Back in 2001 I just got saved out of a lifelong sex/porn/lust addiction/lifestyle that began in 3rd grade.
The road to recovery isn’t a straight line most of the time. There will be bumps in the road. There will be falls and failures and there will be times you think you figured things out and so you slack off a bit and BAM! then get ambushed and fall again. BUT at some point there will be more of a consistent walk on the road to recovery. Relapses may all but vanish. I know folks who have been clean for 30 plus years. I also know folks who never took recovery seriously, and felt their life circumstances were so unfair they had no choice but to hold onto their pet sins, and sooner than later they fell off a cliff and you never heard from them again. You can assume it didn’t end well.
A lot of the church today doesn’t provide the recipe for victory. Covering your sins – being able to act spiritual and sanctified – and having an outward cleanliness while the heart is unchanged is a recipe for disaster. The churches over and over and over will have a youth pastor or a senior pastor or a music teacher or a deacon that has a steller reputation in the church – only one day you read about him in the newspaper after being arrested for molesting a child or having an ongoing relationship with an underage girl and taking her across state lines or trying to solicit a prostitute. You never saw it coming – and often neither did they. Monsters live in the dark. One key is to keep bringing sin into the light and it starts by having a strong personal walk with GOD.
If I could recommend one KEY to victory is to focus on your relationship with JESUS first. WORSHIP him – when I connect with Him it makes a difference. PRAISE is the Password to His presence and thankfulness is a big key to not let temptations derail, define, and destroy you.
A tip I have personally found to be helpful is I set a timer for 10-15 minutes, where I first will sing some praise songs (I’d rather have JESUS than SILVER OR GOLD, I LOVE YOU LORD and I lift my voice to worship you, Oh my soul rejoice!!!! Lord you are more precious than Silver! LORD you are more costly than GOLD and nothing I desire compares to you! – and I go through a hymnal of songs I know and will sing the choruses of them and they at times will be a medley of 20-30 songs. Sometimes I will literally go through the Hymnal book page by page and sing some from all the ones I know.
My intention is to do praise, prayer, personal devotion, and purity (recovery work) in my 10-15 minute window but that is the minimum. Often I will end up “stuck on praise” for 15 minutes and that is a good sign when you don’t want it to end. That doesn’t happen all the time – sometimes its because I was up to late and slept past my alarm and literally have 15 minutes – to shower and shave and get out the door!
But when I am connecting with God – it will feel like He is right there in the room with you when you sing your heart out – and if HE doesn’t – GET SAVED! Once you are saved, Jesus promises to put a new song in your heart. The world sings, I can’t get no satisfaction, and we can sing it is well with my soul. Being saved makes all the difference.
Have you found that new song yet?
Believe on the LORD JESUS CHRIST and thou shalt be saved!
IF you don’t know the songs – buy an old hymnal on Ebay or Amazon. Then type in the titles on Youtube and you can hear some very uplifting songs, some will be instrumental, some will be Celtic strings, some will be modern, some will be a cappella, and more. The old traditional ones really lift up JESUS and have some great doctrines in there as well, and then I praise and thank God for a few things and then I ask for help for recovery for TODAY and pray for my family and pray I will have grace for today and live in victory today and be accountable and honest today and for God to provide for today, and then I will read my bible, perhaps getting in the Psalms and Proverbs of the day and then where my bookmark is in my bible reading with a highlighter in hand.
Other tips are to read recovery books daily – or a recovery blog and get daily accountability — it does work with on-line or Facebook groups, but if you can find some older mentor types to call/ etc that would be helpful.
Any addiction is trying to quench a real thirst with something false that will destroy you. Sex addictions are harder to overcome because sexual addictions work off chemicals your own brain produces. At orgasm your brain explodes with tons of pleasure chemicals like dopamine and binding hormones that are meant to unite you and “GLUE” you to your spouse. But the devil will hijack that and use it to destroy you. In this fallen world, you may experience sexual brokenness while your brain is still developing – sexual abuse can happen. Someone forced themselves on you or in you and that creates a very confusing response from your brain – there will be the pain and the shame and the feeling of being violated. However, sexual organs may have been stimulated, and maybe there was a mix of pleasure in the pain. For that, victims can feel guilty but worse, the brain can associate that as what sex is supposed to be like and that can create wrong desires.
For example, a young boy may be just wanting his dad and his dad is not around. Mom starts dating an abusive drunk who beats her – but he also sneaks into the bedroom at night and sexually molests the boy. Later in life the boy understands the evil of this relationship, but at the time that may be the only time he feels attention and feels needed. The brain will associate sexual pleasure with an older person of the same gender and later in life, when that boy feels alone and rejected, those feelings for men will resurface. The brain is literally mislead by past experiences and many will assume those confusing feelings must mean they are gay and so they will pursue that lifestyle, find maybe acceptance in that group, and further lock themselves into an identity that is not based on reality.
Any sex outside of Male-Female marriage bed is LUST based – so that is addictive and can’t be satisfied. You can approach it from an addiction stand point – when temptations arise first just “surf the emotions/feelings” and know they will go away. Journaling can help one identify what triggers certain feelings that feel true. For example, the Christmas holiday may be when parents divorced growing up or maybe when a parent suddenly died. Those memories may cause pain and hurts, and the brain just wants you to move away from that pain to what feels good.
I burned my hand today getting a Freschetta Pizza out of the oven. My natural instinct was to pull my hand away, which caused me to drop the pizza and created a bigger mess than if I just would have not moved my hand. But it would have worsened the pain in the long run because I would have been burned worse. I am not saying that if you feel pain, it is the right thing to do to run to the addictions – but realize that when those desires come, there may be some pain to process or people to forgive or something that needs to be made right. Some painful moment may still be a lingering wound that you want to get healed from.
Look to set up strong boundaries and see where you fall and make sure you have guardrails way before you fall off that cliff. If you mess up by wanting to go to a porn store after work especially when things are stressful or work is stressful, you can start by calling your wife if you are married, every time you leave your job, then calling a friend perhaps, then putting on an addiction/recovery podcast. IF this is your first 90 days of recovery, you may want to call someone everyday. Call them on your way to work, text during your lunch break if you are feeling extra stress, whatever. IF you couldn’t sleep and woke up late and were rushed and the car engine light went on and the bank check didn’t post but your water bill came out and you forgot the lunch you packed the night before and the drive thru coffee place was too long so you didn’t even bother to get a coffee – reach out on your drive. Reach out at lunch. Reach out when you go on a bathroom break if you take your phone to the bathroom with you. Don’t let it all linger and fester and build like you are immersed in a pressure cooker and then drive by that porn store on your drive home. Your brain will remember the pleasures there the last time you went, not the way it almost ended your marriage or the weeks of shame and feelings of worthlessness you felt after. Your brain will think it’s doing you a favor by leading you there. It doesn’t mean you can’t snap out of it, but at a certain point you reach the point of no return when the lust cycle gets engaged and you will almost not be able to turn it off.
Start going a different route home. And if you find yourself on that route that leads to trouble- call someone the second you realize it and get away from heading there. If you take interventions before you end up where you didn’t want to be, you will be better off and will see more victories.
So you may have to change driving routes and find a different way home, you may need to chance your schedule so you aren’t out of work late at night, or totally change jobs, apartments, phones, etc — and you want a filter on your phone/computer like covenant eyes or american family filter so you don’t have instant access to porn. Cancel cable, burn/ throw out any porn movies, even R movies, bad music, cancel cable subscriptions for ones that have movies that can trip you up, don’t channel surf at night alone on your couch, don’t be on social media late at night in the privacy of your bathroom or office, cancel any dating apps, change email addresses, whatever steps you need to take. If you have a job that requires you to travel, that will often be a time when the temptations get out of control. I know a man who has a ministry helping addicts get free who was on a business trip years prior and he ended up renting (or is it hiring?) a prostitute while he was away. He almost lost everything. Men often end up falling into porn on the Hotel TV or end up having affairs on business trips because temptations meet opportunity. You need to take serious steps before you travel – call someone before you enter that room. Have the front desk remove that TV. Call your wife if you are married the moment you are in the room and have the phone by you and promise to do Facetime at anytime she wants. Give her permission to interrupt you at any moment. Take out pictures of your wife and kids and if they didn’t take out the TV put a blanket over it, unplug it, and put the remote and HBO guide in a drawer and refuse to open it.
A big thing in victory are knowing your identity — if you are SAVED you can claim the promises God says about you.
If you are lost – turn to JESUS. Come to JESUS. Look to JESUS. Call upon JESUS.
Believe on the LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED.
Really to be saved, you just have to know you are LOST in need of a SAVIOR and that JESUS died for you. AND accept JESUS by FAITH.
Believe on the LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED says the bible.
So IF you are saved – then you are a new creature in CHRIST. Memorize verses where God makes promises to his children- Hebrews 13:5 says Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee, so write out that promise. God promises He will never leave me nor forsake me. If I feel abandoned by life, by friends, if I am rejected on Social Media, if I am fired from my job, if my wife is mad because I didn’t put the meat loaf in the oven in time when she was out and now I can do no right – claim God’s promises.
Let’s do a practical example and take that meatloaf illustration to it’s end. Turn things into prayers and teaching moments. Recognize how quickly things can unravel and don’t get overconfident. You can be honest with God how you feel — God I feel abandoned by you, I know it’s not your fault I was distracted getting into an argument on Facebook and I forgot to put the meatloaf in the oven and now dinner is late and my wife is very angry at me and the last time she was angry I ended up arguing and getting defensive and I was sleeping on the couch and ended up watching a show I shouldn’t have on the TV and then my marriage was in a rut for a month – but you are here in these emotions. You won’t leave me, abandon me, you are not disappointed with me, so please help me treat my wife like you treat me, help me not to take it so personal and just apologize and run to her when she is upset. Help this not lead to the bad spots it has in the past. Help this be a teaching moment. Help me have grace for my wife and grace for those on Facebook who I just want to know you. Help me call someone if it gets any worse. Help me follow through better on the things I am asked to do to help my wife and to better keep my word. Help me be more Christlike in this hard circumstance, In JESUS name, Amen.
When doing your bible reading, highlight verses of what GOD says about you and read those when you are hurting. You are beloved, forgiven, a child of God, redeemed, a new creature, salt, light, a witness, an ambassador. KNOW THEM- KNOW WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT YOU. When the devil tells you what you were, tell him who you are. Someone said when the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future. The devil gets thrown into the lake of fire and will torment mankind no more some day.
You are beloved for WHO you are, not what you do.
You don’t want victory so that you will be loved by God. You are victorious by position already. You are seated in the heavenlies already! If you are saved, you have already overcome by the blood of the LAMB. IT’s a done deal.
When we die we enter eternity and are outside of TIME so we are in this realm right now where time doesn’t matter so however that works we are currently in a place that sees our past possibly and sees where we are now and that person is already victorious and already in a new body and essentially is saying to you, Hang in there! You are going to make it because HERE I AM ALREADY IN HEAVEN!!!!!!!!
You want to live in victory because you already have it!!! LIVE LIKE YOU ARE IN HEAVEN AND TOTALLY TRANSFORMED BECAUSE THAT IS YOUR DESTINY AND THAT IS WHERE YOU ALREADY ARE!!!!
Let that be your motive to keep going– you already WON my friend!! THE devil is not your king, JESUS IS YOUR KING!!!
Now, there will be times when the temptations are stronger. Those times when we are tired, lonely, hungry, angry, when we are rejected or experience loss, financial pressures, family pressures – and when we are stressed or depressed too. Those seem to be areas when JESUS is looking to meet those needs or you want to find healthy substitutes for those legitimate needs instead of acting out.
And when you see why you are facing certain things, make adjustments to fix that. If you are under intense financial pressures and bill collectors are hounding you that is stressful. BUT let that stress push you to make more calls in your business or ask for a raise or find a better job. The stress is there to get you to change sometimes. Instead of just feeling sorry for yourself, take the negative feelings and see what you do to address them head on.
If you don’t fix the situation, your brain will want you to act out to deal with the pain you are running from. Acting out will HALT the healing. Instead, part of recovery is learning to face the problems of life head on- instead of running back to the addiction to escape the pain or rejection.
Keep going. Keep looking to JESUS. Keep looking for some male accountability (or female accountability if you are a lady) and male fellowship that will love you as you are, but aren’t going to lead you astray but lead you to JESUS!
You got this!!!!!
Because really, JESUS does.
And you’re not holding onto JESUS – He’s holding onto you!