That sounds hopeful, doesn’t it?
Picture this with me: What if there was something more detrimental to a person in recovery than a relapse into their sexually compulsive behavior? Believe it or not, there is.
What if I told you that long-lasting freedom from porn addiction doesn’t only hinge on abstaining from watching anymore porn? Sure, this helps break a pattern of addiction, but it’s not number one on the list.
Are you ready for it?
The single greatest reason a person will fail in recovery from a sexual addiction is their unwillingness to know and be known by others in healthy accountability relationships.
Simply put: Recovery cannot become a solo act. Once it does, your chances of becoming a man or woman of sexual integrity instantly disappear. I know, I’m really riding the hope train today! But it’s the truth. Your recovery journey is one that is meant to be shared with others who also struggle the same way you do. There is so much power in knowing and being known by others who are also walking this path!
Here’s something I often need to remind myself: Whether or not I realize I need people in my life, the truth is that I need them. I’m not even the most social person either. I prefer small groups, quiet moments, and experiences that don’t involve a lot of people. But as it relates especially to my relationship with the Lord and my recovery journey, I cannot grow in isolation.
Think with me for a moment about the physical body: God created the body to include everything it needed on the inside and outside to function — two eyes, two ears, two feet, etc. But also for the inside to function correctly with the outside — without the brain, we cannot make complex decisions. Without lungs, we cannot effectively breathe and move. It all was designed to work together. You see my point.
But somehow we don’t think that applies to our own lives as it relates to our own addictions & behaviors. We depend upon others for so many reasons. When it comes to our recovery, we live as remote islands.
I remember especially in the early part of my recovery — it wasn’t a matter of IF I was going to slip, but WHEN. The reality is that slips and relapses happen even in recovery. I needed healthy people in my life not just to confess what I had done but to hear THEIR stories too! So that I didn’t think I was the problem and I was weird for messing up.
Accountability reminds us that we’re not alone.
Accountability requires you to invite feedback, correction, discipline, and confrontation into your life. It invites others to see the real you and step in when they see an issue that could be harmful for your life. They have complete access because you’re unwilling to hide anything.
I believe there a couple reasons why many individuals don’t seek out healthy accountability for their lives:
- SHAME — If you’ve been in recovery for any length of time, I’m sure you understand that one of your greatest enemies to progress is shame. Shame causes us to hide, to bury, & to isolate from people who love us and care for us. I believe this to be the number one reason why so many don’t find long-lasting success in recovery. If the enemy can convince you that you’re worthless and you will never change, why seek help from anyone? That’s what shame does.
- PROCRASTINATION — “I’ll call ***** tomorrow.” “I’ll meet with ***** next week.” The constant pushing off what should take priority gets replaced by other demands in our lives. We allow our schedules to dictate us instead of being the ones who dictate our schedules. When you don’t make something as important as your recovery journey, don’t be surprised at the level of your struggle. Establishing safe, healthy accountability sources takes work. It takes time. And it’s worth every second. Stop putting it off.
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of why people avoid accountability in their lives, but I believe these are two of the greatest reasons.
Looking back upon the last 12 years in my recovery journey, I will NEVER regret all the meetings, phone calls, text messages, groups, workshops, and other points of contact I made with people who cared about my heart. The value that all these interactions carried in my life were beyond words. Granted, at the end of the day, my recovery journey is totally my responsibility. If I wanted to, I could fall back into my former lifestyle at any moment. But that’s just it: I don’t want it anymore. And I haven’t for a long time.
While I own all of the decisions I’ve made on this journey, much of the credit for the success I’ve attained goes to those I invited into my life. The counselors, pastors, friends, and yes even my wife (most importantly) who knew they could challenge me and ask me the tough questions because they loved me. I’m so thankful for all of them! They are the people who helped me become the person I am today.
If you’re unsure how to find those kind of life giving relationships, Small Groups Online is the perfect place to begin! SGO helps you to find a weekly, online Zoom group where you will meet with others who share many of the same struggles you do. There are many days and times to choose from so finding a group to fit your schedule is really easy.
If you’re trying to do recovery on your own, you’re doing it the wrong way. Do it the right way by signing up for Small Groups Online today.
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.