I once spent a month living with a Russian pastor (Andrei) and his family in northern Moldova a few years ago. It was a totally new kind of experience for me. I was raised in the suburbs, and Andrei lived in the country in a tiny house. I slept on a couch in the living room with two other guys, and the three girls in my group slept in a small bedroom while Andrei, his wife, and his two little boys slept in the second bedroom, leaving a tiny kitchen as the only unoccupied space.
There was no central heating to keep us warm and safe from the abrasive Moldavian winter that started early in October, so we had to chop wood to feed into the stove that sat along the baseboard of the kitchen. A roaring fire through the evening that would slowly die out as we went to sleep would keep us cozy in our slumber.
One evening, Andrei went out for a little while and put me in charge of feeding the fire. He put his big hands on my shoulder and said in his thick Russian accent, “Pete, in fifteen minutes, you put a log on fire, yes?” I nodded dutifully, and fifteen minutes later put a big lump log on the fire.
A couple hours later, Andrei came back and looked in the fireplace. “Pete!” he said. “Where is fire? Why did you not add wood?!”
What my suburban upbringing had caused me to fail to understand was that keeping a fire going takes constant work and attention. He needed me to put a log on the fire every fifteen minutes, not just once! One log wasn’t going to cut it; the fire needed continually renewed fuel.
Just like that fire, maintaining sobriety in this new year is going to take the same kind of tending that a fire in your fireplace will take. Maybe you’re cooped up indoors all the time because of the weather. Maybe you’re stuck in your office at your computer, or sitting in the front of the TV by yourself.
Maintaining a lifetime of vigilance is crucial to overcoming pornography addiction. Being perpetually accountable, always on your toes and prepared for the ways you might be tempted, is the best way to stay sober. Don’t let the fire go out on your sobriety! Keep feeding it the fuel it needs – accountability, prayer, support, hard work, and most of all, reliance on Jesus Christ.