Finally Free by Sheryl Madden

Finally Free

by Sheryl Madden, Volunteer Storyteller |

For a boy of twelve, what could be better than a week spent with his cousins at their home in the mountains without his sisters? The anticipation of hunting mountain beaver while hiking, riding in the log truck to take logs to the mills, and splitting and stacking cords of wood, was enough to satisfy young Warren’s idea of a perfect vacation.

What began as a typical vacation with his relatives, an innocent, fun-filled, carefree time, took a sudden turn when Warren got a glimpse of a deck of cards belonging to his cousin that featured pictures of women not wearing any clothes. Warren looked at the cards and his curiosity grew, followed by excitement and a craving for more.

Warren looked at the cards and his curiosity grew, followed by excitement and a craving for more.

Eventually, Warren managed to get his hands on some magazines depicting women in different stages of undress, and an addiction took hold.

At sixteen, attempting to seek help, Warren confessed to a pastor what he was doing, and that man’s best advice was for Warren to take a cold shower.

When Warren married Gloria at the age of twenty-three, he assumed pornography would no longer have a grip on him. After all, he had access to a real-life woman now. Instead, his addiction continued, but now he found himself being even more secretive so his wife wouldn’t find out.

They had children, followed by grandchildren, and still his addiction remained. He didn’t think he could stop this cycle and kept feeling guilt and shame. He asked God for forgiveness and mercy, promising he’d never do it again. But the seemingly never-ending cycle of stress and guilt made Warren want to medicate his pain, and he turned to his addiction for comfort.

He didn’t think he could stop this cycle and kept feeling guilt and shame.

As the years passed, technology made access much easier. He could spend time at home on his computer and no one would know what he was really doing. The temptation to view pornography even when it wasn’t “safe” only grew stronger.

Warren and Gloria began attending Northshore in 2006, but Warren’s thoughts were no longer on God but on how soon he could get a “fix.”

One day, his grandson pushed an advertisement button on a computer and seductive pictures appeared on the screen. Shortly after that, Gloria walked through the room when Warren wasn’t expecting her, and he had women’s photos on his computer screen. He smoothly explained it away by saying it was part of what their grandson accidentally looked at. Not really believing him but preferring to avoid the topic, Gloria went outside, angry and confused.

Not really believing him but preferring to avoid the topic, Gloria went outside, angry and confused.

Warren felt crushed by his guilt and pain. The next morning, tears streaming down his face, Warren confided in Gloria all that he’d been hiding for so many decades. He told the truth, and she forgave him.

Warren’s road to recovery included studying the book Every Man’s Battle, attending classes through Northshore’s Recovery and Support Ministry, and belonging to accountability groups both inside and outside of church.

Three and a half years later, Warren and Gloria have rebuilt their marriage. Warren is finally free to connect with God without the layer of guilt and shame, and he readily says if he hadn’t been a follower of Jesus, the downhill slope he was on would have been steeper and slipperier. He only wishes he had gotten help much earlier. Warren and Gloria are both thankful for the restoration Jesus has brought to their lives.

See more about our Recovery and Support programs at Northshore. (https://northshore.church/connect/recoverysupport/)


 

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