Below is a post from Jeff Fisher a friend who leads another organization called Porn to Purity www.porntopurity.com. I really like his message and hope to share more of his thoughts in the future.
Recently, I’ve been going back to the gym. It’s a good habit, but it’s rough when I haven’t done it a while. My muscles have atrophied and haven’t been challenged in a while. So the last couple of days I have been sore, tired, achy.
I could help but think about my sexual purity journey and the recovery process. I have sexual purity muscles that get exercised when I dive into recovery. It is a necessary shock to my system. I want to highlight some of these areas that get a workout when we dive into sexual purity.
SEXUAL ORGAN MUSCLES
My sex organs have been getting too much of a workout. I need to deny them. I need to recommit them back to the Holy Spirit and bring them under His power. My body is for my spouse, or nobody else.
Honestly, this hurts for a while. I go through withdrawals when I stop masturbating. I’m used to getting horny, building up, and following through… then doing it again. When I stop having sex and self-sex my body will adjust, but not without some pain. The first couple of weeks of not masturbating were painful for me. It took a while for my body to adjust. But it did. My balls did not blow up. I did not die. I adjusted and began to find out for the first time what my normal bodily cycle was.
My mind got a workout as I was learning to bounce my thoughts. My mind needed to start thinking in healthy directions. It was hard. I was used to thinking sexually and fantacizing about whatever girl or sexual scenario I wanted. Saying “no” in the mind takes a lot of time. The best help for me was turning to God with my thoughts, and thinking about good, holy things.
Journaling and blog writing helped me tremendously in this area. As I wrote out my thoughts and feelings, I was engaging my mind in a healthy way. I had a lot to write about.
For some, listening to sexual addiction recovery podcasts or to an audio Bible is very helpful.
Reading, in general, is a healthy mind exercise that will give your mind a workout. Grab a good recovery book like Breaking Free by Russell Willingham or Surfing For God by Michael John Cusack.
This is me and my relationships. The only relationship muscles I was working were the ones related to isolation. I did whatever it took to not be around people, protect my environment, and hang out with my “best friend”… ME and my sexual habits.
In sexual purity and sexual addiction recovery I have to work out my relational muscles. They probably need the biggest workout. Honestly, they need a personal trainer, because I had no close friends. I had a lot of acquaintances, but nobody know the “True Jeff Fisher”. It was too shameful to me, so I kept it far away and covered it up.
Recovery has helped me learn to be relational, but it was very awkward at first. I still feel uncomfortable at it. I get around Godly men… spiritual men… men who know how to be men and I don’t feel like one of them. I have much practice being private Jeff. I still want to stay home and avoid connection at times. This is still a work in progress for me.
It’s not easy to stop looking lustfully, objectifying, and checking out every jogger on Cary Parkway.
My counselor told me I needed to retrain my brain and my eyes to not look. It’s called bouncing the eyes. He told me my brain would hurt for a while. It would be hard because I’m so used to looking. The neuropathways my mind and eyes had carved were a shortcut to the pleasure center of my brain. I needed to cut some new paths.
When I see a pretty girl bending over or a jogger approaching I’m aware of it quickly. I’m learning to turn my eyes, bounce them. It’s getting better, but I almost have to force them sometimes. Sometimes I have to shut my eyes, turn my head or turn my body around to get it under control.
My sexual nature (which is given by God) causes me to be attracted to the opposite sex. So that’s not the problem, it’s drinking in, coventing, desiring for myself, and moving so I can get a better glance, pausing the DVR, or even following a pretty girl to make the experience last longer.
It helps me when I’ve got another guy with me or my wife or kids by me. I’m more conscious of my eyes and where they go.
My emotions getting a workout has been the biggest surprise to me. Our marital counselor reminded me that porn has a numbing effect on my emotions. When I stop looking it opens up the full range of emotions that God has given me. At first, it felt like I was on overload. My highs were very high and my lows were very low.
My emotions automatically happened, but they got a specific workout each time I would talk about how I was feeling and what was going on deep in my heart. I wasn’t used to speaking deeply and truthfully. I didn’t know how. Support groups and good counselors helped me a lot. They took me to the gym in my heart. There were some counseling sessions where I felt so spent and tired. It was very similar to how I feel after a long run or heavy session on the weights.
I never thought God would be so interested in working out my heart. I never thought this sexual purity journey would take my emotions to the gym. Literally, I “feel” better now. I exercise my emotional muscles almost every day… everytime I go to group, write in my journal, write out a blog like this, or talk to one of you via email.
I thought I was pretty good spiritually. I read my Bible almost every day, prayed, and preached on a regular basis. My sexual addiction recovery has stripped many of my false religious actions off of me. I didn’t start from scratch, but I was humbled and broken by God and needed to be rebuilt spiritually. My spirit muscles when to gym in the book of Psalms. That was the place I found God again. That was the place where I could get real, be honest, and be angry with him. Eventually, I learned how to worship again.
Before my recovery I was spiritual, but my spirituality was not coming from a heart of integrity. And I wasn’t depending on the power of the Lord for deliverance from my sexual sin. I was hardening my heart and shutting myself off to the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit.
When God broke my hardened heart it was painful. I didn’t want to worship or read the bible. I was so full of the shock of the moment. But very gradually and quietly the voice of the Lord wooed me back into the gym spiritually. I needed to learn how to workout spiritually in a different way, and like I said, it began with integrity and brutal honesty. That was new for me.
I’ve shared my sexual addiction recovery gym workouts and a bit of my routine. I hope this helps you think about the recovery process in a fresh light. Working out new sets of muscles is painful. It doesn’t feel right at first, but it’s only because we are used to unhealthy habits. Recovery thrives when it is worked out hard.
I love the guys that get to the point where they say, “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get well and to get healthy sexually.” That’s the right place to be and that path always leads to the recovery gym.
Jeff Fisher is a blogger and podcaster living in Raleigh, North Carolina. He and his wife run www.porntopurity.com. Jeff’s podcast Top Tips For Sexual Purity Podcast (I-Tunes) has many helpful tips on sexual addiction recovery and sexual purity.
You can reach Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org