Recovery · Testimonies

Thoughts from Being 10 Months Porn-Free

I didn’t plan on this today; I thought maybe I’d write something about how I was doing once I reached the one-year mark. But today is my ten-month mark of being pornography-free, and I have a lot of thoughts about it. I spent some time in my journal last night, wrestling. I would like to share that journal entry.

This month was probably the hardest temptation-wise out of all ten so far. I’m not sure why, but I’ve had to be extra proactive and cautious with myself lately. I fought for this month.

Here’s what gets me: in ten months of freedom, you’d think I would know what was working, would know why I’m doing well and what got me here. But I really don’t. And people ask me, and it feels weird to not have any answers.

I don’t want to invalidate my addiction story; I truly did do things I didn’t want to do, repeatedly/routinely, and I still face repercussions. It was real. But I also don’t want to tell people that grace, candor, and hard work will cure their addiction. I know it is not that simple. It’s just all I can pinpoint that has contributed to my own recovery. I really do not know how I got here.

Though I am so grateful for the way things have worked for me, I understand not everyone who does the same things I’m doing fares the way I somehow have. I don’t have the explanation for that. I fully believe God heals and restores all who come to Him, that He is strength in our weakness, that He shows absolutely no partiality. I trust His timing for everyone. I just don’t know why some of us find visible healing sooner than others, why the timing varies from person to person. Or why I get to be one of those who is seeing my healing already.

Not that I don’t still face temptation, as this month especially has proven (though I can’t exclude the other nine, either). I do face temptation, often. I don’t have it “easy.” But I know I have it easier than many. Maybe I caught my addiction in earlier stages than most who enter recovery.

tiny buds and bloomsI think that’s what I want to stress most: recovery doesn’t stop.

“Porn addict” is in no way part of my identity, and never was. But it’s something that has been/is part of my life. And recovering from being a porn addict and remaining in that recovery? It is an almost guaranteed lifelong process. This is something that will probably always be part of my life. I believe it gets better. But as long as I live in this skin, I have potential to act out of it and I have a lot of choices to make.

I truly do believe in full recovery. I am just not naïve enough to tell anyone, including myself, that there’s a point of arrival. God heals, and He also doesn’t take away our freedom of choice. It’s constant; it’s maintenance; it’s abiding. And I am also not so privileged as to believe people who do what I’ve been doing are guaranteed to see the same outcome I’m seeing. It is different for everyone. Honestly, I really wrestle with that sometimes. Timing is so beyond us, and I don’t understand it.

I think finding the balance of celebrating where I am while commiserating with those in an overwhelming place in the struggle is something I will have to work through for a while. Today, I don’t feel like celebrating, though I know it would be okay for me to. I know the highs and lows of this process, and I want to honor everyone in every stage of it. I am still learning how.

I’m so grateful for these ten months. I don’t take it for granted. I know it’s a gift I don’t deserve, one that puzzles me to be in possession of sometimes.

To my brothers and sisters who are in recovery– be it day one, month ten, or year five– you are in the midst of something holy. He is proud of you. He is working in you. He is there in the mess of the process with you, day by day. And if you have to start over again? Nothing about this changes. There is nothing you can do to change the love He has for every bit of you. Lean into that.

[This video on recovery/sobriety is so eloquent and echoes a lot of my feelings, and also carries some solid encouragement. I highly recommend it.]

Embraces for Your Spirit

Spring & The Winter in My Chest

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Spring has come early this year.

They told me the winter was going to be longer, but here we are now, the blossoms staring defiantly in their doubtful faces.

Part of me feels like I’m not ready. Like I need to finish winter, need to feel numb from the cold a little longer, need to stay under the covers in the chilly morning a few more times, need to let a snowfall isolate me. But I drive through the city every day, and the trees wave proudly at me with their new pink and white branches. They are accepting of it. They are living in the season they’ve been given even if it seems too early, even if there’s still a chance of the frost coming to stop their growth in mid-reach.

It is spring in the midst of winter.

The trees are growing and blossoming and reaching a new height of beauty at a time when it doesn’t seem ideal, doesn’t seem safe, doesn’t seem sensible. And would you look at that– they are still breathtaking.

The season may be wrong on paper, but the trees know. The bulbs in the ground know. The strange bush outside my window knows. The only one in the dark has been me.

This is the season. The time has come. It may seem premature, risky, illogical. Yet things are growing and beginning to take shape, and no one can control that. It is simply time.

And yes, it is very possible that the dreaded, looming frost could return and halt any progress being made. Everything could be ruined. But right now– right now— everything is growing. The time was right, and it began, without prompting or permission or a starting line. It simply knew it was time to begin.

Begin. Even when conditions are seemingly terrible, even when the cost could be great, even when sometimes you don’t understand (let alone everyone else)– you know it is time. You know. You feel the growth inside you and it aches to come out but you feel like you have to leave where you are first.

No. No. The growth is already happening. And you cannot control it, cannot contain it. You have to live in it. The spring you’ve been longing for is here. It feels like winter, but you know. He has told you, and you know. Listen. Rejoice in this growth that is starting to create changes in you. And go where they take you even if it doesn’t make sense.

Spring has come. Don’t let the winter in your chest keep you from it.

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Things I’ve Learned as a Working Girl (So Far)

After eighteen years of being a little girl who writes every day (of course, there were a few years in there when I couldn’t write…), I’ve begun working full-time for an industrial supply company; I weed the grounds, inventory clothes, help in the office, basically do whatever odd job I’m asked to do. I’ve been there for two weeks now. This has been such a strange but eye-opening experience for me already, and I thought I should share some of those lessons!

I work at the same place as my dad. We’re in different roles/departments, but I take my breaks with him and it is such a blessing to see him more than I used to. Something working with him has made me realize is just how hard he has always worked for me. He gives everything he has so that I can have a good life! I’ve heard people say that about their parents, and I’ve believed it about mine, but it’s different to actually see it. I see him sweat, struggle, ache, and I am fully aware that the only reason he does this is for our family. I appreciate him so deeply, even more than I used to, and I didn’t know I could!

The weeding I’ve had to do is a bit intense (thankfully it’s almost done!), so I always look forward to when my dad calls me in for our break. A couple days into this job, it was a hot, humid day and I wasn’t super positive about the work I was doing out in it. In fact, I was quite negative. I didn’t know what time it was, but I knew my dad would tell me when it was time to rest a little, and I dearly looked forward to that! Suddenly I realized: this is an analogy! In times when it’s hard to persevere, I need to remember that my Dad is coming to get me. I just have to wait for Him and believe that His timing is good. Did I ever doubt my dad would come? No! Why should I doubt the Lord’s faithfulness? He comes, I just don’t know what the specific time will be. But He does come.

Yes, pulling all these weeds has been tedious and not something I look forward to, but Jesus chose to speak through this! One day as I was working, a certain weed was a bit harder to pull than normal. I yanked, grunted, yanked some more, only to find that I just couldn’t pull it; I had to break it off as far down as I could and leave a little stub in the ground. Jesus pointed out, “Sin is a lot like that.” He’s a pretty smart guy, Jesus is. Those weeds had been growing all year and no one had tended to them, therefore they eventually grew taller and spread farther so that my position had to be created! How often do we do that in our hearts? You see something in you that shouldn’t be there, but it’s so small that you think you can leave it alone. Yet, with time, it will grow and spread into something that is so much harder to overcome. He had mentioned that to me before– uproot your fleshy habits, even if they seem small and harmless. I must let go of even the “tiny” vices in my heart.

I’ve also just been relying on Jesus more, since all of this is so new to me. I love being close to Him, and am working on investing in our relationship even when I’m tired. He was, after all, kind enough to send me this job to help pay for college! I love you, Jesus, you are so gracious and loving.

I think that I am the only person at my workplace who knows Jesus. I’d been praying for a way to be a home missionary, since I’m a homeschooled writer and don’t see too many people, and then I started working here, so maybe this is my answer? I would love your prayers for His presence and His light at my workplace! Everyone there is kind to me (AND watches their language around me, wahoo!), so I think He could use me somehow before the summer is over. This is an adventure I didn’t expect, but I am grateful for it and excited to be on it with Him!