Celebrate Recovery® at CRBC

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Testimony (John)

My Testimony
1st  The Old Me
“I’m John, a believer and follower of Jesus Christ who struggles with Exhibitionism, Mental Adultery, Selfishness and Pride.”

In October of 2005 I was sitting in a chair undergoing a “lifestyle” polygraph in order to obtain a security clearance.  My denial about my hidden sin was so deep that I thought I could under go a polygraph and not be caught.  I had been lying to myself so long, that I did not even face up to my hidden sin until about an hour into that process.  The examiner could tell something was wrong and continued to ask me questions to determine what I was hiding.  I finally gave it up and confessed to him that I struggled with the desire to expose myself and the need to masturbate about once a month.  In my denial I did not understand Proverbs 17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. 18 But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell. I thought I could play with my hidden sin, eat it in secret, play with my selfish pleasure, knowing not that it was death and the entrance to Hell.

I grew up in a fairly normal middle class household of 7 kids.  I was the middle child and lead a pretty much normal middle class up bringing.  My mother ran the house-hold and kept us on track.  We attended a main-line Methodist church and it was a pretty much luke-warm, southern California, 60’s era church. I was a boy scout and resisted drug use based upon the “you’ll turn into a green were-wolf” message I received from the anti-drug classes at school and church.

I was always interested in sex and was curious about my sisters and other girls and women around me.  National Geographic and women’s underwear ads were my first visuals.  I remember seeing some type of porn magazine around the fifth grade and later I would find playboy magazines to look through.  I started to experiment with taking my clothes off in my early teens.  I was also into attention in group settings and did not always obey the social norms in groups. I would rebel against authority that I did not respect and do my own thing when ever I thought it made the most sense. At that time I was not a believer in Christ and I did not know or understand what God says in Proverbs 3: 5-6   Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

I continued to play around with being necked in public and found that exposing myself to woman was a rush.  Being interested in women and I think in reaction to strong women in my life, I was very aroused by exposing myself to women.  I enjoyed the reaction and the “hidden” pleasure I obtained from it.

I had been confronted by a few people about my behavior because even though I would act out a distance away form my house that kind of things catches up with you.  I knew that it was not generally acceptable but it was an addiction and a compulsive behavior so I continued. When I was 14 I exposed my self to a neighbor down the street and she contacted the police.  I had to go to court and as a condition of my juvenile probation I had to see a psychologist.  Given my other rebellious behaviors in boy’s scouts and at school, I was given some medications for “hyper-activity” and met with the psychologist for about 3 years. I was very embarrassed and quickly learned to hid my behavior or conducted under very limited and controlled (can you spell denial) circumstances.  I managed to be more “normal” for a number of years.

After High School I started smoking marijuana with a co-worker.  I respected him as he appeared to have it all together.  My older sister who was in College doing well also smoked so I figured that the “you’ll turn into a green were-wolf” message was not true.  My first time smoking was a “mind-blowing” experience.  I wondered why they did not want us to use something so cool.  I really enjoyed pot and started smoking just about everyday.  I move out with 4 other guys and we smoked regularly and sold enough dope to keep our own uses paid for.  I also experimented with other drugs, but dope was my drug of choice. We often hosted keggers and I generally had to go talk with the cops when they came to break things up.  I did not drink because it did not agree with me, it tended to come back up in a violent manner. That was one of many blessing that God gave me.  I got drunk about 3 times in my teen age years.  Each time I would drink too much and end up spewing it up along with anything else I had consumed for the last few days.  I can really relate to what Gods said to the laodiceans: 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.

I managed to attend college and completed a BA from UCLA, all the while smoking dope daily and engaging in my sexual fantasy life.  I did date women and managed to not get anyone pregnant. I also managed to not get caught exposing myself to anyone, kept it low key and under controlled circumstances (again, can you spell denial). I dated a wonderful young lady at that time who was a Christian and who family and friends prayed for me.  I attended Calvary Chapel services and concerts.  I heard the message about Christ and my need for him, but I kept telling myself that I was ok because I had attended church most of my life. As a good friend of mine would say “how stupid it that”. I almost went forward at an alter call at a Keith Green concert and generally kick myself for not doing so.  I did feel the tug on my heart, but was too selfish and stubborn to surrender my heart to God.  (this is a recurring theme in my testimony).  
Well my first bottom was after I had graduated from college.  The wonderful lady I was in love with, loved me enough to break up with me.  She could see my stupid behavior (ever smell a pot-head up close) and knew that marriage and family was not going to happen while I was wallowing in my sin like a pig.  I was in a funk and not thinking straight as was normal, so I exposed myself to two women who ran to a near by house  to call the police.  There happened to be a motorcycle cop near by and he found me coming back to my car with less than all my clothes on.  I was never very good at lying so I was soon behind bars. I had to call a co-worker, dope smoking friend to come bail me out.  It was a couple of mile back to my car and the whole way I cried out to God about my sin and life, knowing that only he could save me.  The next night I went forward at an alter call to surrender my life to God.  I would like to say that everything was perfect from that day forward but that would not be true.

God did deliver me from the bondage of smoking dope and I sought out Christian friends and church services and bible study to fill in my free time.  I told my parents about my legal trouble and found another psychologist who worked with me on my rebelliousness more than anything else.  I’m not sure why we did not work on my exhibitionist activity, but I was mostly looking to stay out of jail. I was given a year of probation and learn to hid my sin even better. I still committed mental fornication and had a regular habit of that.  I would still feel the temptation and struggled with that sin.

In January of 1980 I started a new job as an estimator for an Aerospace company.  A young woman brought me my calculator and scripture started showing up on my desk. As you may have figured out by now I’m pretty slow and did not put 2 and 2 together.  This young woman’s boss suggested that I should ask Debbie out as she also went to church.  I was working on this idea when Debbie asked me over for dinner.  Our first date we talked about our past (well, some of it at least) and we both knew that we did not want to fall into our past habits of having sex outside of marriage.  We dated for about 3 to 4 weeks when I remember praying to God about the relationship and telling him that it was his call as to where it would lead.  At least I got that one right.  With in a few weeks we were talking about marriage and I found myself meeting her parent for the first time and asking them if I could marry their daughter.  They were very accepting and the first thing we did was pray for the marriage.  My folks were a bit more thoughtful as they knew me better, but they were also happy for us.

Marriage to Debbie is one of the great blessings that God has brought into my life.  We have been married for over 27 years by now and I could not be happier. We started life together and always found a church to be a part of.  I wanted to learn as much about my new savior as I could and study the bible and attended studies whenever I could.  I was active in our church and soon was teaching bible studies and was active on Church board and committees.  From all outward appearances I was a changed man and in many ways I was.  I worked hard, loved my wife and boys, serve in the ministry and cared about others.  I was active in each of the Churches we attended and even serve as a Deacon and considered myself a servant of the most-high God. My only problem was I carried a secret sin life of mental adultry and the urge to exhibit myself. 

I would give in to sin when ever I felt like I deserved it or could not have intimacy with my wife.  (HALTBS would have been a good acronym for someone like me) I would seek out stimulation though visual images and written images.  My policy was to not pay for it, but if I could find it for free I would soak it up.  I struggled with my sin for 27 years, all the time knowing it was not God’s will.  You can not read and study the Bible without learning that he wants us to be perfect like he was perfect.  My sinful, selfish behavior was wrong and I knew it.  I just was too prideful and stubborn to admit I needed help and to ask for help from brothers all around me.  I look back and realize that so many of my brothers and pastors would have accepted me in my sin and could have helped me over come it, if I would have just confessed and asked for help.  As God says in  James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

My second and final bottom (I pray and trust on Jesus) was Feb 6th (which is the date I use to measure my sobriety) when the NSA determined that I was not trust worthy to receive a Green Badge security clearance.  I was devastated and knew that I would have to change.  I prayed, sent an e-mail to my Pastor and other brothers asking for prayer and contacted the Employee Assistance Program to obtain a Counselor.  Just admitting that I had a problem and needed help was the hardest things I’ve every done, but the best step I have every taken.  At the same time the Care and Counseling Pastor at my Texas Church assigned me a Stephan’s Minister, Paul Winn, as an accountability/sponsor.  Paul and I would meet face to face or on the telephone weekly and I started meeting with a Therapist.  From their combined guidance and my knowledge of CR I sought out a CR group to be a part of.

2nd My Experiences and Changes in Working through Celebrate Recovery
That first night and the long walk to the door was an experience I will not forget.  It was so nice to be greeted and welcomed into the group.  At the time I was living on a temporary assignment so was not well plugged into a church and or community.  It took a fair amount of time but I can now say that without question I am closer to my Step/group brothers than anyone else other than my best Friend and spouse, Debbie.

I was able to start a step study about 6 to 8 months into recovery as the groups had already been closed by the time I showed up.  I think that was God timing for me personally as I kept looking for the quick and easy fix.  I remember reading about recovery from Sexual Addiction and being shocked that people were talking about years worth of time.  I was thinking more like a few months and I could get back to “normal”.  Well after hearing George mention that recovery is a journey and not a destination I now know that recovery will be a life long experience.

The Step group has been such a blessing and a cattle prod to my personal growth.  I remember not being real sure what to do with sharing about my inventory in the group.  That was a baby step compared with sitting down with a trusted sponsor and baring my life and soul by sharing my personal inventory.  Both actions have allowed me to face up to my situation, hurts, habits and hang-ups so that God can grow me beyond them.

3rd The New Me

I am very happy that God has brought about this change in my life.  I am free now and can honestly state that I am alive in Christ.  I’m not hiding any thing, nor do I feel ashamed of my behavior.  I continue to discover ways to grow in faith as God and my step study partners reviled new areas of sin and imperfection to me.  I now truly understand the phrase that George using so often, “recovery is a journey, not a destination”. I no longer sexually act out and would be very comfortable taking a new Polygraph, though my clearance is in God’s hands at this point.

4th  Outreach

The amazing thing about God is that he worked all of this out in such a gentle but effective way.  I could have an arrest record and be a registered sexual offender.  I could have been fired or lost my job due to my behavior. Instead, God has prospered me in my work and kept me from my own stupidity and out of jail.  God is Great and greatly to be praised.  Psalms 117 sums it up so well.

“Praise the Lord, all you nations: extol him all you peoples.  For great is his love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.  Praise the Lord.”

I am very excited about CR and plan to continue with the program.  I am prayerfully approaching leadership and ministry within the program.  My hope is to see God use me as I continue to recover and grow in his grace.

The true encouragement I can give a newcomer or someone just starting out in the program is very simple “Keep coming Back, It works if you work it”.  Come to meetings, find an accountability partner or three, get a sponsor and get into a step study.  God has great plans for you.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.



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Last updated 4/10/08