At Pureheart we believe in leading by example so CLICK HERE if you would like to read Tim’s Testimony. Tim has overcome childhood sexual abuse, ritual abuse, serious sexual addiction, demonization, depression, and PTSD so he knows what life is like down in the pit and yet, by the grace of God, he now walks in purity, maturity, and victory. (You can read more of his story in his 2nd book, Special Ops! Vols. 1 and 2).
The following testimonies (summarized) 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.
"Victor" AGe 54 (Counseling with Tim)
Growing up I was always a chubby kid and grew up being made fun of names like: fatty, tub-o, and the one that stuck for the longest was Whale, which game from my older brother. As a young boy these names hurt and they flowed often as I grew up, even my friends would make jokes once and a while and I would laugh them off but inside I was deeply hurt. I remember being introduced to porn and masturbation at age 8 by my older brother.
Later our family moved to a small town and I had to meet new friends it was here that girls started to peek my interest I had a girlfriend but like some kids my age it was just for show. It was in junior high when porn and masturbation became a source of coping for my low self-image. Still being a big boy I was not boyfriend material but I could be a good friend and that was when fantasy and masturbation came into my life. I had easy access to my Father’s supply of porn so the combo of porn, fantasy, and masturbation soon became my secret coping tool for my low self-image.
By the time I was in high school I was masturbating nightly. My bedroom walls were covered with pin ups and centerfolds. I remember one day my Father taking his friends into my room and bragging about how proud he was of his son’s room. I was now deep into fantasy and porn and masturbation and it was stamped with the approval of my Father.
By the time I graduated high school I was still a virgin and felt if I ever wanted a woman I had to lose weight so I went on a crash diet staving myself to the point of blacking out at times; all for the purpose of finding a woman. I had lost 120lbs and soon moved in with a couple of my high school buddies and my new look soon gave me the attention I was wanting from girls. One night after my workout I noticed down the street this woman looking at me. Every day I would catch her looking at me so I finally went up to talk to her and we started dating and we became very physical. One night she took me to my room and she introduced me to sex and after that I was hooked and wanted more.
I soon met the woman who would become my wife. We became very physical. Because of how physical our relationship was she soon broke up with me but we still hung out and got back together and picked up right were we left off and soon discovered she was pregnant and we got married. Even with being married, porn and fantasy and masturbation were still very involved in my life.
After being married for 2 years, I came to ask Christ into my life and for a while I was pure. I became active in my church and hungry for my relationship with God. I soon felt the calling into the mission field and joined an organization to reach youth. But soon my old friend porn, masturbation and fantasy creeped back into my life and I soon was feeling very unsatisfied with my sexual life with my wife and I struggled often buying magazines, movies, and sex toys in secret. I had now taken my addiction to a new level.
One day my wife and I had a fight over my ideas of sex and she told me “if that was what I wanted then I needed to find someone else to do that with” so in my mind I took that to mean I had her approval to seek other sources and I soon took my addiction to a deeper level. The internet soon became my source for my addiction needs since it was private and my secret would be safer. My relationship with my wife soon became distant and we started doing our own things so internet chats rooms for sex started and internet games where I met many women and mastered the art of seduction and manipulation. I had convinced many women to send me pictures and movies of themselves and they did. I soon shared my number with some of these women and we would do video sex together or phone sex and sexting.
It was during this time I had an injury and decide to go to a massage parlor and discovered a new world for my addiction and I went even deeper into my addiction taking advantage of whatever they would allow me to have and I would gladly pay for, my addiction had gone far past anything I had ever imagined.
One morning I got up and checked my phone and left it to go to the restroom and that was when my wife grabbed my phone and my secret was now exposed. She confronted me. I knew my marriage was in danger, so I soon made calls for help. We attended marriage counseling for 6 months and I stopped everything except the massages but that was still a secret that was not exposed.
Once time had gone by, I had everything back including my addictions, I had decided to join many sex dating sites looking for opportunity for sex with other women. Once again my wife looked through my IPad and discovered what I was doing and It was this time I knew she was done if I didn’t get this handled and under control.
I was at rock bottom and the shame and guilt overcame me and I left my house not because my wife kicked me out but to punish myself as I drove around and finally settled in a parking lot where I intended to sleep that night. I started searching for help. Pureheart Ministries came up as the number 1 or 2 choice in my search so I went to the site and I took the sexual addiction test. I was very honest so my score was very high. I knew I was in desperate need of help so I called and left a message. I watched and read the testimonies and I saw my life before me. I wanted what these men had received. Freedom.
As I settled in for the night a real sense of fear came over me as I looked around and saw the activity around me so late at night in this parking lot. I felt endangered for my life, so coming to my senses I drove home and my wife embraced me much to my surprise. It was the next day I received a call from Tim and his no nonsense approach was just what I needed to hear. It was a scary step for me and we set my first appointment and he put me on a 30 day sexual fast. It was a week into this fast that my eyes where opened that I was a true addict. The withdrawals and shakes I went through were so powerful I did all I could to resist and praise God I made it through it.
As I continued my counseling with Pureheart I was given more and more arrows in my quiver to battle my addiction. One of the most powerful arrows was to find a group to be accountable and honest with. I have been blessed to find an awesome group of men to call my band of brothers. As I continued using my arrows and attending my counseling my arrows soon changed to automatic weapons. The briefing on Identity in Christ, for example, was so amazing. The power of my true identity gave me confidence beyond my imagination.
It was at this point, almost a year into my counseling with Tim, that I experienced an attack that confirmed my new identity in Christ. The demonic attack came first through a dream. In the dream I saw a shadowy demonic figure hovering in the air above me. The dream startled me into waking up but when I opened my eyes the thing was still there. I closed my eyes to adjust them but again when I opened them it was still there. I then commanded this spirit of lust to leave my home in the name of Jesus and stated that it had no right to attack a child of God. By the time I had finished praying it was gone. Chills and goose bumps filled my body and I was freaked out. I contacted Tim the next morning to share this and his response was this, “Awesome bro, you are finally worth attacking. About time you joined the ranks of warriors!” It was then I knew I had become a threat to the enemy once again.
This journey has not been an easy one, there have been strongholds to tear down and many temptations but the tools Pureheart has given me will always be part of my life. I am currently serving God by leading a group of 7 men who are struggling with addictions while still working on my own recovery. I have followed the my purity plan to the letter. I have filters on all my devices and no longer have cable TV. I have been committed to my daily devotions, worship and prayer time and my relationship this God is improving every day. I am happy to say I have been free from porn, masturbation, and sexual sins for a year now and have no desire to go back. Praise God!
In closing, 1 year ago my marriage was in danger of ending. Today as I write this, I celebrate my 33rd wedding anniversary with my wife, best-friend and partner. I have learned of God’s Love, Grace and Forgiveness through her as she has forgiven me, shown me grace and loves me, and we are closer today then we have ever been. I am truly blessed to have her. I am grateful for the ministry of Pureheart. It has saved my life, my marriage and restored my relationship with God. I Am a Child of God!
Note from Tim: Normally I just post positive testimonies but this sister's email was so powerful I just had to post it. I am sure some of the spouses reading this will be able to relate to the pain, fear, shame, and so on, that always result from sexual sin. The good news is this couple is now in counseling with us and doing well. I hope to have the happy ending to this story posted towards the end of 2017.
The night My Husband didn't come Home
I am writing to you because I believe and trust that you can help me and my husband.
On July 6,2016 my husband of 8.5 yrs never came home. This was the first time since we had been married that this had happened and I was worried with grief like I had never been before. His last call to me was at exactly 6:31 pm, which he stated he was on his way home. I waited and waited as I always do for him to walk thru the door, but he never did. The kids began to ask "Where's Dad? Is he on his way home?" All four of them would ask this question over and over again. All I could say was, he'll be home soon, he probably had to work late tonight. As time progressed in the evening, I became so consumed with worry that I called my Mother to come and help me with my children. She came right over and started thinking of what we should do next. 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12 am... and still no husband. I was beginning to think something terrible had happened to my beloved husband. I was scared! The kids (3 girls and 1 boy) could not sleep. We all gathered in my bedroom hoping he would walk through the door at any moment, but he never did.
My husband is a …………. at a big school district, here in …………………… and in the summer he gets off work at 5:30. He is always home at least by 6:30 unless he stops by the store of groceries. So it was unusual for him not to come home, plus he had already called to say he was on his way home. I called the police at 3:20 am to report a missing person, my husband. When the police arrived to ask me questions about my husband's whereabouts I could only share what information I knew. The police officer was very kind and very concerned not to wake my children sleeping upstairs. My mom by this time had already left to go home, so I was all alone to deal with what was going on. After I had given the police officer my husband's plate number he told me he would see what he could find out. 10 minutes went by super fast when we asked me to come to his patrol car to talk. He said well, I have some good news and some not so good news. I was shaking with excitement that he had any news while wondering what the bad news could be.
You see, my husband is Christian and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior. He grew up in the Catholic church and is very familiar with the word of God. He does not drink or smoke. He has never even had a traffic ticket. My husband is a gentle spirit one who speaks softly. Most would describe him as a man who loves his family and is an "above board" person. He is not a trouble maker and does not have many friends outside of work. He enjoys playing pool and getting out with the family when there is time.
We met online in 2007 and fell deeply in love. We were inseparable. I had been married before and I told myself, I would never marry again. But it happened. Our beginnings was beautiful and I will always cherish the memories. As time progressed, my marriage was great, not perfect! We had our share of ups and downs, but there were more ups than downs. I worked while my husband finished his degree and I never complained. It was important for him to finish with school and I was in complete support. Well fast forward to 2016. June…… at 3:48 am the police had informed me that my beloved husband had been arrested. I could not believe what I was hearing. I instantly feel to my knees and the kind police officer pulled me up. I asked what the charges were, but he did not tell me. He said, it was not in the system. He then gave me phone numbers to the police station and suggested that I call and get the details in order to bail him out.
When I called the police station I was immediately informed that my husband had been arrested and charged with prostitution. I was in complete shock and disbelief. I could not believe what I was hearing... I kept saying to myself... My husband...my husband...I just could not believe that my husband would engage in such activity. It was not possible in my eyes. I thought he loved me, I thought I was someone special to him, I thought he was happy, how could he do this to us???? How could this be happening to me, to us. The pain was instant and cut me deeply. A pain that is almost indescribable. I was just shocked, in sheer shock. While dealing with my emotions which were all over the place, emotions and feelings that I did not know existed, I had to rush to the police station for 6 am to bail him out. In some sick way, I did not want him to spend another day in jail. I needed to see him and hear his side of the story. I need to look into his eyes and here what happened.
His release was not immediate. I paid the $500 bail and he was released at 3 pm Thursday... By this time the pain, anger and resentment was settling in as I began to realize what this all of this meant for me and my future, my family. My sister drove me to the station to pick up my husband. When I saw him, I was immediately disgusted and ashamed to even say this person was my husband. I was embarrassed. I had always been so proud of my husband and happy to claim him as my husband. It felt great to be his wife. This time was different. This time I did not know who he was. I wondered what happened to the man I married. I started reflecting on the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, date nights, the countless time we made love wondering did he really care about any of these things.
Once we retrieved his car from the pound, we drove home. I needed to talk to him. I needed to hear what had happened. He told me he was busted for prostitution, but it was not until he told me that he had encountered others in the past. A total of 10 encounters. Of the 10, 3 were massage places. I was devastated. I could not believe he had committed adultery and with prostitutes or anyone. His attitude about the matter was shocking and disturbing. At that time I felt he showed no remorse for his behavior although he apologized. We eventually went to a park and talked for a long time. He shared the stories with me and all I could do was cry and ask questions. I was torn inside...just broken.
That evening all I wanted to do was be in his arms. I wanted him to comfort me and tell me everything was going to be alright. And that's exactly what he did. We even made love and looking back, I am not sure that was a good idea. I guess, I just wanted things to go back to normal, but things would never be the same again. I had zero trust in my husband and still have no trust. The bond we once shared was now broken. He had broken his marriage vows in the worst way imaginable.
Where are we today? Well, he is fighting charges of prostitution and I have agreed to support him through this time. I have also decided not to file for divorce under the terms that we get counseling. We need serious help! As the days passed, we began to talk and I began to research the sites to find an answer about why this was happening to us. I looked up websites and youtube videos. I watched videos that discussed porn and infidelity, how to build trust after cheating... and that is when I came across your site through a recommendation after reading someone's story about how they overcame porn addition.
I am desperately reaching out to you because I need your help, we need your help. We have never been in a situation like this before and for me it is scary. I remain confused and frustrated. I still have zero trust in my husband and need help in learning how to rebuild that trust and cope. I have anxiety everything he uses his cell phone or tablet for anything. I knew deep down in my heart that my husband had an issue with porn considering he has been looking at this since the age of 12. But he always said it was not an issue and he could stop. After hearing the stories of other people struggling with this problem, I knew that in order for us to move forward and I remain in this marriage, he was going to have to get help. He took the assessment and scored 57. I do not know how to encourage him to reach out to you Tim. He said he wants to change in the deepest way. We have started going to mass and spending more and more time together. But I feel in order to be real change, we need someone like you with your experience and wisdom to intervene.
My husband is very private which is why skype and phone would work best for both of us. My sincere prayer is that after you meet my husband, that you would please personally help him come to grips with this problem. Be his accountability partner as we try and rebuild our marriage. Please advise what I should do next. Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
“Bill,” age 28 (Counseling with Scott)
In the early months of my recovery, someone told me that it was his sincere belief that “There is no person more miserable on earth than a Christian who is not walking in accord with God.” I think that this aptly describes my life for the past 15 or so years, before I really accepted Christ’s mercy, and attempted to be sober from porn and masturbation.
I first started to own my Christian faith when I was about 12; this is also the same time that I started viewing porn on a regular basis. In those moments as a young Christian, there was no force in my life more powerful than shame. I knew that watching online videos or looking at pictures was sinful, and I even knew that it was hurting me. I just couldn’t stop. My “shame cycle” began to make me want to isolate myself. I had some friends throughout middle and high school, but not many; I definitely didn’t have anybody in my life who knew what I was doing when they weren’t around. Ultimately, I was afraid of being discovered and being labeled as “unfit” to be a Christian. My own inner-voice was the voice of condemnation.
When I was 16 years old, I had to give up something that I loved deeply. For my entire life, I had adored the game of football, and had always dreamt of pursuing something football-related in adulthood. My dad had been a high school coach for my whole childhood, and football was a very big (in hindsight, too big) part of who I was. Three weeks into my junior season, I suffered what was to be the last of multiple concussions in the span of fourteen months. Both my doctor and my dad said that I could no longer play. As a result, I was lost. It is silly to admit now, but football had been at the center of my life and had dominated my attention, time, and efforts. I didn’t know what to do without it. To escape the pain and the overwhelming lack of direction, I started viewing porn more than ever; at its height, I was watching maybe 3-4 hours of porn everyday/every night. I couldn’t sleep very well, I stopped working out, and I lost around 40 lbs in the span of 3 months. Although I was plainly upset over losing football, I now believe that it was the influx of porn and not just the absence of football that led to the depression and insomnia. I continued to doubt my faith, but somehow my faith managed to hang around in my heart, sometimes only by a thread. One of my previous youth leaders asked me to help in his youth group after I was no longer playing football, and I reluctantly said yes. I was being exposed to the truth and was hearing and reading about God’s grace as a youth leader, but it was hard for me to fully accept for myself. I felt like I didn’t deserve it and I could never reconcile that fact.
When I started college I had the opportunity to have my first experience with accountability. My roommates and I downloaded filtering software, so my internet access was limited for the first time. While there were some benefits to this, I was not yet willing to change entirely; the filter was a half-measure and I didn’t take the other necessary steps to change my heart. The filter on my computer only made me more desperate and “resourceful” in finding what I wanted to find. Masturbation became a part of my porn viewing, which only strengthened my connection to it. Part of me was ashamed of the lengths to which I was going to find porn: using other people’s devices, hiding in public restrooms, and spending hours looking for an unblocked site. The other part of me was always hungry for more. And while I was talking in much more detail than I ever had previously about my struggle with my two friends, I was still very guarded and in denial of the full truth that I had a serious problem. I never completely opened up myself to what true accountability could have offered me at that point in time. I was afraid to give up porn, even though it was such a clear struggle and was causing such turmoil in my heart.
I continually passed up opportunities for connections with Godly men and the brothers around me. I believed the insane lie that my problem with porn and masturbation would eventually go away. I told myself, “I’m just young and full of hormones,” “This will go away once I get married and can have sex,” and the worst of all, “It can’t be that serious if everybody struggles with it.” Miraculously, I met and started dating a Christian girl during my junior year of college. My problem with porn soon seeped into our relationship, and quickly after beginning our dating relationship we started doing things that we once said we never would unless married. Though we did not have sex, the things that we did do only compounded my shame and clouded my relationship with God, who I now believed could “fix” my problems, but just wouldn’t for some reason that I didn’t understand. It is only by the grace of God that we moved toward marriage (despite our failures) and were married one year after graduating college.
When my marriage began, I believed the previously stated lie, “This will go away once I get married and can have sex” for only about three weeks. Once the newness of marriage and traveling wound down, I felt a deep fear within me that I had not seen the last of my porn addiction. I maintained the false idea that this addiction was being done “to me” and was not something I was bringing on myself. I again looked at porn about three months into my marriage, and the habit slowly returned in the following months. Although I felt a conviction for my actions and knew that I needed to fight against my fleshly desires, I again chose some half-measures. I told my wife that I was “struggling,” but never said exactly what those struggles were. I always felt like I was fighting to gain some sort of victory and that no matter how hard I fought, I could not right the wrongs that I was doing in my life. Even though I cut off further access points, this once again made me more desperate, creative, and sneaky. I was looking for porn on work computers and masturbating in work bathrooms and empty rooms. This continued on and off for almost two years, with my shame building and my abilities and desire to be a Godly husband diminishing. After much conversation with my wife, we decided that I should look into counseling for my addiction.
I started counseling with Scott and Pureheart Ministries in April of 2016. To be honest, it was a slow process at first. When we first started talking, I found that it was good to talk with somebody about my struggles and what I was currently experiencing. Getting the truth out in the open was freeing, but I must confess that I was not completely sold that I could even be sober. My own doubts and insecurities prevented me from completely selling-out to my sobriety efforts. I still allowed my lustful thoughts and curiosities to come to the surface instead of taking my thoughts captive. I did start to reconnect with God, but I was not consistent in my efforts in prayer or reading; I did not pursue fellowship with anybody, and only ever talked with Scott about my sin. And still, I was not completely open and honest with my wife about my slips. I followed parts of the Pureheart curriculum, and put into practice some of what Scott and I had talked about, but I did not fully embrace all of it.
I was interacting with God more often, but I continued to bring a false self to God; because I was lying to myself it was easy to lie to God as well. I felt like I kept hitting a wall and although it was my own sin that caused this, I grew in my frustrations with God. I could not attain to Christ’s standard of purity because I was not willing to become a true disciple. I was holding onto my sin, even though my sin had wrecked me. I knew what I should be doing (seeking accountability, pursuing Godly wisdom, reading and praying, honest confession), but I was in denial that those things would truly help. Although I still experienced slight growth in my first 5 months working with Scott, I was still guarded and in fear, so I did not flourish.
About three months ago, my wife caught me in the act of watching porn. In that moment she came face to face with my problem and decided that she could not continue to watch me struggle. Unknowingly, my sin had slowly been draining the love and the life from her. But I remained in denial until she left our house—bags packed, dog in-tow—two weeks later. It was in that moment of intense pain that I had a choice to make. God had brought me to the end of myself. I had exhausted my manipulation, and my schemes to keep my problem hidden had failed. I had to decide to either plead to God for His mercy and to follow Him, or to turn fully to my sin, never to regain my confidence as a man and possibly never to regain my marriage.
The Bible tells us to flee from sin. We flee something when we see it as something that is dangerous and capable of destruction. Previously, my denial had kept me from seeing my porn addiction as a destructive force that I should flee from. I had not heeded the multiple warnings in the many years before. Though I had taken some necessary steps throughout the years, my steps were never enough because I had never fled my sin; I always flirted with my sin and so it hung around. But when I watched my wife walk out our door and drive away, I finally accepted the damage that my addiction had caused. I finally saw my sin as dangerous, and I knew that I had to flee.
I am so thankful that I had already established a relationship with Scott before my wife left. Her absence was a shock, but Scott was knowledgeable about the separation process and was able to walk me through the necessary steps that I was finally willing to take. When we talked, I was beginning to have some “light bulb” moments with the topics that he had been leading me through for the previous six months. I began to get some clarity and direction. Within twenty-four hours of my wife leaving, I established daily check-ins with accountability partners, and started a discipleship relationship with an older gentleman from my church. I was afraid of both of those things in the past and so I avoided them. But my pain had become greater than my fear, and so I was able to take those needed steps in my recovery. Both of those steps allowed me to grasp that God was with me through all those years; even though I felt abandoned, He did not abandon me. I had felt miserable because I was not at peace with Him. In that moment I decided that I didn’t want to be miserable any longer.
Though I was always thinking about her during the separation, I knew that my pursuit of sobriety had to first be for the purpose of reestablishing my relationship with Christ. I was not strong enough, nor even capable of fixing my marriage; that had to be something that God did if He so willed. I informed my wife of my progress while she was gone, but I did not make any attempts to woo her back. We entrusted each other to God, which I believe has been the most important component of our recent reconciliation. I was able to prove to my wife that I was pursuing purity, and remaining sober for 30+ consecutive days. As per her move-out conditions, she agreed to come back home at that time.
Working with Scott and going through the Pureheart curriculum has helped me realize that Jesus is able to equip me to live in freedom. My anger with God and sense of hopelessness were replaced with a newfound hope once I embraced the help that God and so many others were offering me. Scott helped me to see what my self-imposed isolation had produced. It was hard to come out of isolation; it was hard to be open and honest with people I did not know very well; it was hard to come to God, knowing that I had been running away from Him for so long. But in doing all of those things, I allowed God to demolish the strongholds that porn and masturbation had over me. Working with Scott helped me to establish consistency in the things that I “say yes” to. So much of my past was fixated on the things that I was trying to “say no” to, such as porn, masturbation and fantasies. The Pureheart curriculum helped me to establish consistency with my yeses. In the end, defense measures (internet filters, “cleaning the castle”, purity plan, etc.) are not an end in themselves. They are great, but when all I had was a defense, I failed. I did need to defend against temptation, but I also needed to pursue God. I needed consistency in my devotions, my prayers, my worship, my exercise, my diet, and my sleep. Pureheart helped me to form practical habits that would not only help me to flee sin, but to pursue God in its place.
Pursuing ferocious purity (as my wife calls it) has been a daunting task, but one that has been more than worthwhile. I started by doing what was absolutely necessary: confession, accountability, and a purity plan. Then I began to do what was hard, yet possible: reading multiple devotions per day, committing time and effort and vulnerability to my discipleship relationship, and eliminating fantasies. After awhile, I was even able to start thinking about the things that had long seemed impossible to me: long-term sobriety from porn and masturbation, a thriving marriage and friendships, and even possible future opportunities to help other men with this struggle. Though the future is unknown and possesses new temptations and stresses, I know that God will walk with me through it. I am currently three months sober (exactly three today). James 1:2-4 has been especially true in my life: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
"Rick" Age 30 (Counseling with Tim)
Porn was introduced to me at an early age (about 7-9yrs old) and shortly after I was masturbating frequently when I fell asleep. My family made a move across the country shortly after that and I found myself isolated. My parents were in gospel music ministry and traveled a lot, I would spend countless hours with only my imagination to keep me company. Being homeschooled in rural MO I had a pool of friends 3 deep, a boy with verbally abusive parents, a boy with a mom that was never home, and a boy whose parents lived separate lives; these guys helped form many of my thoughts and ideas about relationships, the world, and sex. During this time I was a self-professed Christian, but I can say I didn’t know the first thing about having a relationship with God. Our family went to church, tithed, and served others; to all those looking in we were living the middle-class Christian dream. About age 14, I found out my Dad’s stash of secrets. He was heavy into porn (he would preview pornographic PPV movies at hotels while he thought we were sleeping). I was really into computers and started searching for porn at the public library making sure to cover my tracks well. I would search my Dad’s office for his porn stash, look at it and put it back every week. As I finished 7-8th grade both our tastes in porn darkened. I started getting into BDSM while he was recording secret, voyeur videos of people I knew and photoshopping female friend’s faces to porn stars. Meanwhile I was looking at everything. By the time I was done with high school, I was bingeing on illegally downloaded porn every few weeks and masturbating multiple times a day while my father likely lost his business because he spent so much time looking at porn. He was accused of at least two affairs that left my parents split the year I turned 18.
I knew that porn was wrong but at the same time didn’t believe it would destroy everything. I felt lost and alone most of my teenage years and as I started making my own decisions, I wanted so desperately to have something more. I went through a period between 18-22 where I fought to be free from porn, I served on missions trips and worked a couple summer at bible camp, but even though I was not using porn it still had a hold on me through masturbation and sexual fantasy. I felt utterly defeated and ashamed every time I would act out. I tried to read the Bible but after two days, I would forget about it; my pray life revolved around God giving me things I didn't want to work for. I craved intimacy but was unwilling to be open to gain it. During this time I met my future wife and was even open to tell her about my porn addiction. Even in that time of struggle to do better, I became resigned to just hiding my porn problems and ignoring it; hoping it would just go away. We got married and had kids immediately, I started college and by the time I finished my bachelors I was sitting at the university library bingeing on S&M porn and masturbating in the bathroom. Unfortunately, my grades never suffered so I still failed to change. Working nights as an RN, I would watch porn at work, on my breaks, on more breaks than I was allowed, sometimes even at the desk. My family would leave the house to left me sleep and I would stay up every couple weeks to watch porn for hours nonstop and masturbate till it hurt. After the binge, the guilt, shame and utter self-disgust and loathing would drive me to delete everything and swear to be pure. This would last at most a few months.
May 13th, 2016 I thought I was about to lose everything because I was caught downloading porn on a work computer. I was deeply depressed, scared, and ashamed of my position in life. I was so low that I was actually thinking that death would be a better out. I had no relationship with God, I doubted he could even keep loving me. My marriage was slowly dying and I pursued my own things with no regard for my wife and kids. I was most likely going to lose my job and had no idea what my coworkers and friends would say. After calling Tim, I told my wife and pastor. My pastor was over to my house in 15min to pray over me and in not so many words told me to man up and stop being so shallow with everyone especially God. My wife’s first words were, “I forgive you” immediately followed with “how are you going to fix this and don’t touch me till then.”
I found Pureheart after googling “Christian sex addiction” recovery while I was in college, but I didn’t make the call till my career and family were on the line. Pureheart was nothing like I had envisioned. I had sampled many month long purity conferences and video studies (at one time becoming pure for almost a year before spiraling into more frequent bingeing than before). The year-long commitment at $70/week was totally different. In the first session, Tim challenged me that if I wasn’t willing to give up anything and everything to know God and become a man of God; I would remain a weak and ineffective Christian, and my family and everyone around me would suffer. Having lived through that with my own parents I was motivated to not hurt those around me. Tim gave me usable tools from day one and every day after. In the first few months, I was challenged like never before to be disciplined in my personal life. I learned that accountability is not only for when you fail but also to help you succeed. I have learned to read the Bible and pray and worship God on my own time. After spending basically all of my remembered life looking at porn and masturbating I was finally finding freedom, and it required hard work. Tim was brutally honest time after time; he called it like it was but always with grace. I learned fast that we had to take sin seriously because God did, but that if we looked for and asked for God’s help he would be there. I learned how my perspective on God, sex, family, and life was twisted by the devil and my addiction; leaving me literally unable to mature mentally, spiritually, or emotionally. The most powerful part of the journey so far has been rediscovering my emotions and giving them a voice. It has been such a relief to no longer suffer under the lie that men don't feel and never cry. I can talk about how I feel and recognize when to hold on taking action because my emotions are flaring.
I followed the steps Tim gave me no matter how awkward or strange they seemed at first (like in Soul Ties when I openly confessed every sexual sin that had chained my spirit.) I have found God’s blessing in obedience and I have been free from porn, erotic materials, or masturbated since May 13 (nearly a year). After several months, my thought life became less and less sexual fantasy and more focused on Christ. I started finding the dreams I lost 20 years ago. The coworker that caught me never said anything so I kept my job. I have started to truly know my wife and am building my relationship with her beyond just sex. After 6 months pure, I was offered a job at my church managing teams and making sure we built connections with the new people; God has blessed me through serving others and has given me an even larger platform for me to talk about God’s forgiveness and transforming power. I started a Band of Brothers and am now walking with 12 guys through the Pureheart books I went through in counseling. I am seeing many of these brothers starting to gain sexual purity in their lives.
The road from May 13th to now was not easy by any means, but it was not as impossible as it seemed when I took the first step. I have a whitelist of websites I use for work, my phone is locked down to the basics, my home internet has multiple layers of filtering and my wife keeps all the passwords. I am setting goals and achieving them, I am learning more about my wife and kids, the things they are gifted in and like to do. I spend dedicated time with my wife and kids. I consistently make time for the Bible, in prayer and worship. I know that weekly check-in and accountability is required for the rest of my life and I lean into this tool to encourage my growth. I know I will never roam on an unmonitored internet connection or be able to just google something on my phone, but I know that in my pursuit of God those things are trivial. I can now say with confidence that I am a Man of God. I am known by God, I am forgiven, loved, called, anointed, of great value, complete, and can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me.
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!
A Wife’s Testimony
As I sit here contemplating what to write and how to express the words I want to say I am met with many emotions--memories flood my mind reminding me of the day my whole world changed. How did we ever get to this place? Our life seemed idyllic in many ways. Married 28 years, with three beautiful children and our first grandchild on the way. We lived a very comfortable life; our children went to private Christian school and we were members of a great church; had a lot of wonderful family and friends surrounding us and we loved the Lord. But an almost perfect life isn’t immune to the troubles of the world. Satan is alive and well and will use us to try and destroy happy, healthy marriages and wreak havoc on Christian families. That’s what he did in our life. On that day in March I discovered that my husband harbored a deep, dark secret—that of having a sexual addiction. It wasn’t that I caught him with another woman or found him surfing the web of porn. It was our relationship that seemed to be suffering. There was a distance between us that I could not explain. For years I made excuses for the emotional disconnect: maybe it’s all of the transition at his job, and he does have a lot on his plate—stress does that to a marriage; maybe it’s the issues with the kids—having three teenagers can be challenging. But there was something that I just couldn’t put my finger on—sex was minimal and the intimacy was non-existent. Something more was going on!
I clearly remember the night that I confronted him. I came right out and asked him if he was having an affair?—viewing porn? Swearing at me, he vehemently denied it—even going so far as to swear on my life that he wasn’t involved with porn. He was SO angry with me for even suggesting it. In all my years of marriage he had never spoken to me like that. I was speechless—shocked that so much hatred was being spewed at me. Over the next week I pulled up the history on our IPad and computer and found a number of pornographic websites. I confronted him again, giving him another chance to confess, which he would not do. So, I presented the websites I had found and told him that if things didn’t change (in him) then things would not continue as they were (with me). My trust in him had been shattered. How was I ever going to believe anything he ever said again? Over the next few weeks I researched different programs that might help to free him from his addiction. He continued to minimize the problem—he wasn’t really sure he wanted to change. I, on the other hand, wondered if we could even save our marriage. After all, I felt I had been living a lie for the past 28 years—complete betrayal.
I came across Pureheart Ministries and gave him an ultimatum. You can opt into this program or opt out of this marriage. It had to be his choice, but I was not going to enable him or allow this to destroy one more month of our lives. He had already stolen so much from me—from us! I began poring through books of how other wives had discovered and dealt with their husband’s sexual addiction. It was comforting to know that there was hope and that we could eventually create a new normal. My husband chose to enter the program at Pureheart Ministries. We began the long climb back to even find some sense of normalcy—to build up my trust in him. Sometimes I would look at him and feel so much anger. Sometimes there were moments of overwhelming sadness, but each time God allowed me to see beyond that—he opened my eyes to the broken individual (that we all are) yet unconditionally loved and accepted by God (as each one of us is). I felt utterly alone during those dark days and one of the hardest things for me was that I didn’t have anyone to talk to. How could I even begin to explain to my friends/family what had been going on for years. No one talks about sexual addiction—it was humiliating and many times I felt I was to blame. I felt that it reflected on me and on our marriage, “Was I just not enough for him as a wife?” I never realized what a problem sexual addiction is in the Christian community until now. A survey done by Pureheart estimates that 70-80% of all Christian men under the age of 50 are sexually addicted at some level. It’s acceptable in the secular world, so the shame and guilt is not there as it is for the Christian man. Christian men deny they have a problem; hide behind a million excuses; and rationalize their sexual sin—all to minimize the guilt and shame.
As I poured my heart out to the Lord I found what I needed to carry me through and recognized the lies the adversary wanted me to believe. I had to learn to replace those lies with the truth found in God’s Word. That is the only thing that kept me grounded. As for my husband he was meeting with Tim, (the founder of Pureheart), weekly and he was fighting his own battles. Tim held him accountable, working through the early stages of denial and self deception, teaching him the truth about sexual purity, working with him on his self discipline and brought him through the process of understanding the cycle of his addiction (“The battle for purity is a war for your very soul”). Tim helped him by teaching him about what the Scriptures say about sexual purity and opened his eyes to see sexual sin for the ugly and selfish sin that it is; yet allowing him to see that God’s promises are the only thing that will bring true freedom. My husband has made significant changes in his personal life. He continues to experience stress in his job, but has developed positive coping skills to minimize the stress—exercise, reading scripture, meeting with an accountability partner and talking through frustrations before they build up. Our marriage is significantly better. We have always had fun together, but we are having more fun than ever. He has become my best friend. We continue to work on emotional intimacy After all, 28 years of being emotionally disconnected does not turn around overnight, but we are closer than we’ve ever been. There are no more secrets! I know that he is open and honest with me about everything. He checks in with me weekly (as well as with Tim) and he has been pure for a year now.
We never could have come this far without Pureheart Ministries. It has truly changed our lives and our marriage ☺!
Counseling with Scott
I don’t recall how old I was when I first started to look at porn, probably around 10 or 11. All I know it started me down a path that had me trapped in sin for over 35 years. I recall seeing a porn magazine I found in my brothers room and was hooked immediately but it wasn’t until my dad past away when I was 12 that porn and masturbation became my best friend, I used it as an escape from the pain I was feeling losing my dad.
I was a very shy kid that had a severe stuttering problem so my social skills were not very good to begin with. I could hardly say 2 words to talk with anybody and I was deathly afraid to even speak with girls. Women in magazines looked so alluring and captivated my heart as I could talk with them and they always smiled back. Thus began my daily habit of masturbating to porn and magazines. I continued this throughout high school and college thinking that this was normal. I fantasized so much about women that when I finally starting dating all I ever wanted was sex. Needless to say I had many girlfriends that all failed because of my addiction. But my need for the high of masturbation kept increasing. I rarely bought a porn magazine but I found Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition and other magazines to be just as fulfilling. When I found the internet I was hooked even more, sometimes spending all night looking at soft porn and masturbating 2 or 3 times. I spent many hours every day on the internet wasting a lot of time. No one knew and I wasn’t hurting anybody, so I thought.
Then when I was in my late 20’s I found Jesus. I went to a retreat in ******* with a group of friends and they talked about this subject where this person shared with us on how God helped him to overcome his addiction. I denied I even had a problem but God pricked my heart and I started my journey of many years of trying to break free from my addiction. I knew it was wrong so I tried to break free from my cycle of sin, confess, repent but to no avail. I’ve done a number of studies on this subject and they worked for a short time but I still found myself addicted. When I met my wife I thought that after we were married that it would be so much easier to stay pure but I found myself even more attracted to this forbidden fruit. I knew I really needed help when one day I found myself starting to think about other guys instead of women and that scared the hell out of me.
I was searching the internet one night last summer and found Pureheart Ministries and contacted them to see if I can get help. I got a call from someone who connected me with Scott Waters who took me through the Spiritual Survey and I found out that I was very addicted. I started working with Scott every week, money was tight but I knew I could not afford not to do it. I wanted to be free and I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. Everything else failed so this was my last ditch effort to save my relationship with my wife, family and even God.
Over the last few years my friend ****** and I have been getting together briefly to keep each other accountable. When I started with Pureheart the biggest thing was to get some brothers to help keep me accountable. I reached out to ******* last summer and we’ve been consistent and staying in touch ever since. He has been my lifeline to overcoming this addiction. Later in the year ####### joined us and we all have seen a great change in each of our lives. I need these brothers to keep me accountable and they do.
I started the study very leery of it working for me since many others have failed. But as I worked through the book and did each session I started to experience freedom where I started going a week without masturbation and then even longer. It wasn’t until I relented in placing tangible consequences on my sin that I really started to experience freedom. I started with $20 then went to $50 to Scott if I masturbate. Each time I would relapse my consequences became even more expensive as I got ******* and ###### involved.
Pureheart counseling and the Basic Training workbook has brought me more freedom than I have ever experienced in my life, it has challenged me to get serious with my addiction, it has given me hope where there was no hope and best of all my relationship with my Savior is the best it’s been for years.
I made a commitment to my wife, my brothers, my counselor, my Pastors and myself to never give up this fight for purity, as it is the most important thing I will ever do besides excepting Christ in my life. Without my daily relationship with Christ this freedom would not be possible. They both go hand in hand.
It’s been almost a year since I started this journey; even though I have relapsed only a couple times in one year, I’ve never felt so much freedom than I do now. I am excited to be leading a group of men at our church who struggle as I did to receive consistent freedom. Every day I need to be vigilant about taking captive every thought and making it obedient to Christ and being connected to God through reading, worship and prayer. My wife can tell the changes that have occurred this year in me and is very supportive in helping me stay pure. If I can do it, so can you.
Counseling with Jena
"I received counseling through Pureheart for a little over a year to help me heal from my husband’s addiction to pornography. My husband started looking at porn during my pregnancy with our first child and I did not discover the addiction until it had been going on almost a year. I was devastated and didn't know what to do. My struggle was worse for me because I suffered from post partum depression. After months of fighting and my husband trying to stop on his own we realized we needed help and both started counseling with Pureheart.
Jena helped me to process my anger and pain. Through talking with Jena, I learned to look to God for my strength, healing and the ability to forgive. My marriage survived the darkest time we had ever been through and I am stronger now because of it. My husband has had the occasional relapse but was able to maintain his purity for over a year and I know that was the work of God and Pureheart. A recent relapse has shown me that although my husband still struggles, I have been able to grow and can forgive more easily. I am no longer a victim of my husband’s sin but am able to be a pillar of strength and faith for him to lean on as he continues to regain his footing in his walk with Christ and his walk in purity. That is in thanks to God and to Jena. I honestly don't think my marriage would have survived without them both."
Counseling with Jena
"In the midst of an incredibly difficult and confusing time, navigating the deep waters of my husband's addiction to pornography, I've found much needed stability, wisdom and encouragement through counseling at Pureheart Ministries. Interactions with my counselor, Jena, have been something I look forward to weekly as we've begun to explore my own heart and need for Jesus. I'm being reminded of truths that can never be shaken (God's love, comfort, forgiveness, grace, my worth in him etc.) and at the same time talking through the practical steps in order to move forward in relationship with my husband. In counseling we've focused on the things I can actually change and control in a healthy and Gospel-centered way, and addressed some of the personal anxieties and lies I've been listening to surrounding this time. I am incredibly thankful for the counseling available through Pureheart Ministries and am confident that God has good things in store for me and in my marriage."
Counseling with Scott
Pureheart Counseling has been a true life saver for me and my wife. Before I started counseling with Scott Waters I had a hard time to go 2 days without masturbating and giving in to my lustful desires. It had a huge strain on our marriage. I am one month lust free now after getting help from Scott by learning the steps I needed to remain pure and change my thought life. I have tried many programs to help me but they all failed except this one. If you truly want to change I highly recommend counseling with Pureheart Ministries.
A Missionary’s Story
Ten months ago, I was on the mission field, and at the end of my rope.
I had no father figure growing up, so I learned about sex from my peers. I was sexually abused at age 9, which was overlooked by everyone. I got into masturbation and porn at about 10 years old. I came to Christ at 16, and from that day until recently, I lived in the ups and downs of trying to overcome lust and sexual immorality, always failing.
I became a youth pastor and worship leader of my church, always feeling guilty to be leading others spiritually, when I myself was still in bondage.
I married at 22, and thought my years of porn and masturbation would be over. But even then, I struggled on and off with masturbation and pornography. But my secret came out when my wife checked the internet history. I vowed to stop after that day, for my wife, and my newborn daughter. But I didn't know how to stop. Will power was not enough, even for a perfectionist. I eventually fell back into masturbation and pornography, and the subsequent lies and secrets that follow.
When we decided to become missionaries, I knew if I was going to be effective for God, I needed to come clean and get straight. So I confessed to my wife, who was heartbroken, but forgave me again. We went to the mission field, and I stayed clean for a few months, but eventually fell back into masturbation and porn. But what drew the line in the sand was the night I tried to secretly record having sex with my wife, so that I could view it whenever I needed a release. I justified this act as being less “sinful” than viewing other women lustfully. But the fact was, I was simply out of control. I was completely and in all ways a slave of my flesh. Some people think freedom is about doing whatever you want. Well, I did whatever I wanted for years, and became a slave to lust because of it; no longer able to decide for myself.
My wife caught me in the act, and we were at a huge crossroads. Something needed to change. I knew now after a decade of trying on my own that that wasn't going to cut it. I needed help. But I was on the mission field. What was I going to do?
I researched online, and found that Pureheart offered counseling via skype, and I knew I had to do it.
The most important steps for me in this recovery process has been dealing with the spiritual aspect of sexual immorality. This is a fight not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities. It is not something I am going to win by physically trying to (though that is a part of it). The main part of this fight is fought spiritually.
Other than keeping a consistent devotional life, the most effective part of the process for me was forming a lasting network of weekly accountability, of which my wife is included. Knowing I will be checking in every week not only reminds me to do my devotionals and other goals, but it is also a huge deterrent to flirt around with lust.
Now with a year of consistent purity, I can say there is no better way to live. There is no more burden of guilt and shame; the fear of secrets being revealed; the stress of watching my back and fighting the Holy Spirit’s conviction, daily trying to justify myself. Those were a lot of heavy burdens, that now having been removed, I don't know how I ever lived before. There is so much more to life beyond the cage of lust and sexual immorality. So much more to marriage. So much more to God.
A Husband and Wife Testimony
Brother John Doe
Although I was a professing Christian, I began to develop a secret life in which I became captive to the thrill of lust and masturbation. I attempted to hide my secret life from God, my wife, from my friends.
I told myself that I just had a bad habit...besides everybody masturbates, right? But over the years my mind became plagued with lustful thoughts and masturbating. Masturbating became an addiction...a sedative that allowed me to temporarily escape stress and tension.
I was on a repeating cycle of good intention - failure - guilt. I tried to stop. I prayed that I'd stop. I prayed really, really hard to stop. I read Christian "how-to-stop" books. I prayed with a church Elder. I attended Promise Keepers. I attended a weekend Christian boot camp for "Wild at Heart" men. I joined a Bible study. All of these actions and events were terrific BUT ALL OF THEM WERE SHORT TERM ANSWERS... failure and guilt continued.
Through God's grace I found Pureheart ministries. I talk openly and honestly with Tim one-on-one every week. Tim has personally won the battle of Purity. He "gets me." Pureheart is working for me because Tim has helped me understand my "acting-out" cycle and taught me to beat self-sabotage through eliminating "triggers." Tim holds me accountable, not only on my sexual purity but he challenges me to grow daily in my walk with Christ and my wife.
This is what my life is like now: I am no longer hiding; there is no secrecy in my life, nothing hiding on my computer, and no secret life. There is nothing between my God and me, and nothing between my wife and me. I love living in transparency, living in the light. I no longer need to look over my shoulder, wondering who will find some trace of my sin; I'm no longer paranoid of getting caught. I'm in the light, and I love it! I am free indeed in Jesus Christ. My past is nailed to a tree and buried in a tomb!
Thank you Jesus! (and Pureheart Ministries!)
Sister Jane Doe
Thanks to Pureheart Ministries, my husband is a changed man. Because of the tools and counseling that he has been provided, he has a new identity in Christ and a revised perspective on his role in our marriage. The biggest benefit for me as his wife has been the restoration of trust in our relationship. Having complete trust in my husband is a newfound freedom for me. In the past, I always tried to tell my husband, “I love you. I just don’t like your choices.” I really thought that I loved my husband, but my love for him is so much greater now than before he engaged with Pureheart Ministries. I am now experiencing marriage on a level I didn’t know was possible. We have been married for over 28 years, but I feel like we are back to the honeymoon stage! Thanks Tim and Pureheart!!
Brother “Rick’s” Testimony
I was about 12 or 13,when I was first introduced to pornography at a friend’s house, it was his older brother and father’s collections of magazines. It was also there that I first masturbated while looking at pornography in the bathroom. I was hooked! In my neighborhood there was a shipping and transfer business where I would sometimes hang out. The men kept pornographic magazines in their desk drawers and pinups of nude women on the walls. When the men were out of the office I would steal magazines from a desk drawer and tuck them under my shirt. This way I was able to establish a stash of magazines under my mattress in my bedroom. I would look at the pictures and fantasize being with those women sexually and masturbate. This became my habit during my years of high school.
In high school, I had a steady girlfriend, and we experimented with petting. I had my first sexual experience with another girlfriend when I was 17. During this time, I was introduced to Christ, and made a profession of faith. I continued to masturbate, and get under conviction, that this was not right. This became an ongoing battle of godliness and wickedness, and little did I realize that I was developing and Jekyl and Hyde mentality and lifestyle.
I was married at 19 and in college, but carried on secret dating with several girls while my wife was pregnant and expecting our first child. We were married for 13 years. During those years, I had several affairs with women I had met on the job and with a babysitter. Pornography was still a stumbling block in my life. During work shifts there were office desk drawers full of pornography which I would view, and masturbate while alone. Needless to say, I was not devoted to my wife and our marriage suffered greatly.
Then on a two week training business trip, eight hours away from home, I met a young woman. We slept together and we had a four month affair and worked out ways to get together. I fantasized that I could continue this relationship and also my marriage. Was I deceived! During this affair, I contracted a painful and gross venereal disease, genital herpes. The doctor who diagnosed the herpes informed me that I had to tell my wife. Once she learned about my unfaithfulness and this disease, as well as several other affairs, she wanted nothing more to do with me and filed for divorce. Because of the divorce proceedings and losing my wife, my children, and my home, I spiraled down into a deep depression and contemplated suicide. The frequent herpes breakouts were a painful and humiliatingreminder of my sinful actions. These results of my selfishness and sexual addiction brought turmoil, grief, and devastation into the lives of my children.
I lived the single life for five years, had a few dates without sexual contact, but still looked at porn and masturbated. I met a Christian woman who was single, and we dated for awhile. We had sex, and she became pregnant and we married, and had a daughter. I brought my depravity into our marriage. I purchased pornographic movies of couples having sex trying to spice up our sex life, but this only tempted me to go outside of our marriage. I continued to masturbate between our occasional times of sexual relations. My job often took me away from home and I befriended secretaries and other women. I had several one-night stands while on the road, away from home. Little did I realize once again, I was sowing damaging seeds of discord and disintegration into this marriage also. In 2001, the catastrophic“9-11” event affected me in such a way, that I put off my wandering and lusting lifestyle and concentrated on my family my marriage. Wanting to have a better marriage and lifestyle, we consulted our pastor and he referred us to a Christian marriage counselor, who counseled us for about six month. The counselor instructed me to reveal my affairs and infidelity to my wife. My life as a sex addict was not exposed at this time. My wife forgave me of the affairs and after awhile we discontinued counseling.
After 9-11, at some point in time, I discovered internet porn, and I still masturbated habitually, sometimes as many as five times or more daily. I was really out of control, not understanding that I was a sex addict. My wife got on the internet and looked up sexual addiction, and found “Pureheart”. I took the Pureheart sex addict test, and it revealed the depth of my addiction. I began counseling with Tim, and a true process of change began. The workbooks and the practical sound Biblical teaching with weekly accountability, have helped me come to an understanding of my addiction. Tim’s pastoral counseling of wisdom, experience, and “brother I’ve been there” attitude, have given me hope, and a renewed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Becoming more obedient to the God’s Word, and “casting down imaginations” have improved my walk with the Lord. I now am able to attend worship services and men’s Bible studies without shame or feelings of guilt. My marriage and relationship with my wife is an open and honest one, and I don’t have to hide things or sneak around. There has been no “acting out” or “womanizing” or “masturbating” for many months. It is so good to be out of the deep pit of bondage. God is so good!
For almost 70 weeks I have met regularly with Tim for an hour of check-in accountability, and Godly, spiritual, Bible-based, counsel and advice. Tim has been my coach as he implemented and coaxed me through the 26 briefings in phases 1 and 2 of the Pureheart Basic Training manuals. The Pureheart Basic Training material is based on the truth that we are in a spiritual war. There is a battle for purity, a battle for the souls of men. Because of sexual sin, pornography and perversions, families and lives are being destroyed. Just like most men who are caught up in pornography and sexual sin, I too, was in denial that I had a problem, an addiction.
Pureheart ministries is a life saver! Now, being a true Man of God, brings joy, peace, and a clear conscience.
An MK’s Testimony
I grew up in a conservative Christian family in _______, where my parents were missionaries. We had fun together as a family, even though the mission my parents served with was noticeably legalistic. Because of this legalism, one topic, sex, was never discussed. As a result, as I entered puberty, I had no one to talk about my growing interest in sex. I learned to pretend I had no sexual interest, even though I had the makings of a young voyeur. By age 12, when a male friend of mine fondled me, in what became mutual masturbation, I was hooked. I was learning about sex, and no one needed to know I had any interest in sex.
Into high school, and one of my teachers introduced me to Playboy magazine. The visual stimulation added fuel to my sexual burn. But with real women, I was shy, fearful of rejection, and idealizing of them. I had one date in high school. Through college I had two dates. I fell in love with a woman in graduate school and had my first sexual encounter with a real woman, which was disappointing because I knew so little about real sex and my body had been trained by masturbation for a different kind of pleasure.
As a result of the sexual encounter, I became clinically depressed, so much so that I finally confessed to a pastor whose church I had attended in college. He let me know that God was not surprised by my sin and had already forgiven me. I began a journey towards God that led me towards a firm commitment as an adult to be a follower of Christ. I ceased masturbating.
A few years later I met the woman who became my wife. After marriage we regularly enjoyed our lovemaking as we learned what pleasured each of us. I did not masturbate or look at erotic material until a fellow-graduate student showed me some pictures he had taken at a wet t-shirt contest, and he loaned me some of his R rated videos. I was hooked again and began masturbating on a binge basis; that is, I would go about 3 months, and then I would watch a movie or find something erotic, masturbate once, feel shame, ask God for forgiveness, and be pure for the next 3 months until the cycle started over.
This process continued for years. I was committed and growing in my faith. I had meaningful ministry activities. But my pattern of sexual sin continued; I would increase my masturbation and the erotic material I looked at to the point that I became scared, then pull back for periods of time.
Finally, I went to see a counselor and confessed my struggle. He minimized my struggle and did not help much, so I quit going. I learned later that he had his own sexual addiction involving prostitutes. On a missions trip to Europe, I found myself attracted to one of the local women. The attraction seemed like a compulsion. My wife was aware of my struggle. The relationship did not move beyond a few flirty texts, but I was frightened by my reaction. I found another counselor who helped me begin identifying anger I had at my wife that hindered our intimacy. Over a year of counseling I made great progress in being more open with my wife about my own needs. I also shared my sexual struggle with a Christian brother who prayed with me. I asked God to help me with my struggle, and I sensed him answer by saying “I’ll take care of it.” I was not sexually pure from then on, but a good process had been started.
A few years later I found that my sexual acting out—looking at various porn sights on the internet—had returned to its binge form, but without the masturbation. I would go months, sometimes almost a year, between binges. But at some point I would sense the desire and would find a time when my wife was out of town and I would be somewhere other than our house, and I would binge for 6 hours looking at internet based pornography. But I did not masturbate.
In September of 2012 I had my last binge. As I was finishing, I heard God say to me, “_____, this is serious.” I realized that I needed to get this sinful practice out of my life. I looked for a counselor, but there were none in my area I trusted. I did a Google search and found PureheartMinistires.net. I thought a missionary kid like Tim Davis might understand my struggle.
Since that last binge, I have been sexually pure. Although I had made much progress, Tim helped me put the pieces together and firmly establish my commitment to sexual purity. Weekly check-ins with men from my church has been necessary and satisfying, because my vulnerability with them has helped them become vulnerable and begin pursuing sexual purity as well.
With no secret sexual sin to hide, I have greater freedom to be myself and to enjoy others. I am willing to risk interpersonally with others, which involves being self-disclosing about myself and my struggle, and asking more penetrating questions of others. My intimacy with God has increased, and my confidence in my relationship with him. My wife has been very patient and understanding through this process, and our own emotional and sexual intimacy has increased.
Sexual purity is not for sissies. In our sex saturated society, pursuing sexual purity makes you look odd. But I would live no other way. God be glorified.
I first saw my dads playboy when I was 11 years old. Then when I was thirteen I discovered his porn magazine stash and started masturbating to the images. I was immediately hooked. I also began to fantasize about the ladies I saw in the magazines. In high school I was able to acquire my own magazines. I also started to rent and watch softcore/un-rated movies from the video store. By now I was masturbating pretty much everyday. Once I turned 18 I was able to start renting hardcore porn movies. I would watch them when my parents and sister were gone. Then we got a computer and internet access. I found myself fascinated with erotic fiction. I would read them, print them off, take them to my room and masturbate.
When I was 21 I moved out and was in college and got a place of my own. I would then subscribe to porn mags, rent and buy porn movies. I masturbated everyday, most of the time twice a day. This continued until I was 27 and I eventually decided I wanted to stop. It was not fulfilling and I was angry with God about being single. I always wanted to have a family.
So I started at a FMO group. This went well for me for a couple of years and I got married. After a couple years of marriage we had a son and it was rough. I ended up going back to my porn watching and masturbating do deal with the stress, now getting it from the internet and buying movies at a convience store. I also would go into a porn shop every couple of weeks. Eventually my wife caught me and I started back to FMO and counseling. But neither lasted. The counseling was not helping me and FMO was not helping me. Neither were providing the appropriate structure and things I needed to stay pure.
Eventually, my wife called me out again on looking at porn and masturbating and I admitted it to her. I had lied about it in the past. She said she still loved me but couldn't raise a family by herself and be in a one sided marriage. So I had hit rock bottom. I apologized for everything and sought help. I know FMO was not what I needed and I found about Pureheart ministries. I immediately liked what I saw of the books and of the accountability.
I met with brother Scott. And we got started immediately. I soon realized I was not prepared for life of purity without the knowledge the Pureheart had. With counseling and accountability I worked through my issues from the past, setup a consequence, participate in an accountability group. I have been pure for the almost 4 months. I have also have been working on my relationship with my Wife and kids. These relationships are better then ever. I have been in counseling for over a year now and completed both books. I'm looking forward to a third book. I have gone back to college and am getting excellent grades.
Pureheart ministries was just what I needed the structure, knowledge and daily steps are working wonders for me. I own them a big thanks and recommend this to anyone struggling with porn addiction.
It was March of 2014 when I was confronted with an ugly truth that I could no longer hide from. My wife days before had asked me “have you been looking at pornography”. I adamantly denied the allegation even though it was true. Worse, I lashed out at her and told her she was the one with the problem. A few days later she stood before me with a list of pornographic websites I had visited.
My wife was strong enough to confront my lies and give me an ultimatum “get into a program or this marriage is over”. For 20+ years I had been trapped in the evil desires of my sinful nature. Now I had a choice to make. Continue to be a slave to sin following my evil desires to the pit of death (Rom 6) or… what? Where was I to go? What was I to do? I had tried to stop thousands of times before. Why would this time be different?
I had been in accountability groups that turned out to be support groups for my continued justification and denial. The story was always the same “every guys struggles with sexual sin”. Who could I go to in the church? It would be one thing if I had a drinking problem or a drug problem. You are praised if you admit you have a problem with those more sociably acceptable “issues”. Admitting you have a problem with sexual sin is just not the same (if you’ve been there you will know what I mean). There is a stigma that lives in the church surrounding sexual sin and that is why it is so pervasive and hush, hush.
I was on the edge of divorce racked with guilt and shame and unable to see a way out. I was about to throw away a marriage of more than 25 years, destroy my family, and probably become an outcast from my family--never to see my first grandchild, who was due to be born in a few short months.
I thank God that my wife researched and found Tim and Pureheart Ministries. Tim started opening up the scriptures to me in a new way. He showed me that sexual purity must be learned, and that in my sin I was not only rejecting God but also His Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 4-8). That was why I was powerless to fight the battle against sexual sins.
Tim has not just taught me about scripture. He has walked me through the battle plan for sexual purity (1 Thes 4:3-5). There is more than being self-disciplined (2 Peter 1:5-7) , fleeing from sexual immorality(1 Cor 6:18-20), and taking every thought captive and obedient to Christ(2 Cor 10:5).
I remember back 8 months ago when Tim told me that this was about changing my life. That the bottom line was that my goals were not aligned with God’s goals and my head was not connected to my heart. As I reflect back on what is now a year plus of purity, Tim was right (despite the world telling me it can’t be done). My life is different. I am no longer living in the pit of sexual immorality the fruits of which were guilt, shame, depression, despair, and self-loathing. I no longer enter into a conversation feeling dread of being a phony.
What I am doing is learning the truth that would set me free (John 8:31-32). I am learning to stop worrying about what other people think about me. I am learning that being obedient to God’s calling brings me a peace and hope that passes all understanding (Rom 5:1-5). As Christmas approaches I have much to be thankful for: a revived marriage, being a proud grandfather, and being set free from the bondage of sexual sin through the redemptive work of Pureheart Ministries.
Brother “Tom,” Age 23
The first time I viewed a Playboy magazine I was in 6th grade a friend of mine got it from his uncle. I was hooked after that. I took any chance I could to get my hands on erotic material: Victoria’s Secret catalogues, swimsuit ads, MAXIM magazines, R rated movies, I even looked for porn if a kid at school said they saw it on the sidewalk on their way to school. I eventually got a stack of porn mags from another friend that were more vivid than I was used to. Masturbation took off and was soon a daily ritual for me. To make things worse I got unrestricted access to the internet the same time I was getting bored with those old magazines. I would stay up till 2AM before sneaking into the living room for a private viewing session. High school rolled around and I got my own room with my own computer. No wonder why my grades were so horrible, the time I should have been spending on homework I spent scheduling my life around when nobody else was home and downloading porn on a Napster-like program that left a clean trace on my browser history. After high school I got a girlfriend. Somehow I was firm in my belief that sex should take place after marriage, but that didn’t mean sexual groping and mutual masturbation were off the menu. Our relationship was never about love for each other but our own pain. We both lied to and used each other to make ourselves feel more secure. I finally broke the relationship off. Though it lasted for two months it did severe damage and left holes in me that I kept trying to fill with the wrong things time after time again.
My largest consequence I faced as an addict was the distance from God. I constantly defied God and only wanted him present when it was convenient for me. I never read my Bible. I didn’t believe that God wanted the best for me. My relationships with everybody suffered. I had a mask I would wear for everybody. I didn’t trust anyone and didn’t open up. I kept all of my pain locked inside. I was never up for making new friends. I would lie to cover up my feelings and sin. My guilt and shame made it almost impossible to face women. I never saw them in the way God wanted me to see them. I only looked and thought of them with my own worldly views. I spent so much of my time and energy involved in ministries I lacked heart for trying to cover up the addict “Tom,” that I would lose sight of who God created me to be. I was so focused on sex that I neglected the life God put in front of me.
Praise God for Pureheart Ministries and the work that they do. After hearing Tim and Jay share their testimonies I had hope. I thought to myself “If they can break free, I can too.” I signed up for a free evaluation. I thought that my addiction wasn’t that bad, after all I was a single man in my early twenties, but the sexual survey and Tim proved me wrong. Tim helped me to break out of denial and identify the lies I kept telling myself to justify my behavior. He helped me to realize that I was a prisoner of spiritual warfare. Once I began fighting for my soul I didn’t give up I was tired of giving up. I was sick of Satan controlling my life. I made a game plan to stop my behavior. I identified what I was fighting for, what I was standing against, my strengths, and my weaknesses. The material I read for homework was very helpful and proved to be an effective tool in defeating masturbation, full of great tips and suggestions. One suggestion that helped me out a lot was a tangible consequence. I first set the bar at a $50 donation to Pureheart Ministries for masturbating and then raised it to my $750 guitar to insure never relapsing. Thankfully God created me with the gift of being a tightwad and Tim never saw any consequence money from me. Tim also teamed me up with a few guys from my church we meet weekly to check in and discuss our struggle with sexual sin. It’s been my great honor and pleasure to get to know and love the men in my group. I am thankful to have open relationships with men I look up to. They keep me accountable and me helping them stay accountable helps me too. I can’t brag enough about my group. Pureheart works! If you are willing to spend the money for counseling, do the work, and make some sacrifices you too can be free from the vicious cycle that tore me apart daily.
As a single man I now have 14 months of consistent purity! No porn. No masturbation. I’m so grateful for the work God has done in my life. I’m a new man. I actually pursue God, not run and hide from him. I read my Bible and pray almost daily. I set goals and believe in myself. My communication has improved and I’m beginning to build healthy Christ-like relationships with women because there isn’t a barrier of shame. My thought life has improved drastically, I don’t find myself lusting near as much as I did and sex isn’t on my mind 89% of the time. I’ve began living a truthful, honest, and open life. I have a huge evangelical heart for men that struggle with sexual purity. I devote myself to my Pureheart group and plan to lead one in later years. I’m more active I care about my health and exercise more often. I make better use of my time, I rarely if ever watch T.V. and I spend my time doing what I love and fulfilling my duties. I give more generously and have recently started to tithe. I’ve learned to be bold and confident, and best of all I don’t see myself as a pathetic, cowardly pervert anymore. I see myself as “Tom,” a man of God.
A Pastor’s Story…
My One Year Testimony…One Year Free of Porn and Masturbation!
One year ago, I was at a near breaking point. My marriage was suffering. My personal devotional life was almost non-existent. I was leading the church from a place of timidity and shame. I didn’t want to challenge people too boldly because I knew I wasn’t able to see the change in my own life. The worst thing of all was preaching and seeing my wife sitting on the front row. She was in so much pain, and I knew she knew what was going on inside of me. I felt like a fake but I couldn’t help it.
Porn and masturbation had been a constant part of my life since my teen years when I was exposed to it in middle school. Things escalated from there, especially when we got internet access in my bedroom in high school. I always thought I would ‘grow out of it’ like when I went to a Christian college, met my fiancé and started in ministry. I was wrong, wrong and wrong again. The patterns of addiction were too deep, and there were a number of practical avenues that I was not closing which left the ‘drug’ available to me. I had personal counseling, marital counseling, and even joined a Christian recovery group for 3 years. In all of that, I had never made it past three months without masturbating or looking at sexually explicit material.
I found Pureheart Ministries online one day and decided to give the free assessment a try out of desperation. I really wasn’t expecting too much since I felt I had already done ‘all I could’ to get free to no avail. Tim shared with me that he had a nearly 100% success rate with guys who followed his advice step by step. That got my attention. The first step was to ‘get rid of the drug’ by white listing my computer. While I had a filter for many years, I always found a way around it by doing searches, trying to ‘poke holes’ in the system- and there were plenty of loopholes. I didn’t think white listing would work because I often have to use the internet for work-related purposes- and because so many things happen online these days (registration, conferences, purchasing etc). After setting it up, the white listing has been a lifesaver. Because I’m restricted to only a few sites (email, bills, bible programs, etc), I don’t spend any idle time surfing the net. That is something I am done with the rest of my life. If I ever need a site that I can’t access, I can ask my wife at home with her present there.
The second biggest help for me was establishing financial consequences for an integrity break. My wife was very skeptical of this at first, and thought we’d lose our whole savings because nothing had ever worked for me in the past! However, combining consequences with the white listing proved to be a very powerful combination for me. In the one year since working with Tim, I had one incident where I did a search for inappropriate ‘soft porn’ images while logged into my wife’s user. Paying the consequence reaffirmed for me the ‘sting’ of getting wrapped up in this sin again.
I appreciate Tim’s bluntness. The Pureheart workbook follows the theme of WWII and at times, I really did feel like a recruit in Basic Training taking orders from a drill sergeant! I took it, however, because I know he really has my best in mind, and because we truly ARE in a war. Falling into the enemy’s trap has HUGE disastrous consequences for myself, my wife, my kids, my church, community and the Kingdom of God. I truly believe that. I was losing my relationship with the Lord. My wife was becoming hurt and distant. I was not connecting well with my children. My ministry was suffering. All of those things could have been thrown away in a moment of stupidity by acting out at church and having someone else find out.
On the other hand, VICTORY also has huge consequences of blessing, life, freedom and helping others to get free. I am so excited to be crossing the one year mark. I feel like a new man. I have gotten into better shape physically than any time since college. I’m eating well, exercising regularly. My sex life with my wife has greatly improved. I am more present with my kids and don’t lose my patience with them as easily. I am preaching with more passion, conviction, and clarity. I am engaging difficult conversations with people without feeling like I have anything to hide. I am a better leader. I am setting goals and praying and working to see them reached. I am excited to see other men break free of their addictions. I have led two men’s groups on this topics, and am waiting for the Lord to reveal his next steps for me. At some point, I hope to take men through the Pureheart training- especially pastors and leaders who are stuck like I was.
Going forward, I plan to live in integrity the rest of my life. I plan to have a regular weekly check in for the rest of my life. I will never do an internet search by myself again. I will always have white listed internet. I will never have TV. These are simple ways of ‘cutting off my right hand’ that are a small price to pay for the blessings and benefits of living in freedom.
Six Month Update
These past six months have been nothing short of amazing. I used to be a person that was carrying a secret that was choking me spiritually. My greatest fear was being found out, that I was addicted to pornography. It had always been in my life, Playboy magazine, but when we got our first computer with internet access ten years ago I was like a little kid in a candy store. The last five years it seemed that all I thought about was pornographic fantasies. I didn’t really think I was hurting anyone. I stayed away from child porn. and animals and I never subscribed to any porn. sight. It was only pictures. That was my justification and denial at work. I might have a problem, but I’m not as bad as others. I had all kinds of reasons why I did what I did. Most of them were family issues and I used porn. as a form of medicine.
The past two years have been the hardest. I realized I had become very short fused with my wife, and I started experiencing a lot of guilt and shame after an evening of porn. surfing. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I just couldn’t quit. I tried a few times, but the longest I managed to stay away was two weeks. My spiritual life had become a sham, like what I was reading couldn’t apply to me because I was full of self condemnation.
Two years ago, at the Men’s N.W. Conference, one of the speakers there was Ted Roberts, author of the book Pure Desire. He talked about sexual addiction and threw out some statistics of church men that made me realize that I probably wasn’t the only person in our church with a pornography problem. At the time I was in a good men’s group from church, and I felt fairly safe with sharing my secret with them. Well, everyone tries to help, but we aren’t equipped to deal with the devil at this level. Good intentions aren’t good enough. You can’t win this battle by yourself.
The following year I joined a second men’s group. The main focus with this group was accountability and the subject was sexual addiction. This was where the rubber started meeting the pavement. We were studying the book, A Cross Centered Life, by C.J. Mahaney. Justification, Sanctification, and Condemnation were some of the subjects we talked about and learned how to apply these to our lives. At about the same time, Tim Davis from Pureheart Ministries gave a presentation on sexual addiction at our last men’s breakfast. He presented data similar to what I’d heard before. At the end of his presentation, he asked if anyone had situations they would like to share and a number of men, young and old, shared on how easy it was to get caught up in worldly sin, including myself.
The following week, Tim Davis called and asked if I was willing to meet with him. He said the session had been prepaid. At the end of that first meeting Tim stated that I was in need of professional help. I stated that finances were an issue and Tim told me that a couple of people from our church had offered to sponsor me.
At this time, I truly want to thank those of you who believed enough in me to sponsor me through this counseling with Tim. Without it I wouldn’t be where I am today.
During session one, Tim and I banged heads a couple of times to the point of quitting. That was my initial resistance to some truths that I was in denial on. What I am learning is putting my trust in God and to bring Him along side of me when fighting the devil. I’ve found this is easier to say than do. One of the men in my second group made a comment to me that really stuck. He told me,” Brother, you’ve become so complacent in your Christianity that you’ve lost your first love”, which is God. This made a real impact on me because I know now that I need to be God focused. I’ve learned the more I focus on God, the more active the Holy Spirit is in me. I’ve also learned that sin and the Holy Spirit are not compatible.
It was during the first session that I realize my mind was clearing up. Before my mind was like a fog with flashes of trash to feed my fantasies. I also destroyed all my cd’s and dvd’s that contained saved pictures over the past ten years. Everything I had in the house or garage that was sexually related became trash. Paper was burnt, vhs tapes were drilled. Nothing could be salvaged for later use. It’s hard to describe the rush of joy when I drilled the computer discs. and secured them together with bolts and nuts. They sit on top of my computer cabinet like a trophy.
I have done more reading in the past year an I’ve done in the past forty years. Besides reading the books from the men’s groups I’ve read, Pure Desire, The Shack, and Truefaced. All excellent books.
Recently, Tim asked me to identify all my soul ties to sexual sin. This would be anyone or anything that caused me to sin against God. The prayer Tim and I had with God revealing these soul ties and asking for forgiveness was one of the most heart wrenching emotional talks with God I’ve ever had. Step by step I’m getting stronger because God is with me and the Holy Spirit is there to help me along the way.
On July forth, I made another stand on addiction. I quit smoking. I asked the Holy Spirit to take the lead on this and for the most part it’s been pretty easy.
One of the hardest things I’ve faced so far is establishing a consistent devotional time. The weeks that I slack in devotional times seem uneventful and ho-hum. If you don’t put God first you know who’ll be there to jump in. Summer time seems to be hardest to find quiet times for devotion without falling asleep.
Now this is ironic. I’m struggling with devotional time and I get this urging to read Ecclesiastes. If my understanding is correct it says that mans work on earth is meaningless. We really can’t change for the better what God has made. Our goal should be to worship our God and enjoy the blessing He bestows on us. I took notice of chapter 7, verse 26. “I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hand are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare.” Some might call this a coincidence. I think it was a nudge from the Holy Spirit.
My battle is not nearly complete, but it’s no longer hopeless. God and I are still dealing with issues of total trust. There are still family issues, but I’m not using porn. as medicine to numb my mind. I haven’t used the internet for pornography for over six months now. I hear frequently that I’m not the same man I was six months ago.
Again, I thank you and my wife thanks you. God bless you.
I started my time with Tim and Pureheart in October of 2009, having been led by God to his phone number, after a couple of false starts with other attempts at deliverance. My story is fairly mundane, but no less destructive than those more flamboyant. I was a porn addict from a teen, being 53 now, and married just over 30 years. My wife was the one that finally got fed up with my behavior, my excuses, my accusations, and the hurt she endured. She was the one that I saw dying before me, and it cut me to the heart. Knowing in myself that I could not do this on my own, I tried a couple of “long distance” programs, from books/workbooks, to considering email type homework and counseling. Nothing settled with us, until I found Tim. After one phone call, in which I was able to talk to Tim directly, I knew within myself that this is where my path to deliverance would lie.
I was also a seminary graduate and a pastor for over 30 years. As part of my healing process, I chose to take a sabbatical to concentrate on my purity, which has opened the door to understanding and pursuing my true destiny with the Father. I didn’t see it then, (Tim did), but my weakness and addiction was holding me back from being what God wanted me to be. It literally held me down, bound me so that I could not move closer to God, or forward in my life. Furthermore, it was threatening my marriage, which would have devastating effects on not only my two children, but to the hundreds of people we have served in our fellowship over the decades. I was at a critical impasse in my life, and needed a strong, knowledgeable, brother to help me.
Tim was, and Pureheart is, just that. Psychological counseling from a Biblical basis. Both health and healing in one package. Over this past year, we have worked through his incredibly thorough, and Biblically accurate, “briefings”, and are almost though them all. Along the way, he uncovered some hidden damage from childhood sexual abuse and emotional neglect. We explored deeply my “emotional IQ”, which was a HUGE breakthrough in my life. Today, I am aggressively building my weak areas, with God’s help, so that I can be better for Him.
My wife says it is nice to have a husband again, both in life and in bed. I have never known such intimacy, such closeness with her. And not unexpectedly, I am seeing the same closeness developing with God. Where I thought I had a relationship with Him, I was at best, an occasional acquaintance, not by His choosing, but by my weakness and addiction.
Tim not only “helped” me through my addiction, but even greater, restored me to the place God wanted me to be, open and close to Him. I have a ways to go still, but the growth, particularly this last month, has been astounding. My wife says I am a new man. She wonders what happened to the “old Fred”, but not too much, as she is quite content to leave him where he is! She even commented last week, noting that she couldn’t believe that she would say this, but she thanked me for being so screwed up, for without hitting that bottom, we probably never would have grown so close, and would not have moved so far and so fast together with God. God allows in His wisdom, what He could easily prevent with his power so that He can bring us to a higher place in Him. This was true for Abraham, Joseph, Job, and Paul, and even, little ol’ “Fred.” There is always provision from God in any affliction we are in. There is always strength in Christ behind the weakness of the flesh, if we only press through the walls to get to it. Pureheart, Tim, ministered to the base elements of my weakness, addressing the physical and mental where needed, but even more, inspired the spiritual, so that I could breakthrough beyond the physical affliction to claim my place as God’s man.
Fred, age 22.
At 19, I was already going to adult bookstores and buying pornographic DVD’s. I had been masturbating regularly since I was 9 or 10, moving on to porn when I was in high school. By the time I started Bible college, I was already deeply addicted. My thought life was obsessively focused on sex; my mind was full of lustful thoughts and sexual fantasy. I knew what I was doing and thinking was wrong, but I didn’t know how to stop. I talked to a number of people about my struggles, but they either told me they would pray for me or minimized the problem.
Hearing Jay and Tim share their stories had a major impact on me. I immediately joined a Pureheart group. I took in as much of their teaching as possible, applying everything I could to my situation. I am happy to say that, even as a single man, I have been able to defeat the habit of masturbation (I had never been able to break the habit before). I had initial 6 months masturbation free, and then relapsed over the summer because I didn’t maintain accountability during those months. I now have an additional 8 months with 0 masturbation. During these last 2 years I have looked at erotic material on only 2 occasions, and even that was for a short period of time. Best of all, I am now engaged to be married. I have been completely honest with my fiancé about my past—she also helps keep me accountable. We have stayed pure in our relationship and have been careful not to cross the line. Thanks to Pureheart, I can give my future wife the gift of a pure, self-controlled, and faithful husband! I highly recommend Pureheart!
Tom, age 40
It was in one of our first sessions. Tim asked me how many times I had masturbated in my life. That’s one of those questions you don’t get very often. I had to stop and think—it took me a while. The grand total? At least 30,000 times—and I am only 40 years-old. I masturbated 7 times a day for many years right up until the time I stated counseling. Here’s the amazing thing. Since starting with Pureheart I have masturbated 0 times—I am now in my 9th month of sobriety. Praise God!
Of course, I didn’t just masturbate. I belonged to an extremely dysfunctional family so I learned early on to escape into sexual sin. I discovered pornography early, and by the time I was a young adult, I had already had a number of affairs with married women. I became a Christian and got married, and while I stopped sleeping around, I couldn’t break the habit of masturbation and porn. I also developed a habit for many years of taking time off work, drinking alcohol, and then going to strip clubs or lingerie modeling places. Since I was a Christian, I kept all of this secret; even my wife didn’t know for many years. Here’s the amazing thing. Since starting with Pureheart, I also have 9 months clean from any kind of alcohol, porn, strip clubs, lingerie shops, or any other sexual sin. My relationship with my wife has improved dramatically, and I feel like I can finally start to grow again spiritually after living so many years as a hypocrite. I don’t want you to think that my life is perfect now, I still have some major hurdles to overcome, but in terms of purity, it has been a night and day difference. I thank God for Pureheart!
Howard, age 34
I told my wife what I had been doing. Of course, she was devastated. And angry. We agreed to separate—I moved across town. I was sure that divorce was on the horizon. Thanks to my sins, my wife, my two girls, and I would become yet another statistic.
I started counseling with Pureheart right around this time—I heard about them through someone at our church. I told Tim that I didn’t have much hope, but God had made it clear to me that I needed to tell my wife everything—even with the risk of divorce. This was my second time around in terms of sexual sin, so it was understandable that my wife felt especially betrayed. When I was younger, I had been addicted to alcohol and drugs but I had managed, basically on my own, to get sober. I couldn’t beat my addiction to porn and sex, however, and so I went to a treatment program in town for sexual addiction. It didn’t really take—for a variety of reasons. I didn’t remain in accountability after the program was done, nor did I really kick the habit of masturbation. My wife, however, thought I was clean, and I went back to keeping secrets. Now, years later, I told her the truth. She found out that after a time of sobriety, I had returned to my habits of looking at porn, and then eventually, going back to lingerie modeling sites and sleeping with prostitutes. Even during this time, however, God spoke to me very clearly, telling me that my only hope in ever breaking free was to get completely honest. I also knew I needed help.
I have been done with counseling now for a year. I have two years of complete sobriety—no porn, no masturbation, no affairs, no sleeping with anyone other than my wife. I did have one close call during counseling when I took a trip away from home, but I resisted the temptation by calling and checking in with my wife and my accountability partners. I continue to meet weekly with a small group of guys who hold me accountable in terms of both purity and spiritual growth. Miraculously, my wife took me back in—again. Our relationship is better than it has ever been—we hardly even argue anymore (we used to fight all the time). I can’t thank God enough for a ministry like Pureheart.
Ed, age 28.
I have only been counseling for 5 months, but already I have made some real progress. Even though I grew up in the church and had a dramatic conversion at age 15, I couldn’t shake the habit of masturbation and porn. I have never slept with a woman but I have spent countless hours looking at porn. I started with magazines at neighbor’s houses and then pornographic movies on Cable TV. After I was saved, I had several years of purity, but when I went through problems at my church, I reverted to my old ways, except that by then, I had discovered the Internet. I used to look at hardcore porn and masturbate until I literally vomited from disgust with what I was looking at—but even that didn’t stop me. My addiction killed my relationship with God and I began to withdraw from relationships, isolating myself even further. Whenever I would get stressed or had problems at work, I would binge on porn and masturbation. Of course, this only made me feel worse, which led to more binging, and so on.
I found out about Pureheart through the Internet. I now have hope that I can be pure again, my relationship with God is growing again, and I am renewing friendships with people I haven’t talked to in years. I put a filter on my computer at home and set a rule of no Internet use after midnight when I get back from work. I was pure for a month and then relapsed into masturbation and porn for several days. I then got more serious about consequences for my behavior and set up a plan with my accountability partner (my stepbrother). If I masturbate, I owe him $20 and if I look at porn, it’s $30 a pop. My stepbrother was hoping to make lot of money off me, but so far he has been very disappointed. I now have 3 months and counting entirely porn and masturbation free. My thought life is getting cleaned up as well, and I have real hope that I learn to walk in constant purity for the rest of my life. I want to be pure so that when I find the right woman, I can be someone who has a habit of purity and not sexual sin.
Bob, age 22
I grew up on the mission field but even there, it was easy to get ensnared in sexual sin. I masturbated for the first time when I was 12 years old. There was immediate guilt and shame that followed, but it felt too good to stop and I was too scared to tell my parents. I masturbated at least once a day for the next five years, sometimes more. I didn’t masturbate quite as much when I was 17-22 years old, more like 3 or 4 times a week. That means that in the last ten years, I’ve masturbated at least 2600 times. I looked at my first porn magazine in a field when I was 12 years old. For the next year, I took bike rides around the neighborhood every weekend, sometimes for 4 hours at a time, looking for scraps of pornographic magazines and masturbating in the bushes. When I was 15, I started looking at swimsuit models on the Internet whenever my parents were out of the house. Within a year, I was looking at hardcore Internet porn whenever I got the chance. At 17, I got bored with pictures and started watching videos online. I didn’t look at Internet porn as frequently when I started attending college (because I assumed the IT department knew what I was looking at), and I didn’t have the opportunity to masturbate as much since I was normally surrounded by guys in the dorm. However, I would binge during breaks when I was away from school, so my heart wasn’t changing at all. That’s where I was at before I came to Pureheart.
I was sick of the cycle of shame and guilt that I was going through. I was starting to serve as a youth leader at a local church, and I felt like a hypocrite since my thought life was such a mess. I had been in three different peer-led accountability groups as a teen, and all of them had disbanded when we kept failing and eventually hiding our sexual sins. Hearing Tim and Jay speak jolted me awake, and gave me hope that I could really be transformed on the inside.
Pureheart has made standing up against temptation and oppression a reality for me. Instead of just shoving information down my throat and saying “You should do this,” Pureheart has walked me through step by step, encouraging me to confess routinely to Christian brothers, speak truth into each other’s lives, pray for each other, and support one another throughout the week. My identity in Christ has been ingrained into me. I now know the difference between a spiritual attack and a fleshly desire, and how I can practically deal with both. I have cut down masturbation from 3 or 4 times a week to only 1 time a week. I even went 40 days without masturbating at one point (something I have never done before). I went without looking at porn of any kind for 4 months – the longest ever for me. With the support of my brothers in Pureheart and by God’s grace, I have made it through a one-year engagement without sleeping with my fiancé – something that seemed next to impossible to me a year ago. None of this has been easy, and I have failed in every area. Yet, the greatest thing I’ve grown in is being able to confess my shortcomings openly among other Christian men, knowing that I will be accepted, pinned to the wall, challenged, encouraged, and empowered to face another day of overcoming temptation.
Having a trained counselor leading the group who has walked through everything I have and who has overcome the same temptations I face is one thing distinct about Pureheart. I haven’t seen an accountability group with this quality anywhere else. In comparison to Pureheart, the other accountability groups that I’ve been a part of were weak in their ability to dig deep and address the heart-issues of sin, shame, and denial.
Thomas, age 57
When I started counseling with Tim, I had little hope. My marriage was completely dead; I felt no affection for my wife and we hadn’t had sex for over 7 years. I had kept the secret of my addiction to pornography for basically all of our married life. I would buy porn mags and go to adult bookstores and strip clubs. In the later years of our marriage, I had even started sleeping with prostitutes. I justified my behavior because of the lack of love and sex with my wife. I also didn’t believe I could ever break free of my addiction, but my wife had caught me looking at porn on the Internet and had given me an ultimatum. Either get free or get out.
I have been counseling with Pureheart over a year now. I have also been active in several men’s recovery groups, attended conferences on purity, and have read a variety of books relating to getting clean. I am a very different person than the man I was a year ago. Apart from one relapse in masturbation early on and looking at erotic ads once or twice, I have been clean for the last year. I have 9 months of no porn, no masturbation, no adult bookstores, no prostitutes, and my thought life has improved dramatically. My relationship with God that had been dead for so many years has now changed, and I am actually enjoying my quiet time with Him on a daily basis. My wife and I have gone through some seriously hard times over the year, but despite them, we are still together and slowly building a relationship once again. Best of all, I can tell my two boys that their dad is now living a pure life.
Joe, age 25
I began masturbating when I was very young. It was about the age of eight when I started and my addiction grew from there. At first I would look at things like lingerie ads in the paper, or find some thing on television that had women scantily clad for a stimulus. Then one late night I while channel surfing I found a show on public access TV that was all about showing nudity. I became a regular viewer of the show and kept digging my self deeper and deeper into my addiction. A couple of years after finding the “sex show” on television I get my first computer and in very short order realized that even though I was under age I could get pornography on line. From that point I no longer had to wait each week or search for some ad in the paper for the stimulus I wanted to masturbate. All I had to do was log onto the computer and there it was. I spent hours looking at pornographic pictures and videos on the internet. Then I found the dating sites and chat rooms. I found that there were women out there that were just as addicted to sex as I had become, though I didn’t think of myself as an addict. I began to chat with women on line and eventually to meet them as well. Through much of this I also had a girl friend, who eventually became my wife, who I was sexually active with but that knew nothing of my secret addiction.
During the time that I was moving deeper into my addiction I was also leading a double life. I attended church, spent time with my family and friends. Looking back on those years I can see that I was not really connected to my family or friends. I would spend time with them but I didn’t really enjoy it. I was just numb inside not feeling much of anything. Worst of all I had NO relationship with God. Sure I went to church and I could talk about the Bible. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God, I just didn’t care about God. The only person I felt any connection to was my girlfriend, who I was sleeping with. Then one day it happened. My girlfriend, now my wife found one of the chat rooms I had gone to on the computer and everything came out. My wife was obviously hurt. She had caught me looking at pornography in the past and knew that I had slept with another woman once while we were dating and had temporarily split up. Now I had to tell her that I had slept with a number of women both before and after we were married, women that I had met over the Internet and hooked up with just to have sex. I promised that it would never happen again and that I would get help to stop doing it. I didn’t. I did try to stop my self and while I never did sleep with another woman again I could not break myself of looking at porn, masturbating (I was still masturbating 20-40 times a week while having regular sex with my wife), and even sexual chatting online.
I knew that I needed help to get out but I didn’t really want to get out. True I didn’t want to hurt my wife or have to deal with another episode like when she caught me before, but I still didn’t want to stop. The thing that finally changed my mind on that was the birth of my son. I began to truly try to break this habit, that is when I began to think of it as an addiction. I just wasn’t able to do it on my own. I continued to find myself going back to porn and masturbating. Finally my wife found out I was still involved in porn and gave me an ultimatum. I get clean or she and my son were going to leave. I remembered that my mother had said she saw these guys on television talking about breaking sexual addiction, and while I was ashamed and didn’t want to have to tell any one else what was going on I decided to go ahead and try Pureheart.
When I began the Pureheart program the biggest thing I got right away is that it is
possible to break this addiction. That along with reading the “Who am I List” and making myself do the devotions started to make a change in me. It wasn’t instant though it was fast. I began to want to get free. I found that I started to enjoy reading my Bible and praying. Combine that with basic things like not using the Internet, and blocking channels on the television that carry content that could be a stimulus I started to move in a positive direction. The biggest thing that helped me though was finding my accountability partner. At first I was calling him several times a day. The amazing thing, aside from him not getting sick of me is that it actually helped. When I would have the urge to masturbate or find porn I would call him and we would talk or pray.
Just using the tools and ideas from Pureheart was the best thing I ever did in trying to get out of addiction. Since I started counseling with Tim (9 months ago), I have masturbated 0 times, looked at erotic material once (I found one of my old porn mags in storage, but I threw it away and did not relapse), and have been completely faithful to my wife. My thought life has taken longer to get clean, but even that is now night and day different.
I still have a long way to go before I will be the man I really want to be. But I am on the right road now. I can see myself growing in God. I am connecting with my family on an emotional level that I don’t ever remember having before. I know that at any time the urge to masturbate or do any of a number of other things could hit me. I also know how to fight and defeat those urges and stay headed in the direction I am going.
Phillip, age 39
I have probably had sex over 200 times with different prostitutes—it’s a miracle I didn’t get AIDS. I was even a pastor once, but completely lost myself in my addiction. I have done about everything there is to do sexually speaking. I lost my job as a pastor, I ruined my health (reducing myself to basically skin and bones), repeatedly betrayed my wife, and poisoned my family with the toxic spiritual and emotional consequences of my sin. We have struggled financially ever since I lost my job as pastor and this has caused both my wife and I great stress. I believed that God had given up on me, that my sin was too much, and that I had lost my salvation because of the things I had done.
I have been in counseling with Pureheart for over 2 years. It has been a long haul and a difficult road back. I am still numb in many ways, but slowly but surely I am coming back to life. I have not slept with anyone other than my wife for two years. I have relapsed occasionally looking at porn on the Internet and I struggled for a long time to break the habit of masturbation. I reduced masturbation to once a week for a number of months, going for about 3 months without it and any porn, but then I relapsed back into my once a week pattern. Currently I have 3 months again clean and I believe I have finally turned a corner on my acting out behavior. We are now working on the inside stuff that caused me to become addicted in the first place. I know that I still have a lot of work to do, but for the first time in a long time, I can see light at the end of the tunnel. My relationship with my wife is slowly improving, although there is still a lot work that needs to be done there, and I am praying again, talking to God about my life. He has recently opened up a new job for me that I am very excited about. I feel like I am the prodigal son—I am not all the way home yet, but I am well on my way.