Stories-from-Finishing-Strong“My descent into destructive sexual behavior began with porn. As most decisions that we make, they start out seemingly small and insignificant. In 2001 I choose to view the latest online edition of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Little did I know how powerful those images were and where they would lead. It led to looking at more explicit images and then more images more often. This continued for a period of time that led to increasing shame and guilt which in turn led to more lying, deception, isolation, and increasing separation from God, my wife, and friends and an ever widening gap in my personal integrity. The impersonal images were never enough and led to an emotional relationship. Thankfully much like the prodigal son, God brought me to my senses. In 2003, I repented and confessed to God, confessed to my wife and asked her forgiveness and started the process of restoring my relationship with God and rebuilding with my wife and working on my own recovery as a man. One of those fundamental basics of my personal recovery was being part of a group of men where I can be real about my temptations, honest about my struggles, and open about my feelings and thoughts.”
-Finishing Strong Participant

“I had a couple of neighborhood kids who were kind of bad influences and remember a lot of sexual talk. Their Dad had Playboy magazines and I looked at them from time to time. In my teen and college years I had a few progressively more intense sexual encounters that went farther-much farther than they should have. I saw some movies and a few television shows with a fair amount of skin which always stuck in my mind for days, months, and years. I looked at a few Playboy magazines and some harder core ones from time to time. I got married but often found myself ‘checking out’ women and then fantasizing in my mind about them. I tried to be subtle but often felt like a ‘peeper’. Then came the internet. I first had dial up which was very slow. I remember that I was on a certain search pattern on the internet while I was serving as a pastor of a dynamic congregation. Years passed and I had general control of it. I left pastoring to pursue a ministry dream. The transition was tough. I took a low paying job with terrible hours. I started working the night shift and would stay awake all day searching for images and then getting only 2 to 3 hours of horrible sleep. When I would look in the mirror I would see a hypocrite. I would go to church and just cry. Finally I decided to tell someone. My brother who is active in AA and has twenty years of sobriety heard me out without judging me. Telling him was like getting the weight of the world off my shoulders! He hooked me up with Finishing Strong. I got involved with a Finishing Strong group and attended the meetings for over a year and then decided to start a group in my hometown. Even though there is still a struggle and I have not gotten the mind thing licked, I am learning to be completely honest, to get all the secrets out, to embrace self-control, and to enjoy the protection of confessing my sins to others and praying for one another. I am thankful to God for Jesus, for forgiveness, for grace, and for other believers who support and encourage me.”
– Finishing Strong Participant