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Blog Sexual Purity

4 Questions You Should Ask Before Meeting With An Accountability Partner

As I approach twelve years in recovery from a pornography addiction I can tell you that many things have changed in my life. I no longer look at sexually explicit material nor do I desire to. Lustful thoughts that used to race through my brain in my adolescent and young adult years no longer have power over me. I’ve learned the devastating consequences of my behavior and how it was not only affecting me but also those around me. And I’ve found tremendous healing through grace, love, honesty, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to be the man that God is calling me to be.

But one thing hasn’t changed: My incessant need for community. For accountability. For people to see the real me.

I want to tell you a little bit about of my best friends: His name is TJ. He’s 33 years old, is married, and has two children. He’s a driver for UPS. He’s one of worship leaders at the church our family attends. And he’s quite simply one of coolest human beings I know. I love him for so many reasons, first and foremost for his deep love and faith in God.

TJ and I share a deep level of respect for each other because we know each other. And because we know each other, we’re able to care for each other’s hearts.

Oftentimes, we’ll call or text each other throughout the week and there’s one question that many times will arise to the surface:

“HOW’S YOUR HEART?”

And I know that whether the question is coming from me or from TJ, that things are about to get real. They’re about to get honest. Real honest.

Because I believe at the core of accountability is a desire to know and be known by others. And as often as I’ve said this to other men, it bears repeating here: You cannot make it through recovery alone! And further more, we as men cannot live on desserted islands away from real, meaningful relationships with other men.

Rewind back to the garden of Eden. God had created the world. The heavens and the earth. Animals. Plants. Man. But he found it unsuitable for man to be alone. And so he created a “helper” for him: Eve. And while this sets up a specific Biblical mandate for marriage in the Scriptures, at the core of this moment is an inherent need for Adam: compansionship. Man was never meant to be alone. This is true in marriage, but it’s also true in our accountability relationships within recovery.

Finding 2-3 people you can invite into your story and regularly meet with is imperative for your recovery. Let me say it again: You can’t recover alone. No matter how hard you try. We’re all designed to live & thrive in the context of community.

So what are some questions that are necessary to ask as you seek out safe & healthy accountability relationships?

1. Is this person a Christian?

I believe the faith background of the people we meet with to share the good, the bad, and the ugly with really matters. Why? Because I don’t simply need good advice for my struggles. I need encouragement, challenge, and support that points me to the person of Jesus. What kind of man is God calling me to become? These are the words and thoughts I need reflected back.

2. Are they spiritually mature?

Determining if someone is a Christian opens the door to further communication with them. But what begins to lead me through that door is understanding their maturity & depth as a beliver. Do they have an understanding of forgiveness and redemption? Are they struggling with freedom in their own life in some way? Can you tell the trajectory of their relationship with Jesus? Try and find someone who maybe has a few more years on you as it relates to walking with God.

3. Do they have your best interest in mind?

Are they trustworthy? Can you share in confidence with them that they will keep your story private (barring any kind of risk to yourself or others)? Are they able to not only encourage you, but ask you the hard questions about your addiction? A great accountability partner isn’t just someone who only nods their head and strokes your ego. They will be willing to step on your toes, but always offer to help you back up when you fall.

4. Are they familiar with addiction & recovery?

While they don’t have to be experts or counselors in the field of sexual addiction, it would be ideal for them to have some understanding of how this addiction works. Sexual addiction is very difficult for the person walking through it, but for those who are tasked with offering support, it may be more than they can handle. Some people simply aren’t able to offer the kind of support & encouragement needed. Not for lack of desire, but for lack of knowledge.

Asking these questions are crifical before you ask someone to be an accountability partner or someone who you will be regularly sharing your story with. These people may come from your church, a small group, your work place, or perhaps even in your family. The point is to seek them out through the filter of the questions above. Start today!

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Blog Discipleship Marriage Parenting Resources Sexual Purity

The 7 Best Feel-Good Alternatives to Replace Hugs

This is an excellent article from Amen Clinics on the power of human touch and boosting important brain chemicals. Enjoy!


In times of our greatest celebrations, our darkest sadness, and in the moments in between, we seek out hugs from family, friends, and loved ones. Big bear hugs make you feel safe, warm, happy, comforted and connected. But with the pandemic, people aren’t getting these much-needed embraces. That’s bad news, because hugs don’t just feel good, they come with a host of brain benefits.

BRAIN BENEFITS OF HUGS

Some of the psychological and neurological benefits of wrapping your arms around your loved ones include:

  • Triggers the release of oxytocin. Sometimes referred to as the “cuddle hormone,” oxytocin is a hormone and neurotransmitter that promotes a sense of well-being, relaxation, and bonding. It may be best known for its involvement in childbirth and breastfeeding to strengthen the bonds between mother and baby. More recently, it has become known as “the love hormone” as it brings forth feelings of trust, security, connection, calmness, and contentment. Some research suggests that intranasal oxytocin may be used to enhance relationships interpersonal connections.
  • Boosts moods. Hugging increases levels of the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin to elevate moods. Receiving a hug also helps protect people from negative moods, according to findings in a 2018 study in Plos One.
  • Decreases the stress hormone cortisol and lowers stress levels. Hugs protect against chronic stress, which reduces “brain reserve,” the extra cushion of brain tissue you have to deal with the curveballs life throws your way. Uncontrolled stress is also associated with reduced immune system function, increasing your risk of infections and illness. To keep stress at bay, it’s a good idea to “hug it out” on a regular basis.
  • Lowers anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness. The simple act of embracing another human has positive impacts on psychological well-being. For example, a 2013 study from researchers at the University of Amsterdam found that hugs help reduce anxiety and fears in people with low self-esteem.

Read the rest of this article by going here.

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Podcasts

4 Questions You Should Be Asking Yourself In Recovery

Our health & success in recovery depends on being honest with ourselves. If we can’t be honest with ourselves and what’s going on inside our hearts, how we can ever expect to be honest with others? This week on the podcast, we talk about four questions that will help you navigate your feelings, thoughts, and the actions you take in your recovery journey.


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Recovery from sexual addiction (or any addiction for that matter) is a never-ending, ever-changing journey of finding healing & wholeness from unwanted compulsive behavior. The journey is rewarding, there’s no doubt about that. But it can also be a winding road to figure out what’s going on inside of you. Because so many of us have lived in isolation during the season of our addiction, our charge going forward is living a transparent life that people can see into. And one of the ways we do that is by asking the right questions. I would almost describe these as daily maintenance questions: An internal way to really gauge how you’re doing from day to day.

I originally heard these questions in an interview with Nate Larkin, author of the book “Samson and the Pirate Monks.” They can be used in your accountability conversations & relationships or as I described above.

1. What am I feeling?

Feelings certainly shouldn’t rule the day, but they do point to deeper things going on within you. It’s a careful balance for us to not let our feelings dominate us to make unhealthy decisions and at the same time allow them to help us discover what’s underneath emotions like anger, stress, fear, anxiety, loneliness, etc. This helps us to deal with the real root issues going on in a healthy way. Psalms 139:23 is an incredible prayer for moments like these: “God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.”

2. What am I thinking?

The greatest battles we face often lie in our minds. For a sex addict, thoughts of lust & fantasy aren’t the only residents that live there. A person can make unhealthy, harmful agreements with things that are simply not true. These lies can be words people have spoken over your life or perceptions about yourself or others that you’ve allowed to sneak in. 2nd Corinthians 10:5 tells us what we should do with our thoughts: “We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One. Start with your heart, and then travel up to your brain to see what’s living inside of there.

3. What am I doing?

You’re now at the place where you find yourself on the edge. This is the tipping point. A moment where you take action. What is the first thing you do when you’re bombarded by feelings of pain & unhealthy thoughts? We’ve all faced this fork in the road. Do I choose to act out in some attempt to numb what I’m feeling or do I reach out to someone who loves me and I can safely share my struggle with? One decision is incredibly easy and one decision takes incredible courage. Which camp do you most often find yourself in? 1 Corinthians 10:13 says this: We all experience times of testing, which is normal for every human being. But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face so that you can bear it. And each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape that will bring you out of it victoriously.

4. What am I thinking of doing?

One of the problems in addiction is that we’ve ignored the real needs we have beneath our feelings and made agreements with lies. So what is our first response? To find a quick fix or medicate the pain that we might be feeling. Cover it up. Pretend it’s not there. Distract ourselves from dealing with the elephant in the room. What we do with our bodies in response to our thoughts and feelings matters. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says: Have you forgotten that your body is now the sacred temple of the Spirit of Holiness, who lives in you? You don’t belong to yourself any longer, for the gift of God, the Holy Spirit, lives inside your sanctuary. You were God’s expensive purchase, paid for with tears of blood, so by all means, then, use your body to bring glory to God.

Our health & success in recovery depends on being honest with ourselves. If we can’t be honest with ourselves and what’s going on inside our hearts, how we can ever expect to be honest with others? The questions above will help you navigate your feelings, thoughts, and the actions you take in your recovery journey.


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

How’s Your Heart?

Too often, we ignore what’s going on inside our hearts because it’s too painful to look at. Proverbs 4:23 has some excellent advice for us to remain diligent in checking in on our heart on a daily basis.


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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.

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News

NEWS: Join the Live Free Community!

One of the core truths of recovery is learning that you can’t get better by yourself. And you never will…ON YOUR OWN. We need people and were designed to be in relationship and community with other safe, healthy people. Especially as we recovery from life-controlling addictions.

Purity For Life is proud to partner with and incredible online ministry called Live Free. Live Free is a private community for men seeking freedom from porn and lust. The ministry exists in the form of an app you can download on your phone which connects you instantly with a community of people who also struggle with pornography and other sexual addictions. Here you can ask questions, share struggles, and receive encouragement for the journey that you’re on.

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But it goes further than that. You can also choose to sign up for a weekly group meeting where the community goes deeper. Each week, you’ll have the opportunity to share openly and talk with other men face to face in a live Zoom call led by a trained group leader.

There are very few ministries, if any, that offer this kind of quality community experience in such a private, secure way. To learn more about how you can get started in a support group or even just get connected with the app, check out Live Free today!