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.
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.