I recently came across this fun little image on Twitter (click image to enlarge). It definitely brought a smile to my face but also reminded me specifically how recovery works for many people trying to break away from a sexual addiction. A couple key thoughts came to mind:
- In truthful recovery, there must always be an outward change of behavior.
- As the outward behavior changes, real healing must simultaneously take place on the inside.
Tying this back to sexual addictive behavior, I look at the image above and I see two men: The one on the right is the man who is “doing” all the right things. Perhaps his outward behavior has changed (abstaining from using porn, masturbating, fantasizing, etc.) but he’s done very little to look within himself and ask the questions of what was motivating his behavior. What pain was he covering up and medicating? I think far too many men fall into this trap of just believing that if I simply “stop” looking at porn, then I’ll get better. This is only the beginning of recovery.
On the left is the man who perhaps hasn’t gained as much momentum or traction as the guy on the right. He may not have as much time of sobriety. He may have just looked at porn the previous week and is fresh into recovery. But he is doing the work of looking within himself to find out WHY he chose porn to medicate his pain. What void or brokenness or need is he trying to fill in his life that causes him to turn to this kind of behavior? He’s doing some real internal work that all of us men MUST do in order to experience true healing.
And yet, when we really think about it, our goal should be doing what both men are doing. Focusing on changing our outward behavior and yet at the same time digging down deep and asking ourselves the hard questions and revisiting the painful places that we have buried. It’s not an either or scenario — it’s a both and.