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Taking Off the Braces in Sexual Recovery

April 1, 2010

A month ago I had a knee injury.  I was playing volleyball at the gym and my knee gave out when I turned on it.  The diagnosis from the doctor was that I had some damage to my MCL (the inside joint around the knee) and possibly some damage to the meniscus (the inside joint connecting the leg bones).   

Prescription:  A knee brace, and some physical therapy exercises.   

Yesterday, I went to the doctor to check the progress.  I had been doing my exercises aggressively and being very careful with my walking.  Everything is looking good.  I can’t go back to volleyball for a while, but I can take my brace off and walk, job or run.  I was so excited.   

So today is my first day back at work without the brace!  I’m glad I’m healing, but I’m still very fearful of turning wrong and causing injury again.   

I want to borrow from this illustration and make some recovery applications.   


1.  We have injured ourselves with our sexual acting out – Our sexuality has been damaged.  Our hearts have been darkened and turned to idolatry.  We have damaged our intimacy.  Our minds are poisoned with sexual images.  Our lust and desires are on overdrive. 

2.  We have needed a brace to get well – Structure is so important in recovery.  [Blog:  The Importance of Structure]  We need internal structure and external structure.  We need to setup roadblocks and healthy relationships.  We need to do things to fortify our hearts.  A huge part of our recovery is getting out of isolation and learning to depend on other people.  Generally, the more structure we can setup, the better. 

3.  Healing takes time – We need that brace on a lot longer than we think.  We are really worse off than we think.  We have to deal with the pain, do our exercises, and repeat.  God knows the perfect amount of time it takes for us to heal thoroughly.  If we take the brace off too soon, we slip and relapse. 

4.  We need skilled help – Counselors, pastors, sponsors, and other “broken world” people are important to our recovery.  We need to hear their wisdom and mind it.  We need to know how to walk through our mess and pick up the pieces.  We need guidance when we are feeling different types of pain and having trouble walking right. 

5.  We need to take the brace off at the right time – We should not neglect our support structure.  That’s guaranteed relapse.  But at the right time, we can be trusted with certain things again:  phone calls, purchases, time alone, computer time (still with accountability software on it), relationships, etc.  If we have gained strength, proved trustworthy, and been consistent in our recovery, we can be allowed some new freedoms.  We still have to be fearful, and aware of our steps.  But if you are ready to take the brace off, you have already established a lot of healthy new habits. 

One thing that’s extremely encouraging, is that there is a right time to take the brace off.  You and I can get there.  God wants us to grow healthy in our sexuality, then function within His boundaries.  It is an incredibly freeing thing!  If you are ready to walk without a brace, keeping one on can actually inhibit your recovery.   

Good for you, first of all.  You have proven yourself trustworthy.   

Check the Attitude – We can’t forget that we have crossed over lines in the past.  It’s easier for us to cross them again in a relapse.  We can’t loose focus.  We have to remember where we’ve come from, and know we could end up there again if we’re not careful.   

Check the Support – We also have to make sure we are don’t fall into neglect.  Taking the brace off doesn’t mean you stop leaning on guys.  A healthy person in recovery has learned to recognize triggers and temptations, pause, and go to other guys for help.  You don’t need a babysitter anymore.  But maturing people in recovery know when to pick up the phone and check-in.   


This happens to many; we get out on our own and lose focus.  We slip and fall and mess our knee up again.   

Prescription:  Renew your focus.  Call the doctor.  Put the brace back on.  Ice the knee.  Go back and get stronger. 



One Comment
  1. April 1, 2010 10:20 am

    I love this example. I’m in a group were the guys are all at different points. Some not only need the brace, but a whole body cast! LOL. Others need the brace, some of us need a cane (just to help keep us propped up). People need to understand that there is a healing process that needs to go on. That this isn’t just a turn it on turn it off type of problem. I remember reading about how long it takes to get over smoking, the article said it would be “At least” twice as long as you were smoking for. For me if I use the double for my pornography problem (more of a past tense) I’m looking at 64 years (at least). My wife and I both know that this will be a lifelong issue. I’m at a point were the cane is going in the closet, but I understand that I may need it or something stronger at any time, it I let my guard down.

    Blessings and keep up the good fight!

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