It seems many men confront their sex addiction when it blows up spectacularly in their faces: They are finally caught red-handed. This is not my story. I confronted my addiction ten years into a second marriage when I realized how much time and mental energy it was consuming. I confronted it because I felt I was cheating my wife out of the husband that she deserved. Extramarital affairs, prostitutes, strippers, massage parlors, masturbation marathons: None of these was ever part of my story, even as a single man. In fact, I consider it nothing short of miraculous that I have had sex with only one woman in over a decade. Compared to the previous decade with dozens of lovers, marriage surely had cured me. I thought that the exclusivity of the marriage bed only applied once married. Yet, still, I had a problem. The compulsion to flirt and fantasize had not vanished. I know that even today, if sex is offered up and in my face, with very few exceptions per my history, I’m gonna take it.

I prayed for God to take the lust and fantasy away, and he did not. I asked others to pray it away with me, and God still did not relieve me of this problem. God is a gentleman: He will not take something from you unless you are willing to give up all rights to it, to give it to him completely. I had walled off this secret part of my life from my outward observant Christian life with all the shame and guilt that went along with it. Who could help? I was moved to act when one day I was looking at some twisted internet porn and felt myself being pulled into the moving images, body and soul. At the precipice and looking down into the abyss, I immediately began to search the web to see if there was any help to be had. This was a turning point: Me finally reaching back, and God plucking me off the mountain.

Attending my first Twelve Step meeting, I met other crazy people like me: Control freaks, privacy whores, judgmental folks, angry and raging men, all wanting to be lusted after. I met other men who really did think about sex every seven seconds, and who realized that this was not normal. I initially sought a Christian-based group, but after reviewing the literature and listening to other men share their experience, strength and hope, I saw God writ large over the Twelve Steps. I also knew that I did not have the time to commit to multiple programs of recovery, and that this one was scalable in that I could visit meetings in my town every day of the week.

With the attendant shame and feelings of unworthiness, I did not disclose any of my struggles to my wife until after I had been attending meetings for over a year. After we both viewed the 2014 movie, Thanks for Sharing, I made my disclosure. Bringing this into the light helped break its power over me. No longer am I the minion of lust, having it affect nearly every decision in my life. There is a better, freer way to live, one day at a time.