Some guys have all the luck.
A few months ago while at work I saw a woman in an apartment across the street pass in front of her window totally nude. A few weeks later I saw her again. For a recovering pornography addict like me these are, in fact, not ‘lucky’ events but rather cursed ones. My recovery program was nearly derailed because the sight of the woman immediately sent me into the Fantasy stage of the Addiction Cycle.
I caught another ‘lucky break’ last night.
I had a window seat on the bus ride home last night, and while I watched traffic I saw a man masturbating as he drove past. Nothing can prepare you for seeing something like that, I assure you. Events like this are the reason it is critical to make recovery work habitual; when the unexpected happens (and it’s usually the unexpected events that cost a man his sobriety) your program kicks in automatically.
But I digress…Seeing the man masturbating immediately called to mind my own memories of acting out. Though it’s been more than a year since I have masturbated (one of the definitions of sobriety in my recovery group is no ‘sex with self’) those old feelings came rushing back. I actually envied that man for a moment. Sin provides pleasure for a season, and a part of me wanted to go back to those days of pleasure and escaping reality.
Then I remembered the chains that went with my addiction. I realized that man was in bondage to his own addiction, a slave to his lust. He felt the need to act out in his car in public because, in a sad paradox, debasing himself publicly reinforces his deeply held sense of shame, which in turn feels ‘good’.
It is difficult to un-see something like that, and there is a part of me that wants to retain the memory because it reminds me of myself. The empty promise of Satan is that I can have pleasure through acting out, and like many of Satan’s promises this one is veiled in half-truth. Acting out would bring pleasure…for a season. Then my eyes would be opened and I would once again be a slave to my lust. What began as a choice would become a necessity. I do not want to go back to my chains.
Are you still wearing your own chains?