By Eddie Capparucci, MA, LPC
Quite often I am asked by one of my clients who abuse sex “what is the time frame for being cured?”. They are a little taken aback when I respond “never”. Their wives also are disappointed and worried when they hear this news.
However, it is not all bad news. Like any other addiction, the desire to abuse sex doesn’t evaporate into thin air after a man has done his work and followed a recovery program designed to achieve sexual integrity. And I do not need to tell you that sexual temptation loudly surrounds us.
In fact, there is really little escape from the endless imagines and triggers that engross us on a daily basis. That is why the focus of recovery needs to be not simply on changing our behavior but instead changing our hearts. A critical component of that change is realizing we could become vulnerable if we let down our guard. Read what the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:12.
“So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
When we develop a mindset that we have defeated our addiction and are immune to temptation, we put ourselves at the greatest risk for relapse. Having the tools we need to battle temptations would be useless during times when we find ourselves emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually drained. It is during these periods that the threat of a potential lapse of judgment could be at its highest point. Understanding we are vulnerable allows us to stay in tune and evaluate our thoughts and emotions to ensure we have the energy and determination needed to turn away lurking dangers.
I recall one client who left counseling prematurely because he believed he had all the tools necessary to combat his addiction. I knew at the time he had made some significant behavioral changes but did little to change the condition of his heart. I was not surprised when he called three months later admitting he had acted out and had been arrested.
Unfortunately, recovery is never a guarantee against abusing sex in the future. But if our approach to recovery is based on changing our character and being men of sexual integrity we strengthen our chances for success.
For those recovering from sexual addiction remaining humble and understanding they are broken creatures is essential. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit.” Palms 34:18.
Part of recovery is confessing our brokenness to God and allowing Him to guide us as we attempt to finish strong. By doing so, when temptation charges us we will not immediately act as we have in the past by turning to sex as a distraction or stimulant but instead we will turn to Him for direction because we are no longer arrogant about our addiction and recovery. We have the maturity to realize we may need some more assistance, more guidance, more motivation, more changing.
We will always be broken but by putting our trust and focus on Him and not ourselves we can remain men of sexually integrity.