Read RICo’S Journey of Freedom
I grew up in Christian home but, I wasn’t sheltered from the sexual perversions of our culture. When I was 6 years old I was sexually abused by a babysitter. A few years later, I was sexually abused by my parents’ friend. Through those encounters, my innocence was taken from me. I became consumed with sexual thoughts, such as, imagining what women looked like underneath their clothing or fantasizing about sex. No female escaped my fantasy world because, every woman was a potential object of lust. My over-sexualization as a child resulted in a habit where I would masturbate many times a day. Although I was struggling with impure thoughts, I still attended church regularly. However, I was afraid to tell anyone about my childhood sexual abuse. I didn’t know how to find help for my situation.
Throughout my youth, I struggled with lust, porn, and sex addiction. After high school, I joined the military and traveled the world. During this time, I was exposed to deeper sexual exploits that only increased my addiction. When I got married, I assumed my impure urges would subside. I was wrong. I still masturbated and fantasized about other females to the point that I had an affair while married to my first wife.
Yes — I did say my first wife. I have now been married three times. At that time, my views were so distorted that I was not able to have a healthy relationship with any woman. Pornography had taught me that every female was a sexual conquest. Pornography had trained me to see every woman as a physical body for me to compare to my sexual fantasies.
However, I knew my porn addiction dishonored God. I wanted it to stop. I begged God to please take addiction from me. Then, I would fall right back into my addiction. Sometimes, I could resist for weeks, even months. Then, a situation would trigger my old sinful ways. Each time I fell, my addiction became stronger. At times, I would make promises to God. If He would just take my addiction from me then, I would serve Him for the rest of my life. But still I continued to struggle. As soon as God would give me the strength to resist, I would fall back into temptation and succumb to lust.
Later, I had what some you might call a “coming to Jesus” moment. When I was dating my current wife, I confessed my addiction to her. I told her things that I have never shared with anyone. I thought she would leave me. Surprisingly, she became more open with me about her experiences. Then, she thanked me for being open and honest with her. She told me that it is not a “you problem,” but a “we problem.” Then, she promised to work with me get this under control. As a couple, we read books and even visited a psychiatrist. Still, nothing worked.
Instead, I was putting up a big fat fake façade. Verbally, I was saying I wanted to be free from pornography. Inside, I didn’t want to get caught. Outside, I wanted look and act normal. Internally, I wanted to escape in my fantasy world — where I had created millions of mental films to indulge my every wicked desire.
Finally, I became desperate for real change. I started a fast and asked God to send me a man who would journey with me through temptation. Shortly after, on Valentine’s Day, I met Mark, from Proven Men. He helped me start my new journey toward sexual integrity. So, I could give my wife the best Valentine’s Day gift — true repentance and real change. I began by attending a Proven Men event, focused on sexual integrity. That conference changed my life!
When I heard the stories of other victorious men, I felt hope. When I read Joel’s story, it sounded so much like mine. I felt like Joel knew me and was speaking God’s truth into my life. So, I read The Proven Path book. Typically, I am a slow reader yet, I could not put The Proven Path down. I read the entire book in less than ten days. Then, I worked through the Proven Men study with an accountability partner each week.
As I committed myself to study, God revealed Himself to me. I learned how to live in God’s strength, and not my own. I learned that God’s holiness requires me to seek holiness. I learned to take every thought captive and surrender it to my Lord and Saviors Jesus Christ. I have learned to let go of my sin nature and walk in VICTORY. With time, God turned my difficult days to easier days. God has begun to change my view of women, and my view of God. I learned to trust. I learned to really live. At the end of the study I was a new man. I still struggle, but I’m on the winning side. Now, I allow God to use me to encourage other struggling men by leading Proven Men groups.
Proven Men equipped me both to live in freedom and help my brothers in Christ. Joel, Mark and other brothers have shared their stories to encourage recovery. Now, I do the same. After witnessing the faithfulness of other Proven Men, I am committed to helping other men find sexual integrity. Won’t you join with me? Together we can change our lives, the lives of others, and even the world!