Do you feel alone in your struggles? Many people won’t walk through the doors of recovery until they are overwhelmed by the pain of isolation. The shame of secret sins, willful isolation to conceal pain, and broken relationships can leave you feeling like no one understands or can relate to what you are going through.
I felt alone when I first confessed my addiction to pornography. When my wife and I sought help from our pastor, we asked if we could meet with another person or couple in our church who had dealt with this problem in their marriage. Our pastor answered, “Pornography is a big problem in our church, but I can’t refer you to anyone because no one else has admitted it yet. You are the first.”
I still recall the shame and isolation of that moment. Thankfully, our pastor didn’t stop there. He said, “Though I don’t know of anyone who shares your pornography struggle, I do have a small group of people who you can trust to help you work through this. If you are willing, let’s start with them.”
Alone, feeling like a failure, the suggestion to expose my addiction to others seemed like a really bad idea. Honestly confessing your struggles to a group of peers is one the most frightening, humbling experiences that anyone can undergo. Pretense is dismantled; the risk of rejection is monumental. Yet, this confession is the threshold of healing and authentic relationships. James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” I needed healing, so we joined the group.
Sharing my sin with others was humbling, but freeing. No one acted shocked. In fact, they shared stories of their own messes and Christ’s healing. Though different from our story, some of their stories were just as hard. This group remained present to comfort and help us throughout the healing process. They lived out 2 Corinthians 1:4 by sharing what God had done in their own lives to comfort and guide us: “[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Walking through the doors to a “recovery group” is a decision that only you can make. But once you choose to get help, you will learn that you are not alone. You will be in a room filled with people, who, like you, have chosen to authentically seek healing. Other people whose addictions, pain, or habits appear different from yours will fight alongside of you against the same underlying problems. You will find that most of them came into the room feeling just like you—alone.
Isolation is an enemy to health. Have courage to let others into your life. On your own, you are vulnerable to temptation and weakness, but with others you will find hope, protection, and encouragement. Don’t let fear or shame keep you from the healing process. As you confess your struggles to one another and pray together, your secrets will lose their hold on you. You will realize that you can be fully known and loved. Healing will begin. You are not alone.