I now have the privilege of facilitating a small group for the online ministry organization, x3Church. I have been doing this for nearly 2 months, and I am amazed at God's goodness in the lives of not only the men in my group but in my own life also. Having 4 years of real recovery under my belt, I am reminded of the hardships through which I've passed to enjoy the freedom I do now. I long for that same freedom for the men with whom I interact on this issue.
Prior to beginning the gig, I had written an article that was rejected for publication, but I see its content emerge in our group regularly, so I thought I would post it here rather than leave it in the rejection bin. Hopefully, you feel the same.
Any day is a good day to begin a recovery journey. Here's some realities you'll face on the path.
When you are entrenched in porn addiction and climbing your way to recovery; every day feels like survival. I’ve been there, and it hurts. They did not say it would be easy, but they never told us it would be so hard.
Survival is no way to live. You want to thrive in life. If you are fighting that battle, here’s five realities you must understand; and once you do, you can stop surviving and learn to live well within a new paradigm.
(1) You will hear “Echoes of Addiction”.
Your mind can play tricks during recovery—it reminds you of pleasures, deceives you with false promises, and contends with your will. Though the developed needs of your addictions diminish, your mind may still try using old behaviors to escape present hardship. These thoughts are haunting reminders of a once-bitter dependence on a physiological transaction that no longer has the power it once did. If you accept that these will happen, you can dismiss them when they do.
(2) You must remain proactive regarding your addiction.
I have been sober for four years, but this did not happen by accident. I needed to take steps to reinforce my recovery. I sought an accountability partner and later served as one as well; I maintain x3Watch software on my Mac; I share my experience with others to encourage them. I have developed good habits to supplant the bad ones; and over time, they have.
(3) You cannot allow your addiction or recovery to define you.
You my feel that your addiction or the battle against it is all you are or all you have to offer, but feeling this way puts too much emphasis on a facet of your life when, in fact, you are a whole person. A healthy knowledge of your addiction’s power can help you maintain your sobriety, but you must not let it dictate who you are—if that’s the case, it’s still your master, and recovery is about being free of that oppression.
(4) Some people will not understand your struggle.
Others may downplay your battle against porn (“it’s not a real addiction”; “porn’s not a big deal”, etc.), but their opinion does not undermine the importance of your recovery. Celebrating a month without porn is a big deal when you’ve felt the need to look at it every day for a decade. Some folks do not know the darkness like you do, and they think it’s an innocuous pothole while you know that it's an abyss. Seek people who can validate your struggle and help you overcome it, because make no mistake: it is real.
(5) You will live again.
For a time in your recovery, you may feel like you have no options but endure; but friend, take courage. As you continue to do right, your mindset will change. You will delight in choosing well, and doing so will create new, powerful patterns in your life. One morning you will awaken and think to yourself, “huh, I can’t remember the last time I wanted to look at porn.” And that 'eureka' moment is a huge one.
That moment will come. Others will follow. And you will live again.