Last week I shared 3 common recovery myths surrounding porn and unwanted sexual behavior. You can check that out here if you missed it. This week I want to talk about half-truths.
Now you might be thinking, “Carl, what’s the difference?”
And that’s a reasonable question. But there is a difference in that myths are mistaken beliefs that exist because no one has fact-checked the source. Myths are occasionally fabricated maliciously, but most often they arise from assumptions or careless remarks, which then spark a chain of misunderstandings.
However, half-truths are a little different and can be far more dangerous. Here’s why…
First half-truths do offer some degree of truth. Consequently, they are easier to believe and may even stand up to some light-duty fact checking.
Second, many times they are not fabricated with the intent to deceive, but rather out of ignorance. In other words, the teller of these nuggets of deception really believes what they are saying is truth and will hold up to outside scrutiny. Therefore, it is far more difficult to sway viewpoints since the other party is convinced they are right and you are wrong.
Lastly, it is extremely challenging to present a contrasting viewpoint, given that these statements or claims have some truth or are may even be true in a broader context. Basically, you just look like a hater or troublemaker if you do raise questions or concerns.
Nonetheless, here are 3 powerful and quite common half-truths we often run into:
Half-truth #1: Sobriety is the answer
Sobriety is a critical aspect of the recovery process, for sure. But it’s not everything. In fact, I’d even argue it plays a smaller role in lasting freedom than one would expect.
Understand, an addict needs to have a period of sustained sobriety for their body and brain to adjust to normal living without substances. For the person struggling with porn or sex, it is important to refrain from acting out sexually for 60–90 days, so the brain can reset its dopamine balance.
But sobriety is not the end game.
Not even close.
I have sat across from many men who in one breath would claim they were two or more years “sober” and then in the next breath talk about how they were constantly fighting the temptation to use. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a terrible way to live.
I know a common statement in the addiction world is “once an addict always an addict.” But I say, GARBAGE. I believe that sort of sentiment comes from a sobriety is everything mindset.
And if all you want is sobriety, then fine. I want more. I want lasting freedom.
Realize there are two sides to the “addiction” coin. Chemical reliance (i.e. dopamine) is just one side and frankly the easier matter. The other side involves your mental and emotional health, which requires ongoing education, community engagement, and often counseling.
And if you don’t take care of the mental health side of things…good luck with both your sobriety and your recovery journey.
Half-truth #2: All you need is the Bible.
No, I am not an atheist. Let’s get the out of the way. But it bothers me when people or organizations claim that counseling or other recovery resources are unnecessary (possibly “evil” or “sinful”) because all the answers to life’s problems can be found in the Bible.
Technically, yes… the Bible is enough for your recovery in principle. But that statement encompasses the big picture. Because the majority of Christians I talk to fail to understand why.
Yes, you should read our Bibles, pray without ceasing, and seek God daily, but not because these are hollow spiritual disciplines. They are not arbitrary checklists God wants you to run through each day. Rather you are to engage in these practices, so you can improve your sense of connection with the one who made you.
And so it is wise (and often necessary) to explore and leverage other resources and/or sources of support that can both enhance your faith journey and improve your overall well-being. Connection is essential to life, but it is unlikely you will appreciate how important that life principle is by conducting a verse by verse study.
I wrote about this idea in more depth here.
Half-truth #3: Accountability is the answer.
Accountability is another buzzword you will hear regarding sex and porn use. And make no mistake: accountability is very important.
In fact, studies have shown that you can increase the chances of reaching your goals by 65% by merely committing to someone. And, if you have an accountability partner who you check in with regularly, those chances increase to 95%.
But, accountability alone does not solve your problems.
Freedom is a goal, but it’s not the same sort of goal as losing weight. There is more work to be done such as counseling and connecting with a community of people who will support you through the process.
It’s not as simple as reporting your good days and bad days to someone or pinning an inspirational goal on your calendar and marking off the days.
Because recovery is very much a growth process. One that is continuously happening and is evolving in various ways. So yes, being accountable is very important, but only if you are accountable to the right people, for the right reasons, and for the right things.
Again, these are half-truths. They are not myths or lies. So there is value to be found in all these points, but consider the context and expand your understanding. This way sobriety, the Bible, and accountability can truly enhance your recovery and add value to your life instead of just serving as cliché’ go-to principles that only provide half the picture.
Next week I’ll share with you 3 recovery lies so stay tuned!