God’s Confusing Role in My Recovery

I’m going to be totally up front here, and I really hope that I don’t unintentionally or ignorantly say something that offends, but I’ve got to say that since entering the world of blogging, I’m more confused than ever the role God plays in recovery and my life.

I was raised Catholic but left the church because of what I saw as a lot of hypocrisy. I found that too many people brought their politics into the church and twisted the Bible to fit their worldview. The “social justice and peace” group at church comprised of people I would never call fair nor kind. I was also discouraged by the number of people who carried an invisible moral superiority entitlement badge, yet were horrible people and by the number of people who refused to answer my questions, yet seemed like smart people outside of church.

I liked the ideas of Jesus, but felt like most people twisted what the meaning of what he said and what he did while on Earth to match their agenda. The Bible is open to interpretation and I don’t think they could see other angles than ones that already fed into their biases, stereotypes and superstitions. I think that someone with no ties to religion at all would look at the Bible and tell you that Jesus was the kind of liberal that is too liberal for most liberals. But that angle isn’t one that a lot of followers can accept.

So, I walked away. I even started calling myself an atheist for a decade or so. I actually called myself a “non-practicing atheist” because even most atheist people got on my nerves. Whether it’s an atheist, Christian, scientist, politician or my parents, I’ve never liked it when people tried to tell me they had the answers for me. Nobody has all the answers and I’ve always felt the best way you can try to have all the answers is to understand all sides of an issue. That’s not a position many in our society, regardless of socioeconomic or religious background, take. Social media and a 24-hour news cycle has fueled the fire of the need that every person is correct in their beliefs and everybody else is wrong.

It was while I was writing my book in jail (The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About – seriously, I need some sales this week – go buy it) that I realized in looking back over the last 20 years that I’m actually one of the most faith-filled people I know. I not only believe things are going to turn out the way they should, I believe things are going to turn out for the best. When they don’t, I’m disappointed, but can move on pretty fast because disappointment usually makes sense down the road, even if I can’t see it now.

What I also realized when I was writing the book (again, it’s call The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About – for some reason, Amazon is selling it for 6 cents off the cover price, act now!) is that I do believe in a higher power, but I’ve been calling it “The Universe” since I left the church. My higher power isn’t really an active, take-sides kind of ruler. Mine is just a stabilizing energy that makes sure things stay in order. There’s something maintaining the balance and providing me with what I need – or don’t need – in this world.

I don’t think the human mind is supposed to understand a lot of things and I think that forces us to take the dual tracks of science and religion. Both exist to codify our existence. I love quantum physics because I think it’s the closest marriage of science and religion, but again, feel like our mind doesn’t really have the capacity to comprehend ideas like eternity and infinity.

As I was writing the book (you know the title) I started to feel this calling to talk about my experience. This feeling came over me that now it was my turn to help others who were pornography addicts and perhaps even more importantly, to inform the world about pornography addiction. It doesn’t take a PhD in statistics to look at the numbers and recognize it’s going to be a major health crisis in this country.

So, I started this blog about four months before my book (the title escapes me at the moment) was released and was so wonderfully surprised how many people responded positively. There were those who had either porn addiction, other forms of addiction or mental health issues in their lives, or lives of their loved ones who could relate, but there was also a lot of people who just wanted to learn. It was invigorating, and made me want to share my story even more.

But then I started hitting the strong religious types. I have no problem with them and try not to judge them, but will admit I do have a problem not judging people who I feel are judging me. Maybe it’s a PTSD thing back to being a kid in the church, but certain things make me feel like I’m having a physical reaction. I get really worked up at some basic stuff and I don’t know exactly where it’s coming from. I could give examples but don’t want to offend anybody because I have nothing against you or your beliefs. I’ve actually enjoyed getting to know most through this site and share many of your beliefs, I just take a different path to the same solution.

When the book (the title is…no, never mind) came out in January, I started doing a lot of promotion, which I continue with today. This process of telling my story again and again has been amazing and absolutely drives home the point that I want to help. I want to be a source of information and support. I want to bring the concept to people that anybody can be a porn addict and that the addiction can lead to some horrible places.

When I step back, I recognize that I sound like someone who is joining the ministry. I know what the devout Christian would say. God has chosen me to deliver this message and is using me as his vessel. He put me through these trials because I have a greater purpose than the life porn addiction took away from me. The real hardcores would throw a Bible verse or two my way to drive their point home, and that’s where I’d start to curl into the fetal position.

I’m now at a place where I’m putting together two presentations – ironically both title “The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About.” A version of one of the presentations is geared toward a Christian audience. Despite their telepathic link with God, Christians have higher rates of porn use and porn addiction than secular types. Let’s not debate why today.

I want to stand in front of church groups and talk about this issue. It’s important. But I can’t quote Scripture and I can’t tell them if their invisible friend is going to help the kick their porn habits or not, and that scares me, because I think that’s what religious people want to hear. I have an invisible friend, too. And I know he helped. I’m just not sure it’s the same invisible friend. I’m a big believer in doing what you need to quit any addiction, but I don’t know why God chose you to have it nor do I know if he’ll help solve the problem. If you think he will, that’s important. Faith is huge in recovery.

When I was a kid, nobody at church ever abused me, yet my religious upbringing has somehow traumatized me. Blogging about porn addiction, and now trying to spread my message, is bringing up a lot of hard-to-explain feelings. I don’t know if it’s God. I don’t know if it’s religion. I don’t know if it’s people who practice. I can’t put my finger on it yet, but I know it’s not just when I log-in. It’s bleeding into real life now.

I share what’s happening to me not to get any answers, be preached at or be given any kind of great advice, but just really to remind everyone that faith, belief and the role of God differs in many people’s lives. It doesn’t make any of us better or worse, chosen or cast away. Some of us feel like we have all of the answers and some of us know that we’ll never have any. Some absolutely need to believe in God to function and others don’t give it a second thought. It’s OK. It’s all OK.

Now go buy my stinkin’ book.

10 thoughts on “God’s Confusing Role in My Recovery

  1. Another well-written, intelligent essay. I, too, left the church at age 18 for the same reasons you did. But when porn almost destroyed everything dear to me I finally did what I’d never done before – read the Gospel accounts for myself. I discovered the Christ I’d never been told about. All I know is it changed my heart for the better and helped me leave porn behind. Best of luck with the book!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am not stritcly religious but I do think a lot that Jesus wouldn’t like me to watch porn and masturbate. It can be the first thought after a “relapse” which is strange.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not sure if I’m reading too much into this, or if you were just very careful in not offending anyone, but it felt like you are confused on the topic on spirituality and God.
    I was brought up Christian, and never really “left”, but I had my moments of doubt and I did pull back for a bit. Currently, I find my faith to be stronger than ever.
    The constant links to your book made me laugh a little. Well done. I started reading it. Will check in soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes…hence the title about confusion. And maybe it’s not God. God and I are cool. It’s the bridge between spirituality and religion. I think it involves some of the people who stood on that bridge when I was young, demanding a toll to cross that I wasn’t ready or capable of paying. I think I’m back at the bridge, but I’m finding some of the same people there and it’s confusing. I’ve never been a follower or a join-the-group guy. It’s probably also why I don’t really like either political party. But, unlike 10 years ago, when I would have fought you on politics and religion, I let that stuff go now. I know what I believe and I accept whatever you want to believe is right for you…I just wish that was reciprocated. Because we believe different things doesn’t mean one of us has to be wrong.

      I’m also glad you liked the repeated links. In real life, I’m a snarky, cyncial, clever person (and modest apparently) but porn addiction, alcoholism, spirituality and the other things I talk about on this blog seem so heavy, it’s hard to inject pieces of my personality. I did a podcast today and had the host laughing four or five times. It felt good, but I wondered if it was inappropriate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I laugh in the most appropriate of times, so go figure. Obviously, I could sense the snark and cynicism. It takes one to know one.

        Just to close the religion debate. I agree. It is a shame that a lot of people do a disservice to what they say they believe in. I toss them aside and forge my own path.

        I will still fight you on things, but when opinions are concerned (not hard facts), then I definitely respect yours.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I believe it’s more important to believe than to go to church. In private as an Orthodox Christian I go to church only for most important holidays, weddings or other similar occasions and that’s case with most of the people. It’s rare who goes to church every Sunday. But working as a tour guide I visit even more than one church almost every day and there are rare cases when I have a feeling like I’m in a holly place. That’s why I believe it’s more important what kind of persons we are. What you are doing with your book it’s much more important than being part of the church. I believe it will help to many people. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, do I resonate with all of this! I was also raised Catholic and have been traumatized from the experience. For over two years, I have been on a spiritual path and just following my intuition to guide me through life. However, I also seem to have some sort of PTSD when I talk to Christians. It’s hard not to judge people who are judging you for your habits or beliefs. It seems to be an ingrained reaction in most of us. But it’s great that you recognize those judgments and are working to overcome them.

    This was a really great read. I look forward to reading your other posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks…it’s actually comforting knowing there are other people that feel the same way. You really pegged that judging those who judge you piece. I try not to do it, but there’s just a certain amount of smugness one can take. People who think they have the answers nobody actually have simultaneously scares me, frustrates me…and makes me a little jealous.


  6. Great essay. I was also raised Catholic and call myself a “recovering catholic”. In my honest opinion, this “church” is the most controlling dark force on the planet. Sorry happy Catholics!! That said, God IS order. He IS nature, natural stuff, natural processes, water, wind, fire, etc.. we have all his elements within us. Christianity is a mindset, not a religion. And many “Atheists” are “Christian” by default in their behavior and choices. “Order” knows who’s real and who isn’t. “Order” will shed it’s fruitless limbs, just as a tree sheds it’s dead leaves. All by itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I call myself a former Catholic, much like I’m a former high school student or magazine publisher. I know I’m done with it and not heading back.
      I like how you call your deity “Order”. Mine is “The Universe”.
      The only thing I really hold against the Catholics, aside from turning a blind eye to many of their own internal issues, is that they are the richest organization in the world, own works of art and historical artifacts that would fetch billions, yet horde this wealth. If they spent that money, they could feed the world, wipe out cancer, etc. I just don’t get it.


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