Weatherwise, November is an unpredictable month in southern Ontario, Canada. Some years we see snow early in the month, while other years, autumn’s warmth stretches longer than seems possible before ultimately surrendering to the coming chill of winter. The days are often sunny and warm, while the one thing that can be counted on in November is cold nights with crisp air.
During those rare years when the snow waits, it is my favorite time of year.
Autumn is also time to celebrate the end of another harvest season; a time for thankfulness. In Canada we celebrate thanksgiving in October (though there is an added bonus for me this time of year, as my mother-in-law is American, so I get another feast in November!). As I reflect back on another year gone by, I find much to be thankful for. One of these things is accountability.
As a therapist working with men addicted to pornography (and other sexual addictions), I can say this unequivocally: good accountability is a vital part of recovery. Without it, we are left to try to overcome this addiction on our own, which is incredibly difficult, if not impossible. Unfortunately for most of us, a combination of fear and pride prevent us from taking the steps necessary to acquire and maintain good accountability.
Pride is the voice inside that tells us it’s okay to do things for only ourselves, that we deserve it. Pride is shortsighted and will not bring consequences into the equation, instead trying to convince us we do not need to tell anyone else about our problems, that we can handle them on our own. It tells us we can let our guard down, that we are strong enough to handle the temptation to look at porn, to masturbate, to visit that massage parlor, to call that escort. It seduces us, then robs us of our strength. If we let it…
In 1 Corinthians 10:12 the apostle Paul warned against pride when he wrote “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” Sounds like pretty good advice to me.
Don’t allow pride to hold you back in your struggle against addiction, whatever the vice may be. If you have not spoken with anyone about your struggle with pornography, you will likely continue to struggle with it. If your conscience is telling you otherwise, it’s time to heed it; if pride is telling you that you no longer need filtering/accountability software on your Internet-ready devices, do not entertain it. Handicap the temptation before going to battle with it–the outcome will be better.
Good accountability will not only help in your fight against sexual addiction, but it will also assist in keeping your pride in check. It was vital in my own recovery, and is something I still maintain regardless of how well I think I am doing. That I have good accountability is one of the things I celebrate this time of year. I am thankful for it, and know I need it. I have seen the alternative, and it is a lonely, lonely place.