Experiencing Recovery @XXXchurch.com is looking for stories of people who have found recovery and freedom from their addictions… you can submit your 3 paragraph story at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to have your story posted on the Haps!
I had been viewing porn since I was 13 years old. The first mag I found was in a bathroom at a Barns & Noble. I knew I was supposed to put it down, but I didn't. Through high school, girlfriends, church's, small groups, college, Bible college, and into worship ministry, I still struggled. All forms of accountability were insufficient. I was dealing with people who were like me, in bondage to the sin, and unable to find a way out. I found ways around filters in my dorms, ways to keep it concealed. No one would ever find me out unless I told them, and when I told them, it would be vague. "I struggle with porn from time to time. But with the help of God, it gets better every day." It was a lie. I was using it several times a day. I was losing sleep to view it, and fantasizing about it during class and work. I had trouble being authentic and relational with women because I was so distracted by their bodies. My way of looking at them was totally messed up.
I got married, continued ministering, and continued to struggle. My wife knew about it, but only as though it was something I "sometimes" struggled with. "You'd tell me if you fell, right?" "Of course!" I wanted an honest, trusting relationship, but I was so ashamed, and unable to change. I used lies to avoid the shame. I avoided talking too deeply about it because it would only expose me for who I was (or who I felt like anyway)- a child with no self control, a joke, a person unfit to be leading people in church, and unfit to be a husband. One day, my wife found some history I forgot to erase in my web browser, and called me crying, both hurt and furious at the same time. I drove home and sat with her, trying to find a way to help her understand that I loved her and thought she was beautiful. But she didn't believe me. I had ruined my ability to show her that with my actions. I had broken her trust. It was finally time to face this problem and quit sweeping it under the rug. But what would make this time different?
It was at this time that I had made a friend who'd shared his story with me, and to be honest, it was the first story I had ever heard of someone who had actually experienced victory against this sin. I called him and told him what was going on. He met with me and spoke of strategies towards success, methods for maintaining authenticity and effective accountability with other men who would commit to going through this journey with me, and how to leverage that into building trust with my wife. He fasted and prayed with me, read through a book with me and helped me convince my wife to read it with us. I submitted all of my computer log-in info to my wife. She now holds the keys to it all. I will no longer have access to the internet that she doesn't know about. We put X3 Watch on all our computers. It's only been 1 & 1/2 years, and I go through periods of struggle on a regular basis. But instead of lying about it, hiding it, burying it and being in bondage, I have a network of men who I can trust, and who help me strategize for success, which I experience on a regular basis. When I encounter new temptations, we work together towards success. It's through these actions that my wife and I have rebuilt much of our trust, and experienced the best our marriage has to offer as yet! Also, God is using me in ministry more powerfully than ever! I'm so thankful for my network, my wife, and X3 Watch and XXXchurch for what they've done in helping me be the man God's calling me to be.