22 years ago today, I entered a rehab facility for help with sexual addiction.

I was 35 years old, and for the first time in my life, I began to grow up.  One thing I have learned about myself, I was immature because I was stuck in my childhood.  I was sexually used, then abused from the time I was 8 until I was 12 years old.  That locked me into my childhood.  I grew up full of embarrassment, shame, anger, fear and neglect.  Ironically, the one thing that was the source of my shame became the one thing I used to make me feel good.  Sex.  Masturbation, porn, girls, fantasies, daydreams, these became my way of life.

I became two personalities, basically, a public persona and a private persona.  Who I was publicly, was all about image control.  I projected a public image of myself that I wanted others to see, and I held onto the private persona so I could retreat into my hidden world.  Eventually, I got to the point where I knew I needed to stop, I knew I wasn’t a man of integrity.  I wanted to be honest, but I was a liar.  I wanted to live in such a way that I didn’t have to spend my time looking over my shoulder, trying not to get caught doing things I shouldn’t be doing.  I told myself many times, with the gravest of sincerity, “I will never do that again”.  I was never able to keep that commitment, though.  I discovered, later, I didn’t lack the desire to stop, I simply didn’t have the power to stop.
I was a very lonely man, even though I was married, and I used to look at other married couples and wish I had what they had.  I knew I could never have what they had unless I came clean and got honest.  But, there was a high price for honesty.  It could cost me everything to get honest and I might lose my marriage, my job, my future.  The fear of that high price kept me from coming clean for a long time.
I tried all kinds of ways to deal with my problem, I figured, as long as I never did any of those things again, I would never have to tell anyone anything, I could just go on living and be honest from this point on.  But, I always knew, deep inside, that doesn’t work.  So, on May 18, 1991, I began, what eventually became a month long process of coming clean to my wife.  Eventually, I realized I needed professional help, but not before denying I needed that help.  So, I paid that high price to become honest.  I resigned my position as a pastor and checked myself into a rehab facility here in Houston.
22 years ago today, and I have had a few slips, but I never returned to my old lifestyle.  I am one person now, not two.  If you were to watch me secretly and compare me to who I am in public, you would see I am no longer two “Woodys”, I am one person.
I live in freedom today, because I surrendered my will to God’s will, and prayed for His strength to do for me what I could not do for myself.  I’m no longer a liar and I practice rigorous honesty on a daily basis.  Now, when I disappoint my wife, it isn’t because I betrayed her and broke my wedding vows, but rather, it’s because I’ve done something that normal husbands do that disappoints their wives.
My sobriety cost me everything too!  I was homeless for about two months, my wife and I were separated and heading towards a divorce.  I discovered though, there is no price too high to pay for sobriety.  No matter what the cost, I was willing to pay it.  That hasn’t changed in me in the last 22 years either, no price is too high to pay for my sobriety.
It is amazing to me to be the recipient of so many absolutely undeserved blessings in my life.  My Bride and I did not divorce, instead, we worked it out and are truly in love with each other today.  I have a home and two new cars, all paid for.  I am debt free financially and am able to give generously to support Christian and other charitable causes.
I still go to 12 Step meetings, and sponsor other men who want to recover from sex addiction.  I will always be grateful that I received grace and forgiveness, especially when I least deserved it.
Praise God, I am a free man.
My name is Woody, and I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ and a recovering sex addict, and I have been clean and sober for 22 years.
Comments
  1. Recovery and a Healthy LIfe says:

    Thank you Woody for sharing you recovery story. An inspiration for me and proof that a positive, healthy life and a great marriage are possible for people who are willing to adopt a spiritual path and work on their recovery.

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