When considering addiction, particularly porn, I don’t believe you can ever be free unless you fully confess!
Therefore, I often tell men who come to me for help that the most crucial step in your recovery and restoration process is the step of confession.
There is simply no way you will ever be whole if you don’t fully confess.
I don’t care what the addiction or compulsion is:
- Porn or sexual addiction.
- Anger (yes, that can be an addiction).
- The internet or social media.
- Recreational or prescription drugs.
- Work, success, reputation.
To name only a few.
And, while I am a person of faith, this step has little to do with one’s faith conviction. It does not matter if you have no faith, a deep faith, or are anti-faith! Confession is part and parcel of what it means to be human and to be in relationship with others.
That’s why I never tasted freedom, or could even begin the journey into freedom, until I got the place where I was willing to fully confess my compulsion (sin, addiction) in several different ways.
So, if you want to be free and have the courage to live into freedom, read on for some things I’ve done, and continue to do, to live into freedom!
Please, Stop Your Half-Hearted Apologies
Let me say a few words about what I am NOT talking about.
First, a confession is not an apology. A disingenuous “I’m sorry” that takes no real ownership does more harm than good. So, quit apologizing. You don’t mean it, and you’re not ready to walk the road I’m recommending.
Also, getting caught is not a confession. I speak with men who think that’s enough. They say things like, “she caught me, so she knows that I struggle with this,” believing that that’s enough.
And finally, and most importantly, if you add the word but to your confession, just shut up and sit down. Stop confessing because you’re about to turn it into blame-shifting and self-preservation (two things you’ve become a professional at doing).
For example, the following or similar statements likely mean you’re not confessing anything real:
- I know I was watching porn, but you’ve been so distant from me lately. Or,
- I keep watching porn, but it’s so stressful at work. Or,
- I watch porn, but it’s because you won’t do want I need you to do (barf, gag,).
Too many loved-ones hear this type of nonsense and partial confession far too often.
It’s Not a Final Confession Until It’s a Full Confession
So, what do I mean when I say you have to confess in order to be free? Here are a few reasons why I believe this is the case.
- Confession is the way to bring your problem into the light! Porn addiction (really, any addiction) thrives in secrecy and isolation. If you keep it to yourself, it WILL destroy you.
- Confession will help you sleep at night.
- Confession helps you admit that you need others to help you along the way and will prepare you to participate in the community.
- Confession brings healing to those you’ve hurt.
- Confession is the first of many, many steps toward rebuilding trust.
There are dozens more, many you could add to it, but those are a few of the whys behind confession, from my perspective (remember, I am writing as a practitioner, not a professional.).
The How-To of Confessing Your Addiction or Compulsive (Controlling) Behaviors
- Confess to the Lord. I know that many of my readers have no faith, but again, as a person of faith, this is the first place to begin. My hope is in Christ, whom we remember and celebrate this week. The Scriptures direct me to bring my confession first to the Lord, who is both ready and able to receive, forgiven, and heal! If you’re not a Christian, I still in encourage you to consider how you might practice this first step.
- Confess to a close friend/partner/counselor. I recommend someone you trust and who will walk with you without harshly judging or condemning you!
- Confess to those you’ve harmed. Confessing to those we harm is a vital step. If you’re married, then you’ve injured your spouse in terribly painful ways. You may need to confess to children, coworkers, others, etc. At any rate, if you don’t confess to those you are harming, then you are setting yourself up for being trapped in an extended season of struggle!
- Confess your need for ongoing help and your willingness to do all that’s required of you to get better. This step recognizes that you’re not in a one-and-done situation. Instead, you know that healing will come slowly, over time and only through the help of others.
- Confess your willingness to do all it takes to rebuild trust and restore your relationships. Your confession – full confession – is only the beginning of a very bumpy road ahead. If you’re not willing to do whatever it takes to get better, then you will never – EVER – get better.
These are hard steps, but they are also manageable ones.
We Decided to Do Whatever it Takes
Decades ago, when I first got caught and finally made a full confession, I told Melissa that I did not want her to hide it or pretend around me and others. We decided, together, that I should confess to my supervising pastor and church leadership. This step was as embarrassing as it was difficult.
Thankfully, my supervising pastor recognized my desire to be free and my willingness to do whatever it takes. He put structures in place to protect me in ways that I was not able to protect myself.
We both wondered what would happen to my ministry, but we both knew that if losing my ministry was the cost of my recovery, then we would pay that cost. Since then we’ve held a firm pact with each other that we will be truthful to one another and never hide a secret. This commitment is, I believe, part of the glue that holds us together and helps us love one another so profoundly today.
It’s a commitment birthed in the womb of confession.
Disrupting to Renew!