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Blog Podcasts Sexual Purity

The Single Greatest Reason You Will Fail in Recovery

Podcast:


Transcript:

That sounds hopeful, doesn’t it?

Picture this with me: What if there was something more detrimental to a person in recovery than a relapse into their sexually compulsive behavior? Believe it or not, there is.

What if I told you that long-lasting freedom from porn addiction doesn’t only hinge on abstaining from watching anymore porn? Sure, this helps break a pattern of addiction, but it’s not number one on the list.

Are you ready for it?

The single greatest reason a person will fail in recovery from a sexual addiction is their unwillingness to know and be known by others in healthy accountability relationships.

Simply put: Recovery cannot become a solo act. Once it does, your chances of becoming a man or woman of sexual integrity instantly disappear. I know, I’m really riding the hope train today! But it’s the truth. Your recovery journey is one that is meant to be shared with others who also struggle the same way you do. There is so much power in knowing and being known by others who are also walking this path!

Here’s something I often need to remind myself: Whether or not I realize I need people in my life, the truth is that I need them. I’m not even the most social person either. I prefer small groups, quiet moments, and experiences that don’t involve a lot of people. But as it relates especially to my relationship with the Lord and my recovery journey, I cannot grow in isolation.

Think with me for a moment about the physical body: God created the body to include everything it needed on the inside and outside to function — two eyes, two ears, two feet, etc. But also for the inside to function correctly with the outside — without the brain, we cannot make complex decisions. Without lungs, we cannot effectively breathe and move. It all was designed to work together. You see my point.

But somehow we don’t think that applies to our own lives as it relates to our own addictions & behaviors. We depend upon others for so many reasons. When it comes to our recovery, we live as remote islands.

​I remember especially in the early part of my recovery — it wasn’t a matter of IF I was going to slip, but WHEN. The reality is that slips and relapses happen even in recovery. I needed healthy people in my life not just to confess what I had done but to hear THEIR stories too! So that I didn’t think I was the problem and I was weird for messing up.

Accountability reminds us that we’re not alone.

Accountability requires you to invite feedback, correction, discipline, and confrontation into your life. It invites others to see the real you and step in when they see an issue that could be harmful for your life. They have complete access because you’re unwilling to hide anything.

I believe there a couple reasons why many individuals don’t seek out healthy accountability for their lives:

  1. SHAME — If you’ve been in recovery for any length of time, I’m sure you understand that one of your greatest enemies to progress is shame. Shame causes us to hide, to bury, & to isolate from people who love us and care for us. I believe this to be the number one reason why so many don’t find long-lasting success in recovery. If the enemy can convince you that you’re worthless and you will never change, why seek help from anyone? That’s what shame does.
  1. PROCRASTINATION — “I’ll call ***** tomorrow.” “I’ll meet with ***** next week.” The constant pushing off what should take priority gets replaced by other demands in our lives.  We allow our schedules to dictate us instead of being the ones who dictate our scheudles. When you don’t make something as important as your recovery journey a priority, don’t be surprised at the level of your struggle. Establishing safe, healthy accountability sources takes work. It takes time. And it’s worth every second. Stop putting it off.

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of why people avoid accountability in their lives, but I believe these are two of the greatest reasons.

Looking back upon the last 12 years in my recovery journey, I will NEVER regret all the meetings, phone calls, text messages, groups, workshops, and other points of contact I made with people who cared about my heart. The value that all these interactions carried in my life were beyond words. Granted, at the end of the day, my recovery journey is totally my responsibility. If I wanted to, I could fall back into my former lifestyle at any moment. But that’s just it: I don’t want it anymore. And I haven’t for a long time.

While I own all of the decisions I’ve made on this journey, much of the credit for the success I’ve attained goes to those I invited into my life. The counselors, pastors, friends, and yes even my wife (most importantly) who knew they could challenge me and ask me the tough questions becuase they loved me. I’m so thankful for all of them! They are the people who helped me become the person I am today.

If you’re unsure how to find those kind of life giving relationships, Small Groups Online is the perfect place to begin! SGO helps you to find a weekly, online Zoom group where you will meet with others who share many of the same struggles you do. There are many days and times to choose from so finding a group to fit your schedule is really easy.

If you’re trying to do recovery on your own, you’re doing it the wrong way. Do it the right way by signing up for Small Groups Online today.


If you and your spouse are struggling and would like help on your journey, please feel free to contact us! Or, if you’re a wife and need some extra help from another wife who’s walked through what you have, head on over to the “Support for Wives” section and shoot Tracey a message by filling out the contact form. All communication is strictly confidential.

Categories
Podcasts Sexual Purity

Revisit Your Routine

With every season that passes I’m sure you re-examine your routines between school, work, and family. Our schedules, structures, & way of life changes from season to season. The same is true for our recovery journey. On this episode, Frank shares about the importance of re-evaluating the things that are working and not working on your journey. Take time to see what needs improvement or modification in your life so you can continue to grow, heal, & find freedom the struggles you have faced.


AUDIO:


If you and your spouse are struggling and would like help on your journey, please feel free to contact us! Or, if you’re a wife and need some extra help from another wife who’s walked through what you have, head on over to the “Support for Wives” section and shoot Tracey a message by filling out the contact form. All communication is strictly confidential.

Categories
Blog Podcasts

The Value of Coaching in Recovery

Podcast:


I never played a lot of sports when I was younger, but I did wrestle a couple years in high school. The level of physicality and endurance needed in wrestling is out of this world. I actually believe it could be the toughest sports in existence. Unfortunately, I started too late in high school and didn’t win a ton of matches. I wish I had started learning when I was much younger.

Looking back now upon my season wrestling, there are many memories I have. But one of the greatest memories will always be the quality and solidarity of the coaching involved. I don’t keep in touch with them today, but I remember my coaches names: Matt and Rodney. Matt was younger and a little more easy going, but still tough. Rodney was…there’s really no other way to say, he was hard. I think he may have had the personality of a bull dog! But something I will always remember about Rodney: He always noticed if you were giving 100% OR if you were giving anything less than that.

In athletics, coaching is critical. Ultimately, it comes down to the performance of the individual athlete. But without someone who is willing to teach you, come alongside you, and stand in your corner, I firmly believe a person has no chance at excelling. Whether it be in sports, in life, or even in recovery.

I’ve talked and written before about the power of having safe, healthy people in your life who you can be honest with about your recovery. If you’re currently doing those things already, way to go! But I think we’re living in a time now more than ever that the need is arising for a different form of support: One that is intentional, consistent, and focused.

We need more coaches in recovery. Those who have walked through addiction, found freedom, and continue to find deeper levels of healing in their own lives. And because of those things, they are willing to pass down what they’ve learned to the next guy. And at the end of the day, they’re standing in the corner, cheering that guy on no matter where he’s at.

I believe our recovery is lived out in seasons. What do I mean by this? As I reflect on my earliest days in recovery, I was blessed to be able to sit with a specialized therapist who was specifically trained in helping individuals dealing with sexual addiction. I probably spend several months off and on with this particular counselor, but it was one of the best seasons to help me understand what sexual addiction was and who I was in the midst of it.

Next came a season that I’ve always felt was the most special time for me personally: Being apart of a support group. Sitting in the same room with other men who also were addicted to pornography and other forms of sexually compulsive behavior.  Sharing my story and listening to other’s stories was beyond powerful. It was life-changing. I feel like I grew significantly in that season. So much so that I fell in love with helping other men the same I was felt helped and supported.

Today, I’m in a totally different season. I’m free from porn addiction and have experienced an incredible amount of healing. I feel like my role has shifted in many ways from one of receiving to one of giving. For years I’ve tried to help other men through the means of technology. Producing content like podcasts, videos, and blogs to help equip them on their journey.

I feel like the Lord has called me to be a coach. More accurately, a purity coach. One who helps other men give specific focus to their hearts and what’s going on inside. Even writing that sentence feels a bit strange because I know how wild and untamed my own heart can still be at times. I’m still in need of coaches for my life today, who will come alongside of me to both encourage and challenge me when I need it. I’m grateful that I can think of at least 3-4 men who I would consider to be a coach.

If you’re desiring to recruit some coaches in your life, it doesn’t have to be hard. Again, I always encourage people to find SAFE and HEALTHY individuals that are willing to walk with them through their journey. This is a starting place, not an ending point. I do believe a coach is someone who also has experience and qualifications in a particular field. So it may take you some time to find someone you would call a coach, but don’t give up!

Here are a few places you could check out to get started in finding a coach:

  1. Church — There are often many ministries within a community of faith that are trying to help individuals and families grow in their relationship with God. You may even want to start with your very own church to see if there are older, seasoned believers who would make great coaches. Talk to your pastor about the people in your church. Some churches have pastoral counselors available as well.
  2. Counseling — Search for solid, Christian counseling in your area with therapists who are certified in sexual addiction therapy. Counseling can be expensive, but it may also be a great option to try for 2-3 months to help get some expert guidance in your life. Sometimes, counselors can make incredible coaches, even for a season of time.
  3. Online — This will require some extra work as you want to make sure you’re researching someone credible and knows what they’re talking about. Look for more than just a profile. Look for a website and testimonials about the individuals you find.

Over the last year, Zoom became one of the most visited and highly utilized video conferencing services because of all the shut-downs and closures between school, work, and many gatherings the required you being in the same room as the other person. Many counselors and coaches today will offer Zoom sessions in place of in-person meetings. Many individuals have found this to actually be a much more comfortable and much more private environment.

Are you in need of a coach for your life? Someone who can help you walk through some kind of sexually compulsive behavior? I would love to be able to be of service! Please visit our ministry, Purity For Life. Drop us a message through the Contact section of the website and we’ll be sure to get back to you.

Perhaps you’re also looking for more community in your life. Small Groups Online offers an incredible online group experience through weekly Zoom meetings with other individuals who share and can empathize with your struggles. It’s one of the best (if not, the best) ways to get yourself out of isolation and into community with others who will encourage you and walk with you. Check out SGO today!

Categories
Blog Sexual Purity

2 Reasons Why Freedom (Not Sobriety) Should Be Your Goal In Recovery

One of the most popular terms a person coming out of addiction will use to share their success or failure in recovery is the word “sobriety”. In the mainline culture, it’s probably most widely used in Alcoholics Anonymous and has been for several decades. It’s a widely accepted term in recovery and has spanned to former addicts with other sorts of compulsive behaviors. Nothing about the use of the word or it’s implications is wrong. I just have one question:

Could it be that there’s more to your recovery than JUST sobriety? Is it possible that even when you’ve made considerable progress in your journey to avoid a certain behavior, there’s more healing that could be taking place in your life? More lessons you could be learning about your heart? Deeper levels of wholeness available to you as a person in recovery?

It might just be a personal gripe I have with the word. At the end of the day, it’s probably just semantics. But rarely, if ever, have I used the word “sobriety” as I talk with men about my recovery story. Because I think there’s more to recovery than just sobriety; this picture of just getting by and ticking off the number of days I haven’t had alcohol or used porn.

I believe we can experience FREEDOM. The person who is free from sexual addiction is one who has/is experiencing healing on a much deeper level than just abstinence. And so I believe there are at least a couple specific reasons why freedom matters more than sobriety. If I haven’t lost you at this point, please consider the following reasons:

  1. FREEDOM is about healing your heart while SOBRIETY is about managing your behavior.

In my experience working with men, the ones who do the best are the ones who focus on healing their hearts. This includes their mental health, emotional health, and relational health. They’re revisiting their childhood, their adolescent years, the relationship they had with their parents in search of possible traumas or abuse they may have suffered. They’re learning new ways to process feelings of pain and discomfort instead of retreating into isolation. They’re spending time with counselors &/or a support group of other men who can help them process the damage addiction has done. Recovery is about so much more than managing behavior. Freedom cannot be achieved merely by managing your behavior or abstaining from using porn. In SGO, we call this “white-knuckle” change: The attempt to get better externally by simply gritting your teeth and trying to avoid porn or the feelings that could potentially be triggering. In order for the healing process to begin taking place in your life, you must look inward. You must embrace pain, acknowledge why it’s there, and act on it in a productive way that leads to life.

  1. FREEDOM counts the lessons you’re learning in recovery while SOBRIETY counts the days without using porn.

Close your eyes for 20 seconds and reflect on what you’ve learned since coming out of addiction. If you weren’t able to think of 5-10 lessons in the span of 20 seconds, it begs the question: What is your real goal in recovery? Is it to merely tick off on your calendar all the days that you haven’t acted out? Or is it to become the person that God intends for you to be? They are two vastly different goals. If you’re a financial guy, think about it like this: Just because you don’t file for bankruptcy each year doesn’t mean you have financial freedom. Likewise, you might have racked up 30 days or 60 days without looking at something triggering, but through the process have you considered WHY you act out and what your specific triggers are? Sobriety in itself without the real investigation into one’s heart will not take you very far. Unfortunately, I’ve seen men who have been more prone to slips and relapses because they were unwilling to do the real heart work that recovery requires.

Again, at the end of the day, perhaps it’s just a matter of word play. Freedom and sobriety could very well mean the same thing. I just think we have to be intentional in our recovery and know what our end goal is. Otherwise, we’ll coast along not understanding what we’re suppose to be doing.

Make sure you know what you want out of your recovery. Are you simply in a competition with yourself to see how long you can go without using porn? Or are you entering into community with others who are struggling the same way you are? This is where freedom and healing begin!

Small Groups Online makes it really easy to find community where other men will be waiting to meet with you. Through a weekly Zoom meeting and the Live Free community, you will be given the tools you need to help you find the freedom we’ve been talking about. It’s as easy as going to the website, finding the specific group and time you’re looking for and signing up. Go check out Small Groups Online today!

Categories
Blog Sexual Purity

2 Ways Porn Negatively Affects Your Heart (and what YOU can do about it!) (BLOG)

Pop Quiz: What is your most valuable possession in life? Resist the temptation the answer that question quickly, because there is a wealth (pardon the pun) of things in life that we place tremendous value on. Some very consciously and some pretty sub-consciously.

Maybe it’s your 401K that you’ve been saving for years. Or maybe it’s that beautiful boat sitting in your garage (that you haven’t used in years). Sometimes it’s the really good things life that give great value and worth to: Our careers. Our homes. Our marriages. Our children.

But what if there were something within every single one of us that we were told is our most valuable possession…and we didn’t even know it?! The book of Proverbs says this:

“So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 TPT)

I love that in this single verse it essentially talks about the very possession we should guard above all other possessions: OUR HEART. We’re told to take care of our hearts. Not just our physical hearts from disease. But the very essence of who we are from unhealthy stuff in this world that tries to sneak in.

Most likely if you’re reading this article, you’ve found yourself in a place like I did where you discovered pornography and you just couldn’t stop consuming it. Perhaps you would say porn ultimately consumed you. Please understand, I don’t want you to feel shamed. I was in that same place for 13 years where I felt incredible guilt and disgust for what I was doing. I didn’t understand the gravity of what pornography was doing to my heart.

Thankfully, this August I’ll celebrate 12 years walking in freedom and healing from sexual addiction. And you can too! But it’s important to understand how pornography negatively affects our hearts to begin with. The effects can be long lasting and very harmful if they aren’t dealt with in a healthy way.

1. Porn teaches your heart to objectify people.

One of the most subversive effects that pornography and other sexually explicit material has upon the human heart is that attempts to teach us that people are simply objects devoid of value and worth. It says that men and women can be used, abused, undressed, and consumed simply because their job is to provide us with pleasure. THIS IS A LIE. The perversion of sexual intimacy isn’t a new concept. It goes back thousands of years and has only become worse in the society we live in. Which is why we need to combat this lie that people are simply meant to be treated like objects.

Psalm 139 speaks of the incredible value and worth of every person, because we have been created by God: “You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! You even formed every bone in my body when you created me in the secret place, carefully, skillfully shaping me from nothing to something. You saw who you created me to be before I became me!”

Don’t allow pornography to turn your heart into nothing more than a product. Your heart is valuable and so are the people you’re so tempted to fantasize about.

2. Porn undermines your ability to deal with pain.

The human heart was created to feel an array of emotions. From moments of intense joy and happiness to deep places of sadness and anger. The reality is that we’re all going to experience a vast array of emotions through our lifetimes. The question is: How do we deal with those powerful emotions and feelings?

One of the byproducts of pornography addiction is that it subverts an individual’s responsibility to deal with those emotions in healthy ways. Instead, we run from anything that is painful or even remotely uncomfortable. Boredom, loneliness, anger, stress, and fatigue are some of the most common feelings that an addict deals with. We often used the acronym B.L.A.S.T. (Bored, Angry, Lonely, Tired) in our online group to help us discuss the ways in which we’re triggered. It’s so important that we understand WHY we are driven to act out the way that we do.

A major turning point in a person’s addiction to porn is when they’re able to be honest with themselves about the kind of pain they are medicating with pornography. Pain must be addressed. It must be looked at before any kind of healing  can take place in a person’s life.

Remember, pornography is a problem. But it’s only the medication. The even greater problem is the pain underneath the surface you’ve refused to deal with for so long. That’s what you must get at.

“SO WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT ABOUT IT?” 

Glad you asked! There’s a ton you can do to get your heart healthy from porn addiction. Here’s a quick list:

  1. Find a trained therapist — Preferably one who is certified in sexual addiction therapy. CSAT’s are trained to specifically help those dealing with compulsive sexual addictions.
  2. Get accountability in your life — 2-3 safe, healthy people will really go a long way in your recovery journey. Meet with them weekly at the very minimum for encouragement and so they can ask you the tough questions.
  3. Protect your devices — I can’t tell you how many men I’ve talked with about their addiction that have no software protecting their devices. No filtering. No reporting. It’s almost as if you’re inviting porn to walk through your front door. That’s how easy it can be. Start with some great software that we trust: Ever Accountable.
  4. Join a support group in your community or small group in your church — Community is essential in recovery. We can’t be the men that God is calling us to be by trying to white-knuckle our way to healing. Small Groups Online offers a dynamic solution for this. Imagine a weekly Zoom meeting with 5-7 others men who share many of the same struggles as you. You will be encouraged by others and also have the opportunity to be the encourager in these meetings. Click here to find out more about Small Groups Online.