Tuesday's testimonies are from current and former Pureheart counselees. Most of these men and women have broken free and now walk in consistent purity and/or healed marriages but some are still in process. These brothers and sisters, married and single, represent a wide spectrum of ages, races, nationalities, denominations, backgrounds, personalities, and levels of addiction and dysfunction but all of them have changed dramatically. If they can change, so can you! For obvious reasons, we have changed their names. Here are their stories (unedited)
Brother "Steve" age 44- There is hope. (Counseling with Scott)
"For nearly 20 years of my life (half of my life), I have battled with sexual addiction; pornography and masturbation. I was 19 years old and I received a credit card in college. I was still living at home, and I remember the first time I saw the phone sex commercial come on late night television. All you needed was a credit card. How bad is a little phone sex? What I thought would be a onetime thing, ended it being late night weekend binges. Phone call after phone call; pretty soon, the credit card was adding up and now I had two problems. Phone sex became an addiction and my credit card was maxed out. My credit issue got so bad, I had creditors calling me, and I had to confess to my mom what I had done. She agreed to pay for my debt as long as I would stay away from the phone sex and the ‘filth’, as she put it. The fear of having creditors after me at such a young age really scared me. The fear set in and I thought I was going to get past this stage in my life. A year goes by and at age 20, the fear wore off. My hormones were going crazy, so I found a cheaper method to fulfill my sexual desires. A convenience store close to my home started to sell $10.00 x-rated videos behind the counter. I remember being scared and trying to be discreet when I made the purchase. I knew it was wrong, but the temptation in me was so strong. I would buy the videos and watch them, but after a while, I would get bored and want more videos. I remember having moments of knowing what I was doing was wrong, so I would throw out the videos, and stay away from it for a while. The temptations would creep back in, and this would be a cycle for me for a couple of years – Buy videos, get off, feel guilty, dump the videos, and then repeat.
By age 22, I found the love of my life, and I thought for sure, the addiction to porn and masturbation would go away, and it did for a short while. At age 23, I was married, and before I knew it, I was back at it with the videos and masturbation. Less than one year into our marriage, my wife became suspicious as she found a bill from a collector that I threw out. She confronted me and I had to confess to her what it was about. I had hurt her, and I felt terrible for it. I felt shame as well. Again, I told her it would not happen again. And again, I stayed away from the pornography for many years, but the imagination of my mind did not stop me from the masturbation.
From age 23-30, I still masturbated. Then, one day on my way home from work, I noticed a sex store off the beat and path. It didn’t take long and I would give excuses to my wife on why I would be home a few minutes late; about once or twice a month. The pornography soon became prevalent again, going into the same habits as before – buy, watch, feel guilt, and dispose. This of course didn’t last long.
By age 30, I have two young girls, ages 4 and 1. On a June summer day, my wife is leaving to attend a wedding and she takes our 4 year old daughter, while I stayed at home with our 1 year old. Just as my wife left, I went to my secret stash, put in the DVD to begin watching, and all of sudden, the DVD player froze up and started making loud noises. The next thing I know, my wife comes back into the house as she forgot the wedding gift. To her surprise, she hears the DVD player and she wonders what I am up to. She demanded to know what I was about to watch. The look on her face told me she already knew.
She was crying when I told her what I was doing. Before she left again to attend the wedding, she told me to get help or to get out. She told me to have a plan in place before she returned home. I was crying and afraid I would lose my family. This was not just her and I now; the addiction was still very much alive and now I had kids. When she came home, I told her I had confessed to a friend of mine about what had been going on, and he pointed me into the direction of some counseling. Initially, he served as an accountability partner as well. So, I went to counseling for 6 weeks. I thought it helped. During that time and a couple of months past the counseling, I had stayed free from pornography and masturbation. I thought all was going well.
I can’t put an exact date or time on it, but when stress at home or work started to get to me, I found myself turning to old habits again. It started off slow, and then eased into a regular routine in times of stress. I would turn to sexual addiction first and not God. I stopped buying videos and discovered that porn was accessible on the Internet. I also learned how to delete my history. Any time I was home alone, or my mind would wander, I could access porn on my computer. Just as I would get past one way of accessing porn, new ways would become available.
In 2013, my wife and I caught up with the rest of the world and got smart phones. As I became accustomed to all the new ‘bells and whistles’, I found it rather easy to find porn on my phone, so I stopped the searches on my computer. Again, I could delete the history on my phone and there would be no traces….so I thought.
By this time in my life, I had struggled with the pornography and masturbation so much that I was coming to the conclusion that there was no hope for me. I would just have to continue to live two lives. My heart was on the brink of being a hard rock. I was living two lives. I would be the good husband, good father, and well-respected and active church board member, but when no one was looking, I was the sneaky, sexually-addicted pervert who pleasured himself. I was living two lives. The truth is, I was doing a horrible job at it. I would get angry easily at home because I was lying and doing things to cover up the things I should not have been doing. I would get frustrated at my wife for silly things and get on my girls (now three girls) for dumb things. I was easily aggravated and hard to be around.
I started to stay up late and not go to bed with my wife. I would sit in the dark in the living room and when she went to bed, my phone would come out and I would begin my search for porn. In April 2016, as I was getting ready for work, my wife confronted me in our bedroom. She asked me if I had been looking at porn again. I felt my gut explode, and I am sure I turned white as a ghost. I told her I had. She told me that she was glad I told her the truth, because she had found it on my phone. The lies and the sneaky way of living had caught up to me. I was not being as discreet as I thought.
My wife had enough. She told me that if I didn’t get serious help, she was going to take the kids and leave. She told me this was my last chance. I don’t know what it was this time around, but something got through to me; a fear like no other. Perhaps the fear of losing my family! Perhaps the fear of God!
On the same day of getting caught and confronted, I started researching counseling for sexual addiction on Google. The first site I came across was Pureheart Ministries. As I read about Pureheart Ministries and what they offered and how they came to be, I made the call and spoke with Tim. After reading more about Pureheart Ministries and after my initial meeting with Tim, I knew that this was the direction I was going to take if I was ever going to get the help I needed.
Tim connected me with Scott Waters, to serve as my counselor. Scott immediately started talking with me and introduced me to the Basic Training Guide Books. Scott was patient with me as well as I struggled in the beginning to search for an accountability partner. Who wants to share with a friend their deepest, darkest, secret? As I began to learn more about accountability, I have understood why it is so important to have accountability on this journey and beyond. The Basic Training sessions were scary in an ironic way. In almost every session I could relate to my personal struggles. The testimonies that were found in some of the sessions I felt like were about me. I was not alone, and I was beginning to feel like there was hope for me. God loves me…He really loves me…UNCONDITIONALLY. I have learned on my own that it takes as long as it takes to have a heart and mind of purity. I have also learned that spiritual warfare is for real! Spiritual warfare for my purity is a daily battle. I must look to my action steps and be consistent in reading God’s word.
I am coming to the end of my counseling sessions with Scott, almost 9 months of counseling. Once we bring our sessions to an end, it will be right around 10 months. I am thankful for Scott’s ability to listen and to understand in a way that never at one time came across in a judgmental way. Despite the long distance in our counseling sessions, I learned to trust and respect Scott, and I learned so much from him as I struggled with some of what was asked of me. There is no magic number of weeks or sessions, or months when it comes to the counseling. There is hope in winning back purity, but it takes work and accountability! I said to Scott many times and I have said it to myself almost every day….There is hope….taking it one day at a time.
Hi Scott -It's good to hear from you. I am doing well. You may already know this, but it was this same week one year ago in which my wife confronted me and also the same week in which I reached out to Pureheart Ministries. Since that time, I am pleased to say that I have been sober since the day of being confronted. I am in awe of what a year has done for me. It is not just saying that I will stop, but it took counseling and consistent counseling and accountability to help me understand. I have worked through the pain I caused my wife, the pain that hurt my relationship with Christ, the pain I brought on myself through my selfish actions. I do have personal devotions that I go through every morning. My wife and I started off with a devotion, but we have not been consistent as we would like....this email check up is a good reminder for us to get back on track with those. I have not started anything up at church yet. I have learned that my promotion at work has kept me very busy and to add another thing right now, just is not the right time...Once things start to settle down (Mid-May/June), I hope to start revisiting my plan again. My accountability meetings with ______ is going really well. We have been consistent every week, except one week in which we were both on vacation :). We ask each other every week about our purity and ask each other about any struggles we may have faced. It has become something that I have looked forward to each week. We still work it out once a month to meet for lunch, which has been nice too."
You too can walk in consistent purity! Contact us today!