I hope you read last week’s post by my all-time favorite guest author, My Love! He shared the first two of four myths about recovery from sexual addiction, or, “lies sex addicts believe about recovery.” If you didn’t catch it, please go back and read it now. You really don’t want to miss it. Today he’ll finish up with the last two myths about recovery. We’re looking forward to many more posts from him in the future which you’ll now be able to find under the “For Him from My Love” category. Okay, here he is:
I spent more than 20 years of my life as a slave to sexual addiction. Throughout that time there were many things I believed about recovery that God has slowly revealed to me to have been completely untrue. Each of these “myths about recovery” kept me bound to my addiction.
As Esther and I have worked with other couples on this journey to healing we’ve discovered I’m far from alone. In fact, it seems these lies are pretty universally believed among sex addicts. Last week we covered the first two myths:
Now, let’s look at the other two:
Myths About Recovery #3:
I Can’t Make the Drastic Moves, they Will Ruin my Life
Whether it be to quit my job, tell the kids, move to a different area, whatever… We tend to convince ourselves these huge steps are impossible because taking them will ruin our lives. But really, the addiction is ruining our lives. We need to be willing to do whatever it takes to end it.
This particular lie also prevents us from complete surrender to God’s will, God’s plan, and God’s best for us. What it really comes down to is, we don’t trust Him to take care of us in these extreme situations. But the only way to truly recover is to surrender everything we have to God, leveraging our wives’ counsel in the process. God gave us our wives. They are our partners, and they need to be a part of this process. They’ll be able to greatly help us figure out which steps need to be taken and which ones don’t.As addicts we often refuse to make the drastic moves for the sake of recovery because we believe that doing so will ruin our lives, but the truth is, the addiction is ruining our live. We need to be willing to do whatever it takes… Click To Tweet
For me, there were two huge steps God asked me to take that I believed I absolutely could not do. I was terrified of both. He asked me to quit my job, and to confess to my church. In both cases, the surrender ended up being the catalyst to God’s miraculous work, moving mountains before our eyes.
I’ll never forget the day I went in to tell my boss I had to quit. My career was a big part of my identity. I had climbed the corporate ladder and was a vice president in my company. I was proud of all I had achieved. We had a pretty comfortable life financially too. I was sure obedience in this area would cause us to lose our house at the very least, and probably everything else too. But God asked me to hand it all over to Him. I had been unfaithful with multiple women in my office and there was just no way I could stay there and stay pure. I had to quit and trust Him with the rest.
I sat there in front of my boss and confessed everything to him. I told him I had to make it work with my wife, so I had to walk away. I just didn’t see any other option…and in stepped God.
To my great surprise, my boss immediately told me my marriage was the most important thing, and the company would do anything it could to see it succeed. But he was sure we could figure something out so I could stay with the company and still succeed in recovery. He put me on a three month (paid) leave of absence in which I would be permitted to mostly focus on my recovery but also do a little work from home. He said we’d re-evaluate at the end of those three months.
What unfolded in the months that followed is too long a story to tell here, but long story short, God opened one door after another (in completely unexpected ways) to allow me not only to keep my career intact, but to continue to see it grow! I’ve been able to keep my position working mostly from home permanently. I’ve been able to start a new side business with my best friend and accountability partner, a strong Christian man who now also works alongside me at my day job so that I never have to be alone in a tempting situation. Most importantly, I’ve been able to work my recovery and start this ministry along with my wife! Not only was my life not ruined by my obedience, it was made better!
The other huge thing I had to do was confess to my church. I grew up in the church. My dad is my pastor. I’m in the worship band. I had a reputation as a good Christian man. Making the decision to surrender to God in this area was one of the scariest things I’ve ever had to do. I fought it hard!
But the humility required to stand before a body of believers who knew me as the fake person I had pretended to be for so long and admit who I really was changed everything. Something inside of me broke as all the lies were shattered. I couldn’t live in that pretend world anymore because everyone knew the truth. To my great surprise it freed me.
I went home from church that Sunday so light, and so encouraged! My church family had seen me in my brokenness and they had embraced me. Their prayer support, not to mention their accountability made the recovery that followed possible. That day is the day I have deemed, the first day of true recovery!
Myths About Recovery #4:
Recovery is about behavior. If I can just “be good” I’ll get better
1 Chronicles 29:11-14 – Yours, oh Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours, oh Lord, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as the One who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from You alone, for You rule over everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and at Your discretion people are made great and given strength.
Oh our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious Name! But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to You? Everything we have has come from You, and we give You only what You first gave us!
For years I believed if I could just stop acting out I would “be in recovery.” Everything I did to heal was totally focused on my behavior. I would try so hard. I’d go a week without acting out and then mess up. But then I’d just convince myself THAT was the last time. So I was still in recovery because I was going to stop the behavior. But the idea that healing is all about behavior is a major myth about recovery!
Real recovery has very little to do with behavior and everything to do with our hearts. Real recovery is fully exposing ourselves before the Lord, giving Him all of us, and allowing Him to remake us. Behavior that is pleasing to Him will naturally follow, but should still never be the focus.
Jesus spent a lot of His three-year ministry here on earth dealing with religious people who put all their focus on following rules. As we study His life they’re the only group of people we see Him really get upset with. This tells me the Lord does not have a lot of patience for legalistic mindsets that put all the emphasis on behavior while neglecting the heart. All He’s really after is our hearts!
Matthew 23:25-27 – What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy – full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.
What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs – beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.
We don’t want to be like these men! We don’t want to live our lives as hypocrites and blind guides. We’ve been called to lead our families spiritually, and it all starts with our own hearts. We have to surrender our hearts to God and allow Him to clean us from the inside out.Real recovery has very little to do with behavior and everything to do with our hearts. It is fully exposing ourselves before the Lord, giving Him all of us, and allowing Him to remake us. Behavior that is pleasing to Him will… Click To Tweet
When I finally realized this, it changed everything. By the start of 2019 I will have been clean for more than two years, but the only reason that’s true is because I finally stopped focusing on staying clean. Somewhere around the beginning of 2017 I fully surrendered my heart to God. I began pouring all my effort into knowing Him. I spent tons of time reading the Bible and humbly coming before Him in prayer asking Him to speak to me through His Word.
He did! Right away He began using some of the most unlikely sections of Scripture to speak right into my situation. He used His Word to set me free from the tangled web of lies my life had become. The thing about us liars is, we tend to believe lies! The mountain of myths about recovery sex addicts believe can be directly connected to a life marked by deception.
Don’t you want to be free of it all? It really does all start with the courage to humble yourself. Why not try something that really helped me get my heart in the right place? Get down on the floor (for real) and lay yourself out before God both literally and figuratively. Put your face on the ground and admit to Him what you are. Tell Him all about your failures and then acknowledge who He is.
No one else needs to be around, this is just you and God. Admit to Him that you cannot do it on your own and humbly ask for His help. Ask Him to take your hard heart of stone and make it into a tender heart of flesh. Ask Him to break down the lies and reveal truth to you. Ask Him to speak to you clearly as you seek Him through His Word. Plead for your wife’s healing. Ask Him to give you faith, love, and humility to lead your family well with the heart of a servant. Just like Jesus. Ask Him for the Holy Spirit to guide you and remake You.
Luke 11:9-13 – And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
You fathers – if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.
Ezekiel 36:25-27 – Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.
The behavior follows the heart! Let’s get our hearts right! We’re not promised tomorrow. Let’s do it today!
*How about you? Have you or someone you love believed one of these myths? How do you feel about this perspective?