My husband, Dave, has been working on writing this for a couple weeks now and, although he is not finished telling his story, I figured I would go ahead and share this portion. I pray his raw honesty and vulnerability in opening up and sharing about something he kept secret for over a decade encourages someone who may be in this same trap, feeling as if there is no hope of freedom. There IS freedom and this is Dave’s story of how he found that freedom in Christ Jesus.
11:00 PM, January 22, 2014
My cell phone rang as I was going to sleep. It was work. I didn’t want to deal with it. January was a peak time at work since my job there involved a lot of corporate tax work. My life pretty much revolved around making sure a million or so W-2 forms made their way through the postal system before January 31, but on this day I’d had enough. I decided it could wait until morning.
Elaine thought it was weird that I’d ignore a call, so she asked who it was. She was on high alert, and rightfully so. She had found out my years-long pornography addiction just over a week ago.
It was her. What Elaine didn’t know, but was about to find out, is I didn’t come fully clean when she caught me watching porn. To be totally honest, I didn’t even connect the two things right away, but I had been involved in an emotional affair off-and-on for a couple years (?) with this person. Over the past week I had become more aware that there were issues in my life to deal with besides pornography, but I was attempting (failing) to deal with them without bringing them out in the open. And Elaine did know enough about the person calling me to be triggered by my non-answer. Thank God.
I could spend all day going over my life from age 1 to 15 and how my experiences and choices led to an incorrect view of relationships and sex. By age 4 I had a warped sexuality, and at age 5, I learned the wrong way to experience closeness with females. I’ve always been too smart for my own good, so I learned early to hide things I was ashamed of. Therefore many of my issues never came to light.
I’m not certain when I first saw a fully nude woman, but I do remember when I first encountered Playboy magazine. At 14 years old, I had just started high school. It was my sister’s senior year, and she would drive me to school. One day after school, a classmate of mine passed me a magazine. I knew what it was, and that I’d be dead if anyone saw it. I jammed it in my backpack and left it there.
That night I was too afraid to even bother opening my backpack. I felt like it was a live grenade. I just hoped my parents didn’t go through my stuff before I could get rid of the thing.
My sister drove me to school the next morning. I sat in the back because she was giving one of her friends a ride as well. My curiosity overcame me, and in the relative privacy of the back seat I saw parts of people I’d never witnessed before. I’m not sure whether I was more interested or terrified, but as soon as I got to school I tossed the magazine into a trash can. Why? I knew it was wrong to look at that stuff, but the real reason I threw it away was fear of being discovered.
The single greatest form of motivation for me was pride. I didn’t want to get caught.
2000 – 2006
The pridefulness that led me to throw away that Playboy would stick with me for another decade and a half. Pretty soon after I got rid of the Playboy I discovered the anonymity of Internet porn. Now this was a temptation I could not resist. I had a computer with a connection in my room, and I was a lot better at lying and hiding than my parents gave me credit for. I discovered the adrenaline rush of masturbation, and I experienced the emptiness and shame that follows it. But it wasn’t enough to stop me, because the next day the temptation would be there again, even stronger. Then I discovered the callousness that follows prolonged exposure to sinful habits. I stopped feeling anything at all for a while, and I knew that my addiction was the reason. But I couldn’t stop. It poisoned my relationships, and I had no defense. I could have gone to my parents, but remember that pride thing? I would rather have died than anyone find out I was one of those freaks. If only I knew how many people dealt with this around me.
Proverbs 22:14 speaks about the “adulterous woman,” describing her as a trap, or a deep pit. Don’t make the mistake of reading passages like this one too literally. They speak for many forms of sexual immorality.
Parents! Don’t give your children the opportunity to fall into addiction! Be nosy! If you stop it now you may save your child’s life. Their pride may very well be keeping them from asking you for help, and they will eventually be thankful (if not immediately) for your boldness!
That addiction would eventually lead me into sexual confrontations that I wasn’t ready for and follow me into adulthood.
January 26, 2006
This day is important, because it’s the day I met my wife Elaine. At this point I had struggled with sexual sin for nearly a decade. Elaine and I started dating in June and were engaged by October. During our engagement, I confessed to Elaine my struggle with pornography. It was a particularly difficult thing for me to do, and unfortunately I didn’t understand enough about my problem to recognize that pornography wasn’t my root issue. That said, Elaine helped keep me accountable, and through the first year or so of our marriage I was able to abstain from pornography and masturbation. It’s important to mention this, because for a year and a half I believed I was healed. Imagine my frustration 18 months (give or take) later when the old habit crept back in! Because I didn’t recognize the root problem, I never dealt with it or took steps to keep it at bay. Eventually, after dealing with infertility issues that came with a great deal of emotional stress, hard times came. In response, I returned to my old patterns of isolation and selfishness.