This month marks the five year anniversary of one of the most incredible times in my life.
It also marks the beginning of one of the most difficult journeys of my life.
It all started when I was asked to volunteer for New Student Enrollment at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
For a week, I showed up at 7:00am, groggy-eyed, to welcome incoming freshmen to UNL and get them excited about Outdoor Adventures – the outdoor-recreation arm of the campus rec center.
On Monday of that week, a girl started working the booth across from me. We worked across from each other all week, talking after our shifts were done. At the end of the week, we said goodbye, perhaps to never talk again. Something in my chest urged me that walking away was a mistake, so I turned around went back in the UNL student union, asked for a coffee date.
Every moment we spent together felt like a taste of heaven.
I knew exactly what was happening—I was falling in love.I felt like I was falling in love for the very first time. I didn’t want to admit it.
Two weeks later she said to me, “I see a husband in you.” I saw a wife in her, but I was too afraid to tell her that.
In my gut, I knew I would marry this girl.
Sensing that we were embarking on the journey of a lifetime, I knew I had to open up completely, and be radically authentic with her.
“I struggle with porn. And I have for about 5 years.”And with that sentence, the taste of heaven burst.
She never related to me quite the same. I was no longer her perfect man. The veil was lifted.
That conversation marked the beginning of an arduous struggle to quit one of the most powerful drugs to ever enter my life: Pornography.
I knew it was a problem. I’d always known it was a problem. But over the years, my guilt grew into indifference. I rationalized it away – “It’s not that bad. It’s simply a moral problem,” I told myself. “I’m not doing any harm to anyone else, this is just a private matter.” (Not true. In fact, the negative changes it makes are tangible, traceable, and lasting.) I’d gotten used to stuffing the shame, hiding essential parts of myself so I didn’t have to face the pain.
But now, I was in a fighting for the most important relationship in my life, the most important person in my life, my marriage. And I would do anything to protect it.
The journey was long and arduous. Much harder than my years long campaignto raise awareness about and urge action in Whiteclay, Nebraska—a campaign in which we overwhelmingly succeededlast year. (Yay!)
I tried everything.
I read books. I made goals. I got coached. I went to confession. Multiple times. I made scorecards and posted them on the wall. I told Jenna when I messed up. I brought it up in premarital counseling. I started taking low-dose lithium because I thought I may have a mild form of bipolar disorder. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I talked with friends about it. I tried to start an accountability group. I set up web blockers. I joined an accountability group. I spent hours journaling about it, trying to problem-solve and improve.
I thought I would never win.(Indeed, does anyone ever fully conquer an addiction?)
Slowly, with every failure, with every step, I got a little bit better, a little bit smarter, a little bit stronger—much like the upward sloping loopswe talked about recently. I never gave up.
Seeing the incredible damage it has done to my happiness, marriage, wholeness, and my life in general, I’ve decided to do something about it.
This month, I’m announcing a new offering at Coach Cam: Helping men quit porn for good.
I’m not here to argue for or against the morality of porn, though I can attest to the damage it does to virtually every part of one’s life—one’s career, conscience, spirituality, sex life, relationships, personal performance, integrity, focus, and wholeness.
Instead, I’m here to extend a hand to the men who know they have a problem and give them the opportunity to fix it.
So, if you are a man (or you know a man) whose life has been negatively affect by pornography, let me share two things: 1) You are not alone. 2) You cannot do this alone.
And if you’re ready to do something about it, I would love, love, love, to help radically change your life for the better.
If you’re ready to make a change, here’s your first assignment:
1. Join this free, closed, rapidly growing Facebook group.It’s a closed group, and always will be, so all your activity there will be private, and your joining will not be posted on your newsfeed.
2. Email/call/text/message me – I would be honored to help.
But don’t make the same mistake I did.
Don’t take 5 long years to solve this problem. Don’t assume this is a problem that can wait to be solved. Don’t assume that you can do it alone. Don’t assume your spouse or significant other can hold you accountable—and put her through hell. Don’t assume that this is a just a moral problem and you’re not doing anything wrong. Don’t wait for your life to crash before you do something about this problem.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett