Hello everyone! So, I am now two-thirds of the way through this journey to ninety days of being clean. Of course ninety days is not the real goal. The real goal is a lifestyle of sexual integrity, but I do think it’s always important to set measurable goals when trying to make or break a habit. As far as sexual integrity or a high noon lifestyle goes; not relapsing or not watching porn is just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t know if I’m using the metaphor right, but that’s the way I see it.
Where Does a Relapse Start?
Whenever we don’t fulfill a goal or fail at something, I think it’s important to get really clear about where that failure started. A failed test in school is not just a bad test score, but the result started when we decided not to study. Or, maybe we allowed ourselves to get distracted by something.
Porn or temptation is, in many ways, the final litmus for living a life of integrity. When I’m feeling especially tempted or triggered, it’s not enough to just look at how I can avoid sexual images. It’s a time to ask myself the question, where else in my life am I out of integrity? When I say integrity, I mean a condition in which my word, my actions, and my reality are in sync. Am I living my ideal? How is my communication going with my wife? How satisfied am I with my work life? How often am I studying scripture or praying?
The Beginning of Temptation
This week, like last week, was not easy. I felt tempted and triggered a few times. One time was after work. My manager was giving me a laundry list of criticism. It felt like I was doing everything wrong.
In the midst of this assessment of my faults, I found myself asking, what about what I’m doing right? Why don’t you talk about that? Give me some credit. I felt hurt that she didn’t appreciate me in the way that my co-workers did.
The thing is, I know how to resolve this kind of situation. I know that I could humble myself, or I could be courageous and get vulnerable and honest with her. I could take a stand that I get heard, and she could get empowered in her commitment to the company. But I chose not to do that. I chose instead to just be pissed. I even got to the point where I was fantasizing about how I would tell her off, and would make her life harder. It’s interesting how we think that causing pain to another will relieve ours. Luckily I didn’t act on that thought, I just stayed quiet. But afterwards I was looking for relief. I wanted to relapse, I wanted to give up.
Personal Integrity is the Key
So in this case, the temptation wasn’t even about porn. The mental slip up was not doing what I knew I could do to resolve the situation, and create unity where there was no unity. I want to commit to having that conversation next time I see her. I also need to pray, because that’s another area where I haven’t been living up to my commitment.
Honestly, the only thing that really stopped me from relapsing was this blog. I really don’t want to have to write that I relapsed here – hahaha. So it’s also important to create some blocks like this. In a way, this blog is like an Accountability Partner.
So next time you’re tempted or have a relapse, don’t put yourself down. Instead, ask yourself these questions: Where else in my life am I lacking integrity? Where in my life do my words and actions contradict? Is who I want to be, and who I am being, different? Make a new commitment to clean that up. Then experience the strength that you will have.
Good luck and God Bless! Until Next week. – Joe
TO BE CONTINUED…
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