Why do I have to surrender before overcoming porn and sex addiction?

Updated: Apr 3




No one likes to surrender. Accepting that we're somehow not enough never feels good. It's demoralizing. It makes us feel helpless. It's unfair. It exposes our weaknesses. Surrendering is for losers, we tell ourselves.


Sometimes, though, surrendering is the only path to victory. Let me explain.

I'm not talking about giving up your fight against unwanted sexual behavior and giving in to your carnal desires. The surrender I'm advocating is a "giving over" rather than a "giving up." We have to surrender the idea that we can outgrow pornography on our own. We have to acknowledge the reality that we've already tried to quit -- probably many, many times -- and failed. The next vow we make to stop acting out sexually will end in defeat, just like all the ones before it, if we don't fully surrender ourselves to God.


We know we need the help of God and the people he places in our lives, so why are we so stubbornly unwilling to ask for it and accept it? Simple. We're afraid it might come at a price we're not willing to pay. We might have to set aside our pride and humble ourselves by confessing the raw truth to a friend. We might have to acknowledge our selfishness and consider how our behavior impacts other people. We might have to admit we're not perfect. We might have to face the consequences of our actions. In other words, surrendering to God requires us to face reality. Yes, it's scary, but the fact remains that the only place freedom exists is in reality.


This dilemma presented by surrendering to God and to reality is the classic double bind that keeps countless men stuck in the bondage of porn and sex addiction. What's a double bind, you might ask? It's a choice you face that feels like a lose-lose situation. For example, I can confess my pornography use and face the consequences, or I can hide my porn use and stay perpetually stuck in the shame it produces. Either way, it's going to hurt. When faced with a double bind, the correct choice is almost always the choice that feels harder in the moment.


Consider the double bind of a man who's having an affair. Continuing to lie to his wife about having an affair probably seems easier than confessing to her, right? He might even promise himself that he'll put an end to his secret relationship, but his choice to hide eventually brings more shame and leads him back to his sin and further from the grace of God. Eventually, he doesn't know who he is anymore (not to mention the very high probability that his wife is going to catch him anyway). On the other hand, confessing unwanted sexual behavior feels really, really hard in the moment. He might be asking himself: What if she divorces me? What if she tells our children I'm a pervert? What if my friends shun me? All of these things are possible, though not as likely as he might think. It's also very possible that his broken and contrite heart will be shown grace, love and forgiveness, an outcome that is much harder to reach if he's caught in his sin instead of proactively confessing it.


This may sound crazy, but the reaction of his wife, children and friends can't be this man's biggest concern. Making the choice to be known is what's most important. Choosing to be authentic, honest and vulnerable with God and another person is the first and most crucial step to recovery. It's impossible to find freedom from sexual addiction without taking this step. So while it feels harder in the moment, it's the only path to freedom, peace and joy.


This is what surrendering looks like. We have to give up the illusion of control in our lives and accept that we are powerless to overcome our unwanted sexual behavior on our own and that our lives have become completely unmanageable. Then, and only then, can we surrender to our need for help from God. When we've done this, our faithful Heavenly Father will answer our plea for help and provide everything we need to outgrow our unwanted sexual behavior and live a life of radical freedom. It won't be easy, but it's worth the effort.


Are you tired of living a lie? Are you ready to fully surrender your pride and selfishness to God today and start your journey toward freedom? If so, please sign up for a free coaching call with me now. You don't have to do this alone!



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