Question: Is there any hope of conquering the addiction to pornography/sexual addictions if someone does not join a group?
Darrell: Recovery from pornography and sexual addiction is a complicated, difficult path. In our model in our ministry we found that path best when an individual dived into our recovery group, did individual counseling, Emmanuel work and actively built relations with other men—attacking it from many different directions. Yet, I talk to individuals from literally all over the world, different people contact me and say, “Well, I don’t have a group. I don’t have any connections.” I tell them, “Okay, then pray.”
“Ask the Father who He wants you to talk to and share your story and your journey with.” Whatever face or name comes to your mind, ask the Father for strength and go and tell them where you are at. You found my manual, you found a resource, now go to them and tell them hey, I have this resource. This is my story; would you be willing to be my sounding board as I go through this manual? What is amazing to me is:
1. How resistant most people are at trying that…most people are terrified of anyone finding out.
2. Secondly, what normally happens is they find out that the person who came to their mind is either a fellow struggler who understands and needs help themselves and then they have a partner to walk through this recovery with or they have found someone who has fought this battle and God brought them into places of freedom and they become a mentor and guide who can walk with them.
Don’t let not having a group, not having the right resources in your immediate vicinity stop you. I didn’t have a group. I didn’t have anyone in my area that I found …it was a little over a year into my recovery when we started our first group.
Our group was the first one that I was aware of anywhere in our area. Yet God was faithful to me. He brought an individual to me and he and I started working together. Yes, a group is better than one person, but one person is a place to start.
Question: Can you give some very practical examples of how a man can become a protector of women rather than a consumer?
Darrell: So much of it boils down to the mindset. Restaurants are a good example. I am in Lawrence, KS—a college town so every restaurant is also a bar. Many times waitresses are not dressed in the best of ways. It is often challenging in those environments to deal with the consumptive temptation but a friend of mine years ago…one of the things he did was that whenever we went to lunch (pretty regular basis). Whenever the waitress came he would always find out her name and every time she came to the table he would refer to her by name. And he had kind words for her and had that framework of her as a daughter he just doesn’t know very well.
I know that he blessed many young women in ways that they probably didn’t understand–it just felt different. After I have taught on these things, women will say something like, “You know, what you have described about this consumerism and how men look at us has helped me understand why I feel icky sometimes. I didn’t even know why I felt that way, but now I do—that person was not seeing me, they were seeing body parts. They were consuming me, not knowing me.”
Speak to them as a person rather than an object, then you are protecting; you are not consuming. It is a simple next step in personalizing instead of objectifying.
Question: What activities are you doing in men’s groups to create joy?
Darrell: We don’t have a lot of “activity” in our group but I will give you a quick picture of a typical meeting. First we have what we call “big group time” which is anywhere from 6-8 guys (as many as 25) around a big table and we have group discussion. There is often banter and conversation and we enjoy being together.
Then we break up into our “check-in groups” of 3-4. No less than three for safety/protection reasons and no more than four because if we have 5 guys in a group for check-in we will be stuck there for two hours! We have learned that 3-4 is the perfect number. And in the small group of 3-4 we have four simple points of check-in:
1. Where am I at today? What’s going on in my world? This is the sharing of joys, struggles, etc.
2. Check in—we have what we call our 6 dailies which are six recovery behaviors that we do every day. So it is a check in—how have you done on your 6 dailies?
3. Confession time. James 5:16, I John 1:7-9—Is there any sin that needs to be brought into the light? Anything you came in here weighed down with that you want to share with your brothers in Christ and leave here free of?
4. Goals. What was your goal from your last meeting and how have you done with it? What is one tangible, practical goal that you are going to work on this week to be in a better place?
In that context as guys share their struggles and victories and where they are at, there is much relational connection, there are many ah-ha moments when a guy shares something and another guys says, “Really? I thought I was the only one.” As those take place, there is a very natural place of joy that happens.
I have a whole page of suggestions in my manual for starting joy in groups. We talk about and encourage guys to make eye contact, saying hello, calling one another by name…those kinds of things. We encourage guys to meet for lunch or coffee, daily phone calls with one another…anything to build those relationships and build joy. We have found that to be especially helpful in the process.
If you would like to snag a copy of Pastor Darrell’s Recovery Manual, here is a link.
Joy Starts Here with exercises, bible studies, assessments
Vol. 30 of the JIMTalks – Workers of Iniquity is a wonderful companion to Joy Starts Here. It gives a biblical understanding of some of the vocabulary used in the book.
There are 8 hours of teaching in this volume! God had a lot to say about transgression, sin and workers of iniquity!
And 30 Days of Joy…for busy married couples! This resource is available, but has not been added to the website yet. Contact Chris personally at Chris Coursey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
May your joy be full!
Chris & Carol
Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org
Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive www.fromgodsheart.com
This post was developed from a talk by Pastor Darrell Brazell for Pastor’s Weekly, Oct. 24, 2013.