Lent Day 26: “The Rest of the Story (2)”

(this is the conclusion of yesterday’s story from a friend of mine who is sharing his story of addiction)

I was 31 years old. Married 11 years and we just had our first daughter in November. It was January and my world came crashing down around me. No, I was not man enough to finally go to my wife to confess my secret. I was caught. And when my wife confronted me I was not open and honest. I continued the lie. Denial, denial, denial. I was a coward.

As I reflect back on that day, I ask myself, why did I lie? I think the answer is the same with all addictions. I was convinced that my secret, my addiction was so bad that it would destroy me and destroy my world if anyone, especially my wife, found out. How stupid could I be? My addiction was obviously a problem, but my lies were doing much more damage.

It took my wife the whole day, but she confronted me again. And this time, she new I was lying, I was caught. At that moment, I still thought that the thing that was going to crush me was my addiction. It wasn’t, it was the lies.

My wife left me the next morning with our new baby. I honestly thought it was over. But God is much larger than I realized. He knew that the only way for healing was for my world to be in jeopardy.  And it was in jeopardy, my wife was gone, and on top of that we were in bad shape financially. I was at the bottom.

That week was a new beginning. God placed a pastor in my path that provided great direction, counsel and friendship. My wife and I communicated over letters that week and I confronted my parents. My wife returned a week later. Things had not miraculously changed, but we were together.

The nineteen years that I struggled with pornography were awful. I was so alone and yet had built a world that thought I could do no wrong.  God gave me a new beginning, and luckily for me that new beginning still has my wife and daughter in it. Rebuilding trust is hard!  Trust is built on honesty and when honesty is replaced with lies, the only thing that can fix it is time and being honest. I couldn’t have done it without my wife standing by my side, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Like all new beginnings, it isn’t perfect, but the addiction that held me so tight has been broken and I have learned that truth and honestly carry more weight than anything we do. I am human, a son of God, and I am broken.  I will continue to fail in life but in each failure God gives me an opportunity to grow with Him in truth and honesty. Step one with any addiction, and it was certainly true for me, is to be honest with ourselves so that God’s forgiving love can surround us and release us from ourselves.

“We must learn to live each day, each hour, yes, each minute as a new beginning, as a unique opportunity to make everything new. Imagine that we could live each moment as a moment pregnant with new life.”
–Henri Nouwen

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