Are You a Man, or a Man-Child?

In today’s world, it seems like there are fewer and fewer true men and more and more man-children.

What do I mean by a man-child?

A man-child is someone who is an adult by age, but not in maturity.  He could be 25, 30, or even 40 years old.  He could be married, have children, and a career.  None of this means he is a man.

He constantly complains about his status in life but does nothing to improve it.  He blames everyone else for all his problems and takes zero responsibility for his actions.  He’s much more likely to watch porn and play video games than read a book or create something new.  He whines and complains whenever something doesn’t go his way.

His wife “wears the pants”.  He needs her to plan his schedule.  She picks out his clothes and he always has to “check with the boss” before planning anything with his friends.  He complains she never has sex with him but he’s let himself go and gained 40 pounds.  He can’t go up a flight of stairs without breathing heavily.  He’s not the man of the household, he’s another child for her to take care of. 

He’s not a leader.   His wife doesn’t respect him.  His words mean nothing to his children because he doesn’t live them out himself.  The only version his children ever see of him is when he’s “tired” or needs to “relax”.  Instead of spending quality time with them on the weekends, he bounces around craft breweries while talking to all his buddies about his fantasy football team.  

He’s in a job he hates.  He constantly complains about his boss and blames him for the situation he’s in.  He’s thousands in credit card debt from trying to live a lifestyle he can’t afford so he can present a picture of himself to the world that makes him feel like he’s accomplished something. Whenever he does something any normal grown-up would do, he posts a picture of it on social media with the caption, “adulting”.

He is depressed, anxious, and lashes out at his family for no reason.  He jerks off to porn daily just to escape from the overwhelming pressure of a life he hates.  He tips girls on OnlyFans to make himself feel like someone actually wants him.  

Does this sound like a man?

No.  He’s a man-child.

Might this man describe you? 

It sure used to describe me.  I was fat, lazy, depressed, addicted to porn, and certainly was not a leader.  

Unfortunately, this describes far too many men today.  You can blame society, feminism, or a whole number of things for it, but that just continues the problem.   

Ultimately the responsibility to grow from a man-child to a man lies with you.  

In order to turn my life around, defeat addiction, and become the man I should be, I had to be honest with myself.   I needed to stop blaming everyone else for the situation I was in and accept personal responsibility.  The consequences of my actions were mine to bear.  My life was in shambles and it was MY fault.  No one else’s.

Blame for your failures rests solely on you, but so does the power to fix it. 

Once you take responsibility for your lot in life, you realize you also have the ability to change your life.  

This is when you grow into a man instead of a man-child.

A man doesn’t complain because if something is not right in his life, it’s his fault and his responsibility to fix it.  He takes ownership of his failures and accepts the consequences of poor decisions.  He is regularly trying to learn from his past and create a better life.  Learning new skills and creating better habits have become a normal part of his life.  He reads books instead of wasting time on Netflix and social media.   He keeps fit and eats healthy and expects his family to do so as well.

He is the leader of his family.  He is the pastor of his family.  His wife and children follow his lead because he lives out the same values he expects of them.  His wife doesn’t nitpick him or baby him because she respects him.  She humbly submits to him and his plan because she trusts in him.  She can’t keep her hands off of him because he allows her to embrace her femininity instead of having to lead the family for him.

His children respect and obey him.  He doesn’t expect anything of them that he wouldn’t expect of himself.  He spends quality time with them, teaching them his values instead of letting the internet teach them.  

He’s financially secure.  He lives below his means and avoids debt.  He’s building a life and career that is not beholden to a corporate entity.  Money is used to make more money and buy freedom and security, not to buy more stuff.  

He got help for his emotional issues.  Instead of running from the pain in his life he embraced it and overcame it.  He broke the bonds of sexual addiction by recognizing and treating the wounds it was covering up instead of self-medicating them with porn.

This man is living the Biblical disciplines of a Godly man.  As the Apostle Paul instructed the Corinthian men to be in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, he is on guard, firm in his faith, strong, courageous, and loving.  He acts like a MAN.

This is what the world needs men to be.  Far too many men are stuck in perpetual childhood and never grow up. 

We need leaders, not followers.  We need men to take responsibility, not deflect blame.  We need men who keep their minds and bodies strong, not destroy them with simple pleasures.  We need fathers and husbands, not another kid in a man’s body.  We need teachers, fighters, protectors, pastors, and creators.  We need MEN.

So I challenge you brothers, as I challenge myself, be a man, not a man-child.


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I Offer One-On-One Coaching

If at any point you feel like you need a brother to come alongside you and support you, I’ll be there.  I’d be happy to get on a call with you to provide personal guidance to create a plan to fight your addiction and accountability to keep you on track.  I’ve already helped dozens of men overcome their addictions; all who thought they were helpless.  I’ve discovered that every battle with porn shares the same few threads that, once unraveled, release you from the chains of addiction.  I’d love for you to be the next success story!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at timothy@intothewildernessblog.com or Direct Message me on Twitter if one-on-one coaching could help in your battle to live Porn Free.

Why Is Porn Dangerous?

My mission is to help men fight and defeat porn and sex addiction.  As you might imagine, this opens me up to a lot of comments from people, especially on Twitter.

One of the most common responses I get is, “What’s wrong with porn?  It doesn’t hurt anyone.”

Does it?

If you have struggled at all with porn, you know that’s a lie.  Porn hurts a lot of people.  It hurts yourself, your spouse, and your family.   It hurts your relationships and your happiness.  It hurts your health and emotional well-being.  

So, why is porn so dangerous?  What is it about porn addiction that makes it so devastating?

Porn can be hidden

You can hide a porn and sex addiction for years, even decades. We hear all the time of people who have had their secret sex life exposed.  Darkness and addiction can be lurking in the shadows of anyone’s life. 

This is what makes porn addiction so different from other addictions like drugs and alcohol.  Sure, you can hide those addictions for a while, but eventually, they will take a physical toll on your body that you cannot hide.  You can’t look at someone and tell if they’re battling a secret addiction with porn and sex. 

Porn is dangerous because it can remain secret while it slowly destroys you.

Porn causes an escalation of behavior.

Porn is a gateway drug.  Your brain requires more and more to get the same dopamine hit that you’ve created a dependence on.  The difference is, unlike other addictions, you don’t just crave more porn, you crave new and different porn.  You don’t just watch the same video over and over, do you?  No. You’re constantly looking for a new scene, a new girl, a new twist to up the dopamine dose.   

This is how behavior escalates.  Eventually, porn itself isn’t enough and you go to chatrooms or webcam sites.  Then that isn’t enough and you start hooking up with people from Craigslist or Tinder.  Then before you know it, you’re at a sex club or meeting up with a prostitute.  

Porn is dangerous because it creates a desire to do things you once thought reprehensible.

Porn damages your body.

Porn not only can remain secret and can escalate, but it can also do damage to your physical body as well.  Many men are experiencing erectile dysfunction at ages where they should be at their peak vitality.  

Have you noticed more and more advertisements for ED products lately?  Have you noticed how commercials from companies like Roman are marketed?  They’re not marketing to the old men like the Viagra commercials of the past.  They’re marketing to young men.  Men in their 20’s and 30’s.  ED is becoming a huge problem among younger men and it’s because so many young men are addicted to porn.

Porn is also dangerous because unlike other addictions where you ingest or inject the drug into your body, you create the drug yourself.  Dopamine is a naturally occurring hormone that you produce yourself in your brain.  You don’t have to go out and buy it.  You don’t have to steal to get money to get your fix.  It’s right there whenever you need it.  All you have to do is find a way to get a quick dose of it.  

No, you can’t overdose on porn like you can on other drugs.  But that doesn’t mean it can’t destroy you and everything you hold dear.  

Porn damages your soul

Porn may seem like something that’s just quick fun or a release of tension.  But it’s destroying you from the inside out.  The shame cycle it causes leads to depression, anxiety, and can even lead to suicidal thoughts. 

Porn is advertised as a distraction; a quick escape.  But it actually makes the problem you’re trying to escape from worse.  You might look at porn to escape depression, and sure, you do feel good for a short time.  But afterward, you’re right back where you started.  

I’ve worked with so many men who are totally broken by their addiction.  They’ve lost all hope in life.  They lose all drive, ambition, and motivation.  I often use the terms “in chains” and “bondage” to describe porn addiction.  Why?  Because that’s how it feels when you’re addicted to it.  It feels like you’re imprisoned in your own mind.   

All addictions work the same.  They are a destructive behavior you engage in to hide from or escape something that you are unable to cope with or face.  Something happened in your life that was emotionally traumatic to you.  Maybe it was something major like abuse, neglect, or physical trauma.  Or it could be something hiding below the surface like depression, fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, or loneliness.   

You use your drug of choice to escape from facing those fears or coping with that trauma.  Whenever you face something in life that causes you to feel those emotions or be reminded of that trauma, you run to your addiction for relief.  But that relief is fleeting and you’re left constantly looking for more while slowly destroying your life from the inside out.

Porn does nothing to solve your emotional problems while at the same time compounds them.  

Porn promises relief and escape but only provides more pain and bondage. 

Porn is not victimless.  People get hurt.  You get hurt physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Your family gets hurt by your lies and destructive behavior.  

Porn is dangerous.  It should not be treated lightly.  

If you need help, get it now.  

I offer one-on-one coaching for men fighting porn addiction.  We work together to find the root cause of the problem, create a plan to fight back, and establish accountability to keep you on track.  If you feel like one-on-one coaching can help you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me here or on Twitter.

Porn is dangerous.  But as men, we can fight back and defeat its devastating hold on our lives.


Subscribe to my Email List for my free eBook!

Sign up for my email list and receive a free copy of my eBook, 10 Steps To Living Porn Free, the step-by-step guide I used to finally overcome my addiction, find healing, and live Porn Free.

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Success! You’re on the list.

I Offer One-On-One Coaching

If at any point you feel like you need a brother to come alongside you and support you, I’ll be there.  I’d be happy to get on a call with you to provide personal guidance to create a plan to fight your addiction and accountability to keep you on track.  I’ve already helped dozens of men overcome their addictions; all who thought they were helpless.  I’ve discovered that every battle with porn shares the same few threads that, once unraveled, release you from the chains of addiction.  I’d love for you to be the next success story!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at timothy@intothewildernessblog.com or Direct Message me on Twitter if one-on-one coaching could help in your battle to live Porn Free.

How To Avoid Addiction Substitution

If you’ve followed my writings for any length of time, you know how often I warn of the dangers of porn addiction.

Porn is a cancer that is destroying men from the inside out.  I’ve dedicated my ministry to using my story of addiction and recovery to help other men find freedom from the bondage of sexual addiction.

But you cannot become too narrow-focused.  

While you’re focusing on battling your porn addiction, some other addiction or vice can jump up and bite you when you least expect it,

Be careful not to replace one addiction with another.

Too often, men fight back against porn addiction and find success, only to create another addiction somewhere else in their lives.  This process is called addiction substitution.  It’s very common in recovery.  It’s replacing one addiction with another addiction.  All it does is change the symptom instead of solving the root problem. 

Here are some things you should beware of that can become a “replacement” for your porn addiction:

Work

Men often become workaholics in an effort to keep their mind occupied and stay busy.  While this might help to avoid temptations, it can create a host of other problems.  Stress is often the most apparent result.  Stress leads to burnout and eventually will lead to seeking “escape” and then you’re right back where you started.  Workaholism also causes you to spend time working instead of time with family, exercising, and connecting with your support system.

Sports

Watching professional sports is often fun entertainment.   Some of my best memories are going to Chicago Cubs games at Wrigley Field with my dad and brother.  But it can become obsessive.  Many men know all the stats of their favorite player on their favorite team but couldn’t tell you the names of their kid’s friends.  They’ll spend hours glued to the T.V. on Sunday afternoon but “can’t find the time” to read their Bible.  Beware that you don’t use sports as a distraction in the same way you used porn as a distraction.

Alcohol

Alcohol is a drug addiction just like porn is a drug addiction.  You relied on porn to get you through the day and to help you sleep at night.  Don’t replace that with relying on alcohol to help you function.  While it’s not always a bad thing to enjoy a nice cold beer after a long day or a glass of whiskey with a nice cigar, be careful that it doesn’t turn into a crutch.  

This is one I have struggled with.  Porn used to be my go-to stress reliever, and for a while, I simply replaced it with alcohol.  I’d go to booze to help “numb” the pain while doing nothing to actually treat the pain.  

Alcohol addiction can be just as devastating as porn addiction.  Make sure you check your blindside to keep it from becoming a problem.

Food

Food can become a major addiction as well.  And it can go two ways.  Men often overeat and indulge in junk food to make themselves feel better.  The joy that you get from a tasty meal feels great… until it doesn’t.  It’s just like porn addiction.  We do it to feel better, then feel bad for doing it, so we do it again to feel better and on and on we go.  Don’t let a junk food cycle replace a porn addiction cycle.

On the flip side, many become obsessed over eating healthy and avoiding food to the point that becomes a problem as well.  Obviously, food is essential, but don’t let it become another addiction.  

Video Games

I’ve never really been a gamer.  The only console I’ve ever owned was a Playstation 2 that I got for my 12th birthday.  I know, I totally just aged myself with that one.  I know far too many men who are addicted to video games.  I’ve said before, “Not all porn addicts are video game addicts, but most video game addicts are porn addicts.”

Video games give you the same false sense of accomplishment and dopamine release that porn does.  Instead of “one more video”, it becomes “one more game”.  Too often, video games become an escape and distraction from the problems of life just like porn is.

They also create a dopamine deficit.  When gaming, you’re getting a constant barrage of dopamine with every “kill” in the game.  After playing, your brain is craving more and more dopamine.  So now you have to find a way to give yourself a boost.  What’s the easiest way to get a huge rush of dopamine?  You guessed it.  Porn.  

Beware of the danger video games can have on porn addiction recovery. 

How do I avoid addiction substitution?

This is the big question.  You understand you need to be careful not simply “replace” your porn addiction.  But how do you keep that from happening?

The key to lasting freedom from addiction is to treat the root problem.  Every addiction works the same.  We use our drug of choice to cover up or escape from negativity in our lives that we don’t want to or are unable to face.  

You have to treat the cause and not the symptom.

Dig deep to discover what’s really beneath your addiction.  Is it a fear of rejection?  Is it past abuse? Is it depression and anxiety?

Lasting recovery requires figuring out what that core emotional trigger is, then learning to process that pain or cope with that experience.  Once you have the power to face the thing you’ve been trying to cover up or escape from, it no longer has control over you.  Learning to process that pain in a healthy way removes the need to use our addiction to avoid it.  

This is what keeps us from bouncing from one addiction to the next and also provides lasting freedom and recovery.

So dig deep, find your strength, and face your demons.

This is the ONLY way to break the bonds of addiction.  It’s the only way to avoid replacing porn addiction with another negative behavior.  

The goal is lasting recovery, redemption, and renewal.  In order to live in freedom, you have to avoid addiction substitution.


Subscribe to my Email List for my free eBook!

Sign up for my email list and receive a free copy of my eBook, 10 Steps To Living Porn Free, the step-by-step guide I used to finally overcome my addiction, find healing, and live Porn Free.

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

I Offer One-On-One Coaching

If at any point you feel like you need a brother to come alongside you and support you, I’ll be there.  I’d be happy to get on a call with you to provide personal guidance to create a plan to fight your addiction and accountability to keep you on track.  I’ve already helped dozens of men overcome their addictions; all who thought they were helpless.  I’ve discovered that every battle with porn shares the same few threads that, once unraveled, release you from the chains of addiction.  I’d love for you to be the next success story!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at timothy@intothewildernessblog.com or Direct Message me on Twitter if one-on-one coaching could help in your battle to live Porn Free.

What Do I Do If I Relapse?

So you “messed up”???

Feeling pretty terrible, I bet.

Feel like you threw away all those days of success?

Feel like you’re starting all over again?

It’s normal to feel lousy after a relapse, but a relapse doesn’t have to turn into a disaster. 

Relapses are inevitable. 

They’re going to happen. No one has EVER quit porn cold turkey.  If someone says they quit cold turkey, they’re either lying or God performed a miracle.  They’re probably lying.  

There is no quick fix for porn addiction.  It’s not something that you can just “stop”.  It has such a deep hold on our hearts and brains that it makes it not only incredibly difficult to find recovery but makes relapses all but inevitable. 

Relapses will happen.  But they don’t have to derail you.   Once you understand this, you can even plan for them and be prepared for when the unexpected happens.

Relapses do not mean you have to “start over”

Let’s say you made it two weeks without looking at porn or masturbating.  That’s great!

Then you relapsed.  Not so great.

You may feel like you threw away all those good days or it was all wasted.

No, they’re not.  Those are 14 straight days of success.   You won the battle over addiction 14 days out of 15.  That’s a .933 batting average.  Pretty damn good.  

You’re still winning far more than you’re losing.  Relapses are reset, but you’re not starting back at square one.  They’re a setback, sure, but they don’t have to be catastrophic.  

Consider a small relapse a speed bump in the road to recovery.

Remember, two steps forward, one step back, is still moving forward.  You’re trending upwards.  Keep going.

It’s ok to feel bad about a relapse.

In fact, you should feel bad.  That means you’re convicted that what you’re doing is wrong.  If you didn’t feel bad, what’s keeping you from doing it again and again?

But instead of allowing that shame to fester, use it to drive you to keep fighting and do better next time.

Where relapses become dangerous is when they multiply.  You have to avoid allowing once slip up to become several.  Often we have the thought, “Well, I already messed up, so what’s the hurt in doing it again?”

It’s in these small mental battles where the victory over addiction is won.  It’s so easy to spin out of control after a relapse, you need to be aware and right the ship immediately after it happens.  Don’t let the negative feelings push you back into the shame cycle of feeling bad, using porn to feel better, then feeling worse all over again. 

How do you keep this from happening?

Learn from your relapses

I often say that it’s never truly a failure if you learn from it.

So when a relapse happens, take some time for self-reflection to analyze what went wrong.

This is where journaling is HUGE in recovery.    After a relapse, write down what happened.  Where were you? What time of the day was it?  What were you feeling prior? Anger? Loneliness? Rejected?

You need to retrace your steps and find out where things went off the rails.  Was there a point where you could have stopped?  Was there something you could have done to avoid looking at porn?

Learning from relapses will help you to identify triggers, learn how to respond to them, and make better decisions the next time you’re in the same situation.

Finding long lasting recovery requires this principle:

STOP focusing on how many times you failed and START focusing on how many times you were victorious.

You have to stop beating yourself up every time you make a mistake.  Even if you slipped up once this week, that’s still winning 6 times out of 7.  

CELEBRATE THAT!

You must shift your focus from the negative to the positive and celebrate every win.

Make it through the day?     That’s a win.

Fight off an urge?     That’s a win.

Finish your daily journaling?     That’s a win.

At the end of the day, record how many wins you had.  You’ll soon start to stack up a lot of wins.  Use them to build momentum in your battle with addiction.

A relapse isn’t a death sentence to recovery.

Confess it

Learn from it

Use it to push you harder.

You’re going to face relapses in your battle with porn and sex addiction.  But you can’t let them stop you.  

In battle, sometimes you lose ground.  But that doesn’t mean you abandon the field.  Get back up, keep fighting, and never, ever give up.


Subscribe to my Email List for my free eBook!

Sign up for my email list and receive a free copy of my eBook, 10 Steps To Living Porn Free, the step-by-step guide I used to finally overcome my addiction, find healing, and live Porn Free.

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

I Offer One-On-One Coaching

If at any point you feel like you need a brother to come alongside you and support you, I’ll be there.  I’d be happy to get on a call with you to provide personal guidance to create a plan to fight your addiction and accountability to keep you on track.  I’ve already helped dozens of men overcome their addictions; all who thought they were helpless.  I’ve discovered that every battle with porn shares the same few threads that, once unraveled, release you from the chains of addiction.  I’d love for you to be the next success story!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at timothy@intothewildernessblog.com or Direct Message me on Twitter if one-on-one coaching could help in your battle to live Porn Free.

When Does A Boy Become A Man?

When does a boy become a man?

What is done in modern society to signify the passage from boyhood to manhood?

Your first beer? Losing your V-card? Getting a driver’s license?  No longer do older men take a younger man under their tutelage and show them how to be a man.  We are taught how to be men by what we see in the media. Men are shown as the bumbling fool in T.V. shows that forgets his wife’s birthday, or doesn’t know what cold medicine to take, or how to take care of their own children.  How often have you heard someone ask a man how he’s going to survive with the kids by himself when his wife is away?  

This has happened because the older men have not taught the younger boys how to be men. People may say, “Oh kids today…” followed by some complaint about the next generation.  Well, they don’t know because they weren’t taught!  

There are far too many 13-year-old boys trapped in 35-year-old bodies because no one ever showed them how to become a man.

Robert Bly, in his excellent book on manhood, Iron John, writes, 

“Men’s clubs and societies have steadily disappeared.  Grandfathers live in Phoenix or the old people’s home, and many boys experience only the companionship of other boys their age.  Only men can initiate men. Only men can change the boy to a man. Initiators say that boys need a second birth, this time a birth from men.”

Boys need to be taught how to be men. 

Then they need to teach the next generation of boys what they learned.  This is done through initiation.  

What do you think of when you hear the word initiation?  

You probably think of a pledge being initiated into a college fraternity through hazing, or a weird initiation ritual that some secret society performed in a movie where everyone drinks blood out of a skull.  But initiation is so much more than that. And we’ve lost it in modern society. 

In generations past, boys were initiated by their fathers.  They studied with him in an apprenticeship until given the reigns to the family business.  Often they were forced to take over the breadwinner role at a young age when fathers died young.   Other boys were sent off to the military and came out of boot camp all grown up. Native American tribal male leaders would take a young man away from his mother and take him on a grand hunt or battle.  He would prove himself and come back a man ready to take on the role required of him.  

We have gotten away from all these things.  Men crave initiation. They need to know they’ve passed from boyhood to manhood.  

John Eldredge writes in Wild At Heart

“Until a man knows he is a man he will forever be trying to prove he is one, while at the same time shrinking from anything that might reveal he is not.”

Men aren’t challenged.  We try to come up with ways to prove we are a man or “manly”.  But being able to pound down beers doesn’t make you a man. Winning a fight doesn’t make you a man.  Having a beard doesn’t prove you’re a man. Even fathering a child doesn’t make you a man.  

What makes a man? 

Being a leader makes you a man.  Taking responsibility for your actions makes you a man.  Providing for those who rely on you makes you a man. Protecting them makes you a man.  And being an example to others makes you a man. 

There are a few initiations that are still in place.  An example from my personal life is Freemasonry. I went through an initiation into the fraternity.  No, it didn’t involve goats or blood sacrifices or anything like that. It involved another man mentoring me, showing me the way.  Then I went through an initiation that many good men have gone through before me. I came out a better man. Now I have a brotherhood of men that I can rely on.  That will support me and guide me. One of the mottos of Freemasonry is to “Take good men and make them better.” That’s exactly what men need today.  

Christian men especially need other good men to guide them.  To show them how to be leaders and strong men. We need to live out Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  Older, wiser, learned men, need to take younger men, especially younger believers and mentor them. They need to show them the Biblical role of men.  

Jesus himself went through an initiation: his 40 days in the wilderness is where this site gets its name from.  He spent 40 days in the wild without food. He was tested physically and tempted by the devil. He was tested emotionally by being offered all power and authority over the kingdoms of the world.  And he was tempted spiritually by being asked to put God to the test. Through all these things he proved himself worthy. Remember he was the son of God, but he was also fully man. He had to go through that time of trial and come out ready to take on the role he was destined for.  

That’s what I’m trying to accomplish with “Into The Wilderness”  We need to go through a period of testing, to face ourselves in the mirror and prove to ourselves that we are men.  Men need to be taught by other men, then put to the test. Initiation isn’t meant to be punishment or hazing. It doesn’t need to be ritualistic.  But it does need to happen. There needs to be a point in every male’s life where he KNOWS he’s a man.  

What was that moment for you? Or what WILL that moment be for you? For your son?

A boy becomes a man when another man shows him how to be one.

The New Drug Epidemic

We have a major drug epidemic in the world right now.

No, it’s not opioids. (Although this is a major problem)

It’s not crack

It’s not meth

It’s not weed. 

In fact, you can’t even buy this drug on the streets.  

Why?  Because you produce it inside your own body. 

It is Dopamine.

The world is completely addicted to dopamine and not enough people are talking about it.

Dopamine is today what crack was in the 80s.

Before we go any further you may ask, “What is dopamine?”

Dopamine is a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain.  It’s a chemical that your body produces in the hypothalamus that sends messages from one brain cell to another.  Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that controls how we feel pleasure.  If you do something pleasurable, dopamine is released.  

You might think, “isn’t this a good thing?”

Yes, most of the time.  But the problem is that we get way too much of it.  Whereas our ancestors got a shot of dopamine when they got the kill or accomplished something physical, our modern brains have learned to get it from artificial things.  It used to be the reward center for doing the things we needed to do as men to survive.  Now it’s used as a quick hit to feel better.

We get a rush of dopamine when we do something we like, and like any drug, we want more. When you repeat a particular behavior that releases dopamine, your brain actually creates new “neural pathways” to get you there faster.  It creates a shortcut.  Eventually, you need more and more dopamine to receive the same feeling of pleasure. 

This is what causes addiction.  Your brain literally rewires itself to demand whatever stimulus gives you that dopamine release. 

This is what I like to call the “Dopamine Delivery System” 

The Dopamine Delivery System is whatever you use to get your rush of dopamine on demand. If you’re like me, your dopamine delivery system is porn.  Porn gives you a HUGE rush of dopamine and a host of other hormones.  It makes you feel good, so you want to do it over and over.  

For many men, they learned this at a young age.  They discovered that anytime they faced something negative in life, they could go to porn and get a big dump of dopamine to make themselves feel better or to escape.

It becomes self-medication.  Instead of dealing with whatever emotional wound is causing the problem, you go to porn to give you a shortcut to feeling better through the dopamine release.

The addiction becomes to the dopamine release, not to the porn itself.  

The porn is just the dopamine delivery system.  

But like any drug, you eventually build up a tolerance.  You need more and more dopamine to achieve the same effect.  

Here’s where the difference between drug addiction and porn delivered dopamine addiction comes in.  With addictions such as alcohol and hard drugs, you simply crave more.  But with porn addiction, you crave different.  An alcoholic just pounds more and more vodka.  But a porn addict doesn’t watch the same video over and over again.  He’s constantly looking for something different; something new and novel.  This is why porn addiction often escalates into for fetish style porn and eventually into webcams, hookups, etc.

But porn is not the only dopamine delivery system modern men are addicted to.  Many are addicted to the ping of a new text message and the little red notification icon next to your Twitter or Facebook app. You’re addicted to one more episode to Netflix.  You’re addicted to the dopamine from winning your video game.  You’re addicted to the feeling good food gives you.  

All these things drop huge amounts of dopamine and leave us wanting more and more and more.

Modern society has created the idea that we must have a screen in front of us at all times.  

Because of this, we’ve become addicted to the dopamine release that they give us.  Wherever it’s porn, video games, social media, Netflix, or something else, we constantly crave more and more to make us feel good and relax.

It creates this vicious cycle of needing dopamine to feel better, getting a huge rush of it, then coming down off the high, (or in the case of porn, feeling shame) then needing it once more to feel better again.

What does this addictive cycle cause?

Isolation, Lethargy, Apathy, Depression, and more.  You get so hooked on the dopamine that normal life doesn’t do it for you anymore.

This is why men who watch a lot of porn end up with erectile dysfunction.  They’ve trained their brains to only respond to the stimuli that release dopamine.  Eventually, a real woman doesn’t get them aroused anymore.

It’s the same with the other dopamine delivery systems.  You get so hooked on the artificial dopamine stimuli, that real-life stimuli no longer excite you such as going out with friends, accomplishing goals, and doing things that you used to enjoy.

So how do we fix it?  

You need to rewire your brain and remove or drastically reduce those dopamine delivery systems from your life.  Once you spend time away from the dopamine stimuli, you’ll learn your mind becomes clearer, you start to enjoy life again and you get excited about things you enjoy.

I recommend taking a tech sabbath each week.  Dedicate one whole day to avoiding all electronics and “screens”.  I call mine “Screenless Sunday.”  I’ve found I connect better with my family, I accomplish much more, and I’m much less likely to be tempted.

Modern society has become all about consuming, consuming, consuming; so much so that men everywhere are overwhelmingly addicted to dopamine.  

It’s an epidemic that is getting worse and it’s having devastating effects on our society and our health.

You must learn to control your dopamine, or it will control you.

It’s time we fought back against this growing drug epidemic.  


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I Offer One-On-One Coaching

If at any point you feel like you need a brother to come alongside you and support you, I’ll be there.  I’d be happy to get on a call with you to provide personal guidance to create a plan to fight your addiction and accountability to keep you on track.  I’ve already helped dozens of men overcome their addictions; all who thought they were helpless.  I’ve discovered that every battle with porn shares the same few threads that, once unraveled, release you from the chains of addiction.  I’d love for you to be the next success story!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at timothy@intothewildernessblog.com or Direct Message me on Twitter if one-on-one coaching could help in your battle to live Porn Free.

I Just Don’t Have Time

How often do you catch yourself saying, “I just don’t have time” or “I really wish I had more time”?

Here’s some hard truth for you.

You have the time, you just waste it.

We all want time to learn a new skill, exercise, relax, spend time with our families, etc.  Yet how much time do we waste a day?  How much time do you spend mindlessly scrolling social media? Watching Netflix? Sitting on the toilet on your phone? Playing video games?

How much time have you wasted watching porn; searching and searching for the “perfect” video?

Notice how we refer to it as “spending” time.  We don’t “use” time.  We “spend” it like money.  The old phrase, “time is money” has multi-level meaning.  

Time is currency. You should treat it like an investment.  

Where you invest the majority of your time will show what you value most.

Is your time spent on things you value most? Or is it wasted on things you could do without?  You must learn to prioritize your time on the things that are important. 

We all have busy schedules.  I do too.  In fact, I work a full-time job that’s usually close to 50 hours a week, I work a part-time job at my church, and I also have several side hustles including this blog, my coaching, and my watch company, www.woodlandwatchcompany.com

Yet, I still find time to: 

  • -Pray
  • -Journal
  • -Meditate
  • -Read Books
  • -Lift Weights
  • -Write Articles
  • -Read My Bible
  • -Sleep 7-8 Hours
  • -Play With My Kids
  • -Engage on Twitter
  • -Bond With My Wife
  • -Hang Out With  Friends

How do I do it?

Two things:

  1. I have prioritized those things I want to accomplish above everything else.  

I wake up earlier and get things done in the morning.  I used to be a night-owl.  If I saw 5:00 AM it was because I was still up from the night before, not getting up early.  By getting up just an hour earlier I can get my workout in, read my bible, pray, and have a cup of coffee.

Finding time to write for my blog and work on other side projects can be difficult.  What I’ve learned to do is schedule time to work on it. I will plan to work for an hour after dinner and focus solely on that.  I don’t have other tabs open on my computer and put my phone on do not disturb.  It’s amazing how much work you can get done when you remove those little distractions.  

In far too many men’s lives, work, side hustles, and hobbies get all the energy and family is left fighting for the leftover scraps of time.  To ensure I’m spending quality time with my family, I also schedule my time with them.  We schedule regular games nights and I have a weekly coffee date with my daughter.  I also make sure to set aside time for my wife so that we can keep our marriage strong.

One of the best things I ever did was to start to plan out my weeks and days in advance.  It may feel like you’re living life by a calendar, but if you want to ensure you accomplish everything you set out to do, you have to schedule your life.  There are several great calendars and daily planning apps that can help.  

In order to be efficient and achieve your goals, you need to figure out what your priorities are.  Where do you want to “invest” the hours and minutes of your day?  What is important to you.  What are your goals?

  1. I examined my life to find things that are consuming too much time.

I found out I was wasting tons of time scrolling through my phone.  Even well-intentioned engagement with my twitter followers can consume hours in a day.  By quitting porn years ago I probably saved 8-10 hours a week.  I don’t even want to think about all the time wasted on porn and sex in my life.   I cut out almost all T.V.   I don’t binge-watch shows or sit down to watch three-hour sporting events.  If I do watch T.V., it is usually for a family movie night so that it’s not just watching something, it’s spending time with my wife and kids.

Examine your life to discover where time is being wasted and remove those distractions from your life.  Turn off the T.V.  Put down the phone.  Get up earlier.  This will allow you to make the most of the time you “spend”.

We all have the same 24 hours each day.  Learning to make the best use of your time is the difference between achieving your goals and feeling like you never get anything done.

My Turning Point

When discussing my history with porn and sex addiction and my subsequent recovery, I’m often asked what my turning point was.  

What was the catalyst to change? What made me finally turn my life around?

I cannot say that it was a singular moment that sparked the change in my life from being addicted to seeking recovery.  It certainly wasn’t a Hollywood style “I’ve seen the light” experience or anything like that.  But there was an event that led to the start of God changing my heart.  

Here’s the story. 

For almost ten years, I had two very good friends with whom I was incredibly close.   We were the type of friends people would call a “Bromance”.  They had walk-in privileges at my house and I did at theirs.   I was known as “Uncle Timmy” to their kids.  Our families vacationed together and we were all but inseparable.  These two guys had been my support and my accountability partners through my years of addiction.  They would check up on me and encourage me to keep trying to get better.  One would give me tough love and the other would support and encourage me.  

But throughout my addiction, I lied to them just like I lied to everyone else.  When I would get caught, either by my wife or by them, I would give this heartfelt apology and say I was determined to get better.  I would say all the right things to talk my way out of it.  I talked to them and manipulated our friendship just like I did with my wife.

Until the last time I got caught.

Are you ready for some real honest disclosure here?

A girl I had been texting (sexting would be a better description) screenshot our conversations and sent them to my wife.  My wife then forwarded them on to my two friends.

My wife was obviously devastated.  She thought I had been doing so well with avoiding porn and seeking out other relationships.  It was all a ruse.  

My friends too saw that I had duped them.  At that point, they gave up on me.  They washed their hands of me and cut off all ties with me.  I haven’t spoken to either since.  

On one hand, it hurt.  I lost my best friends when I needed them most.  At that point, I felt like the loneliest person in the world.  But on the other hand, I can’t really blame them.  I had lied to them and manipulated them for years.  

It was this event that woke me up and was the turning point in finally facing my addiction and getting serious help.

Looking back on it, it breaks my heart.  It wasn’t all the damage I caused to my family and all the pain I’d caused my wife that got me to change, it was losing these friends that woke me up.  It was losing my drinking buddies, my golf partners, and my hang out friends that led to change.

That was eye-opening to me.  The damage I did to my marriage should have woken me up.  The guilt and shame should have woken me up.  The years of depression, anxiety, lies, and cover-up should have woken me up.  It didn’t.

But, I thank the Lord every day that this happened.  Because without having consequences for my actions, without losing something tangible, I probably would have continued living the sinful life I was living.  

After this, I started getting serious help and guidance for my addiction.  I realized I couldn’t keep trying to fight this battle alone.  I had hoped this problem would just go away and no one would ever know my secrets.  But it doesn’t work that way.  

I received great help from some mentors, pastors, and counselors.  I began to understand WHY I was addicted.  It wasn’t that I just had a higher sex drive or was a pervert.  It was because I was seeking something through porn.  I wasn’t seeking sex.  I was seeking acceptance, love, purpose, and fulfillment.  I was just looking in all the wrong places.  

I learned that I had a fear of rejection, a fear of not being good enough, and fear of losing control.  I used porn and sex to escape from those negative feelings.  Sex was a drug.  My addiction was self-medication to treat those inner emotional wounds instead of finding healthy ways to cope with and process them.  

Once I dealt with those core issues causing my addiction, I started to find freedom.  I stopped searching for fulfillment through sex and sought it through living for God.  Instead of masking my pain and trying to escape it, I found peace through healing.  I confessed who I truly was and found grace through God and forgiveness from my family.  My wife and I were able to repair our marriage, restore trust, and rebuild our lives.

In our individual battles with addiction, we all need a turning point.  

We need to hit rock bottom.  We need an awakening.  I didn’t provide it.  God did.  He put those two men in my life for that purpose.  They were my “Nathan” from 2 Samuel 12 in the story of David and Bathsheba.  

What was your turning point? 

Was there a specific event that you can refer to as the moment you decided to change?  What led you to seek redemption?  What unique circumstances did God use to finally speak to you?

At some point, we all turn from the path we’re traveling on and go down the road towards redemption and recovery.  That moment should be celebrated; no matter how long it took you to get there.  

I’m thankful for my turning point. It has led to God opening many other doors for me, including this blog and coaching.

Without it, I would still be held captive by addiction.  But now I’m free.  And you can find freedom too.  

Feel free to contact me if you’ve reached your turning point.  I’m more than willing to help you through one-on-one coaching or simply through a quick chat or word of advice.  There is information below on how to reach me.

God has a turning point planned for all of us.  But it’s up to us to steer the wheel.  


Subscribe to my Email List for my free eBook!

Sign up for my email list and receive a free copy of my eBook, 10 Steps To Living Porn Free, the step-by-step guide I used to finally overcome my addiction, find healing, and live Porn Free.

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I Offer One-On-One Coaching

If at any point you feel like you need a brother to come alongside you and support you, I’ll be there.  I’d be happy to get on a call with you to provide personal guidance to create a plan to fight your addiction and accountability to keep you on track.  I’ve already helped dozens of men overcome their addictions; all who thought they were helpless.  I’ve discovered that every battle with porn shares the same few threads that, once unraveled, release you from the chains of addiction.  I’d love for you to be the next success story!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at timothy@intothewildernessblog.com or Direct Message me on Twitter if one-on-one coaching could help in your battle to live Porn Free.

Think Like A Gardener

Have you ever observed a gardener plant a garden?

I don’t mean a vegetable or herb garden.  I mean a landscaped garden.  A peaceful place to walk and enjoy the beautiful wildlife.

When a gardener plants trees, shrubs, and flowers, they have to think years ahead. If they only designed their gardens for what they look like now, the plants would quickly overwhelm each other as they grow.  They would compete for root space and nutrients from the soil and would choke each other out and die.

Gardeners need to have a vision beyond the immediate moment.  They need to imagine what the garden will look like a year, two years, and ten years down the road.  They then plant and organize their garden accordingly so that it will best be able to grow into what they envision. What looks like a sunny area now, might be a relaxing shady space in a few years.

A gardener knows they won’t see the true beauty of the garden until it has time to grow and mature.  

You must plan your life the same way.

You must have a vision beyond today.  

You need to be able to see how your hard work now will pay off in the future.  You must also avoid giving up just because you cannot yet see the fruits of your labors.

So many in modern society have become so addicted to immediate gratification that they give up at the first sign of difficulty.

This is why you:

-Stop exercising after 2 weeks

-Give up when you relapse once

-Quit on a business when you don’t make money immediately

You can’t get past the difficulty of the immediate moment to see the payoff down the road.  All you see is a dry patch of dirt instead of the beautiful plant that will be there in time.  

Things that are truly worth doing take time to see results.

There’s no such thing as overnight success.  Some things may take off overnight, but I guarantee there were months of work leading up to it.

Today, it might seem like you’ll never get there.  You may feel like giving up.  You may feel like you’ve given everything you have to offer and have nothing to show for it.  I understand.  I’ve felt the same way.  But those moments are the moments where you must press on.  

When it comes to breaking free from addiction, it can take YEARS to be completely free.  You need to keep fighting day after day, week after week, and month after month to see real progress.

Setbacks are going to happen.  You will face hardships.  Things will get worse before they get better.  It will seem like you’ll never, ever reach your goal.

If you give up at the first sign of difficulty, you guarantee you will never reach your goals.

But, if you keep pressing on.  If you keep watering the plants, pulling the weeds, and trimming the branches, one day you will look out and see a beautiful garden that you can enjoy.

Think like a gardener.   Think beyond today.  Plan out what you want your life to look like years from now.  Then work backwards and do what you need to do today to ensure you create the life you envisioned.  

Don’t give up when all you see is a patch of dirt.

Don’t give up when it seems like it hasn’t rained in months.

Don’t give up when a storm comes and batters you down.

Keep fighting.  What you’re experiencing now will only make your roots stronger in the end.  

If you can press on through the difficulties of today, you can enjoy the rewards of freedom later.  One day you’ll look back on the hard days and be glad that you pushed through.  You’ll have won the battle, and you’ll be better off having fought through the hardships to get there.

Always think like a gardener.  Look beyond today at what your work will achieve tomorrow. 


Subscribe to my Email List for my free eBook!

Sign up for my email list and receive a free copy of my eBook, 10 Steps To Living Porn Free, the step-by-step guide I used to finally overcome my addiction, find healing, and live Porn Free.

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I Offer One-On-One Coaching

If at any point you feel like you need a brother to come alongside you and support you, I’ll be there.  I’d be happy to get on a call with you to provide personal guidance to create a plan to fight your addiction and accountability to keep you on track.  I’ve already helped dozens of men overcome their addictions; all who thought they were helpless.  I’ve discovered that every battle with porn shares the same few threads that, once unraveled, release you from the chains of addiction.  I’d love for you to be the next success story!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at timothy@intothewildernessblog.com or Direct Message me on Twitter if one-on-one coaching could help in your battle to live Porn Free.

What Kind of Father Are You?

What kind of father are you?

Are you the kind of father who is present, engaged, teaching, disciplining and loving?

Or are you the type of father who is absent, unstable, weak, and effeminate?

Pope John XXIII wrote, 

“It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.”

There is no greater time in history where the need for good fathers is more readily apparent than now.

According to the United States Department of Justice, fatherless homes account for:

  • 63% of suicides under 18
  • 90% of homeless and runaway youths
  • 85% of behavioral disorders
  • 71% of high school dropouts
  • 70% of juvenile incarceration
  • 75% of youth substance abuse
  • 71% of teenage pregnancies

Those are sobering statistics.  Many of the problems we face as a society can be traced back to the lack of fathers and the lack of good fathers.  

Our world needs good fathers.  We have a duty, as men, to be good fathers. 

So what IS a good father?  

We need to look no further than to Scripture.

A good father:

  • Instructs his children (Proverbs 22:6)
  • Shows compassion but not weakness (Psalm 103:13)
  • Provides for his family (1 Timothy 5:8)
  • Disciplines but does not provoke (Ephesians 6:4)
  • Shows tough love (Proverbs 13:24)
  • Is a refuge for his children (Proverbs 14:26)
  • Teaches Scripture (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
  • Leaves an inheritance (Proverbs 23:24)
  • Never gives up on his children (Luke 15:11-32)
  • Loves his wife (Ephesians 5:25)
  • Manages his household (1 Timothy 3:4)
  • Prays for his children (1 Chronicles 29:19)

These are the guidelines for us as fathers.  It is up to us to live them out.  

There is no more important role for a man than to be a father.

Everything else a man does dies with him.  His career, his achievements, his hobbies, and personality; none of it lasts.  But a man can leave no greater legacy than well-raised children.

American businessman and inventor, Charles Kettering, wrote, 

“Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example, not his advice.”

It’s your duty to show your children how they should live, not just tell them.   They notice when you tell them one thing and do another.  Actions speak louder than words.  If you want your children to grow up to be good people, you have to be a good person yourself.

We can see the damage failed and absent fathers have had on our society.  

So how do we fix it?

Changing the world for the better starts in the home. 

Men need to be present fathers.  They need to be engaged with their children and spend time with their kids.  

Are you giving your children the best version of you?  Or do they see the dad that’s always too tired for them after work?  

Would you rather drink beer and watch sports than play games with them?

Are you wasting time watching porn rather than showing your children how to be a loyal and devoted husband?

Do you think your duty to your family ends with providing a paycheck? Or are you leading and shepherding your family?

Are you showing your sons how to be good strong, masculine men and your daughters what to look for in a man?  Or are you indirectly showing them what a bad husband and father is?

We have no greater responsibility than to be good fathers.  Nothing in our lives should be more important than raising our children.

Men, we must ensure that we are being the best fathers we can be.  No father is perfect.  We’ve all made mistakes.  But we must strive to be the fathers our children need.

We are failing as men if we are failing as fathers.  

Zac Small, aka Hunter Drew, wrote:

“You can be a good man without being a father, but you will never be a good father if you are not good at being a man.”

Are there changes in your life that you need to make to ensure you’re a good man and a good father?

Do you need to lose weight and gain strength to teach your kids how to be healthy?

Do you need to quit watching porn so you can teach them the dangers of addiction?

Do you need to rearrange your schedule so that you have more time for your children?

Do you need to teach them the lessons you’ve learned in life that the schools never will?

You may not have had a great father to learn from.  But just because you didn’t have a good father, doesn’t mean you can’t be a good father.  Now is the time to change the legacy.

Men, let us challenge ourselves to be the best fathers we can be.  Let us challenge ourselves to live out the Biblical principles of fatherhood.  Let us challenge ourselves to instill in our children the values that we hold dear so that they can pass them on to their children.  


Subscribe to my Email List for my free eBook!

Sign up for my email list and receive a free copy of my eBook, 10 Steps To Living Porn Free, the step-by-step guide I used to finally overcome my addiction, find healing, and live Porn Free.

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Success! You’re on the list.

I Offer One-On-One Coaching

If at any point you feel like you need a brother to come alongside you and support you, I’ll be there.  I’d be happy to get on a call with you to provide personal guidance to create a plan to fight your addiction and accountability to keep you on track.  I’ve already helped dozens of men overcome their addictions; all who thought they were helpless.  I’ve discovered that every battle with porn shares the same few threads that, once unraveled, release you from the chains of addiction.  I’d love for you to be the next success story!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at timothy@intothewildernessblog.com or Direct Message me on Twitter if one-on-one coaching could help in your battle to live Porn Free.