It’s funny, but the longer I work in this type of ministry the more I find myself having to go back and correct or refine statements I made when I was younger and let’s just say less wise.
Because life is a never ending journey in learning… and recovery is no different.
I once made the comment that recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. In other words, it’s a process that can be challenging and at times grueling. Something that takes time, patience, and steadfastness.
Recovery is not something you can rush and generally not an experience you can “get through” in a short period of time. This is why when I see courses or coaches who make outlandish claims about how their program will guarantee your freedom in a short period of time (30 days, 3 months, etc.) I generally throw up in my mouth at the expressed intellectual dishonesty.
However, even my catchy little marathon statement is inaccurate at the end of the day.
Because I see now, a decade into my freedom, that recovery is more of an ongoing journey than any type of race (short or long distance).
Now that statement should not sound discouraging. By saying recovery is “ongoing” I’m not indicating that true freedom is forever elusive or subconsciously buying into the whole “every man’s battle” mantra.
Because true and meaningful recovery is far more than…
- Lust management strategies
- Locking down internet access and utilizing parenting controls
- Weekly therapy sessions
- Striving to get some sort of sobriety token or coin
- Paying 1,000’s of dollars to a recovery coach
- Completing any number of online video workshops or book series
Recovery, in the end, is about embracing a healthy lifestyle we should have never abandoned in the first place.
Long-term, lifelong recovery means…
- Embracing healthy and authentic community.
- Learning to live without shame and regret.
- Denying the tendency to isolate and remain secretive about our choices and struggles.
- Handling emotions and feelings through adaptive measures.
- Making decisions based on one’s values and goals instead of momentary feelings or impulses.
- Discovering our true identity and worth and resting in that knowledge.
- Being able to distinguish reality from fantasy.
- Pursuing humility, gratitude and honor rather than pride, selfishness, and objectification.
These aren’t practices or disciples we should abandon once we’ve reached a certain level of healing.
Rather, they are all qualities of a truly healthy individual.
Yes, when you find a measure of freedom in your life, there will come a time when you can loosen up on some of the strategies and practices you rely on now to help with maintaining your sobriety.
- Someday you’ll be able to trust yourself on an unmonitored or unprotected device.
- Someday you won’t have to see a sex addiction therapist every week.
- Someday you’ll be able to watch a show on Netflix without it turning into an all-nighter porn binge.
- Someday you’ll have the ability to navigate difficult emotional moments on your own without the need for escape.
- Someday, your recovery small group will become less about “fessing up” and more about doing life authentically with other men and women.
But even then, don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking you’ve arrived. Don’t completely abandon the very practices and habits that have helped get you to a better place in your life and relationships.
Because recovery is about self-improvement and that process is a lifelong one.
And if you aren’t quite sure where to start your journey, check out Small Groups Online. We have groups for men, women, and spouses that meet every week and are there for the purposes of recovery, healing, and mutual support.