May this blog be a blessing to you as you seek to understand the why's behind addiction and where to go from here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

I think I'm Ready, But I Need to be Patient

For those of you who are separated from your spouse and family and want desperately to go home, this one's for you...

Boy, am I ready to go home and be with my wife. I may even fool myself into thinking I'm ready to do so. But I am glad that she has drawn a line to ensure that I am fully recovered from my addiction. I am not certain that I will ever be fully 'healed', but I am certain that I am going to have a great relationship with God, and that I'll have some great tools to combat my issues so that I won't slip back into habitual sin. I also want to make sure that I don't objectify my family members, and that I love them to a greater extent and in a Godly way.

I'm not ready.

I realize that there are some foundational issues that I have to meet head-on in my psyche, baggage that I just don't want to carry back into my marriage again. Although I have been clean of porn for a long time, and I am taking the sensuality and lust part of it very seriously now, I realize that I still stare at my wife's body like it was a ribeye steak. And I realize that I would hop in the sack with her in an instant if she needed a 'fix'. The problem with all of this obsessing with sex, even with my wife, is that it lacks intent, purpose, and discipline, things that I desperately need if my marriage and family are going to go well moving forward. I need to learn to never objectify my wife, to not treat her like a thing, to cherish and respect her as a co-equal heir of the kingdom of God. She is my sister in Christ and the mother of my children and the caretaker of our home and my friend before she is my scrumping partner.

Weird as that may sound to some guys, it has to be true. We have to be willing to submit ourselves "one to another" and "consider others as greater than ourselves" before all of the other relationship things can work. I have to desire her heart and her intimate thoughts before I desire her body. It has to be important to me to listen to her because I value what she has to say, not because I think it's going to earn me her respect or time in bed.

I'm working on it. I'm glad for this time, and I pray that God will continue to change my perspective so that I can come back home a more complete man, ready to serve and lead at the same time.

Thank you, Lord for the opportunities to spend time with my family and to serve them. Thank you for the ability to talk with my wife about what is important to her. Help me to value that talk more than sex. Help me to value my wife more for the whole person she is, not the fact that I find her body pleasing. I pray that I would be able to go home before too much longer, but that I would have embedded in my spirit the desire to respect, honor, and cherish my wife. Help me to value playing with my kids and helping prepare them for life in your kingdom above any other form of entertainment. Amen.

4 comments:

bravobevo said...

Jeremiah: I found your blog here by following a link in a comment that you posted to an "Are You Repenting The Wrong Way?" article that a friend shared with me. Like you, I also have been in Celebrate Recovery (for me, it's been since 2006). I haven't read all of your postings, and even if I did I am not the person to tell you how to live your life. But I am willing to share some revelations that profoundly affect me in my addictions.

Celebrate Recovery or "CR" and other 12-step programs place a lot of emphasis on avoiding bad behavior, and often there is an important need for that. I found that whenever I have "conquered" one of my addictions by putting it down once and for all, my tendency is to reach across the coffee table and to pick up the "next thing" on which to get addicted. In other words, I never give up my addictive personality. I just transfer my addiction to something that is more socially acceptable. For example, society deems it bad to be addicted to cocaine, or to BSDM, or to cutting, or to cush. Society thinks that it is less bad to be addicted to beer, or to porn, or to internet games, or to ESPN's SportsCenter. And society applauds addiction to work, to family, or to ministry. But all of these are still addictions.

bravobevo said...

I've learned from the book titled "Don't Waste Your Life" that -- whether it's an infatuation, an obsession or an addiction, that if God has wired me this way, then it is for a purpose. God has a purpose for this. So I no longer fight against addiction; I fight with my addiction. I welcome the addictive personality that God has given me. (Personally, I think that God gives everyone addictive personalities but I won't go to that topic in this discussion). So, what do I do with it?
Instead of picking up the next addictive thing on the coffee table, I need to make choices. I could be in a room with a hundred or a thousand possible things to get addicted to. If I look around long enough, I will see that one of the numerous options is Jesus Christ. There are promises all over the Bible of great rewards to me if I would become addicted a/k/a love a/k/a treasure a/k/a commit wholeheartedly to the Creator/Messiah/God-man Jesus.

When I put down an addiction, it is the equivalent of making a hole in the water. All the other water rushes in to immediately fill the void. One or more other addictions take up that space. But what if I transfer my addiction to Jesus? What if I really love (i.e. get addicted to) Jesus more than anything else? Would that be bad or good? Isn't addiction a bad thing? What would that look like?
If God has wired me with an addictive personality, that cannot be bad unless I misappropriate it onto something that this personality wasn't intended.
I have friends who "struggle" with their alcohol addiction. They say that they don't want to be alcohol addicts but they would keep beer in their refrigerators. In other words, they set themselves up to fail. There was a time when I struggled with a sexual addiction. I was hooked on porn. And I would say that I wanted to be rid of that addiction, but I wasn't willing to give up my favorite bookmarks because how would I ever find my favorite sites again? I'd set myself up for a path of failure.

Early American (18th century) pastor, missionary and Princeton president Jonathan Edwards deduced that if God is really the best thing throughout all of the universe, then there is no benefit in moderation in feasting upon God himself. Instead of feeding my addiction to chemicals, to sexuality, to self-indulgence, to pride and ego, why not set my addiction upon Jesus? Instead of keeping my fridge stocked with beer or my computer bookmarks set on porn sites, how could I set myself to become more and more addicted to Jesus? Edwards used the phrase "lay yourselves in the way of allurement." I want to be more and more allured to the beauty, worth, glory and majesty of Jesus. As I grow enamored to Jesus, than all of the other petty addictions are seen to be as worthless and unsatisfying as they really are.

I have already gone on too long. If this interests you, you are welcome to correspond. Blessings to you, Steve

JeremiahP said...

Hey, Bravo. Thanks for the comment. The CR that I attends has varying degrees of recognition of bondage, sin, and addiction. I think the particular 12-step group that I'm in (as well as my personal beliefs) is that anything can be an addiction or a virtual idol, that we can be enslaved to the flesh through any modicum, including the things that normally are viewed as good (if you put it before God, as I mention in other posts). I know many people get their chips for such things as co-dependency, relationship addiction, anger, depression, and other besetting sins that would not normally be looked at as an addiction by society at large. I personally am trying to become clean of all sexual sin first, as it is a life-altering drug for me, and trying to focus on God as my source of everything good in the midst of accomplishing that, as the only way to freedom is through His power and grace.

I hope that your walk is doing well, brother/sister. Jesus loves and cherishes his own!

JeremiahP said...

Agreed, we need to be addicted to God.