Category Archives: Pornography

Hacking Recovery: How to Improve 12 Step Groups (part 2)

Why do 12-Step programs work? What makes them effective? If we can figure out why AA and the 12 Steps work (what the “active ingredients” are) we might be able to improve them. In part 1 of this two-part series, I explored several factors that behaviorists suggest contribute to the success of 12 Step programs for treatment of addiction. In this article, we will look at three suggestions for improving 12 Step Groups.

Our inspiration comes from an article by Brendan Koerner that was featured in Wired magazine. Koerner cites a number of studies over the years trying to determine how effective AA is, and concludes with some suggestions for how to improve 12 Step groups. Their suggestions are interesting and instructive. Not surprisingly (given that it’s the techno-centric Wired magazine), two of the three recovery hacks involve better technology. I’ll list them, along with my added thoughts:

Continue reading Hacking Recovery: How to Improve 12 Step Groups (part 2)

The all-important moment in recovery – when we decide

We all like having options. When we commit ourselves, we limit our choices. When we commit to recovery, we don’t simply embrace an idea, we take certain steps. For example, we find a group or recovery program and begin to attend meetings, we start seeing a counselor, we disclose our actions to people who’ve been affected, and we get rid of the things that might tempt us to act out again. We throw out pornographic materials, set up filters or accountability software on computers, delete secret email accounts, sever ties with affair partners, etc., etc. We put plans in place and commit ourselves to a course of action that we will continue to pursue even after our initial resolve fades.

Of course, none of this is easy. To be more precise, following through on any of these things is not easy. Desire is easy, following through is hard.

In the immediate aftermath of some bad experience, where we are confronted with the magnitude of our problem, it’s easy to feel a strong desire to change. We might feel deep remorse for what we’ve done, and resolve to live differently. If we’re in a relationship that has been hurt by our behavior, we likely feel a strong commitment to repair the damage that was the result of our sexual acting out.

Pastors, therapists, and addiction counselors are accustomed to hearing people earnestly express their desire to change. 12-Steppers call this “Step Zero” … it’s what happens to people before they even get to Step 1 in the 12 Steps. It’s the overwhelming sense that “things aren’t working,” often accompanied by strong feelings of remorse, guilt, and shame. But everyone needs a reality check at this point: Resolve and remorse are only Step Zero.

Continue reading The all-important moment in recovery – when we decide

Noticing what you notice helps in recovery from sex or pornography addiction

“What you see depends on what window you look out of.” I heard Lyle Schaller say this at a conference I attended years ago. Schaller is a consultant, not a recovery guru, and he was talking about how people deal with controversial topics. But the word picture he created stuck with me ever since, and has helped me understand the process of recovery.

People tend to see Continue reading Noticing what you notice helps in recovery from sex or pornography addiction

Podcast Interview about Sexual Struggles and the Church

Not long ago I was interviewed by Jeff Fisher from the PorntoPurity website. Jeff is a former pastor, recovering addict, and has created a great website with tons of audio resources. Jeff and his wife Marsha have a great story of hope to share not only for pastors, but for all couples dealing with pornography and other sexual struggles.

Jeff recently interviewed me about my experiences and observations about how sexual struggles get handled in churches, especially when church leaders are involved. The interview is featured in three separate podcasts. You can listen or download them below: Continue reading Podcast Interview about Sexual Struggles and the Church

New book for pastors from Covenant Eyes

Internet Pornography: a Ministry Leaders Handbook

With a chapter by yours truly

Covenant Eyes has just put together a great resource for pastors. They’ve published an Ebook called “Internet Pornography: a Ministry Leaders Handbook.” You’ve gotta love the price too … free! The book includes chapters written by Luke Gilkerson,  Dr. Harry W. Schaumburg, Tal Prince, David Blythe, and Nate Larkin (among others). I wrote the chapter on “The Danger of Pedestals.”

You can read excerpts of my chapter in a two-part article on this website here and here. But by all means, get the entire book from Covenant Eyes (did I mention it was free?), and get it to your pastor.

What to do if you’re struggling to stay sober

How is your recovery going? Are you building ongoing, solid sobriety, or are you struggling with repeated relapses? Nobody does recovery perfectly, but doing the work of recovery should yield results. We should be seeing progressive victory over our addictive behaviors. If we are not, it’s time to ask ourselves some important questions.

What follows is part of a video teaching segment in my new Recovery Journey program. In that program, members receive video and audio teaching resources each week, as well as a host of other resources. I thought this might be a good one to share with the readers of this blog. Note the questions I ask below the video.




I would love to get your feedback in the comments below. Do you find video teaching like this helpful? Would you like me to include more of it in this blog, and not just written teaching? What do you think of the questions?

The danger of putting spiritual leaders on pedestals – Part 2

Last week I wrote about the danger of people in churches projecting idealized images onto their pastors. This is not only unhelpful for the people, it’s dangerous and damaging for the leader. (See part 1 of this series here). So now the question is, what can we do about it?

What is the answer?

Humanity. Let the leader be human.

A recent meditation from the recovery book “Today,” from Hazelden publishing has this to say about pedestals:

“Sometimes we expect far too much of the people around us, and because no one can ever live up to those expectations, we are almost always disappointed. Continue reading The danger of putting spiritual leaders on pedestals – Part 2

Recovery Journey Launches December 6

The Recovery Journey is a new support program for sexual strugglers and their spouses/partners. It builds on the program I developed as a follow up to Men’s Workshops with Faithful and True Ministries (that program was called “90 Days to Sexual Sanity”).

The Recovery Journey offers:

  • more teaching resources (weekly teaching videos, also available in audio format)
  • more ways for participants to network and support one another (through a members-only forum website)
  • separate modules for newcomers to recovery, workshop or treatment alumni, and spouses
  • two large-group live calls per month (will also be recorded so people can listen that way)
  • ability for couples to go through the program together, so spouses can get the help and support they need as well as the sexual strugglers / addicts Continue reading Recovery Journey Launches December 6