It is not easy to overcome obstacles of lethargy, fear, and pride, grab your own scruff-of-the-neck, and force yourself to take the first step toward sexual healing. Locating a recovery group for men or women with sexually addictive behavior patterns, or starting and maintaining such a group, is wrought with challenges and far too many excellent-sounding reasons not to do so. The quest for recovery is unpleasant and the pursuit of porneia is too attractive. Are you sick and tired of your addiction? Perhaps you are now ready to pay the price of discomfort to make a change for the better. Help is available, but heed the Apostle’s warning:
Match your “willingness” to perform the noble work of recovery with your “completion” of it. Such a plan to find and get help requires resolute intentionality, an undivided heart, and the willingness to suffer. But it can be done and you can do it.
If 423 Women, 423 Men, and other similar recovery programs work well and offer hope, why wouldn’t every addict reach out for help? Perhaps the answer lies not so much in the array of typical excuses (e.g., lack of time, need, or interest), but in the real fear of losing the one thing that consistently delivers the comfort an addict craves… the drug itself. A man or woman's hatred of porneia is surpassed only by their love for it.
I’ve always admired what Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughn could do with a Fender Stratocaster. They possessed a remarkable and rare gift. I’ve listened to a lot of Clapton music (Yardbirds, Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos) and anticipated an insider’s look at the life of one of the world’s greatest bluesmen when his book, Clapton – The Autobiography, hit the bookstores in 2007. I found out my musical hero was more than a virtuoso. He was an addict. Clapton seriously abused sex, heroin, and alcohol and it nearly ruined his life. In 1982, at the age of thirty-eight, Eric finally admitted he had a problem and became willing to enter an alcohol treatment center.
In a moment of clarity and truth, ask a male porn addict how he might feel if, for the remainder of his life, he could never see or visualize another naked woman, other than his wife (if he is lucky enough to have one). I think you know the answer. The loss of his beloved porneia is a fate worse than the most horrible of deaths. Users cannot comprehend, nor will they try to imagine, life without their 'killer-of-pain.' The unspeakableness of such a thought brings terror to their souls.
My good friend Dr. Lonnie Smucker has a saying about those who are not ready for sexual recovery. “Perhaps they need to leave group and go do a little more research.” Lonnie is a medical doctor who has been working his own sexual recovery plan for years. He is an active leader in 423 Men and has helped many men and their families. Lonnie and I are of the same opinion that until the horrors of sexual addiction outweigh a man or woman’s love for it, they will not be prepared for the rigors of recovery. Addicts must be ready to say “goodbye” to that which they love the most, their cherished porneia.
Letting go of your sex drug will be accompanied by a profound sense of loss and grief. You cannot bear this suffering by yourself; you need a recovery community. Isolation will kill you emotionally, and drive you back again and again to the destructive comfort and false hope bad sex offers.
You can overcome sexual sin, but you cannot do it alone.