You now have a seedling of a Recovery Plan. But having a plan that you don't implement is useless. Continue to follow and build on your recovery plan in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. Keep track of how many days each week you follow it and, if you miss a day, immediately get back on track. It will eventually become a new way of life and second nature, as old habits fade and new habits are formed.
Recovery from sexual sin and addiction is a long-term process, but it begins with trusting Jesus will set us free as we trust him and take steps in obedience to follow him. More on what that means specifically later.
Some of us spent decades trapped in our addiction. Not surprisingly, some experts say it can take a while (e.g. 2-5 years) to get and stay clean, so do not give up. If we don't fully commit, it will take longer and we will do more harm to ourselves, those we love and our relationship with God.
Let's be clear about one thing. Our recovery plans from sexual sin and addiction begin and end with Jesus. We don't trust in a plan, we trust in a person. He will deliver us if we trust him completely and quite literally give our lives over to him.
For a follower of Jesus or someone who is seeking him, we do at least two things every single day for our recovery. First, we admit we are unable to do it on our own and put our trust completely on Jesus to change our hearts and lives - we daily ask for his forgiveness, strength, mercy, grace, and power. Second, we take decisive and concrete steps to turn away from our sin and towards God - both are what is known as "repentance", which is what Jesus calls us all to in his very first recorded one-sentence sermon:
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."
Recovery from sexual sin and addiction is about far more than simply "not sinning". It is about having a new life in Christ. In fact, that's what one of us named our recovery plan: "My New Life in Christ".
Spend some time reading, re-reading, and thinking about the passage below from Ephesians, where the Apostle Paul talks about this transition from being dead in our sins to alive in Jesus, and how and why God does it:
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
Imagine someone enlisting to be a solider and not showing up for the first day of basic training with their comrades, but instead insisting they could train alone at the home gym in their basement. They'd read books off Amazon on military strategy and watch war documentaries. Unfit for service is what we'd say.
Or imagine signing up to join a football, hockey, cricket, or rugby team and then never showing up for team practices, but trying to read books about these sports and watching videos of people playing them. Good luck with that on game day. You wouldn't be allowed to take to the field or rink. Uncoachable is what we'd say.
You can't fight sexual sin and addiction alone. You've tried. So have we. It doesn't work.
We know firsthand that no one wants to tell someone else about their secret sin and admit their powerlessness over it. Shame. Pride. Fear. Anxiety. These are all used to enslave us and keep us isolated and alone. When we are alone, we will fail.
Despite being told this again and again, we still tried to do it alone. Trying to recover alone is an oxymoron. It is futile and, even worse, delays our recovery and we risk falling deeper and deeper into our sin, causing devastating consequences to those we love because our pride and shame is more important than trusting God, getting well, and protecting our loved ones.
It's time to reach out, connect and get help. We can help you do that today. But you have to make the decision. There is hope, no matter how far you have gone, no matter what you've done or what has been done to you.
If you are already in one group, consider joining another one. Many guys in recovery find that a once-a-week group isn't enough, especially early in their recovery. Try and have at least one in-person group for a more personal connection to be made and to know people locally.
Plug into a group right now. We have free, confidential, online groups for you to join right now.
Don't go ahead any further with Bootcamp until you contact us to join a group.
"If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up."
It is often said that "the opposite of addiction is connection". Addiction isolates us, so a key part of recovery is connecting with others who know us fully and we know fully. Being part of a recovery community that is comprised of people seeking Jesus has been incredibly powerful for many guys in getting free from sexual sin and addiction.
Going to groups at least once a week (and ideally more) is a crucial part of getting into, and staying in, recovery. But on the other days, you don't want to be dealing with life alone. Also, developing deeper relationships and friendships that are mutually supportive with Christian brothers is part of being a follower of Jesus and is life-giving and a wonderful part of being adopted into the family of God.
We recommend having a one-on-one call everyday with someone who you can openly and totally honestly share how you are doing in your recovery journey, confess sin, encourage each other, and pray for each other.
No matter where you're at on your recovery journey, daily calls with different guys will be helpful. Having a call with someone who isn't as far along, you will be able to share what you've learned and what has worked for you. Having a call with someone who is at a similar stage of recovery as you will help you be able to relate to someone more directly in your current challenges. Having a call with someone who is farther along than you in your recovery, you can learn from their experience and insights.
Where do you find people like this? In your group(s). But you have to ask them. Be clear and specific: "I'm trying to set up some regular daily check-ins and was wondering if you would be interested in doing one with me? What days/times would work for you?" You'll either get a yes, and start up right away. Or, you might get a no because the other guy is already over-committed. Don't take it personally, just ask another guy.
Making daily calls is also about coming into the light and living in the light, which has a remarkable effect in confronting sin. It will significantly contribute to your recovery as you seek the Lord together every week on these one-on-one calls. Once you know each other, these calls can be just 10-15 minutes, so they are manageable.
For some ideas on how to do check-ins, the FASTT checkin model quickly covers your Feelings, Activities in Recovery, Sobriety Statement or Slip Report, Threats, and Tools you used. It's also a good idea to talk about accountability around things like time, money and upcoming travel as they may affect your recovery.
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Being part of a local church is an important part of following Jesus. For some of us, attending church is something that we have done for all or most of our lives. We may have heard sermons that convicted or encouraged us, confessed sin before communion, or made commitments to God on Sunday only to end up back in sin on Monday or later that week.
Being a follower of Jesus is not only about attending church, but that is an important part of it. As you grow in your relationship with Jesus, your time on Sundays will not be the only day you spend time reading the Bible, praying, worshipping God or being together with other believers. These instead are daily practices that you're doing as part of your recovery plan - your new life in Christ.
Do not attempt to do this alone or have a "secret" recovery. It is hazardous to your recovery. While it may seem to "work" for a bit, it is definitely not sustainable. Many of us tried, only to end up crashing harder and suffering worse consequences.
If you're not yet part of a group, don't go ahead to Week 3 until you have contacted us to join one. Once you have, you can update your recovery plan. Here's the template again for you to adapt:
MY RECOVERY PLAN
(Version: [Today's Date])
Prayer, Meditation & Reading the Bible
2) DURING THE DAY
Daily-Check In Call
No screens 30 minutes before bed; set alarm to be up at least 1 hour before usual; get to bed at least 7 hours before I need to be up; Pray before going to sleep
Attend Men's Group(s)
* * * * *
Everyone has heard of John 3:16, but read what comes after it about living in the light of Jesus, which is what this week is all about:
"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God."
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