The powerfully negative nature of one-sided thinking
I am a former sex-addict and cannot undo the damage done to my mind as a result of regularly engaging in sexual deviancy. I liken it to scars that will always be there, reminding me of what I chose to do so many years ago. In many ways, I believe myself to be a recovered sex-addict: fully recovered from the deviant lifestyle I once so regularly engaged in. However, recently I came to notice a change to my view of women that gave me cause for pause. I began to notice the unique beauty of each woman.
Now, for the non-addict, this may seem odd. But, due to my regular engagement in sexually deviant behavior, I had long ago reduced women to sex objects. In fact, a large portion of my recovery walk was to destroy this thinking and re-establish a proper value of people. I often referred to this process as “humanizing” women. So, to see the unique beauty of women in a totally non-sexual way is a new insight, for I had always classified women into “attractive to me” and “unattractive to me” categories. To no longer see women in this light was refreshing, like having a new opportunity to appreciate the wonderful things that God has placed in every man and woman.
It is astounding to me the powerful nature of one-sided thinking like that described above. My ability to think in such black and white terms as “attractive to me” and “unattractive to me” as if that was how everyone saw reality, when in fact there was a greater depth of understanding I had completely missed. But what further interests me in this insight is its revelation of how the sex-addict loses the ability to see clearly: how a one-sided thinking is naturally developed through consumption of pornography.
Pornography is the epitome of objectification. I consume images catered to my personal lustful desire, for my own personal satisfaction. There is no intimacy in this pursuit, only self-centered gratification. As such, I am free to put emphasis on whatever captures my fancy. This regular emphasis, over time, degrades all other areas of my life. It is common for the man who regularly consumes porn to lose interest in any form of healthy sexuality. This does not remain isolated to women, I see that this one-sided thinking naturally invades all other areas of my life.
Take work for example, I face a conflict then blame others rather than looking at myself, taking responsibility and seeing how I might better the environment. A simple but self-centered view. This is the same type of thinking that I use while viewing porn: self-gratification on speed-dial.
The most unfortunate reality of this long-term pursuit is that I eventually lost my ability to see what I had lost. I may recognize that I had lost some level of perspective, even remembering a time when things were different, but I cannot fathom going back to that time, nor imagine what my life would look like now, were I to live as I should. Instead, I see my options going forward only in the light of personal gratification and self-satisfaction. I am so one-sided in this vision that any ideas opposing this cannot possibly be right. In this, I am truly trapped. My best thinking, which can neither set me free nor satisfy my desires, has failed me.
This is why so few are successful in recovery: it requires denying my self-centered desires. Further, I must immerse myself in the truth which is going to challenge my viewpoints. It is only in this regular challenge that I can begin to regain what I have lost: clarity. By allowing others to regularly challenge me, I can now see things I did not see before. I have opened the door for growth to happen, and it’s a wonderful place to be. The truth is the most freeing thing a man can possess, and the truth belongs to God.
As I submit to God, He reveals greater depths of understanding and insight. He does so through others, scripture, prayer and circumstance. I only need to do what is immediately right and do it every time. The fact that it makes me uncomfortable and challenges my normal lifestyle is normally a very good sign: for my way has clearly not worked. It is this path that I must walk if I wish to grow, and it is the path I invite others down so that they may grow.
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