When Sam Allen of Son Ship began writing and singing about recovery from his porn addiction, he knew the songs would resonate with many who had the same struggle. What he didn’t realize is how his vulnerability and courage would be connection points with others whose struggles were quite different. Turns out brokenness can take many forms but the journey toward recovery is a well-worn path with many common intersections.
Son Ship is shining light into some of the darkest places using music, words, and surrendered hearts.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sam recently. This unique band of brothers in Christ is dedicated to performing for recovery groups and events. Not your stereotypical band! And that’s by design. The freedom they’ve found is too good not to share with others on the same road.
Sam’s journey began innocently enough. He remembers being drawn to lingerie ads and had an early obsession with girls but eventually, he found internet porn, and his addiction only got worse. He was raised in a Christian home and knew porn use was wrong. He carried so much shame over it even before the pivotal day when his parents confronted him about the websites he’d been visiting. His shame only escalated. He began meeting with some friends for accountability but none of these high schoolers knew how to find true freedom from something so powerful. His addiction continued.
Sam was sure that college would be better since he’d have fellowship with more mature believers but his sexual addiction progressed. He met a beautiful girl, fell in love, and got married. Though he believed marriage would be the cure for his sexual addiction, it only got worse.
But God did use Sam’s marriage in a powerful way in his life. His wife Brooke began to ask more questions about his struggle. She loved him too much to let him remain in destructive sin patterns that were affecting not only him, but their relationship as well. She began to set some boundaries.
It took the threat of dire consequences and the persistent love of Brooke to finally get Sam to the point of being willing to become totally transparent about his addiction to porn and sex.
I asked Sam what advice he would give to someone who loves a porn or sex addict and doesn’t know how to help. He told me that in their case Brooke was loving but strong. She sensed that in order for Sam to begin healing he would have to continue to bring his addiction into the light. She set up a meeting with their pastor and they went. She arranged for therapy and they went. They both began to realize that transparency and vulnerability would be important, and for the first time in his life, Sam was finally willing to do whatever it took. Like the prodigal son Jesus spoke of in Luke 15, Sam came to his senses. He didn’t want to lose his marriage over something as senseless as porn.
Sam learned about a Sexaholics Anonymous group in their area where he found fellow sojourners. During the first few meetings, he wondered if it was the place for him. It seemed like he knew more than they did, but over time, he began to realize it was exactly where he needed to be. He discovered a new joy in life that was far better than the porn he’d grown so accustomed to. He experienced the freedom found in being fully known and fully loved. This is the story of the gospel. The completeness we now have in a relationship with Christ is not conditional. He doesn’t wait for us to heal ourselves, He is our healing. He offers us new life in Him. (Ephesians 2:1-10)
What about the addict? Sam shares some advice for him or her.
- If you’re stuck in the lie that you’re all alone in this, stop believing that. It doesn’t help, and there are many others who’ve had similar struggles but are a little ahead of you in the recovery process. Find them.
- Focus on progress over perfection. Stay engaged and keep coming back to the meeting, the group, the relationship with God.
- Are you willing? Are you willing to do whatever it takes, whatever God leads you to do? It might mean several SA meetings or therapy sessions each week. Are you willing to make some radical changes? If you’re expecting to heal with only minimal changes, you’ll probably be disappointed again. Trust God to lead you and to help you find another way.
- If you’re meeting with or accountable to others who empathize but don’t know how to help you recover, it might be time for a new group. Find someone further down the road who’s experiencing victory. Find an SA or Celebrate Recovery group, a Christian therapist or Christian sex addiction therapist (CSAT).
- Take the first step, and don’t worry about the 100th.
- If you’re in a good season of sobriety, great, but know that God will continue to show you areas of your life to surrender to Him. He’s constantly shaping us for our good and His glory. And remember, sobriety is not the goal, recovery is.
If you lead a recovery group of any kind, Sam Allen and Son Ship would be a great band for your next event. They understand the process. Their latest song, “Keep Coming Back”, is a beautiful tribute to the people who’ve walked with Sam through his transformation from darkness to light. The words “keep coming back” are spoken over and over in countless meetings across the world to people like you and me who need hope in the face of a dark struggle.
Sam’s story of addiction is quite common. For followers of Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin. Christ has set us free. (Galatians 5:1) We’d love to help you find the next step in your journey toward recovery and freedom or encourage anyone who loves someone struggling with sexual sin. Click Tools on TrueNorth’s website for great resources. My husband’s five-part blog series might be helpful. It’s the story of God working in his life through confession, repentance, the renewal of his mind, redemption, and restoration. Here’s a link to the first post, Revealing the Heart.
You don’t want to miss an event TrueNorth is hosting on October 13.
By Design: Reclaiming Sexuality is for men and women 18 or older, married or single. Come and learn from two amazing thought leaders in the area of biblical sexuality. If you’re a pastor or ministry leader, we’re hosting a pre-event on August 9 designed specifically for you. Here’s a link to our Leaders Event.
If we haven’t met yet, I’d love to meet you at one of our upcoming events! If we have met and you’ve been growing through the work of TrueNorth, continue your journey of learning about godly sexuality by attending Reclaiming Sexuality this fall.
Founder and CEO of TrueNorth Freedom Project in Atlanta, Georgia. (firstname.lastname@example.org)