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Learning to Think Like A Man: How I Overcame Sexual Addiction

Last Updated: June 9, 2021

Victory Stories

Every day at Covenant Eyes we hear inspiring stories of victory over porn. Here are just a few of them.

by Victory Is Possible

Being 8 years old has an almost magical quality. You feel invincible. You have your whole life in front of you. No worries. Flying is as easy as stretching your arms and running. Remember climbing trees and playing kick the can and hide and go seek? On summer evenings, the alien buzzing of locusts evoking dreams of ray guns and spaceships? Looking at the sun and wondering if there’s an opposite earth on the other side? Dreams of finally catching the snapping turtle poking its head out of the water? When you’re young, crystalline dreams of fun and greatness spring up like grass from the prairie. Being a doctor, running for president, designing great buildings, going to the moon. The funny thing is, out of nowhere, reality can hand us unexpected left turns.

On average, people with sexual addiction are exposed to sexual ideas and materials two years earlier than those who aren’t. In my case it was my second-grade year. The exposure was enough to sow seeds of destruction that would last for years. I really didn’t know a lot back then, but one thing I did know…I had to keep the terrible shame and the knowledge of what was happening a secret.

My family was a turbulent one. There were serial affairs, alcoholism, arguments, emotional violence and crying. It was a breeding ground of heartbreak for everyone involved. A few years later, my parent’s marriage came spinning apart in a train wreck of self-centeredness. This left me with a deep sense of disconnection from those who mattered most in my life: my parents. I had scant emotional skills to deal with this in a healthy way. What I did know was that it hurt. But sex brought a tremendous (though temporary) sense of peace and “rightness” with the world, so I learned to misuse it to find some peace. At that age, it was the only way I knew to manage the unmanageable.

It’s really pretty predictable. If you take a strong sense of disconnection from your parents, early exposure to sexual thinking, secrecy, the sense of false peace that orgasm brings and the progressively sexual nature of our society it seems to add up to one thing…sexual addiction. Early on, this seemed to just simmer on the back of the stove, not really boiling, but not cooling either. I knew the hot water was there alright, but I really didn’t notice that it was getting hotter. It was just slowly ramping up. Each year brought a few more degrees of heat; an imperceptible inching to the full-blown boiling of sexual addiction.

I became a believer somewhere along that time. One would hope that this would bring the peace that would break this addiction. Not so. It actually started a battle with the two natures, the Godly and the sinful. It added a whole new dimension of shame. I hated what I did and who I was. Shame deepened the cycle of hating myself after acting out. The shame and secrecy just kept adding fuel to the fire. I thought I trusted God. My secret actions told a different story. When it came to the deep pain, my heart didn’t trust. It wasn’t how I was “supposed” to feel. I just deepened my resolved to keep secrets.

Then the Internet came along. It had the three “A’s”… Anonymous, Available and Affordable. For me (as for most addicts), this combination was a recipe for disaster. Deep down I realized that this was more than just a high sex drive. As the Alcoholics Anonymous folks say, I was “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Have you every prayed the “God-a-cide” prayer? It goes like this: “God, I can’t stop and I hate myself. Please take my life so no one will know, and I’ll be done with this addiction.” After 10 years of Internet-fueled self-loathing, I spent a year and a half secretly praying that prayer.

To make the long story short, I was finally confronted with my sin in a place in my life where I was ready. It was both the worst thing I have ever felt and the greatest relief in my life. God started growing the seeds of recovery in the soil of my heart He had been preparing. The years since then have been spent learning to actually trust God with my pain and my sexual life. Terrifying! Exhilarating! I’m genuinely jazzed at the the new life I have been given.

The best tool the enemy has is the two-for-one of shame and silence. A huge key to healing has been getting my secret into the light with trustworthy people. These people started pointing me to good resources. I found others that shared the problem. There are good counselors, support groups, and a growing host of online resources as well. Online Bible studies, training, ministries that specialize in sexual addiction recovery, blogs, computer filters. I’ll guarantee you that if you ask God for help and start looking, you’ll find it.

I’ll never forget the sense of hope that I had after reading a post by Joe Dallas. While I don’t struggle with same-sex attraction like Joe, I learned that we have an awful lot in common. Joe’s story encourages me. I see a man with some pretty profound violence done to his soul. I also see a man whom God has touched and given healing. I really hate what happened to Joe. I deeply wish that this brother could have been spared his pain – off somewhere living a life with a pristine soul. Even so, I am truly encouraged and inspired to continue because of his honesty and openness. (Read part 2 of his story here.)

I love to discover the “whys” behind the “whats” in this world. What a breath of fresh air to learn that there are believers who are doing excellent science in this area. I learned of Dr. Bill Struthers’ work. He is a neuroscientist doing solid work in the area of porn, sex and addiction. Have you read his book Wired for Intimacy? I highly recommend it (especially if you’re a bit technically inclined.) I’ll summarize it with a really overly simple phrase:

“Scripture is right when it says porn and sexual immorality is bad. Here’s why…porn and sexual immorality hijacks and deepens neural pathways in our brains actually intended by the Creator to be shared with our spouse for good. BUT…there is hope. Just as these pathways have been hijacked and deepened for ill, with discipline and time they can also be reclaimed for good.”

Interestingly, I learned from the book that when we orgasm, our brain chemistry makes the fear center go to sleep for a bit. No wonder sexual experience can be a powerful short-term anesthetic! Just like heroin, it made all my problems melt for a short while. Now, I’m learning to look forward to Heaven where all my fear will be gone.

Six years ago, God brought my secret into the light and restored me to His plan. This was not the life I imagined as an 8-year-old so long ago. Wrestling with hurt and pain, sexual addiction, failing and shame. Nevertheless, here I am by God’s grace and boundless love. Just like 1 Corinthians 13 says, when I was a kid I thought like a child, did childish things and dreamed like a child. I am so thankful that God is teaching me to think like a man.

  • Comments on: Learning to Think Like A Man: How I Overcame Sexual Addiction
    1. David Frazier on

      Your sexual “SIN” was not your problem, my friend. You were! Your sexual sin was just a by-product of your own pride, self-centeredness, and idolatry. I read your blog and find a lot of self-empowerment and “go me’s,” but I looked and couldn’t find one mention of Jesus Christ being the exalted One. I hope and pray that you “go and learn what this means, I desire (will) mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matt. 9:13). Ceasing the behavior does not necessarily glorify God.
      Again “addiction” is not scriptural, nor is your secular humanistic misquotation of scripture…”Scripture is right when it says porn and sexual immorality is bad.” Scripture calls it what is truly is…IDOLATRY! and WILLFUL SIN! Jesus Christ did not spill His precious blood on the Cross to “genuinely jazz you,” He came to kill your self-will, self-love, your self-righteous pride, and lead you to your own Cross, so you can be resurrected with Him as a new creation.
      You do not “recover” from sin and idolatry, you “repent!” Stop trying to intermingle worldly “Freudian” doctrine with God’s inerrant pure Truth! I hope and pray you see this as a seed of Truth and receive it in love, as God’s Word has been trying to pierce through your sin-hardened heart for your entire life. “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).

      Reply
      • Gary on

        Wow , the pride and arrogance by which you “use the Word”…You must really have arrived!! I pray that your fall hasn’t been too hard, because “Pride comes before a fall” There is a mjpr spirit of pride pervading your words…and you will fall. I have never read from someone quite as full of the knowledge of God as you.. you must really on The Lord’s special list…

        Although everything you say is true, the spirit behind it is not from the Jesus that I know. But of course I obviously dont know Him like you.. neither does this person who He is setting free.

        How could you call this guy “my friend” Any time anybody uses that term means exactly the opposite.. you have a bone to pick with them..you think you are right and they are wrong! What are YOU hiding and burying that makes you come off like that??

        I really question spirit of your response…??

    2. Daniel on

      Friend,

      Thank you for writing your testimony for us on the blog. Sorry some of us are a little trigger happy. Be patient and pray for us and if you have any faults we will pray for you also.

      The Jesus I know and the Bible teaches sets the lonely in families. He came to set the oppressed free and break every chain. He came to bring joy out of sorrow and life from death. He is a friend of sinners.

      Perhaps we should be cautious about relying too heavily on worldly philosophies and psychologies instead of Christ. And yet I believe all true truth is God’s truth, and just as we are blessed by doctors and medicines, we are blessed also with psychologists and steps. On one hand we have every right to be broken-hearted and take responsibility to repent for our willful mistakes and idolatry. On the other we can be helped by realizing the chemical nature of our sexual addictions and practical steps to replace our sinful habits.

      It is God who grants health and deliverance, and I thank Him for the hope and new life he has brought your way. Pray for us who are still waiting for His deliverance.

      Reply
    3. El on

      @David Frazier – I really question the spirit of your response too. You sound like a pharisee! ‘God’s Word has been trying to pierce through your sin-hardened heart for your entire life.’ Wow. Come on, man. If you’re a born-again believer, you should have a special love for your brethren- I understand you feel that the guy who wrote the article wasn’t Biblical enough, but how dare you puff yourself up and respond in this way! It’s wrong, and it is certainly not Christ-like, whatever way you look at it.

      Reply

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