Why is the Forbidden So Tempting?

by Jeff Fisher on August 8, 2015

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I was wondering today,

“Why do I always seem to gravitate toward the thing that I can’t have?” 

“Why is the forbidden fruit so tempting?”

 For the person struggling with sexual purity, it may be Internet sites, another man’s wife, or the TV shows and movies we’re not supposed to watch.  It might be premarital sex.  It might something voyeuristic.  It might be doing dirty, pornographic things you’ve seen on videos with your spouse.   

Here are some of my thoughts:  

1.  We fill in the blanks – The “Forbidden”  leaves us blanks that we want to complete.  Many of us did not have a healthy sexual upbringing.  We only have part of the picture about sexuality.  We want the truth.  We want to know answers, but we go to bad sources to get understanding.   We use our minds and porn to fill in the blanks for us. 

2.  Our sin nature wants us to cross lines – Our sin nature alone moves us to rebel against God.  It encourages us to be selfish and lustful.    

3.  Our flesh lies to us – The “flesh” is our sinful, natural nature.  It is not under God’s control, but Satans.  Our flesh loves to lie to us and make us believe we are missing something great.  It tells us if we cross a line, we will somehow be fulfilled.   Our flesh deceives us.  

4.  We have deeper needs we are trying to meet – We are lonely, so we reach out.  We feel rejected, so we reach out.  We are looking for value and acceptance, and we reach out.  We seek out to forbidden things to medicate our pain and help with our wounds.    

5.  We believe the lies of our culture, media, and Hollywood – Popular culture tells us that the forbidden is wonderful, perfect, adventurous.  It tells us that all sex is the main thing.  It feeds us lies about what marriage is all about.  Culture makes monogamy and sexual purity prudish and boring.    

6.  Our desire for beauty has been perverted – We have a deep desire to recognize beauty and value in God’s creation and in people.  But we have perverted that.  We have learned to associate beauty with sexual pleasure.  We have sexualized our relationships.  Instead seeing God’s glory and worshipping Him, we seek out our own lustful pleasures and worship false idols.  

7.  Legalism – Some of us have been forced to live by very strict rules.  We feel like our freedoms have been restricted and we rebel.  We have been told that sex is bad, and it makes us want it more.  We are shamed for thinking normal sexual thoughts and doing for our hormones in a legalistic culture.  It sometimes makes us want the forbidden more.    

I would love to hear your thoughts about why we seek out the forbidden.  Leave a blog comment or email us privately at porntopurity@gmail.com

ANGER! 11 Huge Porn to Purity Posts on the Subject

by Jeff Fisher on August 7, 2015

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9_HulkA buddy of my asked me what thoughts I had on healing from anger.  Most of us sexual strugglers have anger issues.  As you get sober and work on healing you’re going to dig up patches of anger.

I’ve been doing recovery for 6 years now and have had to surrender a lot of anger to the Lord.

One More Musing on Anger
Healing from our anger is not as simple as saying a prayer, memorizing a verse or thinking positive thoughts.  Our anger is multi-layered and complicated.  Some of God’s healing comes in wonderful patches, but most of it comes slowly.  Healing from anger is a process, not an event.


I’m Angry, What Do I Do?
6 Ways I’m Finding Healing From My Anger
The Six Stages of Grief and the Sexual Addict
How to Go to the Painful Places and Find Healing
How To Work on Your Anger and Sexual Addiction at the Same Time
Distant Dads and Daddy Wounds
Finding Healing From Your Anger
The Principle of Flush and Flow
Puke It Out!
How I Am Finding Healing From My Anger – Pt.1
How I Am Finding Healing From My Anger – Pt.2

14 Types of Denial in Addiction – part 2

by Jeff Fisher on August 6, 2015

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Yesterday, my friend @purifyinggrace shared with us seven of the 14 Types of Denial in Addiction.  Today he finishes the list.  

14 Types of Denial in Addiction – Part 1
14 Types of Denial in Addiction – Part 2

8.  Blaming: This is when you shift blame and responsibility from yourself to another person, and many times this is done unconsciously since in the depth of our being we really don’t want to be held responsible for something. I call this the Adam Syndrome as this is what Adam did in the Garden (Genesis 3) by wrongly blaming Eve for his rebellion. This includes, “Well, you would cruise all night, too, if you had my job,” or “If my spouse weren’t so cold…” or “I can’t help it, the baby cries day and night and makes me nervous.”

9.  Intellectualizing: This is avoiding feelings and responsibility by thinking or by asking why. This person tries to explain everything getting lost in detail, rabbit trails, and/or storytelling. This often includes pretending superior intellect and using intelligence as a weapon. If you watch the TV Show Bones, Dr. Temprance Brennan does this often.

10.  Victim Mentality (Carnes, Hopelessness/Helplessness): This is where a person says, “I’m a victim,” or “I can’t help it,” or “There is nothing I can do to get better,” or “I’m the worst.”

11.  Manipulative Behavior: This usually involves some distortion of reality including the use of power, lies, secrets, or guilt to exploit others.

12.  Compartmentalizing: This is something that almost every addict does (I actually want to say EVERY but will hold back). This is separating your life into compartments in which you do things that you keep separate from other parts of your life. This is like a Jackel and Hyde or a separation of Public and Private life to the point where it is unhealthy driven by thoughts of “If they only knew, then…”

13.  Crazymaking: This occurs when we are confronted by others who DO have a correct perception…we simply tell them that they are totally wrong. We act indignantly toward them attempting to make them feel crazy by simply positing that they cannot trust their own perceptions.

14.  Seduction: This is the use of charm, humor, good looks, or helpfulness to gain sexual access and cover up insincerity.

 It is a process that is continuous, and I must continually choose to step out of denial in my thinking and definitely any time I do something wrong.

Go through the list.  Mark off the ones that look like you and have your spouse or counselor do the same. 
Q:  What are the types of denial that resonate with you?


@purifyinggrace is a fellow Christian blogger who is still in the recovery process.  He blogs at PurifyingGrace.com and his wife (@unfoldinggrace) writes at UnfoldingGrace.net as they both talk openly and honestly about their struggles through @purifyinggrace‘s porn addiction.

14 Types of Denial in Addiction – part 1

by Jeff Fisher on August 5, 2015

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Today’s blog and tomorrow’s  come from a fellow blogger and friend at Purifying Grace.

If you are into your recovery process, you feel like you’ve done step #1 of the 12-steps

 “We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.”

We think we’ve got that covered and we never need to revisit it.   

When I first entered recovery, my sponsor would constantly tell me I was still in denial, and like any good addict, I denied it!  He couldn’t articulate why he thought I was in denial. He would simply say, “It just sounds like you are still in denial.”

 So I brushed it off.

When I began therapy, my counselor walked me through Patrick Carnes’s 14 Types of Denial.  I started to realize that there were many areas where I was in denial

So I wanted to share these 14 with you guys. While some of these may overlap with one another, it helps to have these 14 categories to really know what denial really is.

  1. Global Thinking: This is attempting to justify something with absolute terms like “always” or “never” or “whatsoever.” It also can be something along the lines of “every guy does this.”
  2. Rationalization: This is justifying unacceptable behavior saying things like “I don’t have a problem, I’m just sexually liberated,” or “You’re crazy,” or “I can go months without this, so I don’t have a problem.” As Rick Warren states, “Rationalize is telling yourself Rational Lies” (Twitter).
  3. Minimizing: This is trying to make behavior or consequences seem smaller or less important than they are saying things like “only a little,” or “only once in a while,” or “it’s no big deal,” or simply telling the story in a better light than it really should be.
  4. Comparison: This is shifting focus to someone else to justify behaviors such as “I’m not as bad as…”
  5. Uniqueness: This is thinking you are different or special saying things like “My situation is different,” or “I was hurt more,” or “That’s fine for you, but I’m too busy.” This one can also be considered Entitlement.
  6. Distraction (Carnes, Avoiding by creating an uproar or distraction): This is being a clown and getting everyone laughing, having angry outbursts meant to frighten or intimidate others, threats and posturing, and doing shocking behavior that may even be sexual. This can be when we simply blow up upon being confronted hoping that our explosion will draw attention rather than the actual issue.
  7. Avoiding by Omission: This is trying to change the subject, ignore the subject, or manipulate the conversation to avoid talking about something. It is also leaving out important bits of information like the fact that the lover is underage, or the person is a close friend of your spouse, or revealing enough information while keeping back the most “dangerous” information that will get you in more trouble.

On tomorrow’s blog, @purifyinggrace will share the rest of the list of ways we are in denial. 

14 Types of Denial in Addiction – Part 1
14 Types of Denial in Addiction – Part 2


@purifyinggrace is a fellow Christian blogger who is still in the recovery process.  He blogs at PurifyingGrace.com and his wife (@unfoldinggrace) writes at UnfoldingGrace.net as they both talk openly and honestly about their struggles through @purifyinggrace‘s porn addiction.




When Do You Get to Maintenance Level in Sexual Recovery?

by Jeff Fisher on July 25, 2015

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In a previous post, I talked about “The 5 Stages of Sexual Addiction Recovery”.

1.  Crisis Stage
2.  Picking Up the Pieces Stage
3.  Repair Stage
4.  Strengthening and Conditioning Stage
5.  Maintenance Stage

I wanted to talk more about the Maintenance Stage.  This is part of the “big picture” of sexual addiction recovery.

The idea of the Maintenance Stage is to be at a place in your recovery where you are strong enough to do the fundamentals.  You have good systems in place, and you are actively maintain your support system.

You hit the maintenance stage somewhere in your recovery when:

  • Your crisis is over
  • You are having no relapses
  • There are minimal slips
  • A healthy sexuality is being established
  • You have a healthy network of relationships established (support structure)
  • You have developed a good offensive and defensive strategy

I wrote a blog a while back called “Lessons I Learned About Sexual Recovery From My Trumpet Teacher”.  The gist of the blog was that performers get to the point when they can self-diagnose.  They know when they are having trouble with a piece of music and can isolate the problem.  They know the importance of going back to the fundamentals to get through harder passages.  They also know when to call for help from another teacher.

If you are in the maintenance stage, you are still working to maintain health.  You can’t stay healthy if you are neglecting your recovery.  By this point in your recovery, you have learned to identify triggers and temptations, pause, and call a friend.  You have learned the things to avoid, and have set up roadblocks and boundaries to keep you away from danger zones.  You are proactive in your recovery instead of reactive.

Many jump into maintenance level way too quickly.  We think we are much stronger than we really are.  Take your time.  It is best to let others tell you that you are ready for this level.

Maintenance level is a level where we have to be diligent.

I suspect the answer for many reading this is “no”.

You have to have an active network setup before you go to maintenance level and stop attending support group.  You have to have a track record of doing well with your accountability.  You need to have developed a “pause” between trigger and acting out.  You need to know how important it is to call someone the instant you get edgy, or even before.  Your support group is still an important leg of your maintenance level.

If you have a network of intimate relationships relationships with other guys that can meet the same needs as your support group, then try it.

Having other guys in our life is the only way we’re going to know if we’re going off course.  We are not the best judges of our own course.  We can easily be deceived by our own sin nature.

[Blog & Podcast – “You Gotta Have Other Dudes in Your Life”]


Q:  Is there a maintenance level in recovery?

Q:  When does a person get to this level?

Q:  What else does a person need to do when he’s at the maintenance level?

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