For many of us who are walking in recovery from sex addiction, the most challenging times aren’t before a victory, but after. Think about it: Before we give up pornography, masturbation, fantasy, etc. we’re comfortably medicating ourselves, seeing no need for change until that moment comes where we realize we’ve lost control of our lives and we do really need to change. And while this is a very difficult time breaking free from addiction, I argue that it’s really the times that we’ve gained victory over something that can be the toughest.
Why? Because for many of us it’s in this time that we gain some confidence. We gain knowledge. Some even think: “I’ve taken care of these issues”. When in reality we must understand that recovery is a long-term process, maybe even a life-time process. We gain momentum. All of these are positive things in nature, but we really need to be continue to be on guard after victory over sexual sin because whether we believe it or not a potential relapse or slip lies only in the next unwise decision.
So how can we stay clean after victory? A few basic, but important principles to consider:
1. Stay Grounded
Keeping an active, vibrant, & intimate relationship with God through the battle against sexual purity is the most important thing we can do. It doesn’t mean we don’t struggle or experience temptation, but knowing the One who created you is on your side and fighting with you makes all the difference. Praying, reading God’s Word, journaling, worshipping are all vital to victory.
2. Stay Connected
I get so frustrated when I encounter men who start walking in recovery and take on this attitude: “Me & God can handle this. I don’t need anyone else.” Eventually I learn that same man fell back into the muck and the mire he was in before. Why? Because he didn’t stay connected with other men. Whether through an accountability partner, a men’s support group, Bible study, you and I were designed to be in relationship with other believers! Next to the healing I received from God, the greatest healing came through sharing my story in safe place with other men. Knowing that I’m not alone in this battle makes all the difference!
3. Stay Focused
Something I have to remind myself often is that this battle for purity that I’m on is a day by day, moment by moment, decision by decision journey. It’s a process. There are days and weeks that are harder than other for me. There are times that I feel more triggered than other times. But here’s the truth: The longer you walk in purity and make wise decisions, the easier this battle becomes. We have to remember that WE were the ones who got ourselves into this stuff. Healing and recovery take time. Our brains, emotions, and feelings are rewiring.
Frank Honess hosts a weekly podcast, the Pure Life Podcast, which can be heard on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, & the website which he runs, PureLifePodcast.com. Frank is married to his wife Tracey & lives in Seaford, Delaware.