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)
A 60-year Addiction Overcome! (Counseling with Scott)
I have been in counseling for my sexual addiction for almost three years for an addiction that has existed for over 60 years. It started, like it has for most men, at a very early age when I happened onto some erotic material that my older brother had hidden away. I returned to viewing and masturbating to this kind of material whenever I experienced strong emotions, positive or negative, and it adversely affected my attitude and motivation. This has caused problems with my relationship with my wife for many years.
After many warnings from my wife, she and our pastor confronted me in December 2012 about my behavior and its painful impact on our marriage. I was defensive and I minimized and rationalized my addiction as only a “habit,” placing a lot of blame on my wife. I wasn’t honest with myself or her about the growth and intensity of my addiction, which had progressed to the point where I was spending several hours daily watching hard-core porn on the internet. I just couldn’t get “enough” to satisfy my needs and I continued to justify my actions as due to normal lust and a strong sex drive. Over the following two years, in order to keep peace with my wife, I engaged in counseling and a support group, but I continued to “use” regularly, hide camera cards with hundreds of porn pictures, and lie to her about my recovery, because I wasn’t willing to acknowledge my addiction or to quit “using” porn and other sexually-arousing materials. With each painful “discovery,” she would lovingly forgive me, granting me grace and new trust, and I would secretly resume my almost daily addiction. This roller coaster ultimately affected her health with her heart and high blood pressure, so she moved out of the house to heal physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Just prior to our separation, my wife learned about Pureheart Ministries and begged me to research their program since nothing else seemed to work. Reluctantly and begrudgingly, I started weekly telephone sessions with Scott Waters (actually weekly arguments, since I initially refused to listen, learn or change).
Consequently, for the first 7 months of our separation, I was angry and resentful and accused my wife of overreacting. I continued to engage in my sexual addiction and to be in denial, which is typical of most addicts. I also vented my anger and resentment towards her, building my case against her and not accepting responsibility for the severity of my addiction, nor my actions.
Gradually, I started to experience a shift in my feelings and the reality of my addiction – but I was still “using” regularly. Scott continued to persevere, confronting my faulty thinking and giving me weekly assignments from the workbook. It wasn’t until I attended a Prayer and Healing Service at our church, however, that I reached “bottom,” and surrendered my heart, behavior and addiction, and I made a commitment to recovery and voluntary abstinence from all sexually-arousing materials.
At that point, in addition to my weekly counseling sessions, my wife and I entered into marriage counseling with Scott. With Scott’s wisdom, guidance and skilled counseling, we learned practical essential elements of reconciliation that helped restore our marriage.
The resulting changes have been major and, in my opinion, almost miraculous. With the help of prayer and continued Pureheart counseling, I have maintained 9 months of sexual “sobriety,” my wife has moved back home, and I have a new-found peace, joy and freedom that I have always yearned for. My relationship with her is now based on mutual honesty, respect and love, and we are happier than we have been in many years. In fact, we recently had a small, intimate vow-renewal ceremony at our church celebrating 33 years of marriage, followed by a second honeymoon!