It is a common question here on this site. Certainly admitting you are powerless against this, that porn has no redeeming value and that at some level, you have lost your battle against pornography; this is truly the first step…but then what?
I think finding a group of “real” men is critical to a successful recovery. I am not a big believer in “Mountain Top” Experiences for the treatment of addiction, by this I am referring to the “Retreat” format like Promise Keepers or the Every Mans Battle conference. Don’t get me wrong these are godly events, they do change lives and you should attend them as a part of your recovery, but I do not believe they will work long term in addiction.
When I came back from Promise Keepers years ago I was going to be a changed man (this was before all of my addiction started). We would leave the event with the hugs and promises, small groups would form, and within 3 months it was gone. I just never saw the depth of sharing and honesty in these types of groups which are necessary for true accountability.
I also do not believe this is truly every man’s battle the way it is for me and many of you who come here. For me, this was as real as it gets…it was not about temptation, it was not about reading/forwarding the office email, it was not about speaking inappropriately to my office co-worker, this was about a compulsive behavior which I became powerless to stop until it destroyed my family and almost killed me.
The men I have met in groups like SA, SAA, SLAA, Celebrate Recovery and through “real” church groups, are the guys who are not afraid to share their true story and their walk…they are a group which you can find in almost every city in America, but you have to look for them. I wanted to change, so I attended every single group I could find, not once or twice but for weeks in a row until I knew I had found a few good ones. I attended what is called 90 in 90; 90 meetings in 90 days.
When your gut tells you “If I join this group I am going to be asked questions, expected to participate and it is going to be hard for me to fool them…that group which scares you because of their brutal honesty and their undying commitment to each other. When you find the right group you will find a peace which will be like nothing you have ever known…you will be among friends and you will come to realize you are home.
This will most likely not be a new group, it will be a group which has met for a very long time, a group who has seen many men come and go, a group which is not worried about keeping them all…it will be a group for a man who is serious about his recovery and these men will be committed to help each other.
It is hard to walk in to these groups for the first time…it scared me and it was hard to walk through that door. Of course what scared me, was laughably stupid on my part, because I was afraid I might know someone!! The fear could not have been more misplaced, because what I found could not have been more different from what I expected…these were real men with real stories and a real desire to stay sober and help others…they were kind and loving.
In this battle I have found a couple of real brothers and I thank God for them…I can call them night or day, no matter what I have done they would be there…I will know them for the rest of my life. The greatest gift is knowing they are real and they are truly my friends. In life, we are fooled into thinking we have many friends, but when you have been to the darkest places, when you have been cast out…you learn the true value of a friend and I am glad to have a couple of them in my life. You know who you are guys…Thanks so much for speaking into my life, for holding me accountable and for your true friendship.
The most important thing is to do it now! Do not wait, do not let fear stop you from the life God has planned for you. The time to get help is today, tonight, tomorrow…ASAP, do not wait. You need all the help you can get because satan will be back, he is very patient and he will wait and wait.
When you attend these groups, there will usually be a “Call List” handed out to the new guys; this list is your life line. It will contain phone numbers for men who you can call when you are tempted…it could save your life. I have made these calls often, like most of this at first it was hard to do but I did it. Everyday I would call men on this list, sometimes multiple times per day. We formed friendships and we fought off the temptation together.
I will never be cured…I speak to my accountability partner almost every day and many days we talk 2 or 3 times. Sometimes it goes like this; “How’s it going? Any temptations? What are your plans for today? Promise to call if you have struggles? Bye.” It is simple and sometimes, though not often, very short. Actually most days we will talk for 15 minutes or more.
If you want to change your life, you must make changes…I know you guys can do it because you are all Great men of God.
(This note added on June 26, 2008) – If you would, please share below your experience if you have been to a group or if you have not been to a group maybe what fears you might be feeling. Thanks