Addictive sexual behavior is no joke. It includes lust and poor self-control, of course, but it is much more than that. It is a repetitive, constant form of sexual activity that a person feels compelled, not just tempted, to indulge in. Usually this behavior is acted out in the secret use of pornography, prostitutes, anonymous sexual encounters or adult stores. It’s bondage of the worst kind because there’s so much shame and remorse attached to it. It leads to isolation, broken marriages, and untold humiliation. And for those who get hooked into it, willpower alone won’t stop it. The addict makes countless attempts to stop in his own strength; countless times, he fails spectacularly.
That’s partially because the problem thrives in the dark. Sexually addictive behavior is highly secretive. Those caught up in it are not prone to discuss it with anyone. So friends and family members seldom know what their loved ones are going through. It’s a double life of sorts, involving a public image of normality versus a long-held secret. Men usually discover their ‘drug’ relatively early in life, become dependent on it, and incorporate it into their behavioral makeup. Is that true of you? If so, you’re carrying quite a burden. You haven’t felt good about your behavior or yourself, but have had no idea how to change. What you do know how to do is hide; and at that, you’ve probably become a pro. Besides the destructiveness of your actions, you suffered from an unwillingness to let anyone in. When you develop a private world centered around your addiction, it’s the privacy that keeps it intact. Disrupt the privacy of your world, and you weaken both it and the addiction it protects. You’ll be less inclined to repeat the behavior you’ve given up if you know someone else is involved in your struggle with you.
A trained Christian professional with experience treating addictions will be valuable to you. As always, you should get a referral from your pastor or a trusted friend if possible. But do find qualified help. With it, you can understand the roots of your addiction and build up the defenses against destructive actions that have been torn down over the years. You also should get into a support group, a Christ-centered one like New Life’s Sustained Healing, or a Life Recovery Group that’s geared toward this problem. This support provides you with a legitimate emotional outlet for the conflicting feelings you’ll experience while withdrawing from your addition. And finally, get some accountability! To be accountable to someone means to let him in on your struggle and to keep him up on your progress. It’s a giving over of your right to privacy to at least one person who has your permission to question you about your day-to-day activities and encourage you when you struggle.
You may balk at this. Many men do when first told they’ll never maintain integrity unless they get some accountability. But don’t kid yourself, your own history by now has taught you that can’t deal with sexually compulsive behavior by yourself. If you could have, you would have!