Final Four

After the brief detour to talk about the many faces of a man in recovery, we’re getting back on track. Time to round out the discussion on Secondary Boundaries. What we’ve covered so far:

  1. Geographic
  2. Situational
  3. Relational
  4. Intellectual
  5. Psychological
  6. Financial

Now for the final 4.

7. Emotional feelings. This is the stuff going on at a heart level that might propel us into the addictive cycle. It is important to identify and acknowledge which emotions increase your propensity to medicate. That said, we have to go to the deepest levels. For example, Anger is easy to identify. However, underneath that anger may be hurt, fear, failure, shame or disappointment. We must identify those. Stress is a common one. But when many people say stress, what they mean is they feel overwhelmed and fearful of failure. Some guys act out when they feel excited and happy. Others when they feel sad, lonely or rejection.

8. Spiritualwhere are you and God? We know we can’t fight this alone. And we know that if God doesn’t intervene we’re hopeless. Sometimes God is near, sometimes far. In one of my groups a guy described his relationship with God like this: “I feel like I’m a member of a large audience, 1000’s of people, and I know God the way I know the speaker on a stage. He doesn’t know me, he just knows I’m out there. I don’t really know him, but I know he’s up there speaking, and I should be listening.” Living in that relational space with God could be a space where you act out sexually. Or perhaps when you feel like God is miles away. Or maybe even when you come off a mountain top high with God, like after a mens retreat. The important thing here is again to raise your awareness and plan for those occasions.

9. Physiological – think body. It is unfortunately too frequent for guys to say that crossed a line and acted out sexually because of some bodily urge. Is there a reality to our cycles of sperm production and the feelings of needing a release? Yes. And did God make appropriations in our bodies for that release? Yes. Which means we don’t have to take matters into our own hands (literally or figuratively). Don’t let natural urges be the driver on acting out. Create plans around physiological boundaries. Limit time laying in bed in the morning, or limit time in the shower. Double check your motive for pursuing sexual intimacy with your wife. Don’t give yourself the excuse that your urges and just natural impulses and thus you are entitled to some behavior. I always come back to this verse when thinking about these boundaries:

Jude 1:10b – and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals – these are the very things that destroy them.

10. Technologicalanything related to technology. We’ve heard so many of the stories of guys acting out using playstations, kindles, ipads, cellphones, laptops, etc. There’s an endless supply of media devices to be used for evil or good. Don’t be so careless as to think that using an online device is safe. It is not. There is always a risk, even if you have a filters in place. Create safeguards around how & when you use technology. Make sure your accountability folks know those boundaries and help you be accountable for them.

Hopefully this info is helpful. Another reminder, the goal isn’t to have a narrow, boxed in life. It is to have freedom because we have guard rails that keep us from getting off in the ditch.

Steve Arterburn Responds to Carl’s Jr. Ad Critics

Since my blog on Monday regarding the Carl’s Jr. Ad on the Oscars, I have had push back from some people.

Obviously those that have attacked me and our ministry regarding  my comments have not walked in our shoes.

We have helped over 15,000 men deal with sexual integrity issues over the last ten years.

In addition my book “Every Mans Battle” has sold over 4 million copies. This book dealing with men’s sexual temptations presents a practical, detailed plan for any man who desires sexual purity.

Judge for yourself! Are we as a society to close our eyes and stand back and not voice our concerns?  Let me hear your thoughts.

Here are two previously released videos…

A “behind the scenes” look into an Every Man’s Battle workshop

NBC4 gained exclusive access to a sex addiction treatment program operated by Laguna Beach-based New Life Ministries designed to help men who claim that sexual obsession is ruining their lives

Los Angeles, Channel 4 (KNBC) News , story on Every Man’s Battle:

If you are interested in finding out more about Every Man’s Battle Workshop, please call 800-639-5433.

Read the full article here

Showing Up is Half the Battle

Every month at the Every Man’s Battle workshop someone will come up to me and say, “I’m so glad I attended this weekend”. My response to them is usually something like, “Great! Showing up is half the battle”!  It is so true on so many fronts in our lives and on our personal recovery journeys.

It is true in a sense that you have to be present at the workshop to benefit from it. Literally thousands of men contact the ministry in search of hope and help in their struggle for sexual purity, yet only a fraction actually attend the workshop. The rest of those men usually flounder and stumble through their journey. They hope re-reading the book Every Man’s Battle, or some other book, or praying harder or reading more Scripture will solve the problem. But it rarely does. Showing up at the EMB workshop is half the battle. You won’t be equipped to fight the good fight if you don’t show up for basic training.

It is also true of our walk with God. Showing up is half the battle. Many of us, especially in our addictions/struggles, feel like we might as well give up on God, because it seems like He has given up on us. Maybe you’re like me and you’ve prayed a million times for God to take this issue away and it seems like He is silent. The thing you have to remember is that while God may be silent, He is not far away, and the next prayer might just be the one you see Him answer. That’s what happened to me. After having strong suicidal thoughts and thankfully not acting on them there came a day when God showed up. He answered- in an almost audible way- and everything changed from that moment on. Granted, it didn’t change the way I would have chosen (He led my wife to clues to bust me), but it changed. So my encouragement to you is to show up; stay in the Word, keep praying, keep pressing into Him.

Showing up is also a huge part of our recovery journey.  What does it mean to show up on our journey? It means to consistently do the right things you already know to do. There are a number of tools that most men already understand how to use, they just don’t apply them. Simple things. Maybe your issue is internet porn and you know you should rearrange your office so your monitor is visible to passers-by. Maybe it is strip clubs and you know you should develop a habit of taking a different route home from work instead of driving by them. Maybe you are having an affair and you know you need to tell someone. Take the next step and do the right thing – now, while you’re having a moment of clarity.

Ultimately, we have to be willing to actively fight the battle rather than passively react to it. We have to show up.

If you haven’t already attended, I hope you’ll show up at the next EMB workshop.