Journal Through Recovery, Sexual Purity Posts

Journal Through Recovery Entry 34: I Thought They Went Away

I think I missed something. Or maybe its just my screwed up decision making. Regardless of why, I most definitely didn’t completely understand the purpose of Step Four. Let me explain. I think I told you that Step Four was the step I most dreaded after I started working through the steps. I truly didn’t want to have to face my own flaws. I knew they were there but just felt that it was easier to blame God for why I was the way I was than actually look at myself and how my character defects kept me in a never ending cycle of sin and shame. The only upside of Step Four to me was that I at least would have dealt with those character flaws and they would be gone and therefore I wouldn’t have to worry about them anymore. That is what I believed would happen.

This may come as a surprise to some of you. I truly hope not. They didn’t all go away. I know, shocked aren’t you? Ok, you can stop laughing at me now. I really thought that they were gone. Or maybe I told myself that so I wouldn’t dwell on what they are. Manipulation, lying, pride. Things I didn’t want to continue to face. Somehow, they are still there. They show up when I am stressed, angry, isolated, emotional, even when I am just not strong enough on my own and don’t give God control in the moment .  Basically at the same times they used to show up before recovery.  So what is the difference between now and recovery?

Let me try to muddle through this. Recently, I was talking with my wife. We were just catching up at the end of a long day. The TV was on, a normal evening. That’s how it started, normal. Anyway, I wasn’t really paying attention to what was on the TV but did hear a female begin to speak in an English accent. To set the stage here, one of my affair partners was English. My wife had actually spoken with her. In an instant, without forethought or delay, I started changing to another station. I was really good, or so I thought. I stated how I had just remembered we had one of the shows we liked saved and I wanted to start it.

My wife got silent. Dangerously silent. She said, and I quote, “I know what you are doing.” I said what do you mean? She told me not to insult her intelligence. She said I was trying to manipulate her by turning the channel. Ouch.

Yeah, manipulation. Right up there at the top of my list of character flaws. The only problem is, everyone close to me knows my flaws. I have named them for them. They have agreed and added a little more clarification to make sure I knew they recognize them when they manifest. Exactly what my wife just did. She called me out. I wish I could say I recognized it, immediately dealt with it, and know I won’t respond that way again.  I didn’t. I tried to say no, I want to watch a show. You know…manipulate.  Again.

So I stopped, listened again, listened to myself, and heard the truth. I was manipulating. I was going back to a character flaw. I thought when I brought them to God they were truly gone. Actually, they are part of my sin nature. I have lived in that nature for so long, my character flaws won’t just magically disappear. I do have one thing going for me now. I know what they are, so do my loved ones, and we can address them. The manipulation is still there. However, my recognition of it is heightening. Thank you, God, for that.

Journal Through Recovery, Sexual Purity Posts

Journal Through Recovery Entry 33: Owning It

Working the 12 steps is starting to get really real. That is such a cliche but so apt to where I am. I am about to start Step 8. As a quick reminder, Step 8 is as follows: We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.  Yeah. That Step 8. No other way to put it but damn.

I have been working on my list in my mind since I did Step 4, identifying my flaws and defects of character. I knew this was coming. There is one person at the top of my list. My wife. She is numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. She has her own list and the rest are secondary, including my kids. They are next. But first, its her.

As I was preparing for this list, I kind of discounted it. You know, its just a list and becoming willing. However, as my sponsor and counselor both pointed out to me, it is so much more. That whole becoming willing part. That’s more than just saying the words, making the list and then taking action.

For me, its been about understanding the true reasons for the amends. Why are the people on my list actually on my list? What did I do to give them that honored place on my amends list? I am being facetious. (That means sarcastic for you native Texans!)

Anyway, I was struggling with this. I identified the people who belonged there. The ones that I had lied to, manipulated, taken advantage of, used for my own selfish gains, not been engaged with, not been present with, and just had been mean and ugly and rude with. I had the reasons but I was struggling with connecting with those reasons.  I didn’t really feel the impact. And then I did. I got it. Just from being with the first person on my list.

My wife and I were working through intimacy exercises. Just checking in on how we both felt, what we loved about each other, and then a devotional reading and prayer. She said something she said quite often and I had repeatedly dismissed. She said she couldn’t help but think that the reason I had relationships outside of our marriage and broke my sexual vow to her was because of how she looked, that she wasn’t pretty enough, that she was overweight. And I said the things I usually do, I told her that wasn’t true, she was beautiful, and it was all my fault. I said the words because I was hopeful it would stop her from getting triggered and would give her some comfort. The problem was, I didn’t really own it. I didn’t own WHY she felt that way.

I was talking with my counselor the next day, telling him about how she went to that place and that I was realizing that it was my fault. Being the supportive, loving, touchy-feely counselor that he is (again, sarcasm for you native Texans), he pointed out that it most definitely was my fault. And by allowing her to continue down that path, I was allowing her to take away my responsibility for my actions. They were my actions that caused that damage, that caused her to feel less than enough. That’s when I felt it, that’s when I owned it. It’s my responsibility. I am sorry, my love, for making you feel less than enough.

Sexual Purity Posts, Videos

Video – John’s Story, Part 2

John discusses his denial, losing his marriage, hitting rock bottom, and entering recovery.  He talks about attending his first recovery meeting and what recovery has done for him and his life.

“I’m at the bottom, I’ll do anything.  And she suggested I go to a meeting.” – John; speaking about the advice his knowledgable therapist gave him about his sexual addiction and getting help.

Please visit for more videos and information.

Sexual Purity Posts

Filtering out the Trash


YUCK! Tap water tastes horrible.  Well, maybe only in Odessa, TX, but tap water isn’t the most pleasant tasting water I can drink.  Although tap water isn’t deadly in the United States, it may contain unwanted particles that affect the taste of the water.  In Mexico, however, it is important to not drink the tap water due to it being non-potable; it hasn’t been filtered through proper water treatment.  This unfiltered water can lead to illness, even death!

The same goes for the internet.  The internet is a very useful tool to society; we can connect with others across the globe, share ideas, share project information, pay our bills, make friends, etc…  However, there are darker sides of the internet, those that can cause serious emotional and mental harm.  Obviously, because of the theme of this site, only one of these darker sides will be discussed in this post; pornography.

In a recent technical article posted in the “Online porn is huge. Like Really, Really Huge. Who Knew?” post on April 13th it is estimated that 29 petabytes (kilobyte (kB) -> megabyte (MB) -> gigabyte (GB) -> terabyte (TB) -> petabyte (PB) – smaller to larger.  As a comparison most computer hard drives are measured only in gigabytes!) of pornographic data is transferred every month.  In another associated article an estimated 30% of all internet traffic is related to pornography!  Below are some statistics on pornography consumption.  Keep in mind that these numbers are from 2006 and have become more alarming in the past 6 years.

  • More than 70% of men from 18 to 34 visit a pornographic site in a typical month
  • Nearly 74 percent of pornography websites surveyed display adult content on their homepage (accessible to anyone) before asking if the viewers are of legal age.
  • Every second, 28,258 Internet viewers are viewing pornography
  • Every second, 372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines
  • One out of three youth who viewed pornography, viewed the pornography intentionally
  • Seven out of ten youth have accidentally come across pornography online
  • Nearly 80 percent of unwanted exposure to pornography is taking place in the home (79 percent occurs in the home; 9 percent occurs at school; 7 percent other/unknown; 5 percent at a friend’s home).
  • A study in the southeastern U.S. found that 53 percent of boys and 28 percent of girls (ages 12-15) reported use of sexually explicit media. The Internet was the most popular forum for viewing.
  • 90% of 8 – 16 year olds have viewed pornography online (most while doing homework)
  • 26 Children’s character names linked to thousands of porn links (i.e. Pokemon or Action Man)
  • Average age of first Internet porn exposure 11 in 2006, 5 (boys) in 2011!
  • Largest consumer of Internet pornography: 12 – 17 year-old age group
  • Over half of evangelical pastors admits viewing pornography

Again, keep in mind that most of these statistics are from 2006.  One can easily imagine how much worse it has become with the increase in high-speed internet connections across our country as well as the advent of High Definition pornography.  The most disturbing aspect to me is the large number of children being exposed to pornography.  I hope you understand that pornographers are predators; they WANT your children to view pornography.  They create URLs similar to names of children characters and turn existing children’s characters into sexual objects.  For their business to thrive, they NEED you and your children to become addicted to their drug so they can keep selling it to you.

For the sake of my target audience I won’t list any actual website names, but during my sex addiction specialist training a few of the sites, that have innocent names of children’s characters that are actually pornography sites, were mentioned.  It’s everywhere; pornographers mislead children and adults into stumbling upon their product.  They corrupt young and old alike, without care of consequences or fear of retribution.  They infect humans with their product, all in worship of the almighty dollar!  The sad reality becomes that instead of stumbling upon this material, kids and adults get hooked and now find excuses to get onto those sites.

So hopefully you are beginning to understand why we all need proper internet filters on our computers.  Without filters, it is too easy to find pornography on the internet.  I call it “six clicks of separation” where one can find adult content on the internet within six clicks or websites.  It’s easy to do, especially with all the side bar advertisements on various sites these days.

In my case, as a recovering sex addict, I need the filters to block pornography on my computers.  I have filters at work and at home.  I don’t want the material in my mind, I don’t need the material in my mind, and I especially don’t want it in my house.  Therefore, I have instituted these external boundaries for my own health, not for some sort of restriction.  My sponsor always tells me, “When my internal boundaries fail, it is good to have external boundaries.”  And to be honest, I don’t ever want my two children to accidently visit an adult site!  I don’t ever want them to go through what I have been through in fighting this addiction; the pain the suffering, the tears, and the anguish, not only for me, but for my loved ones.  It is just too easy to get hooked on pornography, it is too easy to access it, but it is in no way easy to get over it and to fight the addiction on a daily basis!

We install filters for our own mental health and the health of our children.  Filters are not meant to police the individual and our children.  If we talk openly and honestly about the reality of pornography and sex to our children, we can help them establish their own internal boundaries on what is and what is not appropriate to view on the internet.  We can’t shelter our children, but we can help make their life easier by making accidental access to adult or pornographic material harder!

And a word about those husbands or fathers that rebuke the idea of internet filters in their home.  There is a high probability that these men do not want proper filters because they are the ones looking at inappropriate material!  These selfish men are so consumed with their own sexual sin that they refuse to see the benefit to their family and children.  I will remind those men that as of my SAS training in 2011, the average age of exposure to pornography for boys is now 5 years old (9 for girls); I was exposed at 4 years old.  Don’t let your selfishness or pride destroy your child’s life.  If you truly care for your children you will install proper internet filters on your computer.  Think of it this way, if you knew that a vaccine with no side-effects could prevent a deadly virus from causing damage to your child now or in the future and save them and you years of heartache and pain, would you not be willing to give it to them?  Are you willing to look back in 20 years when your son or daughter is making amends for their own sexual addiction and realize you could have helped prevent this had you invested in a proper internet filter?   The choice is yours.

Take what you like and leave the rest.

A PDF with suggested internet filters and accountability tools and websites is attached below.  Updated copies may be found under our resources page.

Suggested Internet Filtering and Accountability Software:

 Suggested Internet Filters