Tim’s Story (one man’s victory over porn)

Tim Davis is the Founder and Director of Pureheart Ministries. A graduate of Wheaton College, Tim earned his Master of Divinity from Denver Seminary, worked as a pastor for 10 years, and then earned his Master of Arts in Counseling from Western Seminary. He then launched Pureheart and has since personally helped hundreds of men, women, and couples find freedom in sexual addiction recovery, teaching them how to walk in consistent purity, maintain maturity, and discover their destinies in Christ.

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reprinted with permission from PureHeart Ministries

Like many Christian men, I knew that sex outside of marriage was wrong, but I managed to justify my sexual addiction to masturbation, fantasy, and pornography on the basis that I was just another red-blooded American male. Unfortunately, Scripture doesn’t mince words. Jesus clearly states that lustful thinking is the same as lustful living. Revelation states unequivocally that the sexually immoral will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. More than anything else, I wanted to break free of my addictive cycle, but back then no one, and I mean no one, talked about sexual sin, much less sexual addiction recovery.

Compare your story to mine. In what ways have you justified your sexual sin?

I was probably 11 or 12 years-old the first time I saw pornography. It was hardcore, lesbian pornography and I was instantly entranced. I can still remember the jolt, the incredible high that seeing those pictures gave me. I had already started masturbating habitually years before, using sex scenes from books and pictures from catalogs and magazines like National “Ohsographic” to enhance my fantasy life, but seeing porn for the first time immediately took me to the next level in my addictive journey.

What was your reaction the first time you saw pornography?

Of course at the time, I never paused to reflect on why these pictures of perversion impacted me so powerfully—or for that matter, why I had started masturbating well before puberty and why I was already so attuned to sexuality. As a missionary kid, I grew up in nearly complete innocence (or so I thought). For most of my early life, I lived on tropical islands—there was no TV, no movies, no bookstores, and obviously, no Internet. As far as I knew, I had had a normal childhood, raised by parents who loved me and never mistreated me. Well into my late twenties, if you had told me back then that I had been both sexually and ritually abused as a child, I would have laughed at you in disbelief.

As a teenager, still on the mission field, I rarely had the chance to see porn, but I became an expert at finding authors who described sex in their books. I used these sex scenes to fuel my secret fantasy life and habitual masturbation. However, when I left home to finish high school at a Christian prep school in the States, I soon discovered that almost all of the guys in my dorm were hooked on porn. I would steal their pornographic magazines and books (after all, who were they going to tell?), so I could look at them and masturbate. Porn was far more exciting than dry old sex scenes in books, and I soon reached another milestone in my addictive journey by buying my first pornographic magazine (while in an airport traveling between school and home).

Have you been living a double life?

I was living a double life. I became the “Big Man on Campus,” I was the student body president, an honor student, a varsity soccer player, active in Bible studies, choir and barbershop—I even spoke to the entire campus on several occasions, urging them to follow Christ. I had already learned the truism (still just as prevalent today) that no matter how many millions of people struggle with sexual sin, we Christians must always pretend it doesn’t exist. Since no one else talked about their sexual problems, I was left to flounder in my hypocrisy, despairing of ever being free of my sin/confess, sin/confess cycle.

Praise God, however, there was at least one man willing to go against the tide of silence. Way back in 1983, this pastor wrote an article in Leadership (a journal for Christian ministers and leaders) where he described his personal descent into the hell of sexual addiction. My health teacher (God bless him!) at the Christian prep school must have discerned I was struggling with sexual sin because he gave me a copy of “An Anatomy of Lust: The War Within.” Even though it was written anonymously, it is no exaggeration to say this article saved my life. I know that without this man’s courageous decision to expose his sin, I would have been dead a long time ago, a victim of insanity or murder or suicide.

I read this man’s story and immediately saw, in the progressive nature of his addiction, the parallels between my life and his. By the time he wrote the article, he had been married for many years, but his wife knew nothing of his struggle. Nor did anyone in the church he pastored. He had long since moved beyond porn magazines and was now at the point of going to live sex shows. In the article, he tells how he finally worked up the courage to confess his sins to a pastor friend, a respected colleague and leader of a large church. Sitting in this man’s office, he poured out his story for the first time, skipping over his worst offenses. Rather than accept his confession, however, his pastor colleague began sobbing uncontrollably. This respected pastor pulled a list from his jacket pocket—the piece of paper contained all the prescriptions this man needed to treat all the sexual diseases he had acquired while engaging in every kind of perversion imaginable. In order to keep his behavior secret, this pastor would only buy the medicines he needed while traveling to other cities.

What lines have you crossed in your addictive behaviors?

The minute I read that story, God spoke to me through a mental vision. I clearly saw a sort of flaming, spiral staircase winding down to the pit of hell. God said very clearly that if I didn’t break free from my sexual sin, I would end up in hell. I resolved at that very moment to do whatever it took to break free. I didn’t realize, however, that it would take me many years before actually achieving this goal. Back then, there were no books, no videos, no conference speakers, or anything else to help someone looking for sexual addiction recovery, only a couple of men (literally) crazy enough to share about their struggles. I had nothing to guide me as I wandered through the wilderness, inevitably sinking ever further into the morass of sexual sin.

For the sake of brevity, I will compress the next half of my story. Many of you will recognize in my story the same pattern of heading down that spiral staircase of sexual sin to hell. Like many of you, I thought that marriage and a good sex life would solve all my problems. It didn’t. Even though I was honest with my wife about my addiction prior to our marriage, none of this stopped my addictive behaviors. I did find several brothers to hold me accountable and began to confess my sins regularly, but it was still the blind leading the blind. I continued finding porn (mainly in bookstores) and masturbating as before. After college, while training for my first job, I watched my first “soft-porn” movies at the hotel where I was staying. This was also the advent of video and video stores like Blockbuster—I was soon renting “R” movies—anything that I thought might turn me on. Around this time, I had the bright idea of getting “Cable” TV, yet another trend sweeping across America. I soon ordered porn via Cable. Even though I always confessed my sins to my wife and my accountability partners, I could only manage a month or so of purity, and then I would find some new way of relapsing. Nor could I break the habit of masturbation and sexual fantasy.

The Internet was next on the scene, and as an early user of computers, I was soon looking at porn on the Internet. By this time, I had finished up my first degree from seminary, but I was starting to buy pornographic magazines with ever increasing frequency. Even when I was pastoring a small, house church, I twice bought pornographic videos. This was the end, praise God, of my career as a sex addict, however, because all of the work I had been doing to break free and get healed finally started paying off.

God bless you if you read through my entire story. It’s hard to summarize a lifetime in a few pages. I am living proof that even in the midst of severe addiction, heartbreaking loss, and terrible evil, God will keep His promise to bring good out of evil—the greater the evil, the greater the good! Everything I have gone through, good and bad, has been incorporated in my counseling and writing. In my teaching you literally get 35 years of experience boiled down to the key truths you need to know to break free and stay pure. If I can break free, by the grace of God, than anyone can. Therefore, you have no excuse to remain in your sin. You don’t have to just take my word for it, click here for more testimonies from men who have gone through the Pureheart Process! Don’t put it off one day longer, brother, contact Pureheart here and start the process of purity!

Your brother in Christ,

Tim

 

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I help men become better husbands and dads through sexual purity.
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