Have you struggled so much with sexual addiction that you feel as though you’ve lost your identity? Endless hours in front of a computer screen, a TV, or even the dark places inside of your mind can lead a person to really question who they are in life.
I’ve struggled with this question at times in my recovery: “Has sex addiction changed who I was meant to be?” This is a pretty significant question. And it’s one that if not handled the right way can lead a person down so much doubt and confusion. I know. I’ve been there — and truth be told, I’d be a liar if I said this question never comes to my mind anymore. Sometimes it still does.
This past week, a friend of mine sat down with for lunch and shared this very basic and essential truth: “While I can identify with sex addiction (and its effects upon my life), I should never allow it to define me.” What does this truly mean? I know what an addiction to porn has done to my life since becoming broken over my sin and finding healing, I fight to pursue purity each and every day. I know how ugly this junk is. But I can never allow myself to believe the lie that I am the person I used to be. I am not the thoughts that try to invade (and sometimes still do) my mind that are impure and disturbing.
Too often, I believe we as sex addicts lose grip on the person we were meant to be before the addiction took place. This is what addiction naturally does. It turns us into completely different people. For the last 4 years, I’ve been trying to reclaim, to restore the person that God wants me to be, the man, the husband, and soon the father God wants me to be. But it has taken work and a lot of effort. And it’s gotten easier through the years, and yet there are still moments of struggle.
Pornography, masturbation, & fantasy doesn’t have the power it had on me anymore. Those old behaviors are gone. And yet, the enemy (Satan a.k.a. the devil) still tries to manipulate and twist the thoughts in my head. Perhaps this will be a continual battle that I will simply have to handle in the ways in which God wants me to: “taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
There may be days when the battle still rages inside. But I will remember this: “I am not who I used to be. I am not defined by sex addiction. And I will not allow thoughts, triggers, & temptations to distract me from pursuing purity each and every day of my life.”