to Live Free
Who I Am
Getting well became the goal, and I put in place every step to attain it: I signed up for a three-day intensive
weekend, protected my computer and cable TV with filters, removed myself as
administrator in favor of an accountability partner, purged stashes of pornography, and continued to talk.
We married in 2008, and along with the lifelong behaviors I surrendered daily — and continue to surrender — God has graciously delivered me from physical acting out since shortly before the day Angie confronted me. Mental sobriety has not been as clean and linear. A few years ago in counseling, I finally did the deeper work and sobbed with relief to learn what made thought patterns so difficult to control. I finally felt in control and understood within my deepest self.
I finally felt free.
I sought a marital support group (in hopes of unsuccessfully salvaging my marriage) that validated my
emotions for what seemed the first time in my life, so the next time the 8-week long sessions reconvened, I
signed up, this time for a divorce support group.
My sex-addicted behaviors continued, but I refrained from pursuing women. It was finally as a volunteer table leader that I met Angie. We had been walking parallel paths: Wisconsin-born, twice divorced, local residents, and change seekers.
In 2007, we began dating and quickly fell in love. It was a few months into our relationship that she asked, “Do you struggle with lust?” She had observed patterns of lust, and I had mere seconds to answer. The shame of the truth, and years of secretive behaviors, welled up within me. I had a terrifying choice.
“Yes,” I said.
She was finally speaking to the real me. And with each question and admission, I unloaded 35 years of struggle to a woman who — through prayerful consideration and careful grace — chose to walk with me on a journey to redemption rather than leave as soon as she had come.
Beginning Recovery and Love
I eventually moved away with the intention of starting fresh, hoping that a geographic relocation might cure
me of my need for sex, alcohol, and drugs. But pornography and masturbation had become habitual,
even compulsive, such that my newly gotten girlfriend couldn’t keep up with my sexual appetite.
So when a prostitute solicited me beside a stop sign, I said, “Yes.”
I met my first wife at 21 and was married nine months later. Unmet sexual expectations began with the honeymoon, as it was not nearly enough as I imagined I deserved. Following four children, infidelity and growing distance in our relationship, she filed for divorce.
Within a few weeks, I met my second wife and we were married two years later. Despite the birth of my fifth child and no physical infidelity, I was still mentally unfaithful hundreds of times a day. After 10 years, she also filed for divorce and left me 49-years-old and alone.
Sexual Infidelity and Divorce
My story begins with the fear of an unwed, teenage girl who chose adoption.
At an early age, my three siblings and I were adopted by my father and mother, a hard-working farmer and a former schoolteacher. Rural Christian values dictated an old-fashioned sense of stoicism with little room for curiosity or childhood mistakes. When I was only 5, my mother found me watching her exit naked from the shower:
“Daniel Charles Andrew!” she shouted. “What is wrong with you! You ought to be ashamed of yourself. ”
I agreed with her. There must have been something wrong with me. Taught from an early age to deny emotions, repress feelings, and rationalize away unpleasant emotions, I fantasized instead. It was my brother’s stash of pornography that fueled hours of overly stimulated sexual awakening at 12 years old. I became adept at being a voyeur. Hiding my fantasies for fear of rejection and abandonment, I opportunistically objectified women. And despite an increasing tally of female conquests — as I envisioned them at the time — my insecurity dictated every relationship.
At the CORE of Redeemed Warriors
ARE THE VALUES THAT BRING FREEDOM
Investing in your recovery and sexual integrity means that freedom is so much more than attending a single support group for two hours a week. At the heart of our confidential, mentoring relationship are these core values: