I never wanted to be a sex addict. I never asked for it, and I certainly never intended it to take hold of my life the way it did. In fact, getting addicted to anything was the furthest thing from my mind. But when I realized how serious my problem was, all I wanted then was to recover from my addictions, because I was afraid I might die. However, through the ongoing process of my recovery, I have received so much more than I ever wanted or thought I might receive. The healing of my addictions has been, and continues to be, an incredible journey leading me into a radical kind of personal transformation. I have changed and I continue to change, gaining wisdom and insight that I could never get from a book, in a classroom or from another person.
I once thought of myself as a physical being trying to have spiritual experiences, but now I think of myself as a spiritual being that lives out physical experiences in ways God designed for me to live. As a man who has been sexually addicted, and having offered myself to God, I have become the most blessed of all men.
A New Purpose
As my recovery continues, gratitude for my addictions grows. I have learned to think of my addictions as preparation. I call them pre-recovery preparation. They have helped me become the kind of man who embodies the progressive prodigal experience of selfishness, disaster, desperation, hopeless cries for help, discovery of God’s gracious power to change, and a life resurrected. There was no better plan for me. Now today, having used up every resource of my own, I recognize my purpose in life is to seek, discover and experience God as Jesus Christ knows God, and as I receive the benefits of knowing God, I encourage others to seek, discover and experience God for themselves. We are all prodigals in one way or another, after all.
I am humbly proud of my growth and the growth of the other people who share their recovery with me. We are well prepared to do good business with God and with other people. God has a future for each of us that is uniquely designed for us by Him. When following His plan, we are well equipped to give goodness and love to whomever we encounter.
Now I still consider myself a sex addict. And I need to admit that my brain makes a spontaneous wrong turn every now and then, creating a conflict of impulse and desire inside me. Recovery has taught me that temptation is not a calamity. Temptation reminds me that I am a man at risk and that I must remain diligent in my recovery work and spiritual disciplines. The only thing insuring my recovery is the maintenance of my spiritual submission to God. He alone has the power to keep me safe and secure from my own selfish nature.
Sometimes, the feelings and temptations I experience are uncomfortable; other times, they are miserable. Nevertheless, no matter how conflicted I feel, I continue to admit that I am powerless over my addictions and that it is only through the life-changing power of Jesus Christ, that I will continue recovering from them. Each time I feel the urge to chase after my addicted — and attractive — way of life but do not, the impulses and compulsions that accompany these temptations lose some of their power. New attachments for goodness are established inside me with each obedient moment, ultimately gaining strength over the old disobedient ways. Moreover, I lose interest in my own life compared to the expanding joy of sharing God and His life with others. I prefer taking the personal spiritual revolution God has given me, and blessing the whole world with it.
Possessed by God
The gift of new life is not without a cost. I claim no ownership rights for this life God gives me — I am owned and possessed by God. Being aware of His grace gives me the gift of gratitude, which nourishes my new desires making every area of my life an act of surrender and worship. Through the grace of the Giver, I enjoy His gifts, and I become His as well. The gifts He gives to me are only mine to hold, to enjoy and to pass along.
“You can’t keep it unless you give it away.”
What started with Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, two alcoholics helping each other stay sober, has resulted in a movement that helps millions of people recover from alcoholism and drug addiction. AA has also spawned the Al-Anon movement, which helps millions of codependents and addicted families worldwide. Just like Bill Wilson and Dr. Smith, in recovery we become a gift to each other and to the world one moment, one situation, one person at a time. The greatest needs of our day will not be met by counselors, doctors and professionals. They will be met by recovering people like you and me.
We are grateful leaders in pain suffered and humble leaders in recovery gained. We are men and women who have joined the fight for our own lives and for the lives of others as well. The great need in our world remains the same today as it has always been: godly men and women who display a quality of character and life that ignites a desire in others to know God in a way that changes them from the inside out. We have an important role to play and no one can live out this role better than we can. We call to anyone who is dead and dying in his or her struggles, problems, addictions and sins. We say to them, “Come with us, we are going to God. We are going to Life.” Everyone needs what we have.
Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” Romans 15:1 MSG
We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well. I Corinthians 10:24 MSG