Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Shannon Ethridge
Series Code: CLR
Program Code: CLR00031B
00:14 This is my favorite segment.
00:16 Where we get to interview the guest and see what
00:19 she is about, and all that kind of stuff.
00:21 Before we go there, I want to take you to Revelation 4: 8.
00:24 It's absolutely my favorite part of the Bible.
00:28 Only since I got this new kind of realization of what
00:32 it meant about the Revelation 4:8 says, you know,
00:35 there's all these angels around the throne of God.
00:37 And there's like they have six wings, eyes all
00:40 over the place.
00:41 I mean, it's just a scene that is amazing.
00:42 I mean, You know, gems, just this incredible scene.
00:47 And it says that the Angels are in front of God, the
00:50 entire time and they say Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord
00:54 God Almighty, the one who was and who is and who has
00:58 always been and all that kind of stuff.
00:59 And they are saying that like 24-7, and as an addict
01:03 and ADD, I am thinking 24-7, are you kidding me.
01:06 You know it would kill me it would absolutely kill me.
01:09 And I heard, a pastor say this.
01:10 His name was George Silva.
01:11 If you're out there, I just got this love you.
01:13 But I heard a pastor say, you just don't
01:15 know the whole story.
01:16 And I'm like yeah I read it, I know the whole story.
01:20 No no no, that every single time these angels try to
01:23 get up from their knees, God does something amazing for
01:26 someone else in recovery and they fall back down and say
01:29 Holy, Holy, holy smokes, that was good.
01:31 And so that's the whole story that is said, how can you
01:34 not fall in front of God at what He does in the lives
01:38 of all of us in our recovery?
01:39 So when you read that verse know that they are saying holy
01:43 smokes, God that was good.
01:45 I want to, introduce you to Shannon Ethridge.
01:47 Shannon, you won my heart from the very beginning.
01:49 I'm so thrilled you're here.
01:51 Thank you for having me here, it's great to be here.
01:53 It's too fun so, I wanted us um, we're are going to talk about
01:57 every woman's battle, sexual addiction,
01:59 all of that kind of stuff.
02:00 I have to say, you just look too sweet.
02:02 What got you into that?
02:04 Appearances can be deceiving, you know.
02:07 I can't say that I was always this sweet.
02:10 There was a period in my life that I have a lot
02:12 dark secrets, like living a double life.
02:15 Christian on the outside doing all the right things,
02:18 going to youth groups.
02:19 I was president of my youth group going to church.
02:21 I say I had a drug problem, my mother drug me
02:24 to church every Sunday.
02:25 So, by all outer appearances, I was a great kid.
02:29 National Honor Society, and all that.
02:31 But again living a double life, just a lot of promiscuity,
02:36 that I never understood why it started.
02:39 Or how I couldn't get off that treadmill.
02:42 Why I just kept looking for love in all the wrong places,
02:45 over and over again.
02:46 So when for each of us, there comes a time when we say,
02:48 you know what I'm going to deal with this.
02:50 When did that happen for you?
02:52 For me Cheri, it did not happen until I was in my late 20s.
02:56 I had been married seven years already and I came to my
03:00 husband crying...
03:01 To a normal guy who was a virgin when you guys got married
03:04 Yes, Greg was a 26-year-old virgin when we married.
03:06 And not that I cracked up on every virgin out there, but I
03:09 just think it's funny, I just didn't think they were there.
03:11 Opposites attract, but I came to him crying, you just don't
03:15 meet my emotional needs.
03:17 I was thinking of leaving him, and my two very young children.
03:20 Aaron was three and Matthew was a newborn.
03:22 But I was thinking of leaving in pursuit of the love
03:25 that I felt entitled to.
03:27 And I had no idea where I would go or how I would survive
03:29 I just felt so starved for attention and affection that I
03:34 didn't feel like I was getting enough of from Greg.
03:36 But fortunately he saw pass my weaknesses to my needs, and he
03:40 spoke the truth in love.
03:41 He said Shannon, you have a grand canyon of emotional needs.
03:45 He said, if every man in Dallas lined up outside your
03:49 doorstep to spent time with you, it would never be enough.
03:51 He said, until you look to God to satisfy your emotional needs,
03:54 there is nothing that I, or any other man on the planet,
03:56 can do to satisfy you.
03:58 I want to kiss him on the face for saying that.
03:59 A lot of all women would want to smack him.
04:01 Like with our hand, not with our lips.
04:03 I've thought about getting angry with him, because those
04:07 words really stung but they rang so true to my spirit cause
04:11 I have given lots of men plenty of opportunities to
04:13 meet my emotional needs.
04:15 No one ever lived up to that bill.
04:17 Right, and I did it, God can meet my emotional needs?
04:21 This is a side of God that I had never heard about.
04:23 Even though I had been raised in the church.
04:24 You hear about God as being a Savior and a
04:27 Master and a Father, but I did want a father.
04:31 I wanted a lover, I desperately wanted a lover,
04:35 and I had never heard of Jesus as the Lover of my soul.
04:38 Wow, even when you say that it brings tears to my
04:42 eyes because I think God so wants to be that for us.
04:44 We have been so skewed on what we think a lover is,
04:48 or a man is and what they are going to offer us because we
04:52 don't even know, we don't even know what we are looking for.
04:54 And we feel so unworthy of that love for when have
04:56 promiscuity in our past.
04:57 We can confuse sex and love all the time.
05:00 So it was hard for me to fathom that God could be that.
05:03 But I went through six months of intense
05:06 individual and group counseling.
05:08 And something that my husband had always said to me,
05:10 but I always denied it.
05:11 He would say Shannon, whenever I would tell him,
05:14 whenever you're tempted to act out.
05:16 You know, like a dog returns to its vomit and a fool
05:19 returns to it's folly.
05:20 I still feel emotionally tempted outside of our marriage.
05:23 He'd say Shannon, I know this is not about me and you,
05:25 this is about you and your dad.
05:27 I would just EREEEEEL! You know.
05:30 Its not about me and My dad, I don't want to talk about
05:33 my dad, I don't want to have anything to do with my dad.
05:34 So when I went to counseling that was what was revealed.
05:38 is you that know what, there was attention and affection that
05:41 I never felt that I received was growing up that created
05:44 that Grand Canyon in my heart.
05:46 Did you get a sense of the for one your husband
05:51 could just stay there and be so with you?
05:53 Going through this counseling, with the Holy Spirit,
05:56 with God, with this counselor, did you ever look at
05:59 God and say I'm so grateful that you hang
06:03 in there with us?
06:04 Oh absolutely, and Jesus, I'm sorry I mean Greg was so Jesus
06:08 with skin on to me.
06:09 I just expect that he would eventually get fed up and leave
06:13 or ask me to leave.
06:15 I think that a lot of my acting out emotionally was
06:19 subconsciously trying to give him a free jump ship pass,
06:22 saying I know I don't deserve you.
06:23 So if I was just a little bit unfaithful to you, you would
06:26 have cause to leave and you can go find a woman that you
06:29 deserve, because I certainly didn't deserve you.
06:31 Exactly, but Greg just kept saying over and over again,
06:34 I'm not going anywhere.
06:35 I remember one time I was suicidal.
06:38 That was just a few years into our marriage, and I told
06:41 him you know, I know that you knew I wasn't a virgin when
06:44 we married, but I don't think you have any idea of the
06:46 magnitude of what kind of baggage I have in my past.
06:50 And he, he said there's nothing you could tell me that
06:52 would change my commitment to this marriage.
06:54 And I said well, let me let me kind of make a list.
06:59 I had never made a list, I have never tried to make a list
07:02 of all the people that I had ever slept with.
07:04 When I got to certain numbers, I just thought, there was no
07:09 way I can remember all of them.
07:10 I had totally lost count, but I show him what I had.
07:13 And he just looked at me and said Shannon, it wouldn't
07:15 matter if you show me a hundred times more than that.
07:18 I'm still committed to this marriage.
07:21 I just, you know, it makes me cry because it is like
07:23 God was speaking through him.
07:25 Because for a lot of people, a lot of men and women,
07:28 is that we are so relationally addicted trying to get
07:30 these needs met, that we trash ourselves.
07:33 I think God a lot of times we think of God as looking at
07:36 us in judgment, and God looks at us with such pity saying
07:39 you're just injuring yourself more, and I love you.
07:41 Come back to me, let's heal this.
07:44 Yeah, when I started looking at some of my earlier years,
07:50 that's when I recognized that I had learned a pattern,
07:52 a very dysfunctional pattern very early in life, my counselor
07:57 asked me, she said Shannon, when is the first time you
07:59 remember hungering for male attention and affection?
08:02 And I actually remembered it as early as four years old.
08:05 Because I had an eight-year-old sister and a 10-year-old brother
08:08 And one day my eight-year-old sister suddenly died.
08:10 It just left everyone in the emotional state of shock.
08:13 Everybody shut down, my mother retreated to the kitchen
08:16 and my dad retreated to the shop, my brother
08:18 retreated to his bedroom.
08:19 And I was kind of in the living room used to being the
08:22 baby of the family getting all the attention but now I
08:24 thinking, what about me, where everybody go?
08:26 So I just grew up so lonely, so that when I was 11 or 12
08:31 years old and start developing breasts and hips, I had
08:34 a few uncles in my family, who proceeded to teach me if
08:37 you really want attention and affection from men, you can get
08:39 it if you're willing to play their games.
08:41 Games like can I touch you here or here.
08:43 And let's just keep this between the two of us,
08:46 because your parents would never understand our
08:48 special love for each other.
08:50 I was afraid that I would be the one to get in trouble
08:52 if I told so I just played along.
08:54 But I would never let them go all the way.
08:56 I later found out that these three uncles
08:58 had a bet going on amongst themselves as who would get
09:01 Shannon in bed first.
09:02 I am amazed that I was able to fight them off
09:05 for those years.
09:06 In hindsight, though, I recognize...
09:10 I just want to jump in because of a lot of folks that
09:15 don't have that kind of background just cannot even
09:18 understand a child being able, learning how to view the
09:23 world in those terms.
09:24 And yet I do counseling with at risk people all the time
09:27 and that is the majority of us are so damaged in those areas.
09:31 And so can you, can you explain a little bit.
09:35 For me, it was as if power was finally restored to me.
09:42 When I was a little girl, I had the power to turn my daddy's
09:45 head and my mom's head and my brother's head and get attention
09:47 But when all that shut down then my uncles paying
09:52 attention to me, it was like I had that restoration of power.
09:56 I'm okay, again.
09:57 And as long as I am willing to play this game then I can
09:59 have the attention and the affection that I craved.
10:01 I thought that flirting was the way that you get it.
10:04 Then I flirted myself into a corner when I was 14 with an
10:07 18-year-old boy who had a lot more than flirting on his mind.
10:10 And when he had preceded to have sex with me, I remember
10:13 distinctly thinking, I don't want him to think I was a tease.
10:17 So I better just go through with it.
10:19 I did what so many women all over the world do, we just
10:22 silently and passively allowing ourselves to be date raped.
10:25 And I was even dating the guy, but I had high hopes that he
10:28 would call the next day and were maybe we get married.
10:30 Of course he never called, and I felt rejected all over again.
10:33 So then what I started dating at 15, my parents allowed this,
10:36 in hindsight, that was way too young.
10:38 But I just thought that sex must be the price that I have to
10:41 pay to get attention.
10:43 From the ages of 15 to 20 years old it was basically one sexual
10:47 relationship after another.
10:48 and for a lot of people, what I think that we don't
10:50 understand is that because it doesn't meet that need really.
10:54 That we have then a grief reaction almost afterwards,
10:57 because it's like this was supposed to work.
11:00 You were supposed to love me.
11:01 And all of a sudden now I'm more damaged, more alone and
11:04 more isolated, and the acting out becomes more.
11:07 Sure, it's like a drug addiction.
11:09 It gets to the point that you have to have more,
11:11 and stronger and bigger hits.
11:13 And that's what I was basically doing.
11:16 I got involved with married men, men who were much older than me
11:19 And I think my counselor picked up on.
11:22 It seemed as if all of my sexual experiences had been with
11:26 men who were significantly older or in some form
11:29 of authority over me.
11:30 I was looking for a father figure to love me.
11:32 And the fact that it was sexual, gets so twisted, we get so
11:36 twisted that only God can untwist us.
11:40 And I go back to what I learned about
11:42 only God can get to those initial damages, that
11:46 we pile everything on top of.
11:47 I just love your husband I just have to tell him some day,
11:51 how cool is it that he just said, you know it's not about us
11:55 And I'm going to stay here, and I want you to so
11:57 get some healing in this area.
12:00 Yeah, I say that even though my ministry is to women the
12:02 back bone of it is a man.
12:03 I truly believe that Greg Ethridge taught me all that
12:07 I know about sexual integrity.
12:09 Of course, it's been the Holy Spirit, teaching through Greg.
12:11 Without his example of unconditional love in my life,
12:14 I really don't know where I would be.
12:16 I'm so grateful for that.
12:18 So in you're starvation when you are stay to him, I think
12:22 I have to leave and this I just can't do this anymore,
12:24 that was the sense of there was not a kind of elevated
12:28 attention, that somehow you had gotten to associate,
12:31 with love and acceptance.
12:33 And so he was just being normal.
12:35 I confused intensity for intimacy.
12:38 The intensity...
12:39 Say it again you've got to say it.
12:41 I confused intensity for intimacy.
12:43 So all those years that I was promiscuous...
12:46 Now wait a minute, is anybody hearing that?
12:47 You got hear that, because that is huge and for,
12:51 most of us, for men and women, especially women, as we do
12:54 that we just think that if you really are so into me
12:59 And if you're into me, its real and if your not its not real,
13:02 and the devil, and the emotions are high and the temptation is
13:05 great and the anger is yeah, high drama relationships are
13:09 what I was accustomed to.
13:10 So I then get married to this normal guy, and after a few
13:13 years you know the fireworks don't pop anymore.
13:15 When he kisses me, and it just becomes normal.
13:17 I didn't know what normal felt like, to me normal felt
13:20 like it's over, you must not really be my soul mate.
13:23 I must've married the wrong person.
13:25 I had no idea that we weren't burning out,
13:29 we were really just warming up here.
13:31 So let's now see if and I don't know if you go here in your
13:35 ministry, but the hardest thing for me to learn was to
13:38 staying present with my husband in a normal relationship.
13:42 And I didn't even know how to do that so it was like he was
13:45 asking for some thing I couldn't do, and that's
13:47 where I was going to find true intimacy.
13:48 And I didn't know how to it.
13:50 Well, I had to understand that that word intimacy can
13:53 best be understood by breaking it down into syllables
13:55 In to me see.
13:57 And what Greg was seeing inside of me.
13:59 I wasn't very proud of it, it was just all the junk,
14:02 and the filth and the guilt and the shame.
14:04 But that's the reality of what was there, and the fact
14:07 that he didn't turn tail and run gave me the courage to face
14:11 it myself in stead of sweeping it under the rug like I had
14:13 been for so many years.
14:15 Amen, yeah, but what's interesting to me is that I had
14:19 a period of 10 years of physical sobriety without having
14:23 emotional sobriety.
14:25 I got my wake-up call when I was 20 years old.
14:28 I was working in the funeral home.
14:30 I went to a mortuary college.
14:31 That cracks me up.
14:33 As I can't even see you with a dead body, said okay,
14:36 let's cut this up.
14:37 Yeah, well I grew up watching Quincy.
14:39 I wanted to be a pathologist, but I couldn't afford
14:41 medical school, so I thought be in a mortician would be
14:43 the next best thing right.
14:44 So I expected to be embalming people, who are in their
14:47 late 80s or 90s, which have reached the end of their life
14:50 and died of natural causes.
14:52 But I was shocked at how many people I was embalming
14:54 that was in their 20's or early 30's.
14:56 Who had either died of full-blown AIDS or committed
14:59 suicide because of and HIV positive diagnosis.
15:02 I remember standing over the embalming table, here I am,
15:04 20 years old, and these people within just a few years of me,
15:07 and I'm thinking, there but for the grace of God,
15:10 go I, I would think Lord how is it that I don't have AIDS?
15:14 I would go and get tested and the test would come back
15:17 negative, and I would just think how is it that You have
15:19 put such a huge hedge of protection around me
15:21 all these years.
15:22 And I sensed God saying Shannon, in if you will trust Me
15:26 with your future, I'll redeem your past.
15:28 I had no idea what that meant, but in hindsight,
15:30 I recognize Oh God so knew what He was He was doing,
15:33 He got my attention and drew me into the funeral home,
15:35 if nothing else just to teach me that lesson that you have
15:38 got to stop this dangerous destructive lifestyle before you
15:42 wind up on the embalming table.
15:44 And you know what I want to have people hear from you
15:47 right now, and from this program, is that anything that
15:50 you lay on the table in front of God, all that junk.
15:53 And that sexual sin that we are so ashamed of and afraid
15:56 of putting out there.
15:57 And I don't care what it is what the how twisted you have
16:02 gotten, you put on the table in front of God and He just
16:05 clears the table and set a banquet.
16:06 He says, I do so will bring you into healing even that
16:09 will turn out to be something that will be good for you.
16:13 You will walk away from that and be able to stand wholly
16:16 in the presence of a Holy God and smile.
16:18 And I am amazed as to how deep that healing has gone
16:21 because once upon a time, my biggest fear in life was
16:24 that people would know that I was that way.
16:26 Well remember, you say to your husband what to think when
16:30 I write these books.
16:31 What do you think people will think, you're married
16:34 to that kind of woman?
16:35 Yeah, yeah, but now my biggest fear is that people won't
16:38 know what God has done in my life and the only way I could
16:41 tell people what God has done and my life is to tell them
16:43 the depth of the pit that I've dug for myself.
16:46 I think God says, said out loud.
16:50 Only because if you were the only one that ever had
16:53 gotten stuck in sexual sin, if you were the only one that
16:56 trashed yourself in that way relationally, then I would
16:59 say keep it to yourself, and work through it with God.
17:01 But every time I travel hours and hours and You too,
17:04 I'm sure hours of working with people that are so damaged
17:07 in sexual addictions or relationships.
17:09 And the more you take off the mask and get real
17:12 with people, the more they respect you,
17:14 the more you appreciate you.
17:15 It's like it fills that emotional Grand Canyon
17:18 in a healthy way.
17:19 It's really a phenomenal feeling, but of course
17:21 it was a process.
17:22 It was a long journey, I can remember a time when I said
17:25 to my best friend, you know, I have made a list of all
17:28 my uncles that abused me, and every guy that was
17:30 promiscuous with me, and my father for emotionally
17:33 neglecting me as I was growing up.
17:35 When you said you made a list, my palms sweat.
17:39 I'm thinking, I don't want to do that.
17:41 It took me awhile to, it was important as part of my
17:44 recovering process making a list and asking forgiveness
17:47 where you need to ask forgiveness.
17:48 So you literally went back and healed all those spots.
17:52 And I actually wrote letters.
17:53 One set that I did not send just so I can be honest,
17:56 and real about what I was feeling.
17:58 The another set of letters that I actually did send to my father
18:02 to my dead sister, to my brother.
18:04 I mean, just wanted healing, I wanted it really, really bad.
18:07 But I remember a time when I said to my best friend,
18:10 I've made the list.
18:11 I've forgiven everybody on the planet that I know to
18:14 forgive, but I just can't forgive myself.
18:16 And Lisa so spoke truth to me, she says Shannon, do you
18:20 want to know what you're saying about the blood that
18:22 Christ shed for you, when you say
18:24 you can't forgive yourself?
18:25 She said, you are basically saying, that's not good enough
18:29 God, what else have you got?
18:30 What kind of special miracle can You do for me to set
18:32 me free, because that's not good enough.
18:34 It's like spitting on the blood that Christ shed.
18:37 And I just thought Lord for be it for me to question that
18:40 what You did for me is enough?
18:42 I chose to forgive myself.
18:45 And I live in freedom, and it feels so wonderful.
18:47 As you know that's really interesting, because when
18:50 you talk, you can see that freedom it's so clear.
18:53 I know what it feels like, I for God to say,
18:57 You know when I was driving down the street,
18:59 and I was listening to the song that talks about,
19:04 you know will I dance for you Jesus and I'll be real still,
19:08 I can only imagine.
19:09 And so I'm singing and I'm in such an incredible spiritual
19:12 place, and it says will I dance for you Jesus and I was
19:16 homeless for 10 years.
19:17 I worked in clubs, danced and all that stuff, and I started
19:23 sobbing, just see in the whole ugliness
19:25 of that entire lifestyle.
19:26 I was sobbing and I had to pull over because
19:29 I just couldn't drive.
19:30 And I heard the Holy Spirit say,
19:32 you will and it will be good.
19:33 And I just cried and I thought, how could you love so much.
19:36 I just do it and you just have to receive that and I can see
19:40 that when you speak I can see it all over you that you have
19:43 received His forgiveness.
19:44 You have forgiven yourself, and now you're helping us.
19:47 Yeah, and it's enough, and I had a really great revelation
19:50 from God one day, as I was writing this most recent book on
19:53 spiritual intimacy, I had written on sexual integrity
19:56 and sexual intimacy and marriage,
19:58 But I wanted to write on spiritual intimacy, because
20:00 without spiritual intimacy with Christ, I don't know how
20:02 anybody recovers from anything.
20:04 I was asking God one day, Why is it that we have
20:07 physiological responses to our emotions, like why do we
20:10 get sweaty palms and butterflies in our stomachs,
20:12 that whenever we sense that somebody's turning their
20:14 attention toward us that we get all giddy?
20:16 I sensed God saying Shannon, it's because I want human
20:19 beings to understand how I feel when they turn their
20:22 attentions towards Me.
20:23 And I thought wait a minute God, You get giddy over me?
20:26 Thank God says every time you lift your hands and worship,
20:30 every time you lift your heart in prayer, every time you
20:32 turn your attentions to Me,
20:33 I just do back flips over you Shannon.
20:35 I did God does back flips over me, that makes me get
20:39 out of bed every day.
20:40 Yeah, yeah.
20:41 How fun is that, an even if that image is that we
20:44 want, we want to separate all that from God and God says,
20:47 you know what, I adore you, I love you.
20:49 Well, we want to look at God as that distant
20:51 disciplinarian who wants to strike us down if we commit
20:54 one sin too many, because that's how I viewed my earthly father.
20:56 And we do have the tendency to view our Heavenly Father the
20:59 same lens that we view our earthly father.
21:02 But I had to understand and know that my Heavenly Father
21:05 loves me with a much purer love than what my earthly father
21:08 was capable of doing.
21:09 In the really great thing is that when I let God, whew me
21:12 and pursue me and heal me and do all those things and become
21:15 the lover of my soul.
21:16 I developed an incredible love for my father
21:19 and we have a wonderful relationship now.
21:22 I can sit in his lap, he holds my hand whenever walking
21:26 through Home-Depot.
21:27 It's just we have a closeness now that I never fathom possible
21:31 but again, just the healing goes so deep,
21:34 when we surrender it all to God.
21:35 God does want us healed and never relationship in every area
21:40 of our life.
21:41 It is funny that I had this abusive background, and as I get
21:44 healed, I remember laughing with a parent, putting on roller
21:48 skates that kind of thing.
21:49 You know what as you heal, you will be able to heal those
21:54 Because He just is crazy about us, absolutely.
21:57 So I want to ask you to for somebody that's trapped
22:02 stuck in addiction.
22:03 What kind of things and people need to know.
22:07 What do I do today?
22:09 How do I get out of this, as I am twisted, I am ashamed,
22:13 I am quiet with all that.
22:14 I put on this Christian mask, and it's killing me because
22:17 I know it's not who I am.
22:18 Right, well the first thing you have to do to learn is
22:20 who you are in Christ, reading God's Word.
22:23 You begin to understand I am a friend of Christ, I am a
22:26 child of God, I am an ambassador for Christ.
22:29 The list is a mile long of all the things you are.
22:32 Even if you keep saying to yourself that you don't
22:34 know me to God says, I know you.
22:36 Well, we have to understand, it's not a feeling.
22:38 It's a fact, our feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness
22:43 does not change the fact that we are still a friend of God.
22:45 We're still a child of God.
22:46 We have to accept this is who we are, this is, who God
22:49 created us to be.
22:50 This is who Christ died to restore us as that's right.
22:53 So understanding who you are is very, very pivotal and
22:57 then looking back at the things you have done along the way,
23:00 that word was a detour from that look at those as spiritual
23:03 markers, stop looking at those,
23:05 oh but look at who I am, that's not who you are,
23:07 that's what you did.
23:08 There's a big difference between what you did and who you are.
23:10 What you did is a spiritual marker of how far God
23:13 has brought you since then.
23:15 Even if it's only a day, even it was just yesterday look at
23:18 how far God has brought you today.
23:19 I want to encourage people join up with a,
23:22 celebrate recovery group.
23:23 I was in Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous for six months,
23:26 And I to continue to go whenever I needed
23:29 accountability to find a group of people that
23:31 you can connect with and be real with.
23:33 I think what is really interesting, for a lot of
23:35 people, is they try to do it on their own.
23:37 It's really tough about that is that I can lie to myself,
23:41 better than I can lie to anyone else.
23:43 So in a group, you have accountability.
23:45 You listen to people, stop and I can listen to yourself
23:49 if, say all men I've got just that way I know exactly how
23:51 you feel and I can heal by just listening to someone else.
23:55 And a lot of times, I think that the first early disciples
23:59 did that just by hanging out with each other.
24:01 And we don't tend to hang out with each other as much and
24:04 I think that's why a specific groups are so important.
24:06 So important, absolutely.
24:08 But I do want to warn people though, that whenever you
24:10 start taking those steps towards requiring and start really
24:13 doing the hard work of looking at your stuff, and putting
24:17 on your big girl panties in dealing with your issues.
24:18 What's going to happen is that Satan is going to try
24:22 everything he can to drag you back down to that sin.
24:24 But you just look at that as a test of your
24:27 testimony that you can pass that test,
24:30 and how much greater.
24:32 Is your testimony going to be when you can say as I continue
24:35 to be tempted in that area had the strength to walk away
24:38 and choose a new lifestyle.
24:39 I remember one time, Brad and I had a huge fight and this is
24:43 as I was trying to do all the healing those sexual areas
24:46 and forget who I am as a woman of God.
24:48 And we had this huge fight, and I'm getting on the airplane
24:51 to go do something and I hate to just leave him
24:53 in the middle of that.
24:54 And I get on the plane, and I'm like so distracted because
24:57 I'm thinking we just are is so at odds at each other.
25:01 And I looked at my seat and the guy next to me was the
25:04 cutest guy that I've ever seen on the planet.
25:06 In this little airport.
25:08 I'm the pilot outfit and I'm thinking, Oh Satan shut up.
25:12 I'm not that easy.
25:14 I literally just it was almost like I had to laugh out
25:19 loud that we too have an adversary that will try to trip
25:22 us up in all the kind of stuff and so when you start
25:25 working on this, you're going to have cute little pilots sitting
25:28 next to you.
25:29 Also when we start opening up, and we start forming
25:33 spiritual bonds with other people that can be misleading
25:35 that spiritual intimacy can lead to sexual
25:38 intimacy so quickly.
25:39 There is a fine line between spirituality and sexuality,
25:42 so we have to understand is, that when we are dealing
25:44 with sex and love addiction.
25:45 It is better for women to be in relationship with women
25:49 and men to be in relationship with men.
25:51 And to think that you can do it any other way is
25:55 Ridiculous, you will get tripped up.
25:58 I tried going into the mixed group of Sex and Love Addicts
26:00 Anonymous, but for me personally it was like an
26:03 alcoholic walking into a bar to try to have an AA meeting.
26:07 Right there inside the bar it was too distracting for me.
26:09 But my woman's only group there I could relax and go
26:13 deep, I could be myself.
26:14 And some people, which is really important to learn to its
26:19 there are so many issues with my mom on top of that that
26:21 women's only I had to heal as a woman with women before I
26:27 could actually heal sexually and benefit by having a group
26:30 with women.
26:31 And so it's like God is just saying, I know exactly what
26:34 you need and will take all the steps.
26:35 You may not as you step into a woman's group you may not deal
26:39 with your sexuality yet.
26:40 You may do with mom issues and the fact that I don't know
26:43 who I am as a woman and all those kind of things,
26:45 but embrace every part of the journey.
26:47 Well and something that was helpful from my counselor to do
26:50 with me, she said Shannon, I know you don't want a heavenly
26:53 father right now because I still had all that anger.
26:55 And until I ripped up all those phonebooks and did all that
26:58 screaming and yelling, I didn't care.
27:00 I still had all in me, and she said, stop trying to look
27:04 at God as the heavenly father look at God as a heavenly
27:06 mother, because God has a feminine side too.
27:09 My mother was very caring, very loving, and very patient,
27:12 kind, nurturing.
27:13 When I started to look at God through that lens, the healing
27:17 really took place and what is really funny is that my mom
27:20 and dad both had to issues.
27:22 So when I saw the scripture that God is my friend,
27:25 I just cried.
27:27 I thought Oh stop, I latched onto that, even take it
27:31 where you need to take it as the Holy Spirit because some
27:33 people have to take it away from any parental thing,
27:35 but it says the Bible, God is your friend and friends
27:39 aren't related, they choose to spend time with you
27:42 and I needed all that.
27:43 So it's like he wants to be here I think as you let God work,
27:48 and I see that in your testimony you're saying the same thing.
27:52 Let the Holy Spirit kind of direct where you go with that
27:55 and another thing that was kind of discabooberating to me.
27:59 in the first group that I attended.
28:01 These women were talking about how their taking bubble baths
28:04 and for walks, and I'm just thinking, I'm here to talk
28:06 about sexual issues.
28:07 I don't know what you ladies are talking about.
28:09 But what I had come to under stand that they were talking
28:12 about their self-care that they were tending to their own
28:15 emotional needs and that was keeping them from acting out
28:17 with other people.
28:18 And as I learned to walk, I was learning to talk with God.
28:22 As I learned to bask in a bubble bath,
28:24 I was learning to listen to God.
28:25 that it is in those quiet moments that we can be
28:28 by ourselves, that we truly hear the voice of the Lord.
28:31 And you've worked with Fred Stroker before with every
28:33 Man's Battle, Fred one time shared with me a woman came in,
28:38 and she was leaning against him and he was just trying to
28:43 work out how to kind of stop that.
28:45 But he said he realized at that moment, she was talking about
28:48 different things and her husband's sexual addiction
28:50 and at that moment he realized that God had brought him to
28:53 a place where he was safe.
28:55 And he said, I wanted to cry, and I want to say to her,
28:58 can you excuse me for a minute, because I just want to say.
29:00 God, thank you.
29:01 And there is a sense for women to, is are we safe in the
29:06 body of Christ with men.
29:07 If I'm not in my flirting mode, if I've healed from that
29:10 kind of Grand Canyon need to have all this attention,
29:12 I am safer for men.
29:14 It's huge, the ramifications for healing in this area are
29:18 absolutely huge.
29:19 I think that we need to trust our radar, I think there are
29:22 certain people that yes they can be safe healing
29:24 relationships for us, but there are other people that
29:27 you just kind of get that warning.
29:32 in your spirit that says this is not a safe direction
29:35 and you need to heed that warning.
29:36 Exactly at what is really cool about that is just being
29:39 able to say God showed me the difference, because right
29:44 now my flesh wants to flirt and God is saying Oh baby
29:49 Not good for you.
29:51 And with your husband even the fact that you are able
29:53 with your husband and very few men will let their wives do
29:57 this, Brad will let me do this to, is that with your husband
29:59 being able to say, I'm so tempted right now.
30:01 Being able to be open with him
30:03 or with your wife or whatever on these issues and not have
30:05 them feel its personal and threatened by the right,
30:08 Right, that was my lifeline, Greg holding me accountable.
30:11 And I'm so thankful that I had the courage that God gave me the
30:14 courage to be that open with him, because I think if
30:17 I had just hid it would have been a much bigger slippery
30:20 slope, which would have led to a much deeper pit.
30:22 Whatever we keep in this shadows the devil plays with us.
30:25 I believe.
30:26 Absolutely, and so, whether it's a spouse or so best friend
30:28 or counselor, you need to be honest and real was someone
30:32 on the planet about what you are dealing with we confess
30:34 our sins to one another that we may be healed.
30:36 And the healing in this area is more important
30:41 than the healing in most areas we are going to
30:43 open it up for questions.
30:44 And I want to just say that there are people here at the
30:48 café that are dying to ask you something because you know,
30:50 sex is important all of us.
30:51 So are going to open it up for questions.
30:54 I want to first say what ever just say whatever you want.
30:59 Because I just think with this were talking about sex okay?
31:04 And so Amanda.
31:05 As you say, date rape as a 14-year-old in high school.
31:10 Did you run away and hide or did you tell
31:13 talk to somebody about it?
31:15 What did you do?
31:16 Well, this was a young man that did not attend my school,
31:20 so it's not like I had to encounter him on a regular basis
31:22 and I think that our was so embarrassed by the fact that I
31:25 paid a price but did get the goods than I thought I was
31:28 going to get a relationship out of the deal and I didn't I
31:30 I just didn't tell until anyone.
31:32 I didn't tell my parents because I wasn't allowed to be alone
31:35 with a boy and I was afraid I would get in trouble.
31:37 And so I carried that secret for probably about 10 years.
31:40 That has happened to so many people.
31:42 Before I recognized how deeply that wounded me and how
31:46 it set me on a course toward making dysfunctional choice
31:49 after dysfunctional choice, I just didn't know
31:52 what to do with it.
31:53 But I think bringing it to the light, talking it through with
31:57 First of yourself, then of the other person that has been
32:02 very helpful for me.
32:03 It's almost like a domino effect that we set up that one
32:08 thing falls on another and on another and we just get so
32:11 damaged and so twisted and God says, you know what
32:15 I want to heal every single area.
32:17 I'm not ashamed of you I have never pulled my love
32:20 from you and I so want to heal you.
32:23 That domino effect can work for the bad, but it can also
32:25 work for the good.
32:26 God assumed pulling back layer after layer of things He wants
32:29 to heal in our lives.
32:30 And we just get stronger and healthier.
32:31 That's incredible and I never thought about that, but it
32:34 is as God pours out into us that we can stand outside
32:38 of all that garbage.
32:39 Okay, any other questions.
32:40 Nyse go-ahead.
32:42 Of course, I have one.
32:43 I'm outnumbered here are those a lot estrogen going on and
32:47 very little testosterone, but I'm going to take advantage
32:49 of this opportunity.
32:50 Usually it's the guys where society puts the perspective
32:54 that the guy has to be pure because he's the one that
32:56 messes up everything you know before you get into
32:59 the relationship, I'm still looking.
33:01 I'm waiting on the Lord to bless me with a significant other.
33:03 But I an going to take advantage.
33:05 What because we just realize here hey, it is not only the
33:09 guys who mess up.
33:10 Sometimes it happens on the other end.
33:13 You mentioned some items there about the
33:15 emotional needs being met.
33:17 Yes, the guy needs to trust in God but what else stuck out
33:21 most about your husband about being there to listen
33:25 me like what more can I do.
33:26 But we guys what can we do you know?
33:29 Sure before I get into that.
33:31 I just want to say to you, woman to man, me representative
33:36 of women and you be representative of all men.
33:38 We just want to say we are sorry for how we have always
33:40 pointed the finger at men and said these sexual
33:42 issues they are all your problem.
33:44 These are your fault, no, it takes two to tango.
33:46 We often flirt and tease.
33:48 We often lead you in those directions and we are sorry that
33:51 there is that Stigma in men's mind's, because women are sexual
33:54 beings to and we have to work on our stuff too, so yeah.
33:57 You may get a woman even though she is in a great place
34:00 in live currently maybe she has an emotional things
34:03 the past, sexual promiscuity, sexual abuse, and it is
34:06 really good that you are asking the question now,
34:08 how can I help her heal?
34:09 Because as a husband or a wife, it is the huge agent
34:12 of healing in their spouse and I think the biggest thing
34:15 that Greg did for me was that he never ever once threw
34:18 it in my face.
34:19 And he always treated me with the same trust level as if
34:22 I had never slept around at all, so whenever I traveled,
34:26 you know whenever I was at home alone.
34:28 He never asked, was anyone there with you or,
34:31 who's could be in that car you meeting up with anybody?
34:34 He was never suspicious, he always gave me far more credit
34:37 than I even gave myself.
34:39 He knew that my guilty conscience would bring me to the
34:43 altar of repentance and confession much faster than his
34:47 pointing a finger would.
34:48 So he just never threw it up.
34:50 He never brought it up.
34:51 He was available to me whenever I needed to talk about it,
34:54 but he never reminded me of my past.
34:57 I love and one other thing that it seems like he did or,
35:01 I know that my husband, does for me is that that he's
35:05 so doesn't engage, if I want to be chaotic and crazy and
35:10 drama non-non-non-na na.
35:12 Brad said, I think that's your stuff than he doesn't have to
35:15 take it on himself.
35:16 He doesn't have to pretend he understands it's like you
35:18 know I don't even understand where you just went.
35:21 But I love you.
35:22 And if she starts feeling tempted remember, this is
35:25 probably not about you and her, this is probably about
35:28 her and some things from her past and you can be that
35:31 agent of healing by just remaining calm and saying.
35:33 I'm going to look past your weaknesses to recognize what
35:36 your real needs are, because women are looking for love they
35:39 need unconditional love, and when you stick in there with her
35:42 she going to feel that unconditional love, where she
35:44 needs to feel it from, her husband.
35:46 I love you, I want to say thank you for being on the show.
35:49 Thank you for joining us.
35:50 Thank you for sharing all that and I want to thank God for
35:53 His healing in your life, How cool.
35:55 This was
35:58 We have too much to say in a little bit of time so hopefully
36:00 Shannon is going to come back sometime.
36:02 I just go into more detail about what she has experienced
36:05 in recovery, but right now we are going to take a break.
36:07 Stay with us, we will be right back!