Look What I Found: Celebrating New Sobriety

I can’t believe what I found! I didn’t even know this existed. A few days ago, my Mom mailed me a zip drive containing my old documents and writings, some of them priceless. One such writing was something I drafted to celebrate my one year sobriety anniversary. It is 14 years old!

I love this personal history piece for several reasons.

First, you can see I wrote it to share with someone. I can’t recall who. Maybe it was you. My younger self had a heart to help others. Who could have guessed how many I would impact? If only you knew what your recovery related ripple effects will be. I invite you to imagine.

Second, it reveals the value of journaling for recovery, self-reflection, and self-connection.

Third, it shows my hope for others, which I maintain to this day.

Fourth, it reflects my reliance on my Higher Power. Though my views have evolved since then, I see how significantly my faith impacted my path.

Fifth, it reveals a way for others. Though no recovery journey is identical, I hope you’ll dig out the gems here that are worth mining out.

This piece takes its place amongst my writings of 12 years sober, 13 years sober, and 15 years sober. This piece take its place in my Memoir in the making. This piece takes its place in my heart. May it take its place in yours too.

One last thing before you read. This piece may trigger sadness in some. I wrote this before marriage, kids, and career. Those who’ve experienced the pains of not attending earlier to their addiction and those hurt by addiction may read this feeling regret or resentment. You may ask, “Why didn’t recovery start sooner?” With this in mind let me remind you: While we can never go back, the future is ours to shape. May you read this with a hopeful eye for what is to come, for you, your children, and everyone in your influence.

Celebrating 1 Year

“Today is a victorious day!  This day, March 15, 2005, is my birthday in a strong sense.  Today marks 1 year free from pornography and masturbation. Yesterday, as I read my journal from a year ago, I was amazed at how far God has brought me. As many of you know, I was terribly addicted to that old, selfish, secret life of sin. Though I was a Christian, I depended on lust, rather than God, to satisfy the deepest parts of my soul. But I never lost hope that God could one day fulfill my hearts desires and my emotional needs. Today I look back on a year of commitment beyond any definition I had previously known. I see the dedication and perseverance as I implemented new, scary, uncomfortable, yet life-changing habits into my life. I cannot tell you that God’s purpose in all of this was to miraculously deliver me. Instead, he chose to let me battle it, but never alone. Though I worked tirelessly for freedom, I can never take the credit for it. God was the one who brought me to a point of final commitment. God was the one who ultimately provided the strength and courage to fight. He gave me hope. He brought me through impossible circumstances. He provided for me to go to Every Man’s Battle Workshop, where this new life began.

God’s miracle is evident in His timing. Shortly after EMB, he brought Stacie into my life.  It amazes me that Stacie has never known me in chains to that old sin. But before we were officially “going out”, she asked about my purity and I told her about my past. And with all the grace and love of God, she said, “I believe you’re a new person now.” And she was right.  God’s timing was incredible. I wonder what miracle or gift God is waiting to give some of you. In His love, He may be holding it back until you reach that place of new commitment to Him. In His graciousness he knows that if you had it now, you’d just destroy the gift. That’s what I saw Him do with Stacie. Hold her from me until I was ready. And now we are engaged to be married and she knows with confidence I really will give her my whole heart and body in full intimacy as a result of this purity.  

I thank Stacie for fighting alongside me when times were hard. I also thank the men who stayed by my side, with strong accountability and faithfulness. Really, everyone in my life has rallied around me to carry me into this season of victory. And I am so thankful for all of you.  

God’s shown me some new frontier on the horizon. There are souls to rescue from the grip of addiction. Even some of you reading this now are caught in sin. God is committed to you and when you are ready to fight, He is ready to join your side. And I will too. This victory in my life was not just for me, you know. But it was also for countless others who can’t seem to grab a new foothold and climb out of the grave. 

To God be the glory for one year free, satisfied, whole, well, and clean. Thank you all for fighting next to me. Here’s to God’s great plans for our lives!

With love and gratefulness,

Forest”

May we all take the time to record our recovery story unfolding before us. We are writing history.

Wishing you many celebrations of sobriety,

Forest Benedict

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Categories Addiction, Inspiration, pornography, Recovery, Sexual Addiction, writingTags , , ,

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