tie me upI love reading Greek mythology. Yeah, I know. One of my favorite tales is the story of Odysseus and his trek home after the Trojan War. During this lengthy boat ride home, he and his shipmates’ sale past the Isle of Sirens, where the famed daughters of the gods await, singing their silky songs of seduction. Odysseus, fearing the worst, tells his mates to tie him to the mast of the ship and, no matter what – head home without untying him. The scene, to me, is a powerful reminder of my own journey home – to my truest love – and the destructive detour porn offers.

Odysseus was compelled to ‘stay the course’ because of his true love that awaited his return. Yet, he also knew that her absence in his life, coupled with the attractive distraction of the isolated Isle’s sexual opportunity, would prove too much for him to fight alone. That’s why he got help from some friends – those who knew him, had been with him, had sacrificed for him, and had always supported him. 

In some ways, Odysseus had it easy. He just needed to get past one island. You and I encounter the silky sweet songs of seduction on nearly every corner store, tap of the keys, glance of the eyes, or swipe of the phone. If Odysseus required the help of good friends to escape the grip of one lone (though potent) Isle of sexual indulgence, then who are we to think we can tackle the Isles we face daily? While I like to think I can fight this for myself, I have learned that sometimes I have to ask others to tie me to the mast and help me get home.

Odysseus’s story serves to remind me that I am created for deep relationship and I am most fully human when I belong to a deeply relational and enriching community of friends. In my own experience, this means I have to bring my full self to a community that community inhabits and exhibits these four traits:

1. Those who know me. These are people who have experiential, “hands-on” knowledge of who I am. This type of knowing requires consistent and regular meeting together and participation in each other’s lives (think of the number of battles Odysseus and his shipmates had waged together!).

2. Those who have been with me. This is closely related to the first, but it implies the real-time experience of others who have walked with me through the junk of my addiction and chosen to stick it out rather than cower in fear!

3. Those who sacrifice for me and for whom I am willing to sacrifice. I need people on my ship whom I can call in the midst of my struggle or text at any hour in any moment. They also need to expect the same from me.

4. Those who are supportive of me. This does not mean that they let me wallow in self-pity and shame when I indulge my unwanted sexual desire. Rather it means they grab hold of me with confrontational warmth, reminding me that they have my best interest in mind!

 This is the typ of community you can find in an X3group.

This is the type of community I long for, the type of community where I can say, ‘Hey guys, I am struggling right now. Break out the rope and tie me to the mast so that, as this ship heads home, I stay on board.”


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