Well here we are, the end of the series! Before I wrap this up I want to thank my friend Mark for teaching me the 8 Steps, and I want to thank my other friend Jesus Christ for helping me work the Steps and abstain from pornography for the last year. I also want to apologize to you, dear readers, if at any point I have made the process of gaining freedom from pornography sound like it has been easy for me. Nothing could be further from the truth. The last year has been one of the most difficult years of my life; of course it has also been the most rewarding (this is how life generally works). I recognize that I am one bad decision from losing my sobriety, one click away from my active addiction, and I pray that God continues to heal me and keep me sober.
You’ve been a patient bunch, reading through these posts on a (nearly) daily basis, and I hope that you’re not disappointed with our finale. I saved the best Step for last! Here it is, Step 8: Make a phone call.
This is the best Step for 2 reasons: First, because it involves other people. I can virtually guarantee you that without people in your life to hold you accountable and to listen to your challenges,difficulties, hopes and fears, you will not gain freedom from pornography. What I need more than anything else to overcome pornography is a group of men with whom I can be completely honest. I need to confess everything that is weighing on my heart and soul because it is only through confession of my sins that I can gain freedom from them.
Step 8 is the best step for another reason: It’s the only Step that can rescue you once you have entered the Addiction Cycle. As I have already noted several times throughout this series the other 7 steps are designed to keep you out of the Addiction Cycle. Once you enter the Cycle it is extremely difficult to avoid acting out. Don’t get me wrong: Making a phone call is also an effective tool you can use to stay out of the Addiction Cycle. I make a phone call every day just to talk about how I’m feeling and what I’m going through. It’s a good way of “grounding” (like electricity) the temptations I have faced that day as well as the feelings (anger, resentment, loneliness, etc.) that lead to acting out. And as good as this Step is at keeping you out of the Addiction Cycle, it’s even better at getting you out of the Cycle.
Last month I had a surprising encounter with an extremely triggering situation, and in that situation my mind immediately went into the Addiction Cycle. It happened so fast that I could not have avoided it even though I was working the other 7 Steps. Here is a play-by-play of what happened: I encountered a very “triggering” situation without warning. I bounced my eyes, started praying my memorized Scriptures, surrendered my right to lust, and fled the situation. I went to a private space where I could not be overheard, and I made a phone call. During that call I replayed what had just happened and what was going on in my mind: “…Yeah, it was really triggering. I feel my mind going into the planning stage, and there’s a part of me that really wants to start fantasizing.” Guys who don’t want to stay sober don’t make a phone call because they know that if they make that call, they will get talked out of acting out. And a lot of guys really want to act out, so they won’t call.
Today’s challenge: Find someone in your life that you trust absolutely (your spouse is not the correct choice for this exercise) and start calling that person every day. Call even if you’re just going to talk for 30 seconds about the fact that the secretary flirted with you again. Guys who want to stay sober are guys who make a call.