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Posts Tagged ‘pornography’

So what’s up with the Turtle?

I am happy to have returned to the blogospeher, even if not as regularly as I would like.  And I am happy to be praying, even if not as regularly as I’d like.  As a turtle, I move and change slowly.  My best hope is that movement is in the right direction.

Last week we took a roadtrip with my youngest daughter.  She loves elephants, so we drove to Kansas City and saw elephants.  I’ve never spent any time in Kansas City before.  It is a fun town with lots to see (besides elephants).  Lots of fountains and monuments, music and barbecue, shopping and museums.

I really enjoyed spending time with family and I know the time was good for me.

… and yet.

And yet I did act out.  There was some time when my wife and daughter left to do some swimming or shopping and I stayed behind.  And I acted out.  I looked at internet pornography while they were away.  

Very disappointing.  I wonder some times if I am even trying.  Don’t I want to get better?

Still … I am trying.

I am back at the office and trying to work daily prayer back into my life.  I am trying to check-in with accountability partners.  I am trying to be honest when I blog.

Lord Jesus,

Have mercy on me a sinner!  And grant me the grace to want to do what is right and the strength to surrender to what is right.  May my struggles bring you glory.

Amen.

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RETURN OF THE TURTLE?

I really don’t know …

But I do know I have been struggling lately.  No, I haven’t gone off the deep-end into a series of acting-out episodes.  But I have been casually looking at pornography on the internet several times a week.  And that is not who I want to be.

Or do I?  Is it ok if I have this one vice if I manage everything else?  Part of me wants the answer to be “Yes.”  Part of me wants it to be normal, ok, and even healthy.  But my conscience doesn’t buy it.

So I am struggling.  I am wandering from the straight path.  But I am not wandering far enough to fell the exigency of the situation.  It might be better if I failed … bottomed out … found out how serious this problem is.  Then I might be ready for surrender.

But today … today I still believe I can handle it.  I can be in control.  I am a man and I am strong. Today I see surrender as weakness.

But in my heart I know that surrender is the strongest thing a man could do.  Admit my weakness and walk in the light.

Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief!

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CALLING OUT THE PHONE BRIGADE!

Today I am in need of the Phone Brigade! I am filled with the desire to act out … the desire to view pornography.

Today is a day where I cash in the chips of accountability.

Why do I make those phone calls day after day? So that on days like today I can make a phone call to help save me from myself. To keep me from doing the thing that I know I don’t want to do (… and yet I so much want to do it!).

Today I call for …

HELP!

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The Turtle feels grounded.  Grounded in a good way.  Lately it feels as if there has been a certain “groundedness” to the Battle for Purity.

I am still struggling in the Battle.  Purity is still the goal and still seems just beyond my grasp.  But for whatever it’s worth, I feel as if things are getting better.  I am acting out less often — about once a month.  And that feels like an accomplishment to me.  I don’t want to settle for this — I definitely want to continue the pursuit of perfection in the name of my Savior.  But I also don’t want to drown myself in shame for not yet realizing that goal.

There has been a change in my program.  I have returned to an SAA group (a twelve-step group for sex addiction) that I used to attend.  I am attending the group weekly.  There is nothing profound about the group.  We recite the serenity prayer, read through the twelve steps, check-in on whether we have had a sober week, listen to someone give a “step talk,” and then have a more detailed check-in with a small group.  But the regularity of checking in with a group of other men face-to-face on a weekly basis has given strength to my quest to overcome my addiction to internet pornography.

I feel grateful to be part of such a group.  I feel grateful for what the other men give to me by way of their affirmations and support.  And I hope that I am giving something back to the group in return.

It’s another step in the Battle.

Every step counts.

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So here I am again. Down on my knees again. Hanging my head again. Crawling again. Struggling again. Ready to get up again.

… and start over.

… again.

I have been silent on this blog (or relatively quiet at least) for several months. There are a number of factors, not the least of which is the fact that I can no longer access my blog while I am at the office. But perhaps the biggest factor – at least the biggest factor to go unacknowledged by me – is that I have been struggling and I have been ambivalent to the struggle.

But now it’s time to get back on the path to redemption. It’s time for rigorous honesty. Time for the truth. Time for the naked truth.

Hello. My name is David H and I am a sex addict. I am addicted to the use of internet pornography. I have been struggling with this pain and addiction in one form or another since I was in college. I recognize myself as having crossed over the line to addiction during my third year at law school.

My addiction started as a way to cope with pain, loneliness, and difficulties going to sleep at night. In college I would masturbate almost daily just so I could sleep. In law school I purchased a Playboy magazine for the first time. Later that year I discovered the incredible anonymity of the internet.

Being able to look at pornography without having to pay for it and without anyone else knowing I was using it was an enticement too great for me to handle. Soon I was staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning on an almost daily basis searching for more and more. Enjoying the high of arousal and relishing the incredible ecstasy of orgasm.

I continued to succeed in law school and didn’t see the harm. I was a Christian but just wrote the whole thing off to being a “healthy male.” I was a liar and a thief. I lied to myself and my family and I stole time from them.

It was not until 2004 that I recognized my pornography use as a problem. By that time I was in a second marriage and had been blessed by God with a new wife and a new family. And I was still a Christian.

I tried several routes to overcome my addictive behavior. I started with Christ-based group therapy, then participated in a twelve-step group, and finally broke off with a core group of Christian men all trying to fight the same addiction.

I experienced some success with each stage of the fight. I could go for periods of time without acting out and would openly confess my actions when I did act out. I gradually reduced the frequency with which I acted out … for a while.

But then …

Then I would slide into a period of binging and find myself a slave to the behavior I abhorred so much. It would interfere with my work, with my family, and with my friends. I would escape and isolate myself and turn only to pornography. And I would lose all of the joy in my life.

No joy in family.

No joy in work.

No joy in friends.

No joy in reading.

No joy in music.

No joy.

Just an unquenchable thirst for a drug which required more and more time for a return of less and less pleasure.

Then came the Battle. On May 2, 2009 I went to an event called Every Man’s Battle at a church in Minnesota. I had recently had another binge and was afraid I was at the point where I would have to concede that I could not change. I was feeling trapped into the lifestyle of pornography use and feeling hopeless. I was broken and ready to surrender.

The Battle gave me new tools and a Christ-centered approach. I replaced the goal of sobriety with the goal of purity. I learned about eye-bouncing. I committed to a 16-week course of weekly meetings.

And God granted me the gift of purity.

I was pure for 8 months. Then I slipped. Then I was pure for another 2 months. Then I slipped again.

Then I entered into a new (and desperate) phase. I began to think about acting out again. I began to think of the old rationalizations. I began to lie to myself.

It’s ok.

I’m not hurting anybody.

I can control it.

It’s better than before.

I’m not an addict anymore so it’s ok every now and then.

And I slowly descended back into the hell from which I had escaped. And my prayer life dried up. And I began to isolate at home.

And all the while I convinced myself that I was still ok.

But I’m not.

My name is David H and I am a sex addict. I am addicted to the use of internet pornography. I have traded God and his grace for the fleeting images of a computer …

Lord Jesus, if it be your will you can heal me. Please reach out to this poor and lonely sinner. Please give me the chance that I don’t deserve. Please call me to you that I may turn away from my sin.

I surrender, Jesus.

I surrender today.

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Today marks one year since I attended the one-day Battle event at Evergreen Church in Bloomington, Minnesota.  I went to the Battle as a broken man — a man enslaved to internet pornography with little hope of breaking the cycle of addiction.  I left that day with a sense of hope.

The Battle came with a plan and that first day was simply Stage 1.  Stage 2 was a one-week “Boot Camp” that started early Monday morning two days after the Battle.  And after that would be Stage 3 — sixteen weeks of meetings with a core group of men called the Purity Platoon.

The goal — Purity.  No sexual gratification apart from my wife.  No masturbation, no pornography, no mental fantasies. Purity — nothing less.

For six months I flourished in that program.  I was blessed with the gift of purity.  Purity like I have never known in my life.  Not  only did I stay away from internet pornography, but I also abstained completely from masturbation and kept my mind free of sexual fantasy.

Unfortunately I made the grave mistake of taking “one little look” at pornography after six months of purity.  And as they say in alcoholics anonymous, it’s the “first drink” that has to be avoided at all costs.  Since I took that first look, I have been back in the trenches — engaged in an inch by inch battle for progress while crawling through mud.

So what do I think today?  Do I celebrate?  Do I mourn?

Yes.

But mostly I celebrate.  While I do not have a hold on purity in my life right now, there is evidence that I am moving towards purity rather than away from it.  I have hope.  I know that with Christ purity is possible.  I have my brothers in the SALT Brigade who are fighting this Battle at my side.

And another Battle event is being hosted in 2 weeks at the same church as the one I attended one year ago.  I am going back.  I am going to give my whole self in obedience to Christ by following the commands of the leaders Christ appoints for me.  I am renewing my pledge to flee from sexual immorality, to refrain from looking at a woman with lust, and to avoid pornography in all of its forms.

I am a broken man and a sinner.  I have sinned with my eyes and with my body by giving myself away sexually outside of the sacrament of my marriage.  Jesus Christ came to this earth to call me and liberate me from my sins.  Jesus gave his body up for me as an atoning sacrifice for all of my sins.  From the very cross of his sacrifice Jesus said to me, “It is finished”!

I believe.

It is finished.


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One year ago today I posted (see below) with the question, “Have I bottomed out?”  At that time I had become distraught enough over my addiction and sexual sin to want to make a change.  But it was not as if I had done nothing prior to that — I had taken part in group therapy for sex addiction, joined an SAA group, attended an intensive three-day workshop, and been part of a small accountability group for sex addicts.  But my behavior didn’t seem to be changing.  And it seemed I had come to a fork in the road:  Either change what I was doing or stop trying altogether and admit that I was always going to be a slave to sexual sin.

I went on-line that day and searched for other answers.  I found Every Man’s Battle and learned that a workshop was being held in May.  The Battle became the focus of my hopes and prayers.

The Battle lived up to its promises and started me on the path to delivery from sexual sin.  I Joined a Purity Platoon that met through the summer and into the fall.  I experienced purity — complete freedom from pornography, masturbation, and sexual fantasy for over six months.  I connected with two other men to form the SALT Brigade.

I have not been able to stay pure.  I have acted out with pornography from time to time over the past several months.  But I think I can also say that I am no longer at the bottom.  I am not enslaved the way I was.  I can see the path to purity before me and I know it is possible to walk that path when I make good choices.  I can feel the saving love of Christ around me even when I am struggling.  I am no longer walking in total darkness.

So while I am sad and disappointed that I haven’t been completely free from pornography and masturbation, I am also grateful for the progress that I have experienced.  I am happy with who I am and where I am going.  I’m not perfect, but I can still strive for perfection with the help of the One who is perfect.

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