It's a dirty four-letter word… P – A – I – N and stated, “We all carry some of it, at our core.” Pain has a purpose, although it’s often hard to fathom. Addicts are skilled at pain avoidance, but while it may come as a surprise to most people trapped in sexual addiction, facing your pain will not kill you. A little self-denial may feel like a fate worse than death, but it’s not. In fact, choosing to feel the painful reality of what’s inside of you, rather than clamoring for your sex drug, only makes you stronger. The more you do endure, the more you can endure. Jesus will never forsake you. He will always be there, holding you close at every step of the journey, in the midst of even the most horrific of personal traumas.
Emotional hurt will be your constant companion, or at least a regular visitor. Suffering occurs before, during, and after your recovery from sexual addiction. Pain doesn’t go away. Your healing is not the eradication of pain, but rather its acceptance; or better stated, its absorption. It changes you for the better, if you let it. Your hurt, distress, sorrow, disappointment, and grief are permanently embedded in your life and voice. Underlying negative emotions shape your character and your message. If you choose to suffer redemptively; that is, to suffer with hope and a determination to find meaning in your trauma, you will develop into the man or woman God destined you to become.
Redemptive suffering creates within you the potential of leaving this world a better place than you found it. Your life matters. Suffering without hope inevitably leads to despair and relapse. Learning to properly identify and learn from, even embrace emotional pain, is your pathway to significance in God’s kingdom.
St. Paul warned, "Flee immorality (porneia)" (1st Corinthians 6.18). ‘Fleeing porneia’ is a sprint in the opposite direction of sin. This race requires every ounce of endurance we can muster. It hurts, but it won’t kill us. We can endure more than we think we can. We are not alone. Jesus and our brothers and sisters in recovery are running by our side, as we are running by theirs. Jesus fully understands our plight by virtue of His own humanity and His personal experience of suffering. We are told that He “was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4.1 NAS). Christ pushed back on the devil’s attack, which, of course, qualified Him as one supremely able to identify with our painful predicament for time eternal.
Pride and fear keep the addict stuck in the cycle of shame. Addictive behavior is the way an addict finds relief from emotional pain. It works, but not for long. Addiction is slow suicide. It’s the path of Judas and leads to destruction. Recovery takes courage and humility. When a woman or man shows the guts and humbleness of heart necessary to enter a recovery program like 423 Men, they are met with honor and respect. They are affirmed as good people, not denounced as a weirdos or perverts. We remain sympathetic to the addict's dilemma because Jesus does.
If Jesus is sympathetic toward men and women with weaknesses, then who am I to allow an unsympathetic attitude toward anyone creep into my heart?
Temptation is common to all people, including Jesus. Christ is sympathetic because He, better than anyone else, understands the powerful attraction of sin. Jesus knew what it was like to suffer the temptation to sexualize women. Does it sound sacrilegious to suggest that the Lord was tempted to explore what lay forbidden under the skirts of pretty Galilean girls? It shouldn’t. Unlike most people, Jesus did not succumb to the spirit of porneia, but to claim He did not suffer its temptation, would be to deny the straightforward biblical truth that Jesus was “tempted in all things as we are.”
On the threshold of His ultimate hour of suffering, Jesus was offered “wine to drink, mingled with gall” (Matthew 27.34 RSV, see also parallel verse Mark 15.23). According to most commentators, this tonic was a crude narcotic intended to deaden the pain of Christ’s crucifixion offered by merciful onlookers. The Lord’s refusal to partake after tasting the potion may be the recovering addict’s greatest point of connection with Jesus. Our Savior’s choice to embrace the full brunt of His pain, rather than to medicate it, is the supreme example of redemptive suffering and may provide hope to the addict who must also find the internal strength to say “no” to his drug of choice and choose to suffer instead.
 “…they offered him wine mingled with gall. This was a kind of stupefying liquor, a strong narcotic, made of the sour wine of the country, mingled with bitter herbs, and mercifully administered to dull the sense of pain. This was offered before the actual crucifixion took place… But he received it not. He would not seek alleviation of the agonies of the crucifixion by any drugged potion which might render him insensible. He would bear the full burden consciously” (The Pulpit Commentary, Spence and Exell, Funk & Wagnalls Co., 1880).