God doesn’t make mistakes. No, you probably didn’t expect to develop a sex addiction or have to seek out and live through recovery. There probably are many things about your life to date that aren’t what you intended.
Matt Wenger, Clinical Director at Boulder Recovery, didn’t anticipate his life as a therapist specializing in sex addiction. He shares his story on the Blow the Whistle Podcast with Andrea Rogers.
Like Matt, what looks like Plan B, or not even a plan in your alphabet, is what God intended. The question now is what you will make out of your Plan B.
Matt didn’t mean to be a sex addiction therapist. He wanted to be a pastor. It’s what he went to school for, trained for, and worked diligently to get a job doing, but it seemed like every step he took resulted in him compromising his plan and working in trauma recovery and addiction. He grew angry with God. He was working diligently! Why was nothing he wanted coming to fruition?
The answer came from an unlikely place. Matt was vacationing with his family when he met the owner of the Airbnb where they were staying. The man, a hospice chaplain, asked Matt to come to talk to him that evening. The two shared pistachios and stories.
“I told him how angry I was at God and how I was trying to make the best of it. I told him how I was confused because my plan was the one that needed to be carried out.”
The man stopped Matt and asked him if he’d ever considered that being a counselor was his Plan B, but not God’s. God’s Plan A, the man said, was for Matt to be a counselor.
“I don’t know what happened at that moment, but I felt like some sort of gong had just run inside my body.”
At that moment, Matt said he reinterpreted his entire life story. He no longer saw therapy as a second tier to being a pastor because now he saw his job’s role in scripture.
“When Jesus spoke in the church in Nazareth and said, ‘I’ve come to set the captives free to open the eyes of the blind and bring freedom to the oppressed and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ That is what we get to do when we bring freedom to traumatized people, those stuck in addiction, and those suffering from betrayal.”
Helping people heal is participating in the gospel, Matt said.
“It’s not some add-on. God and his kindness and goodness brought me to the place where we get to do that in a way we would never have chosen.”
Reinterpreting your life story and recognizing God’s plan for you is what the counselors at Boulder Recovery want for you. It’s what they see as possible through therapy and recovery.
Christian men who seek recovery almost always have a broken element in their theology, Matt stated. He said it’s like these men think God likes them, but he’s disappointed in them and will only show up for them when they’re whole and deserving.
Matt said that this broken understanding of who God is affects these men’s lives. He said men think God won’t forgive them for their addiction and the wrong things they’ve done unless they beg him for forgiveness and mercy, but shame isn’t the way.
“There’s all sorts of distance between them and God. But the reality is God wants to meet us in all of the places of our lives — our anger, frustration, sadness, depression, anxiety… all of it.”
Men in recovery also want to predict and control how God will intervene in their lives, much like Matt wanted God to follow his career plan. Matt said these men try to set rules like that God will only intervene in their lives when they’re doing good or sober.
“It’s like, all the things that I don’t like is God punishing me because of all the bad things I’ve done, and all the good things that have happened in my life are pure luck. Or they’re things that I’ve controlled, or I’ve brought about by force of will,” according to Matt.
How Boulder Recovery is Different
Treatment with Boulder Recovery helps men heal their relationship with God and understand how He is, not how they think He should be because of their addiction. Matt said the only way to heal a Christian man’s identity is to help them heal and strengthen their faith, and Boulder Recovery does that.
“You’re not going to have success in recovery from sex addiction by eliminating behaviors. You’re going to have success in recovery by adding in what it really means to be the authentic version of yourself,” Matt said.
Boulder Recovery’s 14-day Men’s Intensive program focuses on helping those struggling with addictions and compulsions:
- Stop destructive sexual behaviors
- Locate and heal the root cause of the addiction
- Create a solid foundation for lasting recovery in their relationships
- Restore authentic relationship with the Creator as the creation made in His perfect image
“You can’t get that kind of work in week-to-week therapy, and you can’t get that kind of work going to church. It’s just not available in those settings. It’s not about the amount of bad stuff that’s going on in your life. It’s about whether or not you want to do something about it. I wish more guys could hear that.”
Are you ready to heal yourself and your relationship with God? To realize that your life isn’t Plan B, but to embrace all you have to offer the world as a healthy, healed man? If so, contact Boulder Recovery today to enroll in our next intensive.