Here is how 12 step meetings start, specifically Castimonia Christ centered ones. We introduce ourselves using first names and we identify ourselves by our addictions. Here is where I digress. This is how I introduce myself: My name is K_____, I am a follower of Christ and well this is where it gets difficult. Many people in my group introduce themselves as sex addicts or struggling with sexual purity. And I did the same for a while. I struggled with how to label myself. Until I realized something. I am not a sex addict. Ok, before you think I am in denial, hear me out.

I am not better or less of a damaged, fallen sinner. I just have a different view of where I am. Believe me, I didn’t get here on my own. I struggled with this for months. I labeled myself a sex addict, a relationship addict, an addict, damaged, struggling with sexual purity, fighting for sexual purity. I got very confused and just wasn’t sure. So I stopped. I asked my counselor for advice and guidance.

Here is how he put it to me. He asked me what I sought throughout my years of acting out. Was I seeking sexual gratification or pornography to medicate whatever I was struggling with at the time? The answer was no. I sought to fill those empty spaces in many different ways, not just one.

For me that took many different forms. From seeking affirmation, to long term relationships, to constant escape through reading, and through compulsive behavior through running up to and including marathons.  I can name off multiple ways I sought to escape and numb any pain or emotion. Intimacy avoidance is how I describe my path prior to recovery. I think that is accurate. I think I used many different destructive behaviors to hide from intimacy is how I would classify myself.

I tend to now just identify myself as being in recovery. I have a story. It is different from anyone else’s story. It is much the same as everyone else’s story as well. I am fighting for sexual purity, struggling with addiction, trying to refrain from compulsive behavior and remain in recovery. I just don’t think I can call myself a sex addict. My story isn’t about the pursuit of a sexual high through pornography, masturbation, or sexual experiences.

My story is about trying to stay away from the emotions that hurt. Through whatever means necessary. My story is about seeking out ways to lessen the sting of abandonment, of medicating my anxiety from not being in control. My story is about a lack of trust. I learned from an early age that I couldn’t trust my parents. That my mother would lie to me and others to control a situation. That I couldn’t trust anyone, especially God, with the truth of my flaws and sins. I could turn my life over to God, my salvation, but not my will. Not my daily life.

That is the crux of my story. I didn’t believe I could trust anyone. I knew I couldn’t. How could God be any different? I saw first hand in the fundamentalist environment I grew up in that sin and flaws were not acceptable not only to God but to others as well. So I dove deep. I dove deep into hiding and secrecy. I fled an intimate relationship with God and with others.

My name is K______, I am a believer in Christ, and I am in recovery.


Our host church, The Fellowship will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 29th so we are canceling the Castimonia Monday night meeting at this church. The meeting will resume the following Monday night at its regular time and location.

For an alternate meeting, please visit the West Houston location at Lifepath Church.

Monday Nights
Time: 7:00PM – 8:30PM
Location: Lifepath Church – Room 108
17703 W Little York Rd
Houston, TX 77084
281.855.0222

stop

If you are not familiar with this tool to stop intrusive thoughts, please refer to Thought Stoppage from Thirty Days to Hope & Freedom from Sexual Addiction by Milton S. Magness, D. Min.  We encourage you to read this book and other recovery books by Magness.

Thirty Days to Hope & Freedom from Sexual Addiction

https://www.hopeandfreedom.com/hope-and-freedom-sex-addiction-recovery-store#!/Thirty-Days-to-Hope-&-Freedom-from-Sexual-Addiction/p/67445556/category=19719366


Romans 8:13 – ““For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.””

A common boundary problem is disowning our choices and trying to lay the responsibility for them on someone else. Think for a moment how often we use the phrases, “I had to” or “She (he) made me” when explaining why we did or did not do something. These phrases betray our basic illusion that we are not active agents in many of our dealings. We think someone else is in control, thus relieving us of our basic responsibility.

We need to realize that we are in control of our choices, no matter how we feel. This keeps us from making choices to give “reluctantly or under compulsion,” as 2 Corinthians 9:7 says. Paul would not even accept a gift that he felt was given because the giver felt he “had to” give it. He once sent a gift back so “that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced”(Philemon 1:14).

Jesus said a similar thing to the worker who was angry about the wage for which he had agreed to work: “Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?”(Matthew 20:13). The man had made a free choice to work for a certain amount and was angry because someone who had worked fewer hours had gotten the same wage.

Throughout the Scriptures, people are reminded of their choices and asked to take responsibility for them. Like Paul says, if we choose to live by the Spirit, we will live; if we choose to follow our sinful nature, we will die (Romans 8:13). Making decisions based on others’ approval or on guilt breeds resentment, a product of our sinful nature. We have been so trained by others on what we “should” do that we think we are being loving when we do things out of compulsion.

Setting boundaries inevitably involves taking responsibility for your choices. You are the one who makes them. You are the one who must live with their consequences. And you are the one who may be keeping yourself from making the choices you could be happy with.

This devotional is drawn from Boundaries, by John Townsend and Henry Cloud.


I am humbled to announce that we will officially be starting a new Castimonia meeting on Thursday nights in Painted Post, NY (near Corning and Elmira, NY) on June 8th.  This is exactly how God’s ministry should grow.  A member that attended in Sugar Land and Greenway was brave enough to take it to his location in New York answering, “Lord send me!”  I am very grateful for this man’s bravery and for his faithfulness to the Lord.

Location information is written below.

Beginning June 8th
Thursday Nights
7:00PM – 8:30PM
Victory Highway Wesleyan Church
150 Victory Highway
Painted Post, NY  14870

Praise be to God, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for all He has done to grow His ministry!


Its a weekend. My niece is getting married. My brother’s daughter. I am really happy for her. Her future husband is a sweet guy. He seems committed to loving her like Christ loves the church. I am thankful for that. Some family is here. My younger sister and her two girls. My mom and dad. I am happy to see them as they can’t really travel much due to health. They live about 7 hours away. Of course, all I can think of is that its the right time. Face to face amends.

I replay this conversation over and over in my head. Amends with my Mother. Sometimes it turns out well, sometimes not so well. I am truly torn with this one. I leaned into step 8. I made my list and truly became willing to make amends. Only, now faced with it, I feel those resentments from my 4th step rising up in me and impacting my willingness and want to follow through. I feel this trying to be about more than me repenting and paying for my actions.

I wish I could do them at the same time. Make amends with my parents. My father isn’t in great health. His cognitive abilities right now are very limited. Truly making amends with him isn’t possible right now. I know that this will happen if and when God allows it. Doing so with my Mother only, I am struggling with my attitude. With the true motivation in taking this step with her.

We for some reason have some time alone together during the weekend. She asked me to take her to look at an independent living facility for her and my father. She has reached the point where she can’t really take care of him by herself anymore. Thankfully she is starting to realize that.

So we drove there alone together. We made small talk about the upcoming wedding, about how much Dad is struggling. About how much of a toll this has on her. I felt my resentment rising up at how I knew she would make this, like everything else, about her. Only this time I let go of that and gave it to my God. Just like he designed me to…to let go and let him handle those issues. They weren’t mine. My issue now was to make amends with my Mother. To be specific with her about why I needed to make amends.

So I did. I explained to her that I was in recovery. I asked her if she knew what that was. She didn’t so I tried to walk her through what a 12 step program was and why I was in this one. She knew the basics, she didn’t want too many of the details, and honestly I didn’t feel too safe in going into too much detail. But I told her what she needed to know. I talked about each of the 12 steps, that I was on step 9 and what that meant. She tried to just say that it didn’t matter and there was nothing to forgive. I was very tempted to just accept that. But I couldn’t. She and my father were on my list for a reason.

I let her know that I was sorry for how I had manipulated her and Dad for my own benefit. How I had lied to them both to meet my selfish needs. How I felt guilt over the impact that my separation from God and my family had on her and Dad. I asked how my behavior had impacted her. She was honest but very kind. She told me that she was broken, like me. That I didn’t have the only story that included sin and guilt. She forgave me. And she restored me to being her son.

For that action, I will be forever thankful and always proud to call her my Mom.


http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jun/13/a-letter-to-my-ex-husband-who-preferred-pornography-to-me

Porn ruined you. Ruined us. When people asked, shocked, how I could leave such a funny, clever man, father of my children – “a good earner” as my mother put it – what could I say? I said it was me. My fault. I’d changed. Only it wasn’t me. It was your love of porn that slowly diminished my love and respect for you and destroyed my self-confidence. I couldn’t tell them and I’ve never said it straight to you but you must know, you must remember those conversations. The rows.

I’m not a prude. I’ve done burlesque. I love images of sexy, strong women. My house – once ours – is full of kitsch Lynch prints, 1950s bombshells and Art Deco nudes. And I love sex. Even children and the exhausting slog of being a working mother didn’t diminish my drive – though I had to bury it, pretend it didn’t matter.

We were about six months in when I found your stash and I picked it up smiling – “Boys will be boys” – expecting Penthouse Pets, Readers’ Wives etc but found women so mutilated by beach-ball, supersize-me, fake breasts that their eyes registered pain where their pouts pretended otherwise.

I felt it was mutilation. I wept. You shrugged off my arguments – “They get paid. It’s their choice” – and dismissed my arguments about exploitation as unchecked radical feminism.

So why did I stay? In the rest of our life you were funny, leftwing, Mr PC, cultured, creative; and we could talk forever about politics, 70s sitcoms, obscure 80s bands … Anyway, like the frog in the slowly heating water I didn’t realise or I’d have jumped out.

And, I told myself, sex isn’t everything, is it? Not when everything else is so right. I thought maybe, in time, we would learn together, maybe you will connect the emotion with the action. I tried to explain how it could be, but could only conclude that your lack of desire for sex with me was my fault.

When computers came, you got better at hiding it. You could no longer have an orgasm with me and blamed me and childbirth but I now know you had a case of the Prisoner’s Hand. Then your hints began. Could I wear more makeup? What about those white-tipped nails? Had I ever thought about breast implants? I hadn’t. Wouldn’t. You preferred my hair blond. What about latex? Role play? Dirty talk? You liked the ideas of threesomes and could see by my face that I didn’t and then you wore my underwear and there were appliances and … It worked for you. It works for others. Some of my friends love all that. I tried. I didn’t.

There were words for what we did but it was never making love. And without the extreme visuals, the DVDs playing in the background – you looking at them rather than me – you could never find satisfaction. So there could never be compromise. It made me feel that I was less than.There was never intimacy in what we did and in the end I stopped wanting sex. Not that you wanted it with me anyway.

I just grew angry with you. Resentful of the “lie down” you would need when I knew what you were doing while I helped with homework and loaded the washing machine. So I threw my energies into gardening and our children thinking that that part of my life was over and dead. And the boys at university who had loved me and enjoyed my body were a distant memory, and maybe I had imagined it all, how beautiful and emotional just plain, naked sex could be.

Then someone said something about me being a desirable woman. Me? Without blond hair and fake tan? Brunette me dressed in a tea dress and old Converse? And that was it.

What came next was not easy. Tears, guilt, divorce, kids shuttled between two homes, the shockwaves to extended family and friends. I’m in a relationship now. The sex is emotional and intimate and I am enough.

You are still alone. People think it’s because you haven’t moved on. That you’re still in love with me. But I think it’s because relationships require effort and consideration of other’s needs, and the women you spend most time with ask for nothing. You are actually happier in your relationship with porn.

Anonymous