As men, we’re built with some strong inherent tendencies like accomplishing, achieving, and conquering all that is before us in life. Like a mighty warrior galloping into battle against enemy forces, we fix our eyes on one thing: complete and total victory. I believe we as men live for conquering.
Now, meet the man who has dealt with a sexual addiction for years in his life. In his attempts to “conquer” this addiction on his own, he runs into walls – time and time again. Believe it or not, his story is very typical. Many men in his same shoes simply expect to sweep porn, masturbation, and fantasy under the rug. And some even try to pretend they don’t have a problem at all.
Perhaps you’ve been one of those men. There’s good news and bad news. Which do you want first? Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: Sexual addictions are some of the toughest addictions to kick and achieve sobriety over a lifetime. The good news? Healing and sobriety are possible and thousands of men are finding freedom every day because they have learned the right perspectives on how to fight not only today but also tomorrow, next month, and even next year.
As we enter a new year, what are some perspectives we need to have in order to find the freedom we so desperately long for? I’ve categorized these perspectives according to three places in our recovery journeys: The short-term, the in-between, and the long-term.
1. The Short-term – This is the “here and now” of recovery. I believe that the starting place in recovery from sex addiction is coming to a place of brokenness. Acknowledging inward pain and also the pain you’ve caused others because of your addiction is critical. Simply wanting to stop using porn is not enough. Your actions must begin to reflect your desires for purity. Find a counselor, support group, and safe people who can walk with you through your addiction. These need to be people who will stick with you through those first few days, weeks, and months coming out of your addiction.
2. The In-between – This is the day to day journey that bridges the short-term and the long-term places in recovery. Are you learning what triggers you towards using porn and acting out? Stress? Anxiety? Anger? Loneliness? What is the source of the pain inside of you? It’s so important to learn about the “whys” and “whats” that have driven you to sexual addiction. Until you start digging up what’s underneath the surface, it will be virtually impossible to heal.
3. The Long-term – This is the place in the recovery journey that so many struggle to get to. It’s not because of their lack of sincerity, but because of their lack of action. Having systems in place like filtering software on all your devices will save you from temptations that come your way. While the season of seeing a counselor and attending a support group may have ended, consider this: Are you in continual communication with an accountability partner who is helping you commit to purity? In the long-term leg of the journey, perseverance will become your best friend in sexual recovery.
Like many trips I’ve taken for business or pleasure, it takes time to get where you want to go. And as I think back on my favorite places to travel to, many of them were pretty long trips. But the hours of travel make the destination totally worth it. The same can be said for sexual recovery. Commit to the journey and don’t give up!