I’ve had the unfortunate experience of living life with this inescapable feeling of being alone. God in the beginning of the Bible recognized that, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Genesis 2:18
Early on in my life, my mother and father divorced, and my father was my primary caretaker. And I know now that there was always something missing in my life by not having a motherly figure throughout my life.
This affected my friendships. I would sometimes connect very well because of my personality, but I had more friendships and less deep meaningful relationships.
One of the ways I self-medicated was by turning to pornography. It didn’t start out that way, and there is certainly more than one reason I chased after pornography. But in the ten years I spent in and out of addiction to pornography, I remember feeling extremely lonely before and after looking at porn.
And one key idea I’ve learned in the past year has proven to be true in so many ways.
Addiction thrives in isolation.
For ten years, no one knew that I was struggling, let alone how much I was struggling with porn. And the enemy loved it. In isolation, I felt despair, disappointed, and unable to resists temptation in my life. I never really had any marked success to brag about.
And when my life fell apart in the form of divorce and losing custody of my son, I was faced with a very desperate need for something to change in my life.
What I was missing in my life, and also what I was missing in my marriage, was having something God was not just encouraging me to pursue but demanding me to take seriously.
I needed a community.
There is the age-old cliché that it takes a village to raise a child. That doesn’t stop because you leave home. I don’t think it ever stops. I believe that God gives us other people to help us grow through our hard times and struggles.
And after six months of success in my own battle against porn and the hard times life has thrown at me, I learned the hard way just how important having friends, mentors, and family in your life can truly be.
Now I know - when I stumble, my friends are there to help me get up. It doesn’t mean that I’m perfect, but it does mean that I can do better. I can be better.
And as it goes, “A burden shared is a burden halved.” The Bible says in Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” This command is born out in community.
The biggest turnaround and change I’ve seen, was the day my close friend and mentor told me that he was praying for me daily.
I didn’t feel judged or ashamed. I felt motivated and encouraged. It was as if someone truly believed in me to become the man God intended me to be.
And if it weren’t for community, I would have never received such a major blessing.
Hebrews also puts it really well in chapter 10 verses 24 and 25. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
If you are struggling with addiction, there is help; in the Word, at the church, and in a small group. You don’t have to be alone. Reach out to a loving, Bible-following community and watch how they will come alongside you in love and help you overcome.