There are still mornings when I don’t care about my sexual purity. I had a lot of these days early in my recovery, but I’m 5 years into my recovery and still have rough days. Paul struggled (in Romans 7) because he didn’t do the things he knew he should do. He also did things he knew he shouldn’t do. This is not what I’m talking about. There are days when I don’t want to do righteousness. I want to do unrighteousness. I’m sure deep in my soul I want to do righteousness, but on these days my feelings and my horniness has my attention.
Sometimes I feel that all I want to do is masturbate or look at sensual material on the computer. I don’t want to turn to other guys, talk to my wife, or spend time with God. I want my favorite drug of choice to make me feel better. I had one recently. I felt stress from the night before, I didn’t sleep well, work had been challenging, I had to pull more family load, and I wasn’t having much down time. I was vulnerable and felt triggery.
I HAVE TO MAKE MYSELF
These are the days I have to make myself take steps of obedience. I don’t feel like reaching out to guys, but I make myself because I know it’s the right direction to go. I don’t feel like reading the Bible, but I make myself do it. I don’t feel like writing my feelings down in a journal and praying it out to God, but I make myself. There will be other times when employing my purity strategy is easier, but not on rough days like this.
This recent day felt like an 8 (out of 10) to me. It helps me to rate how I’m feeling and how strong the pull is. I know it’s important to ask the question “How intense is it today?” When I finally called a guy from my support group, I checked in the rating of how I felt.
CHECK UNDERNEATH THE HOOD
I also need to ask the question, “What’s going on underneath that’s driving my feelings?” I mentioned the stresses I was having. My wife had also been sick for several days and we had some times when our kids needed our attention.
Sometimes a TV show, movie, newspaper ad, or news story will add fuel to the fire. It doesn’t have to be explicit or sensual. It could be a story about a rockin marriage, or a couple that loves each other and desires each other. These can set me off too. They are things I long for. Unmet expectations and unfulfilled dreams can add to the hard days.
I’m reminded of the B.H.A.L.T.S. acronym. These are emotionally needy times that can make me vulnerable to sexual temptation.
B – Bored
H – Hungry
A – Angry
L – Lonely
T – Tired
S – Sick, sad, stressed
Looking at this list I know that I had felt a lot of loneliness that week. Bored, tired and stressed would also describe parts of how I was feeling.
WHAT REACHING OUT TO GOD LOOKS LIKE
As soon as I starve my flesh and walk in obedience toward God my heart starts to change. It’s not always immediate, but when I make myself phone a friend, get up and go somewhere else, open the Bible, or write it out in my journal I notice a difference. Reaching toward my purity plan and toward God and others = reaching out to God. I don’t know how to pray during these times (and often I don’t). I just reach out and the Spirit of God takes it from here.
Sometimes I remember to ask God’s Spirit to help me. Other times I know He sees my actions as a step in His direction. Other times I know He sees my heart even thought I can’t.
TOP TIPS FROM JEFF
- Some days (maybe many days) you won’t want to do righteousness. All you will feel is that you want to act out sexually.
- You have to make yourself take steps in the right direction. Your actions have to go before your feelings.
- Make yourself reach out to God and other guys.
- Make yourself write this junk down in a notebook, journal, or computer page.
- Try to find out what’s driving these feelings.
- Let the Holy Spirit to do His work.
Jeff Fisher is a blogger and podcaster living in Raleigh, North Carolina. He and his wife run www.porntopurity.com. Jeff’s podcast Top Tips For Sexual Purity Podcast (I-Tunes) is one of the more popular podcasts on sexual addiction recovery.