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.
ONE Magazine, produced by the Free Will Baptist denomination, recently published two articles dealing with sex addiction among pastors. The first is an anonymous article written by a pastor who identifies himself as a sex addict. The second is his wife’s response. These articles include links to resources helpful to both the addict and spouse.
We appreciate the link to the Sex Addicts in Ministry website.
Let’s face it. We pastors have a lot to lose if the wrong people find out about what some of us do (or have done) in private. Publicly, the church and much of society have placed us on a pedestal. We are “Reverends,” clergy, “men or women of the cloth,” “God’s chosen leaders,” and so on! Yet we are human. We are sinful. Just like anyone else we deal with temptations, day in and day out. Some of us continually succumb to temptations in areas that most people find difficult to talk about: Internet pornography, masturbation, sex outside of marriage, same-sex attraction, and other sexual behaviors inconsistent with the biblical values we commonly preach.
So when we are caught up in sexual sin, where do we turn? Many of us don’t have anyone holding us accountable in these areas. If we tell our denominational leaders or the other leaders in the churches we serve, we will likely lose our jobs. We should be able to trust other pastors in our community, but most of us don’t. We continue to hide, isolate, and bury ourselves in what may very well be or become a sexual addiction.
There’s the recovery community, but can we trust our reputation to those who willingly admit to being sex addicts or “sexaholics” after they find out what we do for a living? As one who has spent over 13 years “in recovery” and almost 10 years involved in recovery ministries and 12-step groups, I can honestly say that the level of honesty and confidentiality in these groups is light-years beyond the average Christian church. Sadly, I’ve heard more soul-barring confessions and seen more grace extended and received in secular support groups than I have found in churches that claim to “preach grace.”
As a pastor, I respect your desire for anonymity, especially if you have not yet achieved victory over your temptations (or “sobriety” as they say in the 12-steps). This site and the phone meetings that we hope to launch soon are designed for you. We are not here to “out” you; we are here to help you. Please trust us to respect your anonymity and maintain confidentiality regarding what you share with us.