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.

open-door3.  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.

I recently watched “300: Rise of an Empire” and although not really impressed with the movie as a whole and how Hollywood has distorted history and also added a completely fabricated and unnecessary sexual scene to this movie, I thought it had some deeper recovery-related gems.  For those that don’t know much about this movie (and I don’t expect those early in their recovery to watch the entire movie) here is a summary from Wikipedia:

Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel Xerxes, and told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster “300,” this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield-on the sea-as Greek general Themistokles attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. This film pits Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes, and Artemesia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

Nevertheless, in watching this movie, I did pick up on  the recovery-related themes.  Maybe it was me trying to find some sort of redemptive quality in a poorly made movie, or maybe it was the Holy Spirit saying to me, “use this material, men will ‘listen’ when you speak to them through these films.”  I don’t know which one it was, but I’m hoping it was the latter.  The subtheme I saw in this movie is similar to the one found in my United We Stand video based off the Battle of Carthage in Gladiator.  In 300: Rise of an Empire, the leader of the Greek forces, Themistokles, rallies his troops by encouraging them to fight for one another; to fight for your brother.  This resonates with me in recovery in that not only do I fight this battle for sexual purity every day, but I also fight alongside, with, and for my brothers in recovery.  The bond we have formed is stronger than any other bond I have found in my life, apart from my bond with God and with my wife.  These men in recovery know me better than my own family of origin and they fight for me, as I fight for them.  I titled this movie, Iron Sharpens Iron based off Proverbs 27:17 where we are told, as brothers, to sharpen one another, prepare one another for battle, support one another, and fight for one another.

Disclaimer: Although tempted to watch the original movie from where this clip was taken, a person new to recovery should consult their therapist, sponsor, and/or accountability partner on whether to watch this film.  It has a sex scene with some partial nudity that could sexually trigger the individual. Also, the excessive violence (some of which I removed from this clip) can be harmful to your recovery if you are like I was early on; prone to medicate the viewing of violence and associated guilt.
As always, take what you like and leave the rest.
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This change affects only the Monday night meeting on July 21st. The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch, where we normally meet, is having their Vacation Bible School (VBS) in the evenings the week of July 21st and all rooms are reserved for this week-long event.  Therefore, we need to move the Castimonia Katy meeting to another location close by.  Grace Fellowship UMC is very close, North of Westheimer Parkway, on the East side of Mason road just North of the Cinco Ranch Blvd light.  The meeting will return to the Fellowship at Cinco Ranch on Monday, July 28th.

Time: 7:00PM – 8:30PM
Location: Grace Fellowship United Methodist Church
Mansion, Room 203 (take the stairs or elevator to the 2nd floor)

2655 South Mason Road Katy, TX  77450

The other option is to visit our Northwest Houston meeting at Lifepath Church
Monday Nights
Time: 7:00PM – 8:30PM
Location: Lifepath Church – Room 108
17703 W Little York Rd
Houston, TX 77084

fault-300x300Most people who are addicted to being right never even get to this point. They never become conscious of the fact that they may just possibly have a flaw. As my late father would say, “I am never wrong, except when I think I am wrong.” He was addicted to being right, but never admitted it. It’s too bad because character flaws definitely make life more difficult. You might agree that they make like more interesting too, but life is interesting enough without having a lot of baggage to carry around. It is far wiser to release your own and observe the flaws of others. So ask yourself this unusual question: How is addicted to being right useful? Every flaw serves a purpose. Your mind doesn’t bother going through the trouble of obsessing about being right without some perceived payback. What is the reward? Addicted to being right often signals the need to tread lightly. It shows that the person has issues. One might be trying to save face or hold on to self-esteem. What ever the reason is for you, next time you are caught being addicted to being right, try a new tact. Try seeing it as an opportunity to admit you’re wrong. Admitting you are wrong shows you’re human. Admitting you are wrong is a way of being real with people. Admitting you are wrong requires less maintenance. How often have you met someone who demanded perfection of themselves. These unfortunate types flip-flop between demanding perfection and giving up. They demand so much of themselves that they prime themselves for failure. Accepting our own imperfections requires honesty. Admitting you are wrong is associated with high self-esteem. Self-esteem is that feeling of value you place on yourself based on your view of your past history, your body, and your thoughts. On a deeper level it has to do with who you believe you are in the depths of your being. People with high self-esteem are rarely addicted to being right. By Louis Tartaglia, M.D.

Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love truth. Joseph Jouber
by Jeff Fisher on August 30, 2013

notangrySURRENDERING MY ANGER AND HURTS TO GOD This began with writing in my notebook. My counselor encouraged me to begin writing down my hurts and bring them to God in prayer. I did quite an inventory of the hurts of my past and present and filled my notebook up. It was a great tool. It helped me start praying to God, getting His understanding, and His view of the hurt. I felt His touch on each hurt instantly. My hurts were once in vivid color in my mind, and after surrendering them to God, they became a pale black and white memory.

I am still discovering hurts and using this exercise. I still have to bring some of the old hurts back to God and surrender to Him for a deeper healing.

big_foot_print1PUTTING MYSELF IN OTHERS’ SHOES This has been a very recent addition to my healing. I try and think about the pain my action caused others. I was hurt by others, yes. But my actions hurt many people. Others have had to suffer the consequences of my sexual sin. In my anger, I am just focused on myself. In recovery, I am learning to be concerned for the people that I hurt.

My intervention was painful and necessary. I have had to let go of anger at God and anger toward my mentors who intervened in my life. I am starting to think about how painful it was for them to do the right thing and confront me. It did not happen immediately. They waited a couple of weeks for an opportune time at the end of a Summer. It must have been excruciating for them. I know it was.

Thinking about what others had to go through, helps me get my eyes off of myself and onto the pain of others. It has helps me forgive. It also helps me move toward gratitude.

gratitudeGRATITUDE This is the granddaddy of healing! Being grateful for people, circumstances, and pain was something I thought impossible, even absurd. I was angry at God and others for messing up my life. I wanted justification. I wanted to teach others a lesson.

But God is helping me see differently now, and be thankful.

  • Thankful God is present, loves me, helps me, provides for me, gives me strength.
  • Thankful for the people who cared enough to confront me.
  • Thankful for my support group and accountability buddies.
  • Thankful for the pain that is helping me become more Christlike.
  • Thankful that I’m a new person now.
  • Thankful for the people who have stuck it out with me.
  • Thankful that our story is helping others.
  • Thankful that my present and future are in God’s hands.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What things have helped you find healing from your anger? What advice would you give those in recovery who have a lot of anger?
by Jeff Fisher on August 29, 2013

angry_02It’s easy to blame someone and be mad at them. When my sexual addiction came out on the table, I was mad at everyone: myself, my wife, my parents, my mentors, my friends, God.

  • For some… I thought they were part of the problem
  • For some… I thought they had let me down
  • For some… I thought they forced me to lose my job and leave the area
  • For some… I thought they made me the way I am
  • For some… I felt their threats and expectations set me up for failure

I want to share some of the things that are helping me find healing from my anger. Maybe they will be an encouragement to you.

25452BP~Angry-Posters1. SHARING MY ANGER AND HURTS Sharing my anger was an important part of my recovery. I had hurts building up in my life, I was experiencing the hurt from the consequences of my sin, and I had hurts from the rejection and separation I was feeling.

Part of my working through this was sharing my anger with counselors, with friends, with those that had hurt me. I needed to get some of it off my chest. But getting there’s a fine line between “getting it off my chest” and “being vindictive”. My attitude many times was: I’m hurt, so I want others to hurt.

I had a pattern of not sharing my feelings and hurts, and had to learn to share them. Instead of “acting out” sexually, I began to talk with others about the junk in my life.

journal12. WRITING IT OUT I started carrying around a notebook with me. At first, it was to have a healthy outlet to work out my feelings and needs. I would write instead of “act out”. But notebook writing became a place for me to process my thoughts.

I can actually “work things out” in my notebook. I can hear myself think and get some clues to what’s going on inside.

3. HEARING OUR STORY Marsha and I have been interviewed by a few newspapers and podcasts. We’ve even done a few podcasts of our own. It’s always interesting to hear ourselves on a podcast. I can literally hear myself talk. I can hear my voice and the way I’m presenting my story.

I identify with me. I hear myself and think about my story. It’s like I’m on the outside looking in.

I also able to hear my voice and process things a little more objectively. When I’m hurt, I present MY side of the story. I represent ME and want others to see the hurt I went through or pity ME.

depressed20man-1171810Anxiety is loving certainty. It is stressful to live in an anxious world, and learning to embrace uncertainty seems impossible to those suffering with anxiety. We must each find a strategy to help us shuttle back and forth between the comfort of what we know, and the discomfort of all that we don’t know to become healthy. Anxiety is about fear being in charge of most of your choices. Getting stuck in fear robs you of possibilities in your life. An example of this is when you are too afraid to make mistakes. Making mistakes is the lynchpin to learning, in fact we learn far more from our mistakes than our successes. If you have anxiety you must learn to use your thinking to balance your exaggerated feelings of fear. Courage is the ingredient that, if sprinkled on that world, would make all of us better people. Greater courage is the antidote to anxiety. Learn to imagine new ways to have courage and to make your world larger. Real courage always has fear attached. Fearless courage is only the foolishness of youth. Follow your curiosity and try new small steps out into the world instead of waiting for life to happen to you. Invite fear to take a back seat instead of driving the train. Fear and excitement always travel together. Remember being scared of learning to ride a bicycle and being excited at the same time? Learn to allow room for both emotions. Don’t let fear erase excitement. Growth depends on one foot being in the familiar and one foot in the unfamiliar… Confusion is the emotion that is crucial to “allowing room for change,” which is exactly why adolescents are both confused and changing. From “Anxiety, Control & Codependency” by Rhoda Mills Sommer, L.C.S.W.

“The fear of becoming old is born of the recognition that one is not living now the life that one wishes. It is equivalent to a sense of abusing the present.” – Susan Sontag