Charles Stanley once said, “Truth and freedom are constant companions. Where you find one, you will always find the other. Freedom in any area of life comes from discovering the truth about it. And discovering truth in a particular area always results in freedom of some kind.”
As a man in recovery, I can remember some of the most darkest moments in my life where I questioned if freedom from pornography was even possible. I had other people confront me with the stark reality of what I was doing and who I was becoming.
These were incredibly difficult moments filled with the pain I was causing myself AND the pain I was causing others.
And while there was nothing easy about these times, they were and will always be some of the most valuable moments in my recovery journey. Why? Because they were what I like to call gateway moments to freedom. What was really happening in these moments?
The truth was being exposed in my life.
Light was shining upon the darkest places of my heart, and that hurt really bad. But in light of what my future would become and the kind of man I would become, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
I love what Charles Stanley said! The idea that truth and freedom are like two friends who have known each other forever. They never stray too far from each other because you can’t have one without the other.
Real freedom is directly proportional with real truth.
And this carries over in so many ways as it relates to our own lives, especially in recovery.
Real freedom comes at a cost because in order for it to exist we must be open to new ways of thinking and new ways of living. So this means living with transparency so others can really know the real me. It means being involved in community in a way I never was before. It means surrendering behaviors and “fixes” that don’t lead to life and peace.
We use the word sobriety quite often in recovery. And most of the time the use of the word makes complete sense. But it’s important to remember there is a huge difference between real freedom and simple sobriety.
Naturally, we all want to be able to look back and see the progress that we’ve made over something that has been very challenging for us. We love to measure, quantify, and wrap our hands around something tangible to give us the assurance that we’re doing well. Except for the fact that some of the most valuable lessons we learn and growth we achieve isn’t tangible at all.
Getting back to my earlier point — Real freedom is a constant companion with truth.
So even when our sobriety takes a nose dive whether through a slip or relapse, if we’re continuing to partner with truth and commit to get back up and keep going, we will continue to experience more and more freedom.
In my experience, the men who expect freedom and healing to be an overnight experience typically don’t make it very far on this journey. It all begins with our perspective and what we’re truly wanting. If your mindset is to simply put a filter on your computer (which you will probably try to work around at some point) and just try your hardest not to look at porn, most likely you will find yourself back in the same place you began.
Recovery is not for the faint of heart.
It requires a man who has really hit the bottom, a heart that is truly repentant, and a resolve to do whatever it takes to become the person that God has called him to be. THIS. TAKES. TIME.
This is a really risky statement, but I’ll say it anyway: Sobriety ALONE will not get you to where you want to be. If your only interest is checking off a box because you gained another day without looking at porn, my question to you would be this: How long can you keep that up for?
If you’ve been apart of the X3pure workshop, then hopefully you understand the difference between real change and white knuckle change. Both are paths that I’ve found myself on in recovery, but only one of them is where I want to live.
White knuckle change will only take you so far in life. This path ends with self reliance where will power alone drives your behavior. It also thrives in isolation where it doesn’t have be accountable to anyone. Lastly, there is often a great amount of shame a person carries who tries to white knuckle their way to freedom. Ultimately, very little change takes place.
I’m thankful today that real change is the path that I’m on and want to continue to be on. Real change involves so much more than will power alone. You begin the process of learning what really drives your behavior. You progress to seeking community, whether that be through counseling or through a group. Before you know it, you’re able to go deeper as you focus on progress as the goal, not JUST sobriety.
Trust me when I tell you that real change is the path you want to be on.
I want to encourage you to take a few moments after reading this post and ask yourself what it is you’re after: real freedom or simple sobriety? The good news is that sobriety is often a natural bi-product of real freedom if that is what you’re seeking. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive at all.
What do you want most today?