I’m going to be pretty upfront about a struggle here. Something I’ve kept hidden from even my closest companions. This isn’t easy for me to write about, but I hope it helps someone else.
I’ve had an experience, well, more like a battle with addiction over the past few years. The results of this battle led me to believe that I was filthy, unworthy of love and the lowest of the low. Guilt was eating me. I felt like how the inside of a dumpster smells in summer.
It wasn’t actually chocolate that I was addicted to, as previous posts imply. It’s something far more sinister.
I fell into the sand pit that is self-pleasure and I’ve been climbing out, falling in, climbing back out, running away, tripping over my shoelace and falling right back in again for about four years.
It started out with dreams of what I thought sex would be like. I guess by this point my body had pulled a “song of Solomon” and the love had been awakened. Quite frankly, I wish it’d stayed asleep, but what can you do?
Anyway, little thoughts back to dreams, little daily whispers of “psst, try this…” I was hooked within a month. Then began the rationalizing process: “everyone does this…” and the blowing it off “this isn’t sin. It’s not in the Bible…”
And then more rationalizing, denying. Somewhere along the line I picked up that I was “dirty” because this sin was so much worse than say… gluttony or lying or something. So, I started trying to figure out how to beat it without anyone knowing I’d fallen into it in the first place.
Years passed and it grew into an endless cycle of “yay forgiveness and freedom… oh man, I’m garbage.” I couldn’t beat it, but I wasn’t about to let it beat me either.
I needed help. I was too scared to get help. Too proud too, after all, I’d reasoned that this was a “teenage boy sin”, not something a well adjusted grown woman would struggle with. I never came out and asked for help. I couldn’t. I had a reputation as a “good girl” who was “waiting for marriage” and again, this was a “little boy sin.” No one else I knew struggled with this openly, except for this one guy I knew and everyone seemed to get really uncomfortable every time he brought it up. I didn’t want to be in his shoes, though, I appreciated his bravery. I kept my secret sin a secret, hoping some way to get out would present itself because I was sick of my desire for dopamine and sexual release controlling my life.
This cycle of “conquering sin” led to failure over and over and over. 10 days “clean” and then I was “dirty” again. 45 days “clean”, habit broken but something would trip me up, a line from a play or an advertisement, a passing comment, my own hormones and then I was dirty garbage once more. I’d lose the control over my own sin and then hate myself for it.
Many things I like were holding me back. Namely:
Control. ” I can control my self. This is all under control. Nothing will control me, I control this.”
“No, I can do this on my own!” (independence mixed with stubborn pride)
The idea that women are supposed to be pure from all sensuality and these feelings are to be ignored until the context of marriage.
I liked the feeling of being “sneaky.”
Moved to a new place, found a new church. This struggle became worse as I was alone more. I had nothing beyond laundry to occupy my free time and the loneliness and lack of human touch amplified those desires. I’m 26. I’m single and I live in a town with few friends. How many hugs do I get a week? NONE. and I love physical touch. You do the math.
As my loneliness grew, my want of freedom did as well. See, while self-pleasure is fun and all in the short term, it honestly just made me feel more lonely, more depressed, more depraved and even more like garbage. People can rage against it or rally for it, but to me? It’s a waste of time.
I liken the experience to expecting a chocolate chip cookie and instead getting an oatmeal raisin that’s burnt on the bottom. Looks tantalizing from one perspective, but it’s not. Your craving is not satisfied and you wasted your time.
I was sick of it. Sick of it haunting my thought life, sick of it trying to creep into my internet history (yeah no hormones, we’re not going THERE. That is a pile of fish we are not shoveling. No.) Sick of it in general. It was good for a little while, but then I would stumble and just feel like I wanted to filet myself and shower off my insides.
Then, I did it. I finally reached out and got help. I actually ate my pride and my feelings and reached out.
I poured out my struggles on a total stranger who’d been through similar things.
“You’re not trash.” was one of the first things she told me. “Many, many women have struggled with what you’re going through…. You accepted Christ as your savior, you don’t want to do this anymore, you knew you were in the wrong and now you’re asking for help and you’re forgiven. You’re not garbage, you’re not dirty.”
Her words brought me the feeling of freedom I so craved. She’s coming along side me to support me in this battle that I couldn’t do alone, and for that, I am thankful.
I gained alot of truth in those five minutes.
-Women are wired to have sensual desires and that is normal.
-Many women struggle with/participate in this behavior.
-Sin doesn’t make you dirty. You shouldn’t do it, but it doesn’t change the status of your salvation, nor does it affect your cleanliness.
Was what I was doing apart of God’s over arching will for my life? Doubt it.
Was it dumb? Yup.
Should I find a better use of my time and a better outlet? Indeed.
Am I dirty for being a fallen mortal and struggling with sin? Absolutely not.
You’re not either. Satan likes to lure us in with tantalizing sins and then beat us over the head with a metal chair when we get stuck in them. That’s how he keeps us in his grasp. That’s how we get led into believing we’re guilty, dirty and worthless and too far gone for God to help. Which is a total lie. Satan is our ultimate accuser.
If you’re struggling with any sort of addiction, take heart and get help. It’s not worth the feeling of worthlessness to wallow about in guilt and shame. It’s not worth those wasted years of Satan clinging to your leg and holding you captive.
Remember, you have been washed whiter than snow. Go out and live like it.