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To Do List – Get Accountable Part Two

May 24, 2010 Leave a comment

In part one of this post we discussed how important accountability is but that it was not a magical fix. Part two is what to look for an accountability partner. Remember that you will never find someone who is a perfect accountability partner.

You are looking for someone engaged in the journey that can walk side by side with you. A brother. A friend.
  • Struggles with the same or similar issues as you do. This person needs to have a clue about what your struggle is like. Sexual sin thrives on deception and denial. A person who understands your struggle will be better able to see the areas in your life where you are deceiving or in denial and bring that to your attention.
  • Is able to challenge you. Using a person that you can control will be completely ineffective. If they are not free to challenge your thinking where you need it, then the entire accountability relationship will be worthless. In other words, using your employee or grown child as an accountability partner won’t work. If you’re in ministry, you need to find someone who is not in your “flock.”
  • Comfortable with them. You gotta get along with them. If you can’t relate and find common ground, then it may not work out.
  • Has the time and diligence for a weekly conversation. You need to talk about things every week and sometimes on a daily basis. If the person is not consistently available, you’ve gotta find a different solution.
  • Is not your spouse. Some people think that their spouse would make an ideal accountability partner. They almost never do. First, it’s very likely have a long history of hiding your sexual sin from your spouse. If this is the case, what makes you think you can be honest now? Second, every time you make some kind of revelation to your spouse (who is already hurt to the core) it will be like salt in their wound. This is not an environment that encourages honesty. Third, they have their own stuff to deal with. It is said that the healthy does not marry the sick. Usually, your dealing with your stuff will expose some issues your spouse needs to deal with that make them poor accountability partners. Using your spouse as an accountability partner will very likely make your relationship worse.
  • Same gender as you. It seems silly even saying that, but you’d be surprised that some people think that might work!
  • Balanced approach to life. There are two extremes in the area of quitting sexual sin. The “Just give it to God” camp and the “I just need some counseling” types. The problem is both are right to some degree. If you take either approach and push it to the extreme it doesn’t work. We were created spiritual, emotional, physical and mental beings. The solution will draw a good balance between all the areas.
  • Must be confidential. Think carefully. Confidentiality is a non negotiable. If you hear your potential confidentially partner sharing things about others that you would be embarrassed about if that was you, they are not your accountability partner. This person needs to be so totally committed to confidentiality that they need to not share this stuff with even their wife. No bringing it up as a “prayer concern” – or any of the other loopholes we use to gossip.

A common question that people ask about accountability partners is “Does my accountability partner need to be further down the road than I do?”. Not really. Often times that kind of person would be called a sponsor. You are looking for someone engaged in the journey that can walk side by side with you. A brother. A friend.

To Do List – Get Accountable Part one

May 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Get accountable. Being accountable to someone else has really helped me to get and stay sexually pure. The ability to discuss openly with someone else the nature of my struggles has been indispensable. I’ve been at this quite a while now and I can’t tell you how often I hear from a newbie, “All I need to do is get someone to hold me accountable.” Accountability is important, but it can also definitely fall into the category of “magic fixes.”

One key thing you have to realize about even the best accountability is that its success depends on you – not the accountability partner. You have to be honest. No accountability partner in the world is going to make you be honest or quit sinning sexually.

Magic fixes are things that people think are the silver bullet for their problem. Just fire it once and the werewolf dies, never to return. Usually magic fixes are based on good things. The problem is that people think this is all they need to do. It will somehow magically make their problems go away. While accountability relationships can be very beneficial, they never work out to be a stand-alone magic fix.

One key thing you have to realize about even the best accountability is that its success depends on you – not the accountability partner. You have to be honest. No accountability partner in the world is going to make you be honest or quit sinning sexually.

Sexual sin depends on lies and deception to grow. If you’re involved in it, then you’re involved in a systematic program of deceiving yourself and the significant people in your life. It’s likely that this deception and hiding has gone on for years or decades. Undoing these years of deceptive habits and patterns will take getting honest with yourself – which is not something an accountability partner can make you do.

Think about it this way. All these years, your best efforts to stop doing what you are doing have failed. Your own conscience has not brought about the change you have been looking and hoping for. The Holy Spirit has likely been prompting you to change but you haven’t stopped yet. So how is another human going to accomplish this thing that your best efforts, your conscience, and the Holy Spirit (working on an uncooperative subject) haven’t made happen?

For a large majority of us, solving this issue will require an honest response to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and hard work from us. Don’t look to your accountability partner to make you honest.

Accountability partnerships are good things… really good things. When I’m struggling, I’ve found that my accountability partner helps me think things out. He usually sees things from a different perspective and helps me get past my own deception. I’ve come to think that the term “accountability partner” is a bad description. It conjures up images of a cop or law enforcement officer; someone who’s making me toe the line. Far from that: an accountability partner walks side by side with me. Yes, sometimes he does hold me accountable, but I find much greater value in his friendship as my confidant, adviser and encourager.

Part II… what to look for in an accountability partner.

Start thinking about the positives

May 10, 2010 1 comment

I have been on both sides of this issue; steeped in sex and living in sexual purity. There aren’t many people out there who have really lived both sides. I can tell you with certainty…given the choice between the two I’d choose sexual purity any day!

So often the battle seems to be about the struggles, hard work and effort that it takes. It’s important to keep the positives in you mind as well. Here are some things that started happening to me as I became more victorious over my sexual sin.

Less Shame. Sexual sin creates massive shame in our lives. We feel terrible about what we are doing. This is the red light on the dashboard telling us that something needs attention. Shame bleeds into every aspect of our lives. One place it showed up for me is in my relationships. I found that I felt so bad about myself that I felt ashamed around others. The last five years have had so much less of that shame. I can look people in the eye with thinking “If they only knew how black my heart is”.

Accomplishment. It really feels great to look back and see how far I have come. My life today is 180 degrees different than it was before recovery and it feels great. I feel so much more able to achieve the things that I need to achieve. Sexual sin really sinks it’s talons in our hearts. Thanks be to God…it’s one of my crowning accomplishments of my life.

Much closer walk with the Lord. Ten years ago I thought that it was impossible to have a consistent quiet time. Now its four out of seven days. That is paying huge dividends in my heart and my understanding of who God is.

Respect from my wife. Just the other day she looked me in the eye and said. “You have really changed. I don’t know what it is for sure and when it exactly happened but you are totally different.” Man! That feels like streams in the dry, hot, thirsty desert! It feels so good to know that she sees my efforts, respects me as a man who takes responsibility and does the right thing now. It’s great to feel like her hero, a Godly man, an overcomer. Hearing her express that and seeing it in her actions makes a HUGE difference to me.

A better relationship with my wife. The days of blaming her for not living up to my distorted sexual standards are over. This has made such a huge difference in all areas in our life together. There is so much more peace. It’s funny but when you are so focused on a goal sometimes it actually drives a person in the opposite direction. The more you try to make it happen, the more the other person goes the other direction.

Prayer. My prayer life was nonexistent before. Really, the only prayers I would say were when I was asked to pray in public. I spend most drives to work praying now and they are far more focused on me learning who God is than me asking God for some favor.

Spiritual Direction. Before I was so clouded with sin that I could hardly hear the Holy Spirit shout. Now I have some pretty clear direction and a very clear sense of what I need to be doing. It is very freeing to be able to say “No” because I truly know that I am not called. I am free to say “Yes” to good things that I have been called to do and work wholeheartedly in that direction.

Peace. No more covering tracks. No more fear when someone is using my computer. No more worry about being discovered, about people really knowing who I am.

Friends closer than brothers. Before I wondered if people would still like me or accept me if they only “knew what I knew” about myself. The good news is I have found brothers that won’t “run from the room screaming” when I talk about what I think is my worse stuff. I know men who have been engaged in heroic battles of good and evil and have won. They are truly modern day heroes that nobody knows. Don’t get me wrong, I have some great friends from before that are still friends now. It’s just that I now know that there are people who accept me…all of me…with the love of the Lord. Wonderful!

What I am trying to say here is that it’s important to have a sense of where you life could go and who you could be if you focus on this issue and whip it. I have been on both sides of this issue; steeped in sex and living in sexual purity. There aren’t many people out there who have really lived both sides. I can tell you with certainty…given the choice between the two I’d choose sexual purity any day!

To Do List – Turn from your sin

April 30, 2010 Leave a comment
Think about 1 Cor 10:13. God promises a way out. All too often we sit and pray and ask God to deliver on his promise and we feel like he never shows up. We get madder and madder feeling like God abandoned us and that he doesn’t exist. The reality is that instead of using God’s way out we are waiting for God to do it all for us.

Porn. Get rid of it. If you don’t trash it you will go back to it. This stuff has no business being in your house, your computer or anywhere else that you can get to it. Throw away all videos you have, including the R rated videos. These are triggers. Stay away from convenience stores. You don’t need to have the magazines screaming at you from the rack.

Affairs. If it’s a relationship you need to break it off immediately and never have contact with that person again – ever. If it’s internet chatting, Facebook or other “social media” that you use, then you need to abandon/delete those accounts, delete the emails and the email accounts. Purge everything. Don’t leave any stone unturned.

Denial runs strong here. It’s pretty common for someone to think “You don’t understand how bad my marriage is. My spouse doesn’t understand me. Sex is lousy. They are always on my case or worse yet, absent. But this person I have the affair with…we study scripture and pray together. I married the wrong person. It was my fault, not God’s. Somehow I missed that special person God picked out for me. Now I realize it. We belong together.”

Let me be perfectly clear here. This is all a pack of lies designed to mess your life up. If you are married to them, then they are God’s choice for you. Honestly, I have never seen a failing marriage where both people were not at fault. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on your marriage.

Prostitution. Never return to that area where you would go to hire them – ever. You need to avoid the temptations that get you hooked in. Stop carrying money and get some accountability for the cash that is in your pocket.

Have you ever heard the joke about the guy in the flood? He was resolved that he was going to have faith in the Lord – that the Lord would save him. Warnings came and he stood his ground, A Sheriff’s car came buy and he stood his ground even though the water was rising. A boat came by and he stood his ground. He ended up drowning. All the while we has believing that God would deliver him. When he got to heaven he asked God (quite angrily, I might add) where was he? God responded “I sent, warnings, a car, a boat. What more do you want?”.

Think about 1 Cor 10:13. God promises a way out. All too often we sit and pray and ask God to deliver on his promise and we feel like he never shows up. We get madder and madder feeling like God abandoned us and that he doesn’t exist. The reality is that instead of using God’s way out we are waiting for God to do it all for us. We have lots of ways that God has given us in the form of filters, delete buttons, brothers in the Lord. We are swimming in help, we just don’t take it.

Victory Is Possible is written by someone who has struggled with sexual sin for decades. I have found victory since 2005. I am not a licensed or trained counselor or pastor and do not pretend to be one. I post my experience here in a hope that you may learn from that experience in your own journey of recovery. As always…I encourage you to seek the the will of the Lord and the advice of wise friends, counselors and pastors before making major life changes. You may contact Victory Is Possible at victoryispossible@gmail.com. All contacts will be kept confidential.

To do list – Tell a safe friend

April 27, 2010 Leave a comment

You really need to get this problem in the light. If you don’t you won’t succeed. It’s really is that simple. Below are some things I found when I went through my “giving it up” stage. The key is tell someone!

First, don’t get this confused with an accountability partner – they’re two different things. The person you tell initially doesn’t need to have the same problem you are having. In the early days it’s so easy to give up and not go through with the steps you have decided to take. This person helps you out in the early days. They walk with you. Choose a friend that most fits these attributes:

  • Confidential. We are not talking the “kinda” or even the “pretty” confidential type. We are talking the “absolutely confidential” type. The “not telling anyone, even their wife” kind of confidential. This means that they keep everything that they hear from you between you and them – no exceptions.
  • Wise. Find someone that has a steady hand when it comes to crisis. Last thing you need is someone giving you advice that ends up making your problem worse.
  • Love and acceptance. Look, you really don’t need someone that is going to tell you how bad this sexual sin thing is. You have been telling yourself this all along. Some people think that is what they need – more punishment. If that worked you wouldn’t be here to begin with. You need a little grace. You gotta get up and accept forgiveness and start accepting healthy responsibility for your life.
  • Straight shooter. They’ve gotta be able to tell you the truth. You have been in this sin for a long time. In order to stay in the sin you have been telling yourself a lot of half truths or even outright lies. You’ve gotta find someone that can help you understand the truth.
  • Balanced approach to life. There are three extremes in the area of quitting sexual sin. The “Just give it to God” types. The “I just need some counseling” types and the “It’s no big deal, everyone does it” minimizers. The problem is the first two are right to some degree, I learned to ignore the third one. If you take either the “God” approach of the “Man” approach and push it to the extreme it doesn’t work. We were created spiritual, emotional, physical and mental beings. The solution will draw a good balance between all the areas.
  • Same gender. Do I really have to say anything here? Choosing someone of the opposite gender is like jumping from the frying pan and into the fire. It is not unusual for someone to get one problem under control only to have another one crop up. In other words…you may get a porn habit under control only to find that you are tempted to have an affair.

If you don’t have a friend like this, then tell a pastor or make an appointment with a Christian counselor. Don’t wait for the perfect person – they don’t exist. Better to tell someone that does not fully meet this criteria than to keep this hidden. The bottom line is you need to get it out in the light and do it soon.

Don’t tell the world. You have been keeping this hidden so long that once you tell someone a huge weight comes off your shoulders. It feels great. Because it feels so good some people will feel like running out and telling the whole world. Like shouting it from the mountaintop. Resist. All it will likely do is create more heartache and trouble, knocking you off your recovery path. Not only that but giving the wrong person this kind of information at the wrong time or in the wrong way can have devastating effects on their spiritual growth as well. You may eventually “go public” but it’s best to wait for when you have wisely spent one on one time with those you need to reconcile with first and when you are much more confident in your ability to weather the storm.

Victory Is Possible is written by someone who has struggled with sexual sin for decades. I have found victory since 2005. I am not a licensed or trained counselor or pastor and do not pretend to be one. I post my experience here in a hope that you may learn from that experience in your own journey of recovery. As always…I encourage you to seek the the will of the Lord and the advice of wise friends, counselors and pastors before making major life changes. You may contact Victory Is Possible at victoryispossible@gmail.com. All contacts will be kept confidential.



I want to quit, what do I do?

April 26, 2010 1 comment

Today marks the start of a new series about the to do list of the early overcomer. A common problem faced by people who quit sexual sin is “What do I do now?”. This is not just a matter of giving something up. It’s also a matter of moving towards a healthier lifestyle.

One of the reasons people fail is a lack of direction. They know they need to quit; that what they are doing is not the way. We have lived in our unhealthy lifestyle so long we don’t know any other way. Every few days I’ll post some of the things I did that I found helpful in the early days.

This list was built on years of experience – some bad, some good. You gotta understand that I have been at this for a long time (decades of sexual sin and five years of sexual sobriety). What I report here is based from those experiences. There are other ways, other methods. I’m not guaranteeing that this will work for you, I’m just saying this worked for me.

I am not a trained or licensed counselor. The only degree I have here is “Life 101”. All I am doing here is speaking from my experiences in hopes that others can benefit from it. They say in AA “Take what you like and leave the rest”. It’s my hope that you can learn from my experiences as you shape your own recovery.

Every few days I will post about the following list…

  • Tell a safe friend.
  • Turn from your sin.
  • Put some structure in place
  • Get accountable
  • Pray
  • Be patient
  • Start meeting with like minded people
  • There may be others, I haven’t decided yet.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll talk a bit about “Tell a safe friend”.