In the weeks since i wrote My Story more than one person who knows me well have had two responses. The first is to be very relieved when they find out that I am not in the throes of a terrible addiction. The other group has repeatedly said, “Chip, you need to let your readers know that you are overcoming this.”
This is my answer to both groups.
I supposed I should start where I left off in My Story. I joined that support group at Ebenezer Counseling in Knoxville, TN. That group of men were a real source of grace for me and taught me a key lesson I am still learning to this day: give grace and truth.
There is a movement out there that seems to believe that grace and truth are somehow opposites that need to be balanced. In my own recovery, I have found that they are complimentary, but only in the cross. Don’t choose between grace and truth. embrace both wholeheartedly. Tell the sinner they are sinning with no qualms but be sure to love them well when you say it.
But I digress. I attended that group for over a year. Most of my journey away from The Seven Lies I Believed happened in that time. Eventually Sam and i moved to Minnesota and started a family. I spent many months in MN having good success in resisting the call of pornography in my life. I still had Covenant Eyes on my computer and my accountability partners were still keeping up with me. But I was not part of a group and i really should have been.
So I crashed. You could describe me as a binge porn user. I tend to hold out for a while and then binge. Shortly after my crash my ever more sensitive conscience started to beat me. I decided to pursue a group in MN and made a few calls. I found a group and started attending.
I don’t mean to impugn the character of the men in that group. They were sincere and sincerely looking for hope. Hindsight helps me see it is not that the group was that bad, it was that I was spoiled. That group in Knoxville was exceptional. So I did the exact wrong thing. I quit. What i should have done was pursue another group. The Twin Cities are a large metropolitan area and I’m sure there was a good group available. I simply lacked the maturity to look farther.
Following this was a few months of no group support. i had limited success on my own but I was clearly not ready to survive in a tempting world. In God’s good grace, he didn’t make me find a group. He brought a group to me.
I attend Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis (North Campus for all you Bethlehemites out there). Sam and i decided that we would join one of the Bethlehem Small Groups. That group was very different from my Knoxville group. These men weren’t nearly as confrontational but also carried a taste of Heaven with them. I have come to truly care for and be cared for by those men.
There were certainly failures during the years with that small group, but they were few and short. I really feel like I grew up a great deal with those men. When I had my most recent failure that I mentioned in My Story. I wrote an e-mail to those men and Sam.
If I were to summarize my journey since that group in Knoxville, I would say that I have grown up a great deal. I was recently asked how I would rate my hope on a scale of 1-10. I said that i was at an 8. God is healing me and I feel certain that he will keep healing me. My journey has been one of looking at pornography every few hours to now looking every few months or years.
Recently, Pastor Jason Meyer has been preaching through 2 Corinthians and two verses have been very close to my heart recently.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 1 Cor 1:3-4
The comfort God has given me is this: He has shown me ridiculous mercy in my struggle with pornography. On pondering those verses for some time, I felt like I should start a blog where I chronicle my struggles and use it to comfort you with the comfort I have received.
And that is how God placed you in that chair reading these words right now.