Monthly Archives: September 2016
I used to think that people who went to see psychologists and attended therapy groups were people who had serious mental illnesses or other adjustment problems. I did not consider myself to be one of these types of people. It took until I was 34 yrs old before I finally realised that I needed to go and see a psychologist and attend a weekly support group. I met the psychologist every other week for about 2 years.
Another reason that I didn´t believe I needed therapy and support groups was that, I believed that all I needed was a touch from God, a miracle or some dramatic event that would cause me to turn away from habitual sinful behaviour. I did not understand that God would bring about change in my life, only as I learned to trust others.
I had religious views about the way that healing happened. I tended to emphasis prayer, fasting, Bible study, church activities and other spiritual disciplines as the way to receive healing. I ignored things like—open and honest sharing with others, asking for help from those who know more, being accountable to someone, working through specific problems and learning life skills and competencies—as essential parts of the healing process.
I also thought that I was being honest with God in prayer. I would tell the issues of my life to Him privately—so I thought. I did not know that much of this ´private sharing` was simply because I was too afraid to tell anyone else about my weaknesses. I was ashamed of the fact that I could not control my sexuality during some periods. I had a distorted picture of God and of myself. I was, in reality, only recycling my complaints—about my addictive behaviours—in His presence.
Perhaps the strongest reasons why I thought that I didn´t need therapy and belong in a support group was: I thought I could overcome my problems myself, and that I didn´t need other people´s help; I thought my problems were not so severe and I would eventually overcome them.
I was a pastor and I was too proud to admit that I still struggled with out-of-control sexual behaviour. I preferred others to think of me as a spiritual guy and as kind, compassionate and gifted not a sex addict who needed therapy. I was genuinely ashamed of myself. On the one-hand I enjoyed secret sexual activities, on the other-hand I didn´t want anyone to know about it.
If you struggle as I do—I encourage you—Please join a supportive group and get a therapist to help you. It will be time and money well spent.
- not just sorry saying sorry for one´s own sins but it is being sorry for the damage and the hurt that we have caused others
- not something that can be forced. It is about voluntarily disclosing weaknesses and vulnerabilities to trusted and supportive people.
- not about being punished for wrong-doing it is about getting the perspective of your consultants who “been there before”.
For those of us that have been working on our healing and growth for sometime, there comes a point when we begin to take responsibility for our own actions. Sooner or later we come to realise that there really is no excuse for our choices and our behaviour. It can be very difficult to be honest with oneself and even harder to be honest with others. Staying in denial and blaming others seems much easier, except for the fact that it almost certainly guarantees that our old destructive behaviour patterns will continue unabated.
When we begin to accept responsibility for our behaviours and their consequences, we start to get a glimmer of what healing is really all about.
- Denial creates anxiety and depression. Honesty and accountability brings to peace and freedom.
When we are living in denial, we say that we did not hurt anybody; accountability is facing the fact that we actually did hurt others.
For example if we act out with compulsive masturbation, we might not recognise any damage to others. Yet we may have:
- been sexually unavailable to our partners.
- neglected to spend quality time with our kids, preferring the television or computer.
- spent much of our work time in fantasy and obsession when we should have been concentrating on our work.
As you can see the impact and the damage is very real
We recommend that each person look for consultants to whom you can become accountable. There are many possibilities. They can be supervisors, pastors, partners, local co-ordinator, counsellors or more experienced EV friends. The journey towards growth and healing requires honesty and openness. You will need consultants along the way.
I encourage you to build your support network and learn to become accountable. It´s fruit is peace and freedom.