If you hadn’t noticed, the weather is changing and that means summer is nearly here! The birds are chirping loudly, the temperature is finally jumping, and grilles everywhere are starting to heat up in anticipation for the changing of the seasons. I have to say, I’m pretty excited for a new season. Not necessarily for the millions of out-of-staters who will be invading the surrounding beaches. But I am genuinely excited for the new. The different. The shifting of something I’ve experienced to something that is yet to be.
With the changing of the season, there are new routines and adjustments that need to be made. In the summer, kids are off from school. Perhaps the pace of your job slows down or speeds up depending on what you do. Vacations and family trips abound. There is a freshness and slowing of the soul (at least that is the intention).
Similar to when we flip the calendar to a new year, there are other pivotal points during the year to revisit your recovery strategy to see what’s working and what isn’t. Over the course of the last 14 years I’ve had to do this often in my own recovery journey because growth is fluid. Progress is taking place (hopefully) every day and I want to continually be prepared to take the next steps in my journey. So what are some areas in recovery to revisit as the seasons change?
- Community – I’ve mentioned this quite a bit in my past writing, but I believe that finding a healthy community of individuals who are also dealing with the same or similar struggles as you is key to long-term success. Simply stated: We cannot find freedom and become the men and women we want to be without the help of others. And this requires transparency and vulnerability; the willingness to open up the dark and painful places for others to see. I’m so grateful for all those I’ve had the honor of sharing my story with throughout the last 14 years. I found a level of safety and trust that I had never known before. No judgement. No condemnation. Just a group of guys who wanted to get better, just like me. Small Groups Online offers a weekly online support group at a convenient time and place where you will be both encouraged and challenged in your recovery journey. You can also try SGO free for 15 days! Make community a priority as the next season approaches.
- Security – For those who use protection software or filtering on their devices, it’s always a good idea to go back and check that everything is set properly and you are protected. And if you’re in need of software for filtering sexually explicit or triggering content, there’s no better time to get on that train than today! Technology has only advanced in the last few years and so there are some really great options out there to help you as you engage with your devices between home and work. The important thing to remember about software is that it’s only one step along the way, it’s not the final solution. And if you’re someone who’s constantly trying to get around software, it means you’re probably more in need of community and support than you realize. There are some great options out there between X3watch, Covenant Eyes, and many others. Some will do more content blocking and filtering and others will simply monitor your activity and then email a report to someone you know and trust. I used software for many years in my recovery until I got to the place where I didn’t need it anymore. It can definitely be helpful!
- Honesty – The last area that I wanted to highlight is one that is more internal to an individual’s life in recovery. It’s the question of honesty and truthfulness. I think it’s always a good practice to routinely ask yourself if you’re truly surrendered to the process of freedom, healing, and restoration. This is something that can’t be forced or rehearsed. It has to be an internal decision that has to be made within a person’s life. For me, it came through brokenness and a realization of how destructive my behavior had become. I was on the path of losing everything and everyone I held dear. And so for the first time in 13 years, it was time for me to get honest with myself: Was I willing to do whatever I had to do to become the man that God had designed me to be? No more hiding, no more lying, no more minimizing. It was time to face the reality of who I had become. This is a hard reality to face for sure. But it’s also the doorway to freedom. Only at that place can a person begin the journey.
Certainly this isn’t a definitive list of all the pillars in recovery. It’s only just a few. The point I’m trying to make this month is that we have to continually pay attention to the things that matter most to us. And if we say recovery from pornography and other sexually compulsive behaviors is important, we have to translate our intentions into action.
I encourage you this month to revisit your recovery strategy and consider what can be fortified. What areas can be strengthened? What needs to improve or change so that you can take the next step to becoming a person of sexual integrity?
Frank is passionate about helping individuals live with sexual integrity. He also works alongside his wife Tracey in helping spouses who have been devastated by their partner’s addiction. Frank & Tracey live in beautiful southern Delaware with their two children: Nathan and Addison.