In early recovery, a man who has been involved in sexual addiction can have challenges in the way he thinks. His life up to this point has been about hiding and trying to look a certain way. He didn’t want anyone to know about his secret sexual sin and so he covered up those real parts of him in any way he could. That was his focus, he tried to create a different version of himself, one that others would perceive as “good”, so that no one would know what was really going on inside. He needs to refocus on his recovery and it will require him to stay alert to the distractions that will occur.
When Jesus walked the earth, He directed the focus off of the “good” people doing “good” things and redirected people’s focus on to God. The religious leaders were pointing to the rules; Jesus pointed to Himself, through whom relationships are restored to God. A person struggling with sex addiction has a lot in common with those religious leaders. Outwardly, he wants others to think that he’s following all of the rules and regulations. Especially in a religious or church setting, it’s easy to hide behind a mask of doing all of the right things. Internally, the struggle is real and is destroying his life.
A healthy, growing faith is always focused on the person of God Himself, not on cheap substitutes. A healthy faith begins and ends in God, not in rules, regulations, and sheer duty. Jesus Christ, not religion, is at the core of a robust Christian faith. It’s here that a man who is beginning his recovery journey has to really focus and allow God to change him. Men can either insist on performing and conforming out of obligation and can try to feel good by chalking up good deeds, but in the end, it’s simply a thin covering that will inevitably fall apart.
To come out of this mindset, a man has to work on loving God with all of his heart, mind, and soul. Through spending time in the Word, in prayer, and in fellowship with other believers, a man can experience this love and come to know Jesus intimately. He can stop hiding behind religious facades and surrender his life and allow Jesus to meet him right where he is. He can focus on leaning on Jesus, connecting with others, and working his recovery one day at a time. This is the refocusing process. This is where true recovery resides.
Once a man realizes that recovery is not only about himself, but about transparency to those around him, he’ll be on the way to a transformed life. Surrendering to Christ’s love and acceptance, he’ll begin to grow closer to Him and to others in his life, such as a spouse or his friends. Getting involved in a fellowship of other men on this same path of recovery, such as joining a Sustained Victory Group, will encourage him to continue on in this new journey of faith.
Refocusing on Jesus, not simply being “good”, will turn the trajectory of a man’s life around from heading towards destruction to heading towards real love and life. There is no greater reward than in the recovery journey.