As I sit here in Starbucks sipping on a Grande coffee, I remember back to the months and days that led up to my addiction being exposed. There were many nights I stared at my computer screen hoping that the next image would bring me relief. No matter how many images I viewed, though, none brought me that relief I was looking for.
I was numb to the pain, numb to my friends, numb to the look in my wife, Jen’s, eyes, but most frightening of all, numb to God’s conviction. I was numb to the voice of the Holy Spirit – that soft, calm voice that ever since my salvation was offering me life, truth, freedom, but maybe most importantly, HOPE.
Hope was lost to me as a young teenage boy who desperately longed to matter and belong. At an airport counter in Virginia, I learned there was no return ticket. I would not be coming back home. It was there that I was abandoned physically, emotionally and spiritually by my parents, and I lost hope.
Hope had been something that I always longed for and would dream about, but it was also something that was covered up by my addiction to lust. In some sick and twisted way…the only the way The Great Deceiver moves…he used those images to give me a counterfeit hope. It was a hope that would only last until the high was over. After each high, there was a crash back to reality, and the pain would set in until the numbness took over.
There were many nights that I would make those empty promises to myself and to God. There were those times with my closest friends that I would tell just enough of my addiction to feel better about myself but never fully tell the truth. There were also those nights that I wanted to die…wishing that something would happen to me the next day to take me out of the pain, but those wishes never came true. I would pray that God would take my addiction away or that I would wake up the next day and the desire to lust would be gone. It never happened.
Then on August 8th, 2008, God answered my prayer for HOPE. I was finally exposed for who I was and what I had been hiding since I was 13 years old. It was that morning, through the pain in Jen’s eyes, that God was about to do for me what I could not do for myself. He brought me Hope. That Hope would come through a few dedicated men at a treatment center in Nashville, Tennessee, called the Center for Professional Excellence.
It was the next line that took me longer to believe, “The only way to get the Hope was to get the help.”
The help came in some very painful ways. Help came through being exposed. Help came through others’ anger. It came through godly men (the elders of Summit Church) that willingly fought for me. Help came through the scariest place of all: my family. Not the family I grew up with but from my wife. It came through a church that loved, cared, and supported Jen and myself in our darkest hours. Help came in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and Sexaholics Anonymous. The help came by hearing two words I had never heard before, “Me too!” Help came in many different ways.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Todd Wermers serves as 12 Steps and Outdoor Experiential Counselor at JourneyPure Center for Professional Excellence, an addictions treatment center that exists to treat professional men who are struggling with behavioral and/or addiction issues. Todd is married to Jennifer and they have 2 children, Tennysen and Cedar.