Am I Screwing Up My Kids? (Thoughts from a Parent in Recovery) – VLOG

Am I screwing up my kids?

The more I learn about the origins of sexual addiction, the more I see how factors in childhood play a significant role. This helps me understand myself as a recovering addict but as a parent this responsibility can be frightening. If you’ve ever wondered, like me, what impact your parenting may have on the future of your children, then check out my recent Life After Lust VLOG entitled “Am I Screwing Up My Kids (Thoughts from a Parent in Recovery).”

If you’ve read my book Life After Lust, you’ve seen that learning to parent well is another essential recovery skill. To learn more about the challenge to engage in proactive and intentional parenting check out the powerful video “Dear Porn: A Father’s Letter” (another chapter in Life After Lust).

May we all be empowered to be better parents as we learn from the mistakes of our parents and our own mistakes as well. There is hope for all of us on this journey, no matter how old our children may be.

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Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, is the author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” me on this blog and on Twitter, “like” me on Facebook, subscribe to my Youtube channel, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!
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EXCITING NEWS! My Book is Now in Paperback!

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EXCITING NEWS! My book Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery is ready in paperback on Amazon! May this resource help and inspire many.

Want to watch the first moment I saw my book? If so, CLICK HERE

Be one of the first to order your copy of this ground-breaking new book that will help many.

Check out the powerful new book trailer based on a chapter of my book by clicking here.

Forest Benedict, MA, SATP-C, LMFT, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” me on this blog and on Twitter, “like” me on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

Connected Sex: A Paradigm Shift for Sexual Addicts

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Sex is on my mind a lot these days. The reason for this is I’m preparing to teach a Human Sexuality class at Fresno State this weekend. I look forward to my time with future therapists, as we explore how sex can go both wrong and right.

It may go without saying but sex is an important topic in sexual addiction recovery. As a sexual addiction therapist, I tell my clients that successful recovery necessitates a different view of sexuality. The old perspective on sex must be thrown away and replaced with a new one. Rather than using sex as a numbing agent, sex must become a connecting agent. Still, this transition in thinking and practice is difficult. It requires learning, direction, and work.

In her video on Sex & Intimacy, Sue Johnson superbly explains the dynamics of connected and disconnected sex. I believe many sexual addicts experience “sealed off sex”, which she describes as a sexual experience that is lacking emotional intimacy, is solely sensation focused, and leaves individuals feeling lonely. In recovery, we have the opportunity to see sex in an entirely new way. In recovery, we can learn to experience sex as the “potent bonding activity” it is meant to be. This usually requires the guidance of a trained professional and a plethora of patience. But as a couple does the hard work of recovery, experiences healing, and is willing to humbly learn new ways of relating, connected sex can become a wonderful reality.

CLICK HERE to finish the article and to see Johnson’s excellent video on connected sex.

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING book!

 

 

Spiritual Meaning in the Music of the Night

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Last night I enjoyed an unanticipated spiritual connection as I watched Phantom of the Opera with my wife. My heart was moved as I found deeper meaning in the beloved song “All I Ask of You”. Looking again at these lyrics, I am reminded of the reciprocal love pursued through my deepening relationship with God. I invite you to read the following lyrics, seeing this scene through spiritual eyes (names changed to help you). Maybe you too will be touched.

(God)
No more talk of darkness
Forget these wide-eyed fears
I’m here, nothing can harm you
My words will warm and calm you

Let me be your freedom
Let daylight dry your tears
I’m here, with you, beside you
To guard you and to guide you

(You)
Say you’ll love me every waking moment
Turn my head with talk of summer time
Say you need me with you now and always
Promise me that all you say is true
That’s all I ask of you

[God]
Let me be your shelter
Let me be your light
You’re safe, no one will find you
Your fears are far behind you

[You]
All I want is freedom
A world with no more night
And you, always beside me
To hold me and to hide me

[God]
Then say you’ll share with me one love, one lifetime
Let me lead you from your solitude
Say you need me with you here, beside you
Anywhere you go, let me go too
_______(Your name), that’s all I ask of you

[You]
Say you’ll share with me one love, one lifetime
Say the word and I will follow you

[Both]
Share each day with me, each night, each morning

[You]
Say you love me

[God]
You know I do

[Both]
Love me, that’s all I ask of you.

[Both]
Anywhere you go, let me go too
Love me, that’s all I ask of you

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING book!

What’s Your Recovery Anthem? Here’s Mine

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What’s your recovery anthem? You know, “your” song that inspires you to rise higher and fight harder?

recovery anthem is highly personal. The song that speaks to you may not speak to me. Some songs stir us more deeply than others, based on our beliefs and backgrounds. Oftentimes, our anthem finds us when we are most desperate for reassurance and strength.

For me, a song worthy to be hailed as a “recovery anthem” must be one that courses through my veins, stirs up emotion, calls me to action, increases my passion, and raises my intention to both battle and heal. I have created playlists of such songs in the past.

Yesterday, I found my newest recovery anthem. How did I know this was MY song? One hint was that it repeatedly brought me to tears. It also gave me a wider perspective and increased the intensity of my commitment.

I would like to share my anthem with you. Maybe it will profoundly speak to you. Maybe not. Regardless, my hope is that it will inspire you to find your own recovery anthem.

My Recovery Anthem

My new recovery anthem is Switchfoot’s recent song “If the House Burns Down Tonight.” The lyrics resonate deeply with me, as I think about the prospect of fighting for love and letting everything else burn away. In it, Jon Foreman writes:

“Ashes from the flames
The truth is what remains
The truth is what you save
From the fire
And you fight for what you love
Don’t matter if it hurts
You find out what it’s worth
And you let the rest burn”

To me, this means passionately pursuing  my relationship with my Divine Abba. This means deepening my loyal love for my bride. This means daily communicating my affection to my kids. This means prioritizing the love of my family and friends. This means holding onto love while letting all of the distractions, addictions, and meaningless attempts to impress anyone or prove anything burn away [TWEET THIS]. This means loving like that and letting others love me in the same way.

In real recovery we find the commitment and courage to fiercely hold onto those things we value the most, abandoning everything that competes for life’s most precious virtue -love.

I invite you to invest a few minutes in listening to the above song. Imagine the love you want to pursue and what you’re willing to give up to get it.

Find Your Anthem

Then, start looking for your personal recovery anthem. Our recovery anthem sparks strength in us when we feel depleted and ignites hope within when we feel defeated [TWEET THIS]. We can listen to them daily and in times of urgent need.

The recovery anthem is a powerful tool for those seeking recovery from anything.

What’s your recovery anthem? I would love to hear it.

(Please comment below with the title of your recovery anthem and share this post with others)

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C originally posted here

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING BOOK!

The Song that Keeps Me Crying

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This morning I couldn’t help but cry as I listened to Switchfoot’s new song “If the House Burns Down Tonight.” The lyrics resonated deeply with me, as I thought about the prospect of fighting for love and letting everything else burn away.

To me, this means passionately pursuing a “furious love affair” with my Abba. This means deepening my loyal love for my bride. This means daily communicating my affection to my kids. This means prioritizing the love of my family and friends. This means holding onto love while letting all of the distractions, addictions, and meaningless attempts to impress anyone or prove anything burn away.

May we all have the commitment and courage to fiercely hold onto those things we value the most, abandoning everything that competes for life’s highest virtue……love.

I invite you to invest a few minutes in listening to the following song while reading the lyrics below. Imagine the love you want to pursue and what you’re willing to give up to get it.

 

“If The House Burns Down Tonight”

Ashes from the flames
The truth is what remains
The truth is what you save
From the fire
And you fight for what you love
Don’t matter if it hurts
You find out what it’s worth
And you let the rest burnThe sunset burns like gasoline
Touch me and make sure that I’m not dreaming
I see her face and my heart skips beats
But I still get the feeling that we’re half asleep and
There’s a spark in the corner of my baby’s eye
Like a distant star that won’t burn quiet
And I might not know what I want from this life
But I know I want more than the starting line

So give me the fire

I can hear the motor running down the interstate
And all the distractions fade away
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need with you by my side
I see the smoke piling up in the rear view mirror
Yeah but I ain’t ever seen it any clearer
If the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need when I got you by my side
And let the rest burn
And let the rest burn
And let the rest burn

I’ve given too much of my heart away
My soul’s holding on like a house divided
Like a match it burns down like a masquerade
And I had to let it go when the fire ignited

One heart, two hands, your life is all you hold
(your life is all you hold)
To hold, hold tight and let the bitter go
Yeah let it go, and give me the fire

The smoke tries choking the pacific sun
We rocket down the road like we’re shot out of guns
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need with you by my side
Holding you and the wheel and it occurs to me
We’re driving down the edge of eternity
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need when I got you by my side
And let the rest burn
And let the rest burn

Put your hand in mine and
Put your heart in driving
We got everything we need yeah
We got everything we need yeah
Left it all behind us
What we need will find us

We got everything we need yeah
We got everything we need yeah

Can you hear that motor running
Can you hear that motor running
There ain’t no stopping us now
There ain’t no slowing us down

Can you hear that motor running
Can you hear that motor run, run, run

And all those lies that mattered most to me
Were draining me dry making a ghost of me
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need, everything I need
There’s a fire coming that we all will go through
You possess your possessions or they possess you
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need when I got you by my side

And let the rest burn

Ashes from the flames, the truth is what remains

-Switchfoot

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

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Reassurance in the Rain

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This video touched me many years ago and it touched me today. When we are in life’s toughest storms, God cares and carries us. May this message remind us and reassure us today.

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING BOOK!

The 4 Secrets of a Successful Summer Vacation (In Recovery)

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Summer is often a season of travel and time away from regular responsibilities. For those of us in recovery, vacations can be filled with new temptations and triggers. When we neglect our recovery routines and indulge in everything our eyes desire, we dance with danger. For me, late nights and lack of structure can quickly lead to lust binges and weakened self-control. I can also slip into states of disconnect and self-neglect when I do not remain intentional in my recovery work. For those who experience similar vulnerabilities on vacation, here are 4 secrets for a successful summer:

  1. Scan & Plan – With new environments come new temptations and triggers. Scan new scenery for situations that could take you out. Alert your accountability partners to emerging challenges, communicating your proactive plan to evade them. Rather than being a victim to vulnerable circumstances, remain responsible, mindful, and vigilant.
  2. Stay Connected – Avoid behaviors and experiences that disconnect you from those you love, including yourself. Stay connected to your feelings, your values, your accountability, God, and those around you. Celebrate in such a way that your future self will thank you, not resent you.
  3. Care for Yourself – Remain faithful to your self-care structures, remembering that “while there is an obvious vacation from regular schedules and responsibilities, there is never a vacation from essential recovery routines.”. Self-care may include seeking solitude and healthy self-soothing when triggered or over-stimulated.
  4. Make Meaningful Memories– Recovery is not just about avoiding self-destruction but also about the construction of a full life. This too takes intentionality, since addicts “demonstrate an almost complete inability to relax and enjoy themselves” (Flores, 2004). Learning how to have fun without lust, excessive sugar, and other “drugs” of choice is a significant challenge of recovery. Investing in guilt-free memories with those we love will lay the foundation of a new and meaningful life.

    May all who of us on the road to healing enjoy a summer strengthened by solid recovery.

    I wish all readers a summer of celebration and an incredible Independence Day!

    For additional articles on this topic, check out the following links:

Recovery on the Road: Preparing for The Temptations of Travel

Holiday Recipes for Relapse & Recovery (Revised)

Are We Having Fun Yet?

The Neuroscience of Self-Care

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING BOOK!

“What My Wife is Worth” by Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

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Awhile back Jennifer Lamprey, Organizer of the Women of Value Quickening Conference, asked me to write a piece that supports women. She emphasized the importance of men supporting women, especially when it comes to issues related to pornography. She shared, “I believe more and more women need and want to hear a man supporting what they’re doing.” In her perspective, when husbands use pornography, partners lose their femininity, become afraid of being emotional and vulnerable, see people as dangerous, and lose their connection to their worth. She said, “The Quickening is about women knowing their worth”.

Being a husband who has struggled sexually, I resonate with the importance of this message. I see that my battle with lust effects my wife deeply. My personal recovery journey is an opportunity to reflect back to my wife how worthy and worthwhile she is.

All women need to know that regardless of how others have treated them, nothing can diminish their worth. They will always be worthy of love, belonging, and respect. It is not unreasonable for them to require that those who love them treat them accordingly. May the following piece provide encouragement and empowerment as all women realize and rediscover their infinite worth.

What My Wife Is Worth

My wife is a woman of infinite worth. Because of this, she deserves my best efforts.

She deserves a husband who only has eyes for her.

She deserves a husband in active recovery, not passively going with the flow.

She deserves a husband who reminds her that she is not to blame for his past or present choices.

She deserves a husband who actively opposes visual and mental lust in all forms; viewing it as the enemy of true intimacy.

She deserves a husband who is trustworthy, both when she is looking and when she’s unaware.

She deserves a husband who seeks help when needed, remaining accountable to those who call out his greatness and strength.

She deserves a husband with the courage to face his deepest fears, inadequacies, and wounds for the sake of his healing.

She deserves a husband who learns from his mistakes, creating and communicating new plans for change.

She deserves a husband who is learning how to connect and does the hard work in spite of insecurities and inadequacies in this area.

She deserves a husband who tells the truth about his behavior and is honest when his heart wants to wander.

She deserves a husband who does whatever it takes to change whatever wounds her.

She deserves a husband who takes responsibility for his life, rather than being a victim of circumstances, feelings, or personal history.

She deserves a husband who progresses in personal growth; who is becoming the man he’s  told her he wants to be.

She deserves a husband who is committed to perseverance and course correction; who gets up quickly after failures.

She deserves a husband who cares for himself so that he can offer her more presence and participation in daily life.

She deserves a husband who models faith, purity, passion, and purpose to their children.

She deserves a husband who acknowledges his imperfections yet resists using them as justifications for a small life.

She deserves a husband who fights for her heart.

She deserves a husband who pursues her emotional and physical safety.

She deserves a husband who cherishes her, pursues her, and defends her.

She deserves a husband who humbly responds to her personal boundaries and listens to the pain his choices have caused.

She deserves a husband who remains patient when forgiveness and trust do not come quickly.

She deserves a husband who desires her, cutting off opportunities to seek all counterfeit connections.

She deserves a husband who nurtures her, encourages her to use her gifts, and empowers her to come alive.

She deserves a husband who supports her needs for relationships, relaxation, rest, and rejuvination.

She deserves a husband who serves her, looking for ways to lighten her load.

She deserves a husband who is eager to invest both his time and attention.

She deserves a husband who sees her, knows her, and loves her.

She deserves a husband who reminds his wife every day that her value does not depend on her weight, her style, her sexiness or sexual availability, how she was treated as a child, or any other outside factor.

She deserves a husband who reminds her that she is beautiful and she is enough.

Her worth is innate and cannot be tarnished.

She deserves all of these things because she is a woman of infinite worth.

And so are you.

–By Forest Benedict

To download the PDF for husbands to print and display, click here: What My Wife Is Worth
To download the PDF for wives to print and display, click here What I Am Worth

*Special thanks to blogger Avalon Vic for creating these pdf documents for use

The Women of Value Quickening Conference begins on June 30th! To sign up for this empowering event with a 20% DISCOUNT click here. For additional articles and recovery resources, check of the LifeSTAR blog and Partner Resources page. If this piece touched your heart, I encourage you share it with others.

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 my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my upcoming BOOK.

We Can’t Cry to a Book

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“God, thank you so much that you are a Daddy to us. So much of our time as believers we can get lost thinking you are just a book that we read, you’re a goal that we’re trying to reach, you’re a place that we go to once a week, you’re a lifestyle, you’re some sort of worldview. But God, we can’t lean on a worldview. We can’t cry to a book. You’re a father. You’re a good, good Father. And you’re not loving us because we’re good. You’re loving us because you’re good. God, the more we sing and the more we pray, just remind us that this is a conversation with a person that loves us, that knows everything about us and loves us. You deserve every breath that comes out of us, every word, every note we could ever sing is yours.” -Mark Hall (Casting Crowns, from clip below)

 

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING BOOK