Experiencing Recovery @XXXchurch.com is looking for stories of people who have found recovery and freedom from their addictions… you can submit your 3 paragraph story at [email protected] for a chance to have your story posted on the Haps!

Elizabeth’s story…

I never dreamed of being addicted to masturbation.   I remember the curiosity of my first time as an early teenager and the lie I believed instantly: “This was amazing! And it will be amazing when I get to do it for real!  Until then, I’m just going to keep doing this.”  More lies came in about how I was learning what I want for when it really happened….at least I’m not sleeping around like my friends… guys think this is hot, right?  A girl masturbating, that’s what they like….  I liked the power it gave me over my body and the fantasy that wove in my head before and during the act.  It progressed from curiosity, to helping me sleep, to killing boredom.  By the time I was in college it had become my comfort.  It eased stress, gave me confidence-it was like a friend to me.  I couldn’t wait to get home and schemed to be alone- or very discrete.  I had no idea the falseness I was building my life on.  Other experiences as a child shaped a definition of relationships and sex as best enjoyed when it’s hidden, selfish, dangerous, and most of all without emotional attachment.   Masturbation fit right in.

When I dated people those same traits marked my relationships, but I can’t say I enjoyed it like that.  Because of the confusion, I retreated to remaining alone except for isolated interactions with men I barely knew, and my self-worth got lower and lower.  To top it off, my “comfort” was no longer comforting me.  It didn’t bring the confidence it used to, and it surely didn’t give me the love my heart was wanting from real people. Masturbation kept me settling while telling me I had it all.  The self-centeredness of it shrunk my heart and my capacity to receive love.  The journey out of it meant facing some hard facts:  I was unable to manage this- it had control over me, and secondly, to stop this would mean to deny myself my chief felt need:  sex.  It required honesty and a transparency about my life that I valued not having before.

4 years later after beginning hard recovery work in the area of sexual addiction, my heart is bigger!  I give and receive love with ease.  My understanding of relationships and sex has been completely overhauled, and is still being shaped.  When I received Jesus in August of 2005, the chains of my sexual sin fell off and Jesus has restored my purity- something I thought I threw away long ago.  I can’t lie and say I don’t still struggle with this.  One stressful day or explicit song and its all I want to do.  What’s different now? I don’t live for myself anymore.  As my intimacy and allegiance to Jesus (as opposed to myself) has grown, it’s a little easier to agree with the truth of the implications of my choice.  First things first though, get honest with yourself and with another person.  Real freedom is really possible. You can do this!