When facing our lust issues and telling ourselves we are willing “to go to any length” to stay sober and in recovery, the inevitable question hits us square in the face sooner or later. How can I possibly do this for the rest of my life? How can I stay sober and in recovery for the long haul? The circumstantial questions follow. What if my spouse dies? What if I drop out of recovery? What if? What if? What if? At this point we need to stop, take a deep breathe and consider what our recovery program is all about. God is in charge of the future. We walk in the present. If true, what do we need to know?
1.We are people who have permanent ongoing issues with lust and its attendant character defects. Like Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Cor.12:6-7), we have likely asked God to remove our affliction on a number of occasions, only to find the answer is no and yes. No. it is unlikely to be removed and yes, there is abundant grace to handle it. Soon we find, like Paul, that our affliction is a both a thorn to keep us near the Healer and a bridge to serve others and even to win them to Jesus. Until we accept reality and our problem and the absolute necessity that we must walk another path, our chances are slim and none. Half measures and holding onto our old ideas of running our lives by self-will ” avail us nothing.”.
2. To recover from lust is a long-term project requiring, above everything else, that we “live in the solution” on a daily basis. This is exactly what the New Testament calls “sanctification.” It is best expressed in Philippians 2:13-14. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Notice that while acknowledging and being grateful for God being at work in us, we are still called to “work out our own salvation, realizing what is at stake (with fear and trembling). Contrary to the re-incarnationists, we don’t get a second chance. This is it. We, not God, must workout the actions and activities of daily living, ones that will foster the goal we say we want. (Recovery and sobriety)
Just as Christians are called to live in the solution of the new life, so we men recovering from lust need to invest in the actions of recovery on a daily basis. This is the price of freedom, one that many refuse to pay. Recently, God revealed to me that “coasting” is one of my significant defects. The solution to this for me is the need to string my day together with recovery activities and honest connections with others, where I reveal “what is going on with me right now.” Most of you could fill in the list of daily activities we are called to in the new life as Christians. Worship, discipleship, ministry, mission, Bible study. Coasting means “going downhill” and no one would advocate coating in the Christian life. Here are some of the proactive, solution based activities of daily living for recovering men..
Becoming part of a 12 Step, lust recovery community
Working each of the 12 Steps with a sponsor
Make outgoing phone calls to other recovering men to talk through lust temptations and difficult emotions
Daily mediation, readings and prayer
Leading with our weakness, not how well we are doing
Seeking therapy to more deeply understand our lust story
Practicing daily surrender and avoidance of intentional lust
Reading and incorporating recovery literature into our lives
Journaling daily to identify patterns of thinking and behavior, both positive and negative
Being willing to attend workshops to discover new perspectives and practices
Serving others in recovery by sponsoring others and taking service positions in recovery groups
Sharing our recovery stories where appropriate to help others
Making efforts over time to make amends to spouse and family members.
Finding ways to give rather than take.
Quite a list, right? It is suggestive, not exhaustive. Someone said we should spend at least the amount of time in recovery activities as we did in lust-based activities. Most of us are still trying to catch up. But what we are finding is that the more involved we get, the more we begin to embrace the lifestyle of recovery and give of ourselves, the more we are liking and even enjoying what we find.
We stand ready to help, when needed.
In the Lust-Bearer,
Jay Haug, Executive Director
Living Without Lust Inc.
Our Final Spring 2022 Zoom Seminar
Michelle Powell Phd. Restoring Trust and Safety: What A Betrayed Wife Is Looking for in Her husband’s Recovery
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