What discomfort or debilitation are we living with today that we don’t need to? What unpleasant aspect of our life do we accept as normal when it isn’t? It’s so easy to assume we already know everything we can do to help ourselves. However, there are usually methods we’ve never heard of that could really help us live fuller lives.
We tend to ignore our pain.
This lesson came home to me recently after a doctor visit, of all things. I try to take care of myself. I exercise and eat right–mostly. However, when I don’t feel well, I have the tendency to ignore whatever’s bothering me and wait for it to go away, even when that takes a very long time. Making an appointment and driving to the doctor is such a hassle. I guess I’m somewhat stoic, preferring to live with a little pain than going to see a doctor.
For example, the last couple of years I have noticed my energy level going down, especially in the afternoon. I found myself feeling really tired and having a hard time concentrating after 3:00 p.m. or so. I decided it must just be a side effect of getting older.
I had a check up with a new doctor, and of course never bothered to mention my low energy level since I thought it was normal. Fortunately, this new doctor decided to do more extensive blood tests than I’ve had in the past. The doctor discovered that I was very low on vitamin B, a condition that apparently makes a person tired all the time. I was given a bottle of a rather high dose of vitamin B to take each day. I didn’t really believe it would make much of a difference. I’m not a pill guy. But it did make a difference, a very big one.
After only one day it was as if someone had flipped a switch and I was awake again. I felt ten years younger almost instantly. I don’t get tired in the afternoon, and I have no trouble focusing any more, even in the evenings. I am much more productive at work and a happier person to be around. This was truly an amazing change–I could scarcely believe it.
How many “conditions” are we living with that we don’t need to? Maybe we no longer give in and look at pornography, but we still struggle frequently with sexual fantasy. Maybe we have lust pretty much in control, but find our lives have become dull and monotonous. We were never meant to live like this, and we don’t need to!
Help can be found wherever you are.
Things have changed dramatically since I began addressing my own sexual purity twenty years ago. Today there are many counselors, coaches, consultants, and even pastors who are trained and informed on how to help us. In fact, there are far more everyday people in our churches who have gotten professional help and know quite a bit that could be beneficial to us, if we’d just ask for advice. For those of us who may live in remote areas, we can get help over the phone or through a number of online services. There is no reason to live with debilitating conditions any longer.
Another person’s perspective may bring the tips you need for healing.
We also have to remember that this journey toward sexual purity is a life-long journey. Even if we have received help at one point in our lives, it does not mean we are done. As we become healthier, we tend to find areas that seemed minor before but now need addressing. And often that requires a fresh perspective.
For example, when I began addressing my issues I went to a counselor who had a CSAT (Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist) certificate. Not that everyone needs that level of help, but it sure can come in handy, even for a person who is not technically addicted. Under that counselor’s care I became free of my compulsion to use pornography as well as masturbation. However, years later I realized there were still certain times of the year when temptation seemed to spike and fantasy was very difficult to avoid.
This time, rather than ignore the issue and just assume it was part of being a guy, I asked a counselor friend what he thought I should do. He said it sounded like it could be some unresolved trauma and suggested I see a different kind of counselor, one trained to deal with trauma. I didn’t want to. I mean, how many counselors do I need? What kind of a mess am I? But I went anyway.
Related: When Is Professional Help Needed in Porn Addiction Recovery?
I won’t go into details, but this counselor did things that were completely different than I’d experienced before, and we did discover some past trauma I’d chalked up to as no big deal. I was taught some new tools I’d never heard of before, and within a couple of months, the temptation to escape largely vanished.
I am not suggesting that everyone should go get treatment for trauma, though some may find that helpful. My point is, we don’t have to “live with it,” whatever “it” happens to be that drags us down. These examples are about getting help from professionals, but I’ve learned tips and tricks from friends that have been just as helpful. I could describe all of those as well, but you get the point.
What’s keeping you from a more fulfilling life?
What one small change would make a big difference in our purity and overall happiness? How long are we living well below our potential because we don’t want the bother seeking help from someone who knows how to help us?
A small thing that weighs us down over several years adds up to a significant reduction in our quality of life. I would never have guessed I needed more vitamin B to feel awake. I didn’t know that EMDR existed, much less that it could help me. In my purity journey I have sought the help of others many times, each time gaining new insights and a better life as a result. I’m sure there are more to come, and I, for one, will take advantage of them.
What are you willing to do to have a more fulfilling life?
Excellent article John…..Wow, I can think of so many traumas, I need smelling salts as after shave (smile). I forgave those that have wronged me and have gotten away from others that remind me (if that makes sense). I have had a pretty much see-saw battle for several years since I really started trying to combat this problem. After reading what an addict is, I would not say I am a full blown addict, but when I give in to the temptation to lust it does become a formidable force. I am combating this different this time by giving up many things like smartphones, internet availability by blocking my access during days of the week I am alone in the house and job opportunities that would put me in areas I don’t feel I would be strong around. Yeah, I guess it’s like cleaning that wound, sometimes the treatment hurts but hopefully the pain will subside as the healing takes place. I am glad I have done this and I have thought about cutting the internet all together, we’ll see(?)
I have been two months solid (porn & masturbation free). I want a year to even begin to start bragging, but each day is an accomplishment and The Lord’s grace to give me strength is an answered prayer. To go without both porn and masturbation for this long encourages me and I feel a sense of real strength I never felt before. When you spoke about those times of the year where we tend to struggle a little more, that really spoke to me. I was like “yes, I have them too!” The longest I have ever went was about 90 days, but that was only without porn. What I have accomplished so far is the longest I have ever gone without both and I don’t feel as tempted as when I first started, yet I fear those times of the year that may come back to check the walls of my defense.
Again, nice article and I think I will get my vitamin B checked too (smile).
This is a wonderful article. Just wanted to tell you that I have used EMDR too, and it has helped
Thanks for all you do