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The Two Most Important Questions to Ask If You Have a Setback

Last Updated: September 14, 2020

Joel Hesch

Joel Hesch is an author and founder of Proven Men Ministries, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring families and helping men break free from porn and sex addiction through a 12-week daily workbook study and accountability. After breaking free from his own 20-year addiction, Joel created “the proven path for sexual integrity.” His vision is to help 1 million people experience victory from strongholds of porn and sex addition.

This post has been updated as of September 2020.

Recently, a married man from a support group I lead had two setbacks (or relapses) with porn on the same day. But rather than quitting, he sheepishly retorted, “It was just what the doctor ordered!”

One of the hardest things to understand or accept is that setbacks may be a part of the process of breaking the porn or sex addiction cycle. In fact, a setback is an opportunity to grow deeper. It’s only Satan who wants you to give up or doubt that God is on your side.

Setbacks remind you that you can’t win on your own. You need both God and helpful encouragement and accountability from a friend. Setbacks also cause you to examine other areas of your life that contribute to the problem. Without setbacks, you may continue to ignore selfishness or pride in your life that spurs you to lust or be lazy in guarding your eyes and hearts.

2 Questions That Changed My Perspective of Setbacks

After overcoming my own 20 year addiction in 1996, I formed Proven Men Ministries, a non-profit dedicated to helping others break free from porn or sex addiction. However, I was soon discouraged because at every meeting  at least one man confessed to having a setback in his recovery.

I wondered if I had the wrong approach to helping others and even considered disbanding my ministry.

Then two remarkable things happened. First, the Lord reminded me that I cannot rescue anyone and that my materials only work when they point others to Christ and healthy accountability. Second, I felt prompted to start asking men who had a setback two questions.

Question 1: What led up to the setback?

As people replied to this question, they actually examined their lives and invariably came up with their own solutions or game plans to be on guard going forward. Wow, how simple and yet so reflective!

For instance, if a man retold how stress from work led him to crave the old familiar escape of porn or fantasy, in answering the first question, he usually decided it was time to create a game plan for the next time he is stressed, such as taking a walk, reading scripture, or calling a friend. Reflection and planning really does help.

Question 2: What did you learn from your setback?

Asking this second question kept me from throwing in the towel on my ministry. I now look forward to journeying with those struggling through the ups and downs of recovering from porn or sex addiction. I am no longer discouraged when men I work with have setbacks, but I joyfully look forward to their responses to this second question. This simple question is both profound and encouraging.

One of the most important parts of a married person gaining and retaining sexual integrity is to confess any setbacks with porn or masturbation to their spouse. Secrets kill marriages, not porn.

Let me use the man from my group who had the double setback as an example. He was married and also attending seminary. He knew he needed to put an end to porn or porn would put an end to his hopes of being a pastor. In our first group meeting, every man shared his story. This man explained that his wife generally knew that he once had a porn problem, but after they got married, he told her he had it under control.

I told him he needed to tell her the full scope of his current struggles. At first he was mad. He made all kinds of justifications, but finally conceded that it was the right thing to do. That week he told his wife the whole truth and even confessed that he looked at porn that week. When he returned to group the next week, he was very excited. He was glad that he did. It was freeing and opened new and deeper communications. We all rejoiced with him.

Related: Trigger Alert! What’s Yours?

All seemed so good, except that after he left the safety of this support group setting and faced the real world on his own, he had another setback the next day. This is where things get really interesting. In fact, I didn’t need to tell him how to respond. Listen to what he reported at the meeting:

“I was on a high. Things were looking great. But somehow I slipped up. I looked at porn. I thought to myself, ‘Joel is going to make me tell her, so I better just tell her before our Monday meeting.’ So I confessed it to her. She was hurt and upset, but she was also glad that I was open and honest. I thought: Whew, dodged that bullet!

Then an hour later I pulled out my smart phone and the next thing you know I am looking at porn again. Oh no, I thought, ‘Joel is going to make me tell her, so I better just get it over with and tell her.’  As I told her I had two setbacks in one day, I could see her heart being ripped apart, but I am glad I did. No more secrets!”

At group, this man told us that his double setback was just what the doctor ordered. He explained that it took two setbacks in one day to finally realize that he was acting in his own strength. He really wasn’t sorry he sinned, but only that he got caught. He admitted that wanted to control his life and not turn every square inch over to the Lord.

This second setback gave him a new eternal perspective. It also made him want to love the Lord with all of his heart in fresher and deeper ways. As he humbly told of how the Lord spoke to him in ways he never had before, I had tears in my own eyes. That is why I do what I do. That is why I keep linking up with other men in my own life.

Setbacks Do Not Equal Failure

It’s time to take back ground lost to Satan. The lies of the devil are that you need to be perfect or that setbacks are failures. No, that’s not true!

Our motto is: “The mark of a proven man is not the absence of sin, but how you respond to a setback.” Setbacks provide a great opportunity for reflection and growth.

Related: In Case of Relapse

Want to get on track? Then start asking yourself these same two questions:

  • “What led up to my setback?”
  • “What did I learn from it?”

Then wait upon the Lord for answers, and you’ll start experiencing victory more and more as you grow deeper and deeper.

God really has much to say if you slow down and listen. He is in the business of redeeming and restoring, not condemning.

There is power in linking with others and openly sharing your lives, including struggles and setbacks. That is where true strength of character resides and why it’s an important part of recovery.

What about you? What questions or tips have you found to be helpful if you have a setback in your recovery journey? 

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  • Comments on: The Two Most Important Questions to Ask If You Have a Setback
    1. "anonymous" on

      Wow, nice article. I can relate in how I can have an unbelievable high mountain top moment then trip on a rock and it seems I fell 10,000 feet and look at that as another looong horrible climb back up.

      I have decided, no smartphones for me. I get scared to even think of owning one. It’s like I hear that small evil voice saying “get it and you’re mine.” Maybe it’s the Holy Spirit warning me in a more gentle way, but the first is what I tend to hear in my spirit. Maybe that is the problem…the spirit of “fear” I tend to listen too that then leads to anxiety that leads to the reaching out (?) All I know is that the technology we have today makes it soooo easy for anyone to fulfill the lust of the flesh and I know the bible says “not” to make provision for it, so I’m just gonna stay away from those areas I feel I would probably struggle and give in.

      What a battle we have before us, we live in such a sex crazed world which makes this such a hard thing to overcome. I have heard of the brain being able to be rewired and this is encouraging. Today I am 77 days clean. I can feel the tug to lust getting lighter at times when in the past I would have given in with just a light thought. Though, as with another writer mentioning those times of the year when the temptation seems stronger. I think of just how more I will struggle in the summer season. Not all, but a portion of women will leave not too much to the imagination. I thank God that I have a wife that understands this and also understands how visual men are. I say this because I am more opt to share with her how this impacts my struggles and thus “releases” the anxiety that pushes me to reach out to porn. It does not bottle up and lie in wait until that moment I am alone at the house and feel it surface along with the possibility of being bored (two dangers with me). With my wife not being so touchy about me sharing how the half naked woman walking in the store makes me uncomfortable she is actually helping me turn away because the anxiety was released through communication rather than through bottling-up that thought and stewing on it (in fear of her finding out I noticed) until I fulfill that lust with images on a screen.

      It’s a battle I know I’ll take to the grave, but just like other sins that will be taken to the grave also, Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe. Sin have left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow.

      Thanks CE and keep up that great work with the Dirty Dozen List….awesome research!!

      Reply
      • Chris McKenna on

        Hello, Anonymous, thank you for your honesty and your story. It sounds as though God is turing your misery into possible ministry. I love it when He does that.

        Peace, Chris

    2. Johanna Boman on

      Hopefully a husband would confess this sin as adultery and not just “I looked at porn”. Matt. 5:28.
      Perhaps if it is viewed and remembered in this light, a spouse would think before cheating.
      God has a lot to say about all habitual sin.
      No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
      1 John 3:6 NIV
      Things can always be forgiven, we are commanded to forgive and not be bitter.
      However, there is a big difference between forgiveness and reconciliation.
      This behavior is no light thing to the spouse.

      Reply
    3. Ray on

      I am struggling because I’m on my own and have no one to turn to. My wife has left me and I still can’t seem to overcome my addiction to sex and porn. Even with all the pain ithat has caused me. I still find myself going back to the old easy paths. I have accountability partners but they are not really close friends and i have a hard time opening up to them. I have filters on my phone and computer but I find ways to get around them and I can’t figure out what I should do next. I was free of the issue for about 4 months and so thankful then I relapsed because of going through the divorce and the stress and loneliness and feelings of failure overwhelming me and I knew I was going to fail and I told myself not to but I did it anyway. I keep reaching out to God for help and I feel like there is no one there and my conversation is simply with myself. I have repented every time and cry out to him for forgiveness and a chance to start over but I wonder how many times he will forgive and if I continue to fail will he simply just walk away.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hi Ray. I’m so sorry for the pain you’re going through. I suggest that you find a counselor or spiritual director to talk with. When you talk about stress, loneliness, and feelings of failure, along with having conversations only with yourself–that just breaks my heart. And there’s no need to be alone in this. Find someone who can help you bear this burden of pain. I think you hit on something so important in your frustration with accountability partners: unfortunately, many men are not comfortable being truly open on an emotional level with one another. I personally think this is what the porn problem in the church is all about: men who are wounded and can’t bring their pain to a real person for healing. So, that’s why I’m saying, find a counselor or a spiritual director. Not for the “porn problem” but for the pain problem. And I think once you’ve got some healing in that area, you won’t need the porn so much any more. Peace to you, Kay

      • mike on

        Hey Ray, I can relate to what you’re going through.. I’m in a similar place as you and I’m at the end of my rope as well. Something has to change. I mean I skipped church today and looked at porn all day. It doesn’t get much worse than that. I saw your post because i got the “the 2 most important things to do when you have a setback” message from Covenant Eyes because I had another setback. I’m like you it’s not that hard to get around the blockers if you really want to. The blockers have their place but real change has to come from a deeper place. All I know is that I can’t live like this anymore. I’m ready to swallow my selfish pride and do whatever it takes to be free. I know God is not going to walk away from me or you. He loves me and you and he wants us to be free. He came and died for us so we could be free from not only the penalty but also from the power of sin. God knows all of our sins before we do. He is not going to discard us. He is going to free us if we let Him. I honestly and truly believe that. My faith in the infinite love and mercy and compassion and forgiveness an power of our God is the only thing that keeps me going. Guess what. When God frees us from porn we will still be sinners in need of God’s daily supply of grace thru Jesus Christ. How’s that for a pick me up. I think we have to finally surrender and stop fighting God and submit to His way to be free of it. I won’t ever give up. There is no way I’m turning back to the world. We have to keep asking and seeking and knocking. I think the problem for me is that I want to do it my way which means in my own power and by myself in the dark so nobody else knows about it. I don’t think God works like that. God is light and He works in the light. I read other people’s stories of porn addiction and they all start with that solution to stop it and I’ve never heard anyone say that it worked for them and yet for some reason I think i can make it work for me. It’s just stubborn foolish pride. I think God is starting to finally get thru to me that if I want to be free of it then I have to do it His way and swallow my foolish pride and selfishness and bring it out into the open and network with other believers Like Kay said where we can find help and support in the body of Christ and be help and support for others. I think that’s where the power of Christ will free us.
        I stumbled across an organization called “Proven Men”. This organization looks promising. Take a look at their website. Kay’s response below is exactly what Proven Men advocates. I’m relatively new in the church and i started up during the Covid thing with my church so I don’t really have any strong Christian relationships and I don’t really have anyone to turn to either. It’s funny. I was just praying that God would lead me to someone who i could partner with. I could use a networking partner if you’re interested.

    4. jbg on

      I like and agree with the general content of this information. However:

      “First, the Lord reminded me that I cannot rescue anyone and that my materials only work when they point others to Christ and healthy accountability.

      Second, the Lord whispered that I needed to start asking men who had a setback two questions. Okay, I did not hear an audible voice from God, but it was as clear of a message from God as I have ever heard, and it caught my attention.”

      is a bit disingenuous. I appreciate his saying it was not an audible voice, but if he is attributing something to God, I would like a bit more clarity and/or transparency on this. I’m a bit weary of the “God told me this” backstop many Christian writers use to try to lend authority to their words.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Thanks for this! Yes, “God told me” is a power play. If our words and ideas have merit, they can stand on their own.

    5. Emmanuel Donkor on

      Hi Joel,

      Thanks for the article. It is liberating in many ways. Up until now, I have always felt guilty when I looked at porn. This made it almost impossible to come to God because I always felt dirty and undeserving of God’s love; almost impossible for God to love such a habitual sinner like me. Psalm 51 and Romans 7 have been my anchor in this battle and as you rightly pointed out, victory is certainly ours. But this can only be possible when we begin to acknowledge that in our own, we have nothing good in us and that it is only through his love and unmerited favour (Grace) that we stand a chance. Thanks again. Emmanuel, UK

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Love wins. Thanks for reminding us!

    6. Agentie PR on

      Hi Joel Hesch, do you think that watching porn is the same thing with adultery as Johanna Boman mentioned in her comment?

      Reply
      • Worthless on

        Pornography is absolutely adultery! For the wife it feels worse than an affair with one real person. We can’t compete with something that is Not Real, plastic, air brushed or otherwise altered, disingenuine and fake. Look it up (theinstituteforsexualhealth.com), we are forever tainted by your actions choosing thousands of others over us and your family. Stealing money and hours of time from your families. Doing downright sinful, uncaring, despicable things that were never intended through God’s eyes. Then projecting onto us, the ones who Chose You above all others the ones who really love you. Blaming us directly or indirectly, when it was always simply a CHOICE you made. You CHOSE to lust after others. Making us feel disgusting, worthless, never truly loved, always doubting, scared and forever not good enough. Our world has crumbled. Sometimes knowing we were Never Worth The Truth in your eyes is the worst part. Other times doubting your love, our entire relationship and every word you have ever spoken while not being able to be touched by you without cringing inside is the worst. It is also very difficult to know that you see females as objects and servants regardless of their very young ages, their horrible upbringings, their alcohol and drug use just to “get thru” a scene, regardless of human sex trafficking, the fact that they are usually being coerced or forced to act out those despicable things you enjoy at their expense, your family’s expense and your wife’s heart and soul. It especially terrifies those of us with daughters. If any of you so called Men tried to ever experienced an ounce of the pain you have caused your significant other and your family you would vomit for days (much like most of us wives do) and you would NEVER EVER see pornography the same. You would begin to see scared little girls being taken advantage of by a selfish hyper sexualized culture. Pornography IS ADULTERY… it is lusting after another that is not your wife… it is your plethora of Mistresses at your fingertips 24 hours a day 7 days a week! If you are lucky enough to still be with your spouses, DISCLOSE ALL YOUR LIES RIGHT NOW! It is the least you can do, you owe it to them. Be brave and strong like the Men we thought you were. The ones that would always protect us and our families. We know something is wrong, don’t wait for us to stumble upon the truth, it will be WAY WORSE! Help your wives to stop bleeding out, dress their wounds and help them heal. YOU OWE IT TO THEM. Protect them like you promised you would. MAN UP, set an example for the next generation (MAKE HEALING A PRIORITY, stop making excuses to not do it, buy the Worthy of Her Trust book and read it together this weekend, call a counselor, add accountability software, get rid of your smart phone, tablets and TV if its too tempting), ASK HER how she is feeling every day, show her you have changed and she is worth it. She can not get through this without you (especially with partial truths, tell her EVERYTHING, if you forget something tell her as soon as you remember a lot of times we are fearing much more/worse), you will feel better. You will get past the fear and tears and destruction you have created and she will see you as the Brave Honest Protector you once were. Women that have their Men disclose their actions completely and reach out to them for help almost always stay. It shows them a glimmer of who you once were and reminds them what they are fighting for. Protect her and your families. It will be a very difficult road at times but if you remember to communicate and help one another along your journey you will make it. Prove to her she is worth something to you…You will feel so much better letting her know the real you and knowing she still loved all of you and wanted to stay and work it out. If you are married you should put yourself in each others shoes and walk through this together. Rip off the bandaid and TELL HER NOW!

      • Chris McKenna on

        Wow, I’m just rejoicing at the honesty you have shared here. Men, I hope you read these words! Thank you for pouring out your heart. This paragraph clearly comes from a very sensitive and personal spot and I hope that it is impactful for many.

        Chris

      • we made it on

        Can I respond from the perspective of a wife a few years down the recovery road? Is watching porn the same as adultery? My short answer is no. You haven’t committed adultery physically; you have in your heart. However, as you can see from worthless’ response, it can and does FEEL very much like the same thing to them. There is a lot of pain in her words and even her “name” worthless sums up how she feels. Her words are beautiful and honest. I could have writen them myself. But I do also think that how the injured person FEELS is not what determines what has actually happened and I try to be careful not to say one thing feels the same as another when I have not experienced both. Its what i IMAGINED adultery felt like. As for the women who have experienced both, most seem to say that his viewing porn prior to cheating was nothing compared to the adultery. And what authority do I have to say that it feels the same? It would probably belittle the pain they have experienced from adultery that was so much more than the porn had been.

        But, as I said, aside from what the injured party FEELS, no- I do not think doing something in your heart is the same as doing it physically. Both are sin. And, if you are physically sinning, you are probably guilty of both. But not the other way around. That same passage that says if a person lusts, they have already committed adultery In Their Hearts, also says that if you hate your brother, you have already committed murder In Your Heart. This is why I think there is a tangible difference between the two. I DO NOT believe that Christ was saying anyone who hates in their heart IS a murderer and according to the scriptures should be put to death. Is this what we think? That everyone who has ever hated IS a murderer and whatever other scriptures apply to murderers apply to them? No. We don’t. They arent a murderer; they are a murderer In Their Hearts. If we did believe sinning in your heart was the same as acting it out, shouldn’t most wives who consider their porn viewing husbands to be actual adulterers, consider themselves to be actual murders? Or maybe I’m the only wife who has experienced moments of hate through this process… And if they are then to apply any and every other scriptures regarding adulterers to their husband’s (such as the divorce clause) it would only be right to also treat other heart-sins as physical sins and apply any and all scriptures regarding them. Please don’t pluck out that one verse and make your spouse an adulterer without plucking out it’s sister-verse as well and all the implications that come with it.

        Many incredibly hurt wives might also say that their husbands DID act out their lust by masturbating. I also acted out my hate by flushing a $500 gift down the toilet. Still a sin, but different than killing my dear husband. Likewise, his masturbating was a sin, but different than having sex with someone else.

        Please don’t think I am unsympathetic to wives. I am one of you. It broke my heart. And im not saying that divorce is never the answer, only that i do not believe porn equals adultery. And lastly, to ‘worthless’ and everyone else, let’s remember our worth and that it should not come from our lustful and broken husbands or our unforving and broken wives. Its not a fair burden to put on them and its not right anyway. Our sense of worth should come from God who valued us at the cost of His Son. He loves you, no matter which side of this mess you are on, and He wants to lift you out of this pit!

    7. Sarah on

      I read this article because my husband has used porn in the past. But by the end, I found myself much encouraged and given new weapons to fight my own sins. My compulsive sins include deadening myself to pain in relationships, burying myself in inane web surfing, shutting others out, avoiding giving love to my children, doubting God’s love, and bitterness. As I am struggling to turn away from these sins, I am discouraged when I get to the end of the day and find I spent 4 hours on various meanders through Wikipedia, but couldn’t find time to read my Bible or read a book to my daughters. These 2 questions are applicable to shining the Light of God’s Truth into my own deceitful heart and finding a constructive way forward, rather than piling contempt on myself for my failures and wallowing in more failure the next day. Thank you.
      by the Grace of God,
      Sarah

      Reply
      • Call me Leah- Unloved and Unattractive on

        Amen Worthless. So evil and hurtful. It destroys the wife and sexual relationship. I wish I would have left before having kids.

      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey Leah, I hope you’ll find a therapist who can help you process through the painful emotions and find healing for yourself. You might also look for a group, and check into the online resources at Bloom for Women. Marriage betrayal is a trauma that is often left untreated in spouses, sadly. But you can find help! I hope you’ll get the healing help that will restore you to life and joy, no matter what your husband chooses. Peace, Kay

    8. Wren on

      I agree with Johanna. There is no “Godly Sorrow” in this article shown by the comment “I could see her heart being ripped apart, but I’m glad I did.” “No more secrets”. His wife is collateral damage again, but he feels much better.

      While the husband demonstrates some awareness of his sin against God, the connection to the ongoing damage to his marriage & wife is missing.

      There is no mention of the boundaries the wife has set, & what the consequences will be if the husband continues to violate the healthy boundaries she has set for her own safety, security & rebuilding trust.

      If the tables were reversed & the wife dumped on her husband that she had not only seen again the man she had an adulterous affair with, but had a minor slip & had kissed him & let him touch her. I don’t think for a moment the husband would stay married.

      Bottom line if a husband continues in viewing Porn & participating with it, he may destroy his marriage.

      Reply
    9. Cynthia on

      I am greatful for this article and some of. The comments that we’re Expressed​. As a wife that has had my husband experience setbacks on occasion. I find that through forgiveness and love and healing as a team effort is a saving Grace in our marriage. Countless prayers and soul searching has been key in overcoming all these things. And l may not have this addiction but I am not without sin. Jesus Christ atonement is not just for me but for all Including my husband. Though are sins maybe as sacrlet red he can make them white as snow. It’s Satan that wants men to give up and tell us we are not worthy of God’s forgiveness and that our setbacks or messups can’t be forgiven etc. But the Lord Jesus Christ always has his arms open ready to receive us and he knows we are not perfect and that we may slip up ,so he has provided away for us to escape sin no matter what it is through repentance and staying close to him by putting on the armor of God on. Which is praying, reading scripture, attending church, which can also be called CPR(spiritual resuce or spiritual life line etc) , church, pray ,read scriptures . May God bless you all and strengthen you.

      Reply
    10. In Recovery on

      This article is written entirely from the mans perspective. There is NO consideration for how this guy’s poor wife feels when he cheats on her twice in one day! It’s like the author is giving men a get out of jail free card. You can have a “setback”, (call it what it is – SIN), as long as you confess it after and “see what you’ve learned”. Thing is, if you continue to sin over and over, you haven’t learned anything! No excuses. No “thats what the doctor ordered”. It’s what YOU ordered.

      I am a man, almost 5 years into recovery. I go to a faith based 12-step group at Dr Doug Weiss’s Heart to Heart counseling. We also ask the “2 questions” when somebody repeat sins, but not “joyously” and with happy tears in our eyes. We hold them accountable. If this has been an ongoing issue we don’t applaud their confession, we challenge them that they are not interested or caring enough of their wife to change. We ask them why are they bothering to come to group if they are not wanting to have a true change of heart, attitude and behavior. Get rid of the smart phone. Put Covenant Eyes on your computer. Give your wife every password, every account, and she has free and instant access to anything she wants.

      The author states at the beginning that almost every week there is someone who has sinned. Maybe that’s because the group is being too “It’s OK, you can do better”, rather than holding the mirror up to them and making them realize the trauma EVERY “setback” does to their wife. Each betrayal puts HER back to discovery day. There is no trust, there is no protection, there is no healing. Humble yourself at the foot of the cross and tap into the power of the Holy Spirit to stop you from EVER betraying your wife again. It can be done. It just requires you to CHOSE to do it. Every man has that choice. You can chose porn or you can chose purity and faithfulness. That’s how God created us. It’s that simple

      Reply
      • Jonathan Charles Deeb on

        Thank You so very much, “In Recovery”, for reminding us fellows that It truly Is within our emotional, spiritual and mental abilities to actually CHOOSE to say “No” every time to every trigger and temptation and every thought.

        I keep relapsing because I have made a nightly habit of turning on my laptop computer when I am alone in my bedroom…all to seek some unknown entertainment before going to sleep. Next thing I know, I am caught up with watching very wicked and perverted actions that are strictly warned-against in GOD’S WORD.
        All because I failed to Honor GOD Above all my desires and habits. Because I fail to give HIM time for Worship in the evening and at night time, I fail to say no to Sinfulness and I find myself bowing down to lust and self pleasure actions.
        It is very shameful and I want to be free from Lust in JESUS Name. Lord Jesus, help me to give you my nights and my free time

      • David on

        I’m not quitting porn to take care of my wife’s feelings. If I was single I would still be fighting porn because I want to follow Christ’s ways not because I want to worship the feelings of my wife who is ‘man’. I’m not worried about pleasing her, I’m want to please God and through pleasing God I know she will be taken care of. Every breakdown is still progress because you know it is a breakdown and so you learn about awareness of what led to the breakdown and you learn about what you’re doing wrong in your life. Porn is sin on top of sin because you sinned. You aren’t living in God’s ways which is what makes you sin. Life is much more than just not looking at porn and worrying about people’s feelings – it clearly says in the bible don’t please man, please God. If it was easy to quit porn we wouldn’t be here. All sin is forgiven before you sin, so this is useless pressure that you are applying to yourself and others. Truth will naturally set you free. I’m 7 years into recovery and the last 3 years have been amazingly enlightening as I’ve learned to ask these questions exactly like he says. They reveal so much about the state of your heart and where you are going wrong in your life before you even look at porn. In my experience, these questions are the way to freedom way after you’ve stopped looking at porn. They will continue to help you grow and thrive long after you are free of the addiction of running from your problems with porn.

    11. Mountain Dancer on

      I read through this several times and couldn’t believe what I was reading. So I read it again. The two questions that are asked are: 1. What lead to the setback? 2. What did you learn from your ‘setback’?

      The answer to #1. has no other answer than selfishness and sin. “I wanna get off and feel good so I did it — oops, my bad” #2. Has no other answer than I am a poor excuse of a husband and I am sinner in need of repentence for committing adultery against my wife. I need serious counseling and my wife needs trauma therapy for how I continue to chose other women over her. And I will pay every dime to help her recover from my selfish betrayals. ( check out https://www.btr.org/services/betrayal-trauma-recovery-club/ )

      WHAT? I didn’t offer a comforting and non-shaming response? I didn’t use nonthreatening euphanisms — these are those literary devices used to make nice sounding synonyms for horrendous actions like: Moral failing = I had sex with a woman who was not my wife or pregnancy termination = abortion.

      One of the most appalling feel good euphanisms here is the word “setback” instead of “Hey, I had online sex with a woman who isn’t my wife.” This is NOT a setback to the wife — I can assure you. It is traumatizing! When you say it’s secrets that kill marriages, not porn — who are you trying to convince? It IS porn that kills marriages — AND secrets. According the the latest studies from divorce lawyers, family therapists, and a wide variety of Christian surveys — The reason for 60% + of the divorces are porn related!

      As long as we keep worrying about making the offender feel better about himself or else he will keep wallowing in his behavior, GUESS WHAT? He WILL keep wallowing in his sinful abusive adulteous behavior.

      Let him hit bottom — then MAYBE he will look up to Christ as his savior

      Reply
    12. Michael on

      I’m on the way for full mandate for the priestwood received in a special way in 40 days of desert fasting and praying in the four corners of Utah, in 2014.

      Those have been my only days in which i had no even one sexual thought, plus previous 5 months in mission coming from Lima, Peru for the three weekly fastings than charity along the way no way to sin, or any sexual struggle because so much Love in action.
      Never been so free again.

      Obedience to my Church, misunderstandings, persecution, later fall again in porn, above all when i get back home with my family after serving in Italy for some periods in recovery communities for drug, alchool, mental deseases, homelesses got from the street, etc.

      Now here i am again, with you guys and this wonderful app and this team for Christ you are as my only hope.
      Thanks so much!!

      Reply
    13. Patrick on

      Question 1. What lead to the set back? Frustration and loneliness. Concerns about family and the pandemic. Feelings of being unfairly judged and considered inadequate. Some borderline TV viewing.
      Question 2. What did I learn? As in previous slips, the momentary high of porn viewing and masturbation fulfills nothing. As with my nasal cocaine habit of >45 years ago, the high is brief, expensive and illusory. Need to view porn the same way. Need to embrace my Outer Circle activities (walks, chores, phone calls, accountability) and realize my life’s value in mine and God’s eyes.

      Reply
    14. Richard on

      Today, after a month of sobriety, I experienced another relapse into gay porn on my iPad, which is monitored by another believer. As I evaluate why I did this, I concluded that the main trigger was memory of previous sexual encounters + loneliness + no calls from or to fellow strugglers, even though I knew I should get myself outside or enjoy some time with a neighbor. I do not want such ongoing fleshly sin in my life…my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. Prayers are appreciated.

      Reply
    15. Anonymous on

      Believing in miracles seems a little bit difficult when reason in the mind is a powerful tool in a person’s life. Miracles can sometimes be mistaken as fantasies, or borderline metaphysical spectales, at which point reason labels them as “unknown causal events”, “yet to be explained” or something similar. One can look at any lust addiction through a factual perspectives, using data and evidence showing how damaging it is to our physical bodies, yet, we do not listen. The irony of not believing in miracles and dismissing reasonal arguments can put a person onto shaky spiritual grounds. But, when reason opens up to faith, when reason allows miracles to happen, not by questioning their process but by simply allowing it to happen, as one might watch a river flow without trying to figure out how much water is flowing, without trying to fit the infinity of God into a limited head, but by trying to feel God’s infinity in one’s head, miracles are given all the reasons possible in the universe.
      That has been my feeling as of late, after continuous setbacks, falls, pride and selfishness on my part, but most of all because God, in his mercy, gives me life to keep on learning.
      The most helpful tip I can give is this: You have to be willing to fall and rise everytime.

      Reply
    16. Brian Wall on

      This was not a setback. It was a commercial between songs with a guy with his shirt off.

      Reply

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