Go ahead and think of all the gnarly things a person has done to themselves and others and that’s pretty much sums up my life when it comes to sexual impurity. Starting at 6 years old to 16 year old I had been hooked to pornography and at the end of those 10 years I slept with my first prostitute named Barbara. Before Al Gore invented the internet (sarcasm) I was already off to the races with my addiction and in fact in those formative years sex addiction was not even called an addiction. To say that pornography is progressive and terminal is an understatement. In fact, it is the secret worldwide meth. And nobody wants to admit that they are hooked.
The age of 16 to 27 was a nail-biting rollercoaster that left me with a pattern of complete loneliness and desperation. It wasn’t until I had a sponsor named Brian that helped me to see the light of freedom and recovery. He was a God-send, because three months after that I would get caught while in ministry and asked to resign as a Pastor. At this point my life I had three choices:
1) Tell my wife
2) Take my own life
3) Run from my life
The below video explains a little bit about that:
What I would like to focus in on for the rest of my writing time is to tell you about how the last eight years have been for me. You could say that I went to every program: Sex Addicts Anonymous, A.A. , Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, 8 different counselors, Psychiatrists, Anger management and read every book about the subject. I learned a lot. And a lot I had to still learn the hard way. I’d like to condense everything to a paragraph and I’d be willing to bet that you can by-pass a lot of pain by taking heed.
Here are the three things I’ve learned:
1) Let go
3) Reach Out
I hate that you may think it’s a cliché’. The reader’s digest version of letting go is….is to let go. It is not as easy as you may think. In fact, letting go means to stop trying and start training, as my Youth Pastor Pat Gordon would say. Letting go means to stop trying to run your life. Letting go is to completely give in to the program(s). Letting go is listening and doing what your friends / accountability partners tell you to do. Letting go is not performance Christianity and is based solely on the peaceful neutral state of relationship with Christ.
I cannot tell you how amazing X3 Church been for me to have a place to speak out and tell my story and have some redeeming qualities back from the dead to serve. It is such an honor because I’m able to transcend what has been lost for people’s benefit and for their freedom. 3 months into sobriety (no porn or self-gratification) I spoke to several hundred men and it was the most liberating experience. To know that what I have gone through has an impact on someone feeds the freedom for me and other people. Aaron who is co-leading the Pure Eyes group with me currently was there that Sunday and he had this to say,
“When I heard you speak, I thought that there is no way I can be sober and not struggle. And here I am now with the longest amount of sobriety I’ve ever had in my life.”
When I’m tempted I quote scripture or make a phone call. And if someone’s not there I leave a message and go on to the next person on my list. Who would have thought that community would break a temptation apart? As my friend Michael says, “It is all about getting out of the patterns of isolation and getting into the patterns of community.” Michael is currently part of our group with three years away from looking at porn. The other week he was close to the edge but he made a call. Then he didn’t act out. That’s it. Reaching out and calling during temptation = purity!
I’ve been sober for 22 months from pornography (which is my personal record, I’ll hold for your applause**) but I am leading worship at my church now, I am leading an accountability group now, I am speaking to men as much as they will let me and I am writing as much as I can and it is so refreshing that it feeds the freedom and feeds the purity and feeds the pure life that God wants and that I want. If I can be free and I’ve done these gnarly deeds, you can be free! I encourage you to let go, to serve and to reach out. I want to encourage you that there is purity to be had, that there is freedom, and that there is hope!