In recovery from sexual addiction, there comes a time when the motivation for a changed life can begin to wane. In order to spur on the desire for change, there needs to be a clear vision in mind for what a new life will look like and how it will be different from the old one. There has to be an expectation of the true joy to come. This joy only comes from God.
Step 3 of the 12 Steps of Life Recovery states that “We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God”. This means that once the decision is made to turn from sexual addiction and turn to God, one can now begin to experience the joyful life that God intended for them.
Joy can be defined as:
“The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; pleasurable feelings or emotions caused by success, good fortune, and the like, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exhilaration of spirits; delight.”
With this in mind, true joy is found when someone desires a life in God more than their sexual addiction.
At the heart of joy is the prospect and expectation of future good. To overcome temptation, one must say no to the pull of sexual addiction today and focus on the joy that will come tomorrow. This leads to a greater longing for all the good that God has for someone both today and in the future.
In his book Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis wrote that “sex is very often a substitute for Joy. I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for Joy.” Lewis is describing a longing for joy in God that transcends any desire for sexual pleasure. When someone tries to satisfy their desires with things that aren’t God, they’ll never get to experience the fullness of what God has for them. They’ll be missing out on the joy that’s available as He satisfies them. Letting God do this takes daily practice and commitment to recovery, but the journey is well worth it.
The recovery journey is full of opportunities for true and lasting joy. In James 1:2, Christians are exhorted to “consider it an opportunity for great joy” when they struggle with temptations and troubles. While the concept of rejoicing in the midst of struggle seems difficult, it is only possible as one looks ahead in anticipation. True joy in recovery can be found as God supplies the strength needed to continue the fight for sexual purity.