Addiction…beats the crap out of its victims. Over time whether it is alcohol, drugs, porn, food, gambling, or masturbation, or any combination…addictions are powerful and without help, one will rarely find freedom apart from a miracle from God…or finding a program of recovery that works…if you work the program.
For the past 3 days, we have looked at the reasons why recovery is so difficult. It is not because we are a bunch of pathetic losers who are failing miserably in our efforts to stop or are not trying hard enough to spend 8 hours a day in prayer and meditation.
We learned that we have an internal enemy called our flesh or sinful nature. It has grown stronger the deeper we have gone in addiction. We have an external enemy of demonic powers working against us…and we live behind enemy lines surrounded with temptations and free unlimited access to pornography.
What has happened to all of us is that over time we have given in to the desires of our flesh… a little bit here and a little bit there and every so gradually we want a little more variety and a little more frequency. Until we come to the place of wanting to enjoy some sexual release to daily needing the experience just to feel normal for a while. For me, that happened when I was in High School with my own stash of porn magazines in my bedroom.
We learn that having a sexual escape from stress, anger, or boredom for a while gets our minds riveted on what we are lusting to see and that is how we want to feel all the time. We feel good as the dopamine and testosterone give us great pleasure and we feel remarkably alive. We feel wanted and desired even though it is not real…but it sure feels real. Then we return to our boring lives which seem to never be able to give us the joy and thrill of another orgasm.
The hook has been set and we have been reeled in, filleted, and served up on a platter to be consumed by the endless hunger of our unbridled lust. And with the passing of time instead of being satisfied with what used to be enough…we want more…we need more and deeper down the addiction hole we go until we hit rock bottom. Our sins are discovered, and it is time to pay the consequences.
That pretty much sums it up…right? I call it my train wreck. My career was destroyed. My wife and family were deeply wounded. And I found sleep elusive under the waves of depression and anxiety not knowing if there can be any forgiveness offered from friends and family.
Now, this might be a massive understatement…but I do not think that is the abundant life Jesus told his disciples about. Addiction to anything consumes us daily and becomes gangrene in our souls. We become masters of disguise to others and filled with self-loathing and anger towards ourselves and others we might be blaming.
The reason I can write these words is because I have lived these words. I slowly over the years in High School and College consumed porn to escape my stress and inner pain. I found and married an incredibly beautiful and amazingly strong Christian woman in graduate school and thought my problems were solved. They were not. Put on hold for a while until the stress of a growing family, increased ministry, and my inner demons tormenting me I so very gradually slipped back, one inch at a time, to my addiction to porn.
It all blew up 16 years ago. My addiction led me deep into sexual sin and when the time was sadly right, God was not going to be mocked anymore and made sure my sins were found out.
Over these past 16 years there has been healing and recovery for me, my wife, and my family. I repented…did a 180…and headed back into the arms of my Father whom I found waiting for me like the father of the prodigal son.
There was pain everywhere and I had no idea if my life and family could be rescued from my infidelity. But as time passed and I began to get the help that I needed God brought healing… slowly with ups and downs…three steps forward and two steps back. But I never gave up…I could not give up because as strange as it may sound, I never stopped loving my wife and our 4 children. I had become addicted to the point that freedom was only going to be gained by living one day at a time and walking in the light of truth.
As I look back over the past 16 years there are some foundational lessons I have learned. Some simple yet essential practices I need to do daily. I need to be spending time daily and consistently with the Lord who has saved me from my sins and is now saving me from myself.
I came to the correct conclusion that this issue was far greater than I could fix. I tried fixing it and it only became worse. So, I learned that I needed help from two available sources.
First and foremost, I needed to be filled with and walking in the Spirit…every day. He is in me and since He is God there has been no lack of power to be being changed. He is in us to transform us, and we need to learn how that happens and what we need to be doing for this to happen. It happened very…very slowly. Like years, not days slowly. The devotional below goes into how the Spirit began and continues to transform me.
Secondly…and this you will not like…but it is true and essential…I needed to find and be an active part of a community of other men fighting the same fight. I needed to be on a team of other soldiers fighting the same battle. I needed them to be there for me when the old temptations began, and I needed to be there for them when they were struggling.
I found these words to be so true from the Apostle John…
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
I have learned that walking in the light means telling the truth. Telling the truth to other men who will be there for me when I am struggling, and I need to be there for them when they are struggling. I have been doing that for 16 years and it has become God’s calling for the rest of my life.
Email me if you would like some real and effective help in your battle for your recovery in a community of fellow soldiers fighting together for freedom from sexual brokenness.