Those who know me also know that I’m a bit of a health and fitness nut. I work out most days and watch what I eat pretty closely staying within my ideal macro ranges (percentages of fat, carbohydrates, and fat). I also wear a fitness tracker and closely watch both my calorie intake and activity levels.

Why do I do all this?

Because I’ve learned the hard way that a healthy lifestyle is a balanced lifestyle and just working out, just dieting, or just limiting fats and sugars from my diet is not going to work. Long-term health and fitness requires me to stay on top of all these things.

The same can be said of successful and long-term recovery.

If you want to find real and lasting freedom you can’t afford to ignore critical components of a balanced recovery strategy.

  • You need to grow emotionally.
  • You need to find a supportive and healthy community.
  • You need to stay accountable and transparent about your decisions.
  • You need to discover what triggers your desire to act out.
  • You need to learn about the true nature of “addiction.”
  • You need to become a better decision maker.

But most importantly, you need to get out from underneath all the toxic shame in your life. 

Recognize that over the years I’ve ministered to many people dealing with sexual brokenness. And, one of the primary benefits I’ve often touted when encouraging them to seek freedom and recovery is the lack of shame they can finally experience when not loaded down with the weight of their poor choices.

But, as I’ve grown older (and hopefully wiser) I realize that addressing unwanted sexual behavior and shame in this way is almost backwards thinking. 

Yes, less porn, less masturbation, less escorts and strip clubs should lead to less shame. But we need to address the presence of shame first in order to unlock an individuals’ full potential to seek and pursue freedom. 

After all, when one is heavily burdened with shame… 

  • They find it harder to reach out for help because they fear the potential of rejection.
  • They find it difficult to persevere because they doubt that victory is even possible.
  • They find it uncomfortable to be accountable for their slip ups along the way because they don’t want to further damage their already tarnished image.
  • They find it practically impossible to pursue goals in their life because every goal seems hopelessly out of reach.

And when they do find a modicum of success in their efforts but then face adversity or setback?

They find it twice as hard to return to their recovery journey efforts because doing so only further reinforces the misbegotten belief that they never had a chance in the first place.

We need to stop pursuing freedom from our unwanted behaviors in an effort to rid ourselves of shame; but instead, seek to mitigate the shame already present in our life so we can fully and effectively pursue the freedom we desire. 

In other words, conquering the shame in your life is a required part of any long-term and successful recovery plan.

Please don’t fool yourself into thinking you can hold on to your shame and self-hatred and find real and lasting freedom. It just doesn’t work that way. 

This is why I wrote the book When Shame Gets Real.

This is also why we just released a devotional series on YouVersion by the same name.

Because your shame needs to be addressed if you want to find success in your recovery efforts. There’s no way around it and to be honest, it’s a good thing. Because shame will continue to destroy you from the inside out if never addressed.

And quite frankly, you deserve better than that.