to get exposed.  These can be His hand saying, “Wrong direction, Jeff!  Don’t touch that stove!  Don’t cross that intersection!”

Sometimes God’s discipline is severe.  Sometimes God allows hard consequences to come.  We might get an STD.  Our girlfriend might get pregnant.  We might lose our job / our ministry and have to move (which is what happened to me).  It’s not that God doesn’t love us.  He allows these things to happen because He loves us.  He loves us too much for us to continue.

We still have a choice though.  The right response is to repent.  Confess our sins to others, get help, and commit to walking the right direction.

Sometimes guys don’t listen to the warnings.  They continue to dabble and guaranteed, they fall.  Sometimes the falls are harder.  Sometimes God has to turn up the consequences out of His love so that a person will repent, will become humbled, will become broken, will have an understanding of their sins.

Does our crisis have to be serious?  Not necessarily.

Do we have to be serious about our sin?  Absolutely.

I’m convinced the guys that when we go back and forth in recovery never making progress, plateauing and roller coastering we don’t have a deep enough understanding of their sin.  That’s the brokenness part I was talking about on the 4 Essentials.

I HAVE to be broken over my sin.  I have to understand how bad my sin is to a holy God or I’m not in a right recovery mindset.  If this is the case for you, the right prayer is, “God, show me what my sin is really like.  Show me how you see my sin.”

 

A New Guy at Group Shares His Story

by Jeff Fisher on March 23, 2015

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We had a guy come to our men’s purity group recently, and it was the highlight of my week to hear him talk. the-new-kid-in-town295

I love to hear a new person share his junk for the first time.  There is a fresh brokenness in many new guys.  There is a strong desire to figure it out.  Tons of questions.  A new guy has started walking in the truth and has been dying to sharing it with others, whether he knows it or not.

Here our some of my reflections on the new guy coming to Group…

1.  Reminds me of my own story – I can completely identify with someone sharing their junk and how they got found out.  He is a regular guy just like me.  All of the guys in group are normal guys with problems that are too big for them.

2.  Makes me thankful for God’s grace and mercy – I could have gone a lot further.  I might have broken some other bottom lines that would have cost me my marriage, kids & career.  I could have been found out a lot later.  I am thankful that God caused me to be found out.  I am also thankful that God came in and flooded my hurt with his love, grace & mercy.

3.  My heart goes out to the new guy – I was there not too long ago.  I sit with him in his pain.  I am reminded of my hurts.

4.  Great to see the light go on – At some point, “the light goes on” for the person in recovery.  A new guy to Group has revelations about himself and his addiction all the time.  I would have been lost unless God had used His Spirit of Truth, and other men to help “turn the light on”.

5.  Our Group ministered to him – Our sexual addiction group is at its best when it reaches out to a hurting guy and ministers to him.  There was empathy, encouragement, and counsel.  I felt the strength of the Group pour out to this guy.  I was glad to be a part of it.

I hope that you are part of a men’s purity group or some sort of sexual addiction group.  It has been an essential component to my recovery and growth during these past 18 months.

jeff@porntopurity.com

@porntopurity on Twitter

Tips For Helping Others in Crisis

March 22, 2015

** I’ve begun contributing to Pastors.com, a fantastic site that helps ministers be better ministers.  I wanted to share this article on crisis with you.  Perhaps it will help you come alongside others, or give you insights to your own recovery. — As ministers we get 911 calls to our cell phones, 911 visits to […]

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Listening – Critical to Recovery

March 21, 2015

Listening is a critical skill you have to learn in your quest for sexual recovery.

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10 Essentials For Those New to Recovery From Sexual Sin

March 20, 2015

I want to offer some top tips for you who are new to recovery.  These are lessons I’ve had to struggle through in my own recovery, but I find them to be universal with most guys who want freedom from sexual sin. 1.  The quicker you go to counseling the better. Sexual sin is MUCH […]

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How Do I Minimize the Damage of My Slip?

March 19, 2015

TOP TIPS FOR SEXUAL PURITY PODCAST Listen to Jeff’s latest podcast of this blog:  HERE I had a phone call a while back from a guy who had acted out, confessed something’s to his wife, fallen back into sin and not confessed again.  His questions were: “How can I work on this on my own […]

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How I Lost My Job Because of Porn

March 18, 2015

Jeff recounts lessons he’s learned from losing his job because of Internet pornography.

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Six Essentials For Someone New to Sexual Recovery

March 17, 2015

Many who are finding our blog have just started their work on their sexual recovery. We have answered many emails from women whose husbands have just revealed his secrets, and men who have just started working on their stuff. Here is some encouragement and some important helps for those new to sexual recovery: REALIZE YOU’RE […]

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