Life gets full. Sometimes full of stuff that doesn’t help recovering sex addicts recover. My life has been full of many distractions, some of which have taken me away from recovery, away from sobriety, and away from ministry. Oh, I still went through the motions, but for some time there was little forward movement. In fact, it was obvious about a year ago that I was indeed regressing rather than progressing toward a life characterized by freedom from lust and compulsive behaviors. I’m thankful to be back on track but that has only come with renewed attention to living in the truth and really working a program of recovery.
As my sponsor told me some time ago, “the Internet is not your friend.” My wife and I have set boundaries concerning my use of computers, smart phones, and the Internet. After getting used to maintaining those boundaries, we’ve been able to reestablish a certain measure of trust. I am just now getting back to updating and regularly maintaining some of the websites I used to be responsible for. And I am very glad to be able to contribute to this website once again. This is part of my 12th step and beneficial to my sobriety and recovery.
I hope in the next few weeks to share in this space some of the recovery lessons I’ve learned in the past year. Resentment, particularly toward the people I work with and love, has been a challenge that I’ve learned must be dealt with early and often.
Relapse is a terrible thing. It forces you into isolation and secrecy. Even if the relapse only includes forays into Internet pornography, it damages self-esteem, your relationship with your spouse and most importantly, your relationship with God. Relapse of any kind is just not worth it.
I relapsed into Internet pornography a few months ago. I convinced myself that I could keep this activity a secret. I convinced myself that I was still sober since I had not acted out with anyone else or even myself, but I had filled my mind with lustful images. Once again, I had become emotionally and spiritually unavailable to those who needed me. It was not a good thing. When my wife found out about it, the damage was devastating. We are still in the process of rebuilding trust.
Thinking about going back to porn? I don’t recommend it. Count the costs before you do. Reach out to someone who can offer you support. Don’t have anyone? I’d be willing to talk to you. Feel free to call me.
According to a survey conducted by Pure Desire Ministries (quoted in an ad in Outreach magazine), 68% of Christian men and 50% of pastors view porn regularly. Other research from Covenant Eyes returns similar stats. But let’s face it, statistics don’t change lives. If you are a pastor who uses porn, please know that there is hope for you to overcome this struggle. But it won’t come through greater knowledge, more self-discipline, or stronger will power. Victory is possible only through complete and moment-by-moment surrender to God and genuine accountability to someone who can be trusted to consistently ask the hard questions. This kind of accountability is hard to come by but it’s vital for sustained freedom.
Are we ignoring the biggest issues our congregations are facing? Let’s stop turning a blind eye and start talking!
Each spring the IACSAS hosts a conference for clinicians, counselors, life coaches, lead pastors, family pastors, youth pastors, mentors, sponsors. etc. who want to be equipped to deal with sex addiction. In 2015, the conference is in St. Louis, April 30 – May 2.
Keynote speakers include Dr. Stefanie Carnes, Nate Larkin, and Richard Blankenship. Breakout sessions feature other presenters and cover wide range of topics relevant both to pastors and therapists who work with sexual addiction.
For more information about the conference, please check out www.sexaddictionconference.com. You can also download a flier about the conference here.
According to Covenant Eyes, 75% of pastors do not make themselves accountable to anyone for their Internet use, yet over half (51%) consider Internet pornography a possible temptation. Where are you in this stat? Still trying to manage this problem alone?
How long will we live in denial? We cannot conquer this beast and achieve anything even vaguely resembling sexual integrity without the help of others. We need others to hold us accountable, to encourage us to bring secrets into the light, to ask the hard questions, and to be there to extend grace when we fail. I’m grateful for the circle of Christian brothers who “know my stuff” and love me anyway. I’m thankful for those men who actually read my Covenant Eyes reports. And I definitely could not do without those men I can call at any hour when I feel tempted, resentful, fearful, or depressed.
Don’t have anyone like that in your life? You’ve come to the right place. One of the goals of this website is to encourage accountability, openness, and honesty in a safe environment. Give us a call; shoot off an email. We’re here to help.
Pastor Steve Farnworth leads a ministry to sexual addicts called Freedom Unit, a division of A Circle of Joy. Steve sent out an email recently offering a free intimacy assessment and a sample of his ebook Reclaiming Paradise.
Intimacy is something that we all long for, yet, it is something we find difficult to define and even more challenging to achieve. Is developing a deeper sense of intimacy with your wife something that you long for? If so, I invite you to join me by clicking the link below. In the video I introduce you to the opportunities we are providing to help equip men to experience genuine intimacy with their wives. At the end of the video I provide a link to an intimacy assessment you can take that is free of charge. In addition, for completing the assessment, I will send you the prologue and chapter one of my book about marital intimacy, Reclaiming Paradise.
Have you ever thought about the effects of pornography on your soul? I was working on a gratitude list this afternoon and realized that now I seldom have sudden outbursts of anger, usually directed against unsuspecting loved ones. Back when I was using porn regularly, these were common occurrences. The anger always seemed to be seething just below the surface and when something or someone set me off, watch out! It was like stumbling on an IED (improvised explosive device). Someone nearby was going to get hurt.