There’s no doubt in my mind that a few of you might be scratching your head after reading the title of this post. Don’t worry, all will be explained soon enough. First, I wanted to take a second to congratulate you for making it to 2024! My assumption is if you purposely navigated to XXXchurch.com and specifically clicked on this post, then you must care enough about your heart to allow other people to speak into your life. This is a beautiful thing.
And what better way to start a new year than by investigating the ways in which you can grow in your recovery journey.
But then again, maybe you start 2024 not having actively made a decision to walk in recovery from pornography or some other kind of sexually compulsive behavior. That’s ok too brother. The fact that you are here is huge and this month I just want to offer a few ideas on how you can get started on a healthy path and make 2024 your greatest year ever.
One of the realities we must face as men is that we like to fix things. I don’t know if your brain works like mine or not, but when I see a problem the gears in my brain start turning to try and figure out a solution. Especially when it comes to something related to technology. So many men that I’ve worked in recovery, when they get started, they simply want to “fix” the problem, sweep it under the rug, and move on. One of the hardest things for us to embrace in recovery is this truth:
In order to move forward, we must look back.
What does that even mean?
Well, I won’t belabor the point: Finding freedom from addiction and getting healthier requires us to look back at the places of pain in our lives. It calls us to look back at past traumas and the moments in our lives we would deem as triggering. No, we’re not doing it to simply relive those painful seasons. We’re looking at what we were really needing and what our souls were really crying out for. We’re not very good at sitting in our pain because we’ve trained our brains for so long that when we’re in pain, we medicate. So learning to ask key questions about what we’ve walked through and how it has shaped us is so important.
When we look back we learn from our pain and mistakes.
No doubt that the things we experienced in our past stemmed from not only from the things we did, but from the things that were done to us. Trauma, abuse, and exposure are some of the worst things a person can go through. And while there is much that was outside of our control in our past, there is a great deal we could control. And unfortunately, we chose wrong. But the beautiful thing is that regardless of where you’ve come from, it’s never too late to look back and learn from the unhealthy decisions that we made. How else does someone grow unless they learn from what didn’t work? It’s learning to get out of that unhealthy rhythm that will help us to move forward in 2024.
Our pain and mistakes can give us a blueprint for how to move forward.
This may sound completely crazy to you, but I believe that attempting to understand our pain and its origin is a massive key to unlocking a healthier life. Every day, millions of people get up to go to work simply going through the motions. Sadly, so many people ignore the pain living inside of them from childhood, adolescence, and even in their adult years. And so, we as a people have to try and soothe that pain somehow, which oftentimes leads to addiction or some kind of destructive behavior. One of the resources that I’m a huge fan of is the very popular book, “Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing” by Dr. Jay Stringer. In the book, Stringer states there is a reason for our sexual brokenness:
“If we fail to engage the ways we were sexualized in the past, we leave open the high probability that these patterns will become more pronounced in the future. We look to the past not to find excuses for reprehensible behavior but because narrative holds the key to unlocking destructive patterns and implementing all future change.”
We have to be willing to go to the painful places we don’t want to go to. It’s that simple. Again, this is a very foreign concept for individuals stuck in addiction. Especially, I believe, for men. But if we’re willing to open up, allow others in, and trace our pain back to be beginning, we’ll find the recovery journey to be a beautiful journey. It’s a messy process for sure but I believe it’s worth it for every person who wants to become the person that God created them to be: One who walks in freedom, not shame. One who experiences health in their heart and their relationships.
All of this is possible in 2024! Happy New Year!!!
By the way, if you are looking for a safe place to start investigating and growing, look no further than Small Groups Online, online support groups for those seeking sexual integrity, community, and mental wellbeing. Use code NEWYEAR at checkout to get your first month for just $1.