by Jeff Fisher on September 7, 2013
I want to offer some top tips for you who are new to recovery. These are lessons I’ve had to struggle through in my own recovery, but I find them to be universal with most guys who want freedom from sexual sin.
1. The quicker you go to counseling the better. Sexual sin is MUCH bigger than you. You need wise people around you to help you process your crisis and help you go underneath the surface. We have been acting out sexually for many reasons. Counselors know what questions to ask and have worked with may who struggle just like you. Break the ice on going to a counselor. Find a Christian counselor who has training in sexual struggles. It is money well spent!
2. The quicker you go to a support group the better. Second only to a counselor, a support group is the best place to find healing and victory over sexual sin. You need to know you’re not alone. You need other guys to walk with you in the mud. You need to learn to come out of isolation and into real relationships. Support groups do all that and more.
3. Sexual struggles open the door for God to work in many areas. At first, we think recovery is only about stopping our sexual behaviors. But God ends up using your sexual struggles as a springboard to work on many issues in your life. We are out of whack sexually, but also relationally, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Expect God to do His good surgery in many areas of your life.
4. Sex is not your greatest need. One of the biggest lies we believe is that we can’t live with out sex and that sex is the highest pleasure achievable. Our greatest needs are in other areas. We have a deep need to know God. We have a deep need to know others and to be known by others. The sooner you understand that it’s not about the orgasm, the further along in recovery you’ll be. Trust me on this one!
5. Recovery has little to do with your outward behavior. This is probably the biggest shocker to me. I focused on my behaviors for decades and was counseled to do the same. Our outward sexual behaviors are the tip of the iceburg. The bulk of our recovery is underneath the surface. We need healing from wounds. We need to learn to express our emotions in a healthy way. We need deep intimate friendships. We need to learn to be selfless and serve others. Stopping behaviors is relatively easy. Healing on the inside takes much more time and effort.
6. It’s worse than you think. We are not the best judges of our own sexual health. We have been blinded to our true condition. Every sexual struggler in recovery says at some point, “I can’t believe who I used to be and what I used to do. I was such a different person back then.” If you’re new to recovery, you can’t see how far off course you are. You can’t see the erosion that has taken place in your relationships and in your personal life. Let this soak in: Jeff tells me I am worse than I think I am. I have more to work on than I realize.
7. Replacing lies with truth is critical to recovery. We also can’t see the lies that we have believed. My counselor reminds me that with every wound there is a lie that I have believed. It’s not until you start seeing the truth that you will uncover the lies you have believed. God’s Word will help you with this. So will counselors, your spouse, your support group, and close friends who know your story.
8. Work toward full disclosure. Ooooh. We don’t like to think about this. But the sooner you come clean, the better. Get the help from a counselor on how to come clean and with whom. Those closest to you need to know. Your spouse needs to know. The people you have been directly involved with need to know. Not every person needs to know every detail, but you need to quit hiding and share the truth. When you hold onto secrets and hide you walk in the darkness. God calls us to “walk in the light”.
9. Pain and suffering are necessary for deep recovery. There are no shortcuts to recovery. There are no quick fixes. You cannot save yourself from pain and suffering. Breaking free from sexual sin involves challenge, hurt, brokenness, withdrawal and grieving. You will have to suffer consequences. You will have to see that your actions have hurt others. Go for a deep recovery. The only way for our recovery to go deep is if we let God push his scalpel in and scrape out all of the junk.
10. God is close and wants to bear the burden with you. As tough as these tips are, I want you to think about this one the most. You are not alone. God is here. He will help you. He wants your recovery even more than you and He knows how to get there. You may go through a lot of hard times, but God will always be a strong shoulder you can lean on. He helps carry us through the toughest of times. Be encouraged by this.