I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with anxiety, depression, and sexual addiction, and my name is Andy.
I was raised in a wonderful home, the middle child of three brothers, and a son to a mom and a dad who loved their children dearly. Unfortunately, my parents both grew up in homes with alcoholic fathers who would occasionally turn abusive. Due to this, my parents promised each other that their children would grow up in a stable home. Mom and Dad achieved this to the best of their ability and gave my brothers and me a home where we were loved and raised to work hard. Growing up, I became quite competitive with my siblings, particularly with my older brother. When I compared myself to him, I always felt like I fell short somehow, and I became jealous and resentful of him. I wanted to show him that I had worth and value, that I wasn’t the fat, slow, stupid kid I saw myself as when I compared myself to him. This desire to prove myself would bleed over into other areas and relationships in my life.
Throughout school, I learned that I could prove myself worthy of the affirmation I thirsted for through my behavior and good grades. When I succeeded in that, I found fulfillment and content. But conversely, I felt unlovable when I failed to meet the standard I thought everyone had for me. My hunger for acceptance ultimately led me to cope with pornography in 7th grade.
Porn never rejected me, so it became my drug of choice for the next 12 years. My heart would run to porn anytime my relationships, my performance, or my situations left me feeling unworthy, unacceptable, or unloved. This pain ultimately led me to start drinking and partying to fit in as I finished high school. This had won me most of the “acceptance” I always thought I wanted, yet I still felt a profound sense of emptiness inside me.
I went to college in 2009 at a private Christian college that was extremely legalistic. My gut told me that the only way I would survive this place is by keeping my mask on and hiding. So I did.
Over the next four years, I hid my pornography addiction, my drinking and partying depression, and a lot of sexual brokenness. I was looking for love and affirmation anywhere but God—because I thought he could not love or use me. Thankfully, God had other plans.
During college, I started to serve at a campus ministry where I was asked to lead worship and eventually train others to do the same. God placed me in a leadership role in which I had no business, all while secretly trying to find life in my destructive cycles. Still, somehow, God used me and called me into full-time ministry.
By 2015, I moved to Arkansas, started interning at a church, and was about to step into a role with a ministry called The Landing, which is Celebrate Recovery’s student ministry. I was no longer struggling with alcohol and bad relationships but was still addicted to pornography and drowning in my dysfunction. How could God call me to a recovery ministry and lead students when my life was a wreck, and I couldn’t manage my own sin struggles? The answer came as my friend and supervisor, Rodney, asked me to join a step study he was leading.
I thought revealing my sin and shame would end my ministry career, but I found a deeper experience of God’s grace. Walking through CR, I found that I really was powerless to control my life and that I wasn’t alone in ministry—even as a young pastor. I learned that God really did care about me personally and that I had the freedom through Christ to live as God wanted me to. I learned that I am never alone in my struggles but that there’s always someone who’s willing to walk with me. But more than anything, I learned that my struggles with porn, alcohol, and shame for past decisions resulted from thirsting for love and affirmation in things I could never satisfy. I’ve come to experience through CR that God is the way, the truth, and the life and that all of my longings and desires are satisfied in him.
I’m so thankful that God led me to Celebrate Recovery. It has completely changed my life, marriage, and relationship with Jesus Christ. Since entering Celebrate Recovery, I have gotten married to an incredible woman named Julia, who also sought healing for herself through CR. The fruit of both of us finding recovery has been incredible, as we now have a shared language and tools to deal with life’s hurts in a way that creates a deeper connection. Through the tools we have learned in this process, we’ve been set up well to walk with God and each other through life. It’s also set us up well to step into parenthood as we had our daughter, Harper, in December 2020 and our son, Hudson, in March 2022.
I’m still not perfect, but thankfully I get to continually step into the growth God has for me as I lead step studies, sponsor other men, and give back out of what God has given me. I have found freedom from porn, and now God is continuing to peel back more layers of my heart to make me more like him. I’m not “out of the woods,” but with the help of my forever family and the tools God has given me through CR, I know that I can continue to grow.
If you would like to learn how to start your own Celebrate Recovery ministry, to contact your Celebrate Recovery Rep, please visit: https://crgroups.info/. To get involved in an already existing Celebrate Recovery ministry near you, please visit: https://locator.crgroups.info/.
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