Video

Truth & Freedom Are Constant Companions

Which is more important in recovery? Real freedom or simple sobriety. This is the question we explore this week on the podcast. Real freedom has so much more to do with the journey than the destination. And as your recovery becomes as natural as breathing, you will begin to experience deeper places of sobriety that is long-lasting and consistent.

Video

Tell the Whole Truth & Nothing But the Truth

Recently, I began thinking about one of the most fundamental building blocks of addiction recovery: Honesty. The willingness to drop the walls, drop the façade, and allow others to see inside of your life. A life of honesty refuses to hide, cover up, or deny the truth. It seeks only to be completely transparent, allowing light to shine upon anything unseen.

Listening to Your Emotions

Throughout our lives, we are trained to listen to a vast multitude of voices. Voices that have a powerful influence upon us. These voices can come from parents, siblings, family members, friends, and co-workers. Depending on the household in which we were raised, those voices determine in many ways the path we find ourselves on in our adolescent years all the way through becoming an adult. Some are incredibly healthy and life-giving while others can be destructive.

In this episode, I want to switch gears just a little bit and talk about a different voice. One you may not be totally familiar with: The voice of your emotions. Yes, believe it or not, your emotions have a voice and the real question is this: Are you listening?

Measuring Progress In Recovery

This past week, I read a very interesting thought that someone had regarding the subject of progress. Here’s what they said:

“I wish progress was a straight line. It seems so simple: work hard and see tangible progress as a result. But, as we have all learned at some point in our lives, progress is a line that is so far from straight, it even doubles back on itself sometimes.” (Faith Simmons @thesunalsoreads on Instagram)

I have to admit, each time I read that statement this week, I had to laugh because of the sheer truth behind it. That’s just how progress is. It’s rarely something that’s easy to see, something black and white, something we can even put our hands on. Especially as it relates to progress in recovery. I would even suggest that the greatest “progress” we could ever make in our recovery journeys is completely unseen.

In one of my weekly group meetings I lead, I asked the guys in the group what they would consider to be progress in their own lives. There were many different responses and they were all great. Because you see progress looks different for every person. For one person it may be the goal of getting rid of pornography from their lives, killing the habit of masturbation, & fantasizing sexually about other people. For another it could include all of that, but maybe go a bit deeper: The transformation of deep-rooted pain in their hearts. Or what about the way they view other women or men in their lives?

The reality is that progress can only truly be defined by you. So is there really a way to quantify progress? How do you measure progress? I think you would have to ask each and every person for their own definition. As for me, when I look back at the last 13 years of my life, I can truthfully say I’ve made a TON of progress in terms of becoming free of pornography and the way it controlled by life. I no longer look at porn or struggle with masturbation and lust anymore. But there is still an immense about of progress taking place inside of me. Here’s what I’m still learning:

  • How to deal with stress in a healthy way
  • Combatting fear & anxiety with joy & peace
  • Loving others unconditionally

To name JUST a few. There are many, many more things that are very much still in process. I’ve often shared with men I work with how quitting pornography really isn’t that hard. Any man can do it really. But what is hard is digging below the surface. Excavating the deep places within the heart where pain, trauma, and the really hard stuff lives. If we can just get to that stuff, then we’ll really begin to make progress.

Specific to recovery, what are some reasons we are perhaps not seeing as much progress as we would like in our life? I think there could be many reasons for this, but here are just a couple:

First, the fundamentals aren’t in place. What does that mean? There are specific things every man or woman in recovery needs in order to see long-lasting freedom and healing for their life. Take community for example. How can someone grow in isolation? For me (and every man I know), isolation is a prison. We need to be meeting with and around people who will care for our hearts and ask us the tough questions. Community is a fundamental for success in recovery. As is honesty, accountability, transparency, and vulnerability.

Secondly is the failure to celebrate victories of all sizes. So many men I’ve worked with love to keep a track of their sobriety. And for all the right reasons. But when there is a slip or some kind of setback, there is disappointment. The reality is that slips are going to happen. We can’t escape that. But what about all the ways your mind and heart are changing and transforming? You’re literally building new neural pathways in your brain as you seek what is healthy. Even our slips can be opportunities for growth if we allow them to be.

One last note: I think there is a misperception that progress means perfection. That in order to advance means that there’s no room to be left for mistakes along the way. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Some of the greatest progress in my life came through the bumps and bruises in recovery. The moments where I should have gone left and I went right. The times I didn’t tell the whole truth when I should have. Or tried to hide something when I should have just come clean. These are all seemingly negative things and nothing to be proud of and yet there are huge opportunities for growth in these moments.

One day progress may feel like you’re taking five steps forward. Then, the next day you’re taking six steps backward. Take heart! It’s all apart of the learning process. Don’t give up!

One of the greatest ways you can build some great momentum in your recovery is by joining Small Groups Online! SGO makes it incredibly easy to become apart of a healthy community of men or women who share similar struggles as you. Through a weekly Zoom meeting at a time that is convenient for you, you will receive encouragement and support for the journey that you’re on.

Recovery Wisdom from Mister Rogers

Fred Rogers will forever go down as one of the most extraordinary human beings that ever lived.

I’m 38 years old…a child of the 80’s and it’s rare I’ve ever come across someone who hasn’t heard of Mr. Rogers. Or who didn’t grow up watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. The way he captured his audience with a genuine sense of love and care was uncanny. The conversations he cultivated with his young viewers was incredible.

Countless documentaries and most recently, an incredible movie depicting his impact starring Tom Hanks was released. While I haven’t seen the movie yet, I caught a really interesting quote from the movie. I wondered if it actually came from Fred Rogers. Turns out that it did:

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”

BOOM 🤯 Where do you even begin with such wisdom? “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable.“

I don’t know if he knew how significant those words could be to so many people stuck in lifestyles of pain and brokenness. In addiction recovery, we’re learning how to become whole again. How to heal. How to find the “whys” behind our compulsive behaviors. Only in doing so will we ever find substantial long-term success.

But until we allow those things to see the light of day, we will be confined to our own secrets and shame. In his own way, I think Mr. Rogers knew this truth. All of us, from the time we were born, we’re broken in some way. We were born with a sinful nature. In need of rescue and redemption.

The more we allow others to see inside of us, the more we talk about hard feelings, triggering emotions, the less power our addictions have over us.

The last part of his quote is huge: “The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”

Again…BOOM 🤯. So simple yet so profound.

In order for shame to leave us, we have to choose to KNOW people and be KNOWN by people. That is the starting place for transformation. For healing. For recovery.

Fred Rogers totally hit the nail on the head. Thanks Mr. Rogers.

Perhaps you’re wondering how you can start your journey to freedom from a compulsive sexual addiction that you feel has pretty much owned your life. I work for an online organization called Small Groups Online, which offers weekly online support groups through Zoom, making it incredibly easy to meet others who share the same or a similar story as you. Picking the right group and time for you is also easy.

Trust me, you will NEVER regret finding community for the struggles you face. You can’t afford to live without it!

Remember: Anything that is mentionable is more manageable.