The Cost of Recovery

 It is odd to think about porn in terms of addiction.  I am in no position to say whether or not porn is an addiction, however the language of recovery helped to conceptualize the process I needed to go through in order to change.

Recovery came with a price.  Getting healthy and walking in sexual integrity (integrity in general) cost a lot.  There is no way to spiritualized this cost.  I had to pay it with tears, confession and accountability.

Recovery’s price is brutal honesty.  Healing demands confession.  The more I healed the more I realized how sick the system in which I lived. Granted I was a part of its creation. 

At first the ex-wife participated in recovery.  She went to therapy and attended meetings with me.  Once recovery demanded that she stop being a victim she stopped.  When recovery asked her to take responsibility for her own chaos –  recovery for her ended.

So did the marriage.  The healthier I got the angrier she got.  By ’08 it was done.  We limped along pretending but in reality it was dead.

I reached a point where my sanity required her recovery – I couldn’t maintain soberity and live in a system that resisted honesty, boundaries and integrity.  For her part she found counselors that sympathized and encouraged her victim mentality.

For 3 years we pretended all was good.  But it wasn’t.  I was ready and willing for emotional and spiritual intamicy.  She wouldn’t, she couldn’t – unless the system was sick she was unable to function.  

I made one final plea.  We rushed to counseling to somehow magically fix it.  Her response: “I found some one else.”

It was done – the coffin was nailed shut.  The pain in my kids eyes, the fire growing in my belly, and the hatred in hers – it was done.  She had become evil and to her so was I.

During this time (between ’09 & ’11) I spent a lot of time in isolation.  God had given me the time to think, pray, and grieve.  I didn’t understand at first what I was grieving but soon realized that it was the death of two lovers: porn and marriage.

Divorce is never right.  I sinned against my wife.  I suppose she had every right to hate me.  I sinned when I signed the final divorce decree.  No matter how I justify it or rationalized it the death of the marriage was evil.

From the beginning we never could connect emotionally.  From the beginning a tempest raged between us.  From the beginning we compromised.  God was an after thought.  God was an illusion.  We were self directed heathens pretending to be godly. 

We both stabbed each other’s heart.  We both cut each other to the core.  I was bad and so was she.  For all my wrongs I accept responsibility, and for the wrongs against me I extend forgiveness.

I do not regret for one moment ending that marriage.  I do not look back and wish it could have been different.  I feel pain and sorrow at the pain in my children’s eyes.  I am saddened to see how depraved and sick the ex-wife’s life has become.

So yes, recovery cost me a marriage.

 

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Desperado 

You rode into the chaos and the mess of my life.  I was unable to rescue myself.  I was surrounded by marauders who were raiding my soul.  I had allowed them in drinking their wine and believing their lies.  

Their guns were drawn and their knives to my throat.  My soul wounded and my affections chained.  I needed a hero.  I neither had the will or the ability to cry to You.

I had thought I was to far gone.  Death was my final reward.  And then the first shot was fired.  One marauder dropped and then another.  Silence.  The raging flood of images and temptation silenced.  I could breath.  I could think.

Then the damn broke.  All the poison spilled out of my soul. I weeped terrible bitter tears.  I was a mess.  Dirty.  Used.  Broken. Consumed.  Naked.  Afraid.  Love had long left me.  How could You, dear precious Lord, possibly love a wretch like me?  

I had tasted your goodness when I was young.  You had spoken to my heart and made me alive.  Once You and I walked so closely.  But I turned away.  For what?  I walked away to dance with finely clothed sirens.  Marauders who I allowed to take the best of me.  I willing gave them the best of me! How could you still love me?

I wept.  I wept until I couldn’t breath.  With every tear I confessed to You my sins.  No compromise, no rationalization, no negotiations – I was broken.  

Your hand reached down to me.  Eye to eye You and me.  Your stare communicated such love.  No longer had your rod and staff comforted me but now Love was rescuing me.  I felt your scares – “those are still for you,” You said.  

“Can you forgive me?”

“I already have.”

“Hold me, Jesus.”

And You did.  You held my heart, forgave my sins and then began to heal my wounds.

Redemption: the redux!

Sobriety 

2005 was the year the damn broke and I had a moment of clarity (more on that later), and I came to the conclusion I needed help to change.  

Up to this point my attempts to overcome my behavior amounted to spiritualizing the problem.  I would pray asking for forgiveness and promising not to look at porn again – only to look at porn again.  I repeated this cycle over and over again.  I made useless promises.  I told myself that if I read the Bible more I could overcome.  I had insanely believed that if I prayed harder somehow God would deliver me from this curse.  Up until I had my hotel awaking I was not willing to take responsibility for my behavior.

Much of the events surrounding recovery are cloudy because the “life system” in which I opporated in was so sick, dysfunctional and codependent.  I can’t remember where I lived when I began recovery.  I can not remember what church I attended or other similar things.  2000 to 2005 are blurry at best.

I do remember working for a small mortgage company somewhere between late ’04 and into ’05.  At this mortgage company I met a fellow addict (of course we swapped stories but neither of us actually admitted we were sick).  

Watching him began to open my eyes to just how depraved I was!  His addiction was far more progressed than mine.  He had gone from porn, to strippers, to craigslist prositutes and massage parlors.  I saw reflected in him the very sickness that was in me.  I could see where I was headed and that frightened me.  I didn’t want to be that guy – yet I was.  I was that guy: lying to my church family, the guy who failed to lead his family, the guy who couldn’t connect emotionally.  I was that guy!

By 2005 I was beginning to cross the line between online porn and stripclubs.  I was a sick man.  Every solacious detail isn’t important because the porn was a symptom of an internal state of affairs.

I was unable to connect on an emotional level and intimately connect with people.  I was broken and in order to heal my brokenness God had to break my pride.  I was Jacob of Old Testament lore.  I was a master manipulator, a master liar and a pretty rotten dude.  God was going to have to break my leg.

And God did break me…

Drizzling days

My life is one saccadic episode.  Rapid torrents of ups and downs.  Blue skies clouded by miserable conditions.  Rich Mullins sang:

Well, sometimes my life just don’t make sense at all; when the mountains look to big, and my faith seems so small.

That pretty much sums it up.  The mountains in my life just look so big and my life certainly makes no sense at all.

Where do I go from here?  I have broken my life.  Where do I go?  I have knowledge of God but little faith.

Certainly I can blame this person, that event, but I am ultimately the author of my own chaos.  Some would say that I am beautifully broken.  However, I feel unqualified and a feeble person among giants.  Kris Krisotoffersen in his song “Why me?” proclaimed:

Lord help me, Jesus, I’ve wasted it so. Help me Jesus I know what I am; but now that I know that I’ve needed you so; help me, Jesus, my soul’s in your hand

It’s in your hands Jesus.

Whore

You broke me.  You were my first love and I loved you – passionately.  I gave you my heart and my soul and that was my mistake, because you became a god to me.  Your glitter, jiggly flesh and pretty face – I drank deep from the well of your intoxicating moans and groans.  You taught me so much: how to consume, how to lust, and how to “fuck”.  You were my companion ever since I was seven – your images burned into the very walls of soul.  

When I was young I turned you on and you titilated my flesh.  When real girls my age turned me down you were there – you were always ready, always willing, and always got me off.  When I married and I was unable to emotionally connect to my wife – you were there.  You comforted me at your breast and gaping immorality.  I hated you and loved you.  I gave you my best instead of to my wife. It didn’t matter if it was over the phone, on the TV or at a store I consumed you all the while you rotted my mind and soul.  

Then I discovered you were in the Internet and you beckoned me to consume you there. I spent hours drinking you in being filled with your poison.  Images and video no longer got me high but real flesh intoxicated me.  I visited your stores of jiggly flesh.  I was so empty inside and hungry for intimacy.  The first time I paid for a dance I held the whore and cried.  At the end, with her hollow eyes she asked for her $20 bucks.

In the end you cost me everything: love, intimacy, and spirituality.  I gave it all to you.  Through all the flesh, through all the emptiness, the brokenness there was Christ.  He walked through the fog like a desperado and reached me.  

Recovery…

Beautiful Brokenness…

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Greetings to my blog.  This is my story about brokenness, a necessary path to finding God’s exceedingly great plan for my life.  As I start this blog it will be a process of me telling my story about addiction, brokenness and redemption.  At the risk of sounding cliché I hope my blog is authentic and with real and raw emotion.  My goal is for you the reader to come closer to Jesus and relax in his amazing grace.

Amos Powell 04/25/2015