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What it Takes to Be an Iron Man in Recovery

May 5, 2010

Here’s a review of Iron Man 2 from,
the great site from the Christian ministry Focus on the Family.

This post however is an encouragement to you to stay strong in your recovery (sexual addiction or otherwise) and be a “Recovery Iron Man”!

“Iron Man” is hot right now.  It has blockbuster status and means box office bucks.  It fills the toy aisles at Toys R Us.  It’s selling lots of MP3s.  

The term “iron man” used to describe an endurance athlete.  Think Ironman Triathalon.  A person who had so trained their body and built up their stamina that they were able to go a great distance and compete.  

That’s the type of person I want to be with my recovery and with my sexual purity.  I want to be an Iron Man!  I want to endure, get better, and bring great glory to God with my energy, passion, creativity, and sexuality.  

As I am learning from those who are going the distance in their sexual addiction recovery, I see at least 5 characteristics that make them Iron Men.  

1.  A Good Shaking in Their Lives
Most of the veterans I know in recovery have experienced some hard bottoming out.  They have come to the end of themselves several times.  They have gone through a humbling.  They have experienced brokenness.  They have experienced a deep sense of loss.  

God’s shaking takes away a person’s dependence on himself.  It might have come through great loss, great consequences, or a harsh shot of reality.  

God also shakes away a person’s selfishness and self-centeredness.  The Iron Men I know in recovery are humble people who pour themselves into other guys.

2.  A Strong Rebuild
Recovery Iron Men have had their lives rebuilt.  They have cut off unhealthy habits, relationships, and attitudes.  Their lives are being built on healthy ones.  Emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and even physically, they are different.  They are stronger.  They have learned to filter out the materials that take away from their purity and only allow the good building materials. 

3.  The Right Support Structure
An Iron Man doesn’t become an Iron Man by himself.  He surrounds himself with a whole team that can encourage him, challenge him, comfort him, and walk with him through muddy waters.  His team might be counselors, pastors, a support group, accountability buddies, and his spouse.  The Iron Man has also learned to tell his support team exactly what he’s feeling and struggling with so they can give him the right help he needs. 

4.  Lots of Strengthening and Conditioning
Iron Men in recovery are building themselves and training.  They spend the necessary time in the Bible and in prayer.  They nurture healthy relationships with their spouse and with other guys.  They endure and gut through the challenges.  They know when to take a rest, and when to charge hard.  They go to conferences and intensives to sharpen their tools.  They have tune up appointments with counselors so they won’t slip.  They get in the trenches with other guys and help them along, only making themselves stronger. 

5.  Time and Distance
A recovery Iron Man knows that this is a marathon.  The ups and downs are not as important as is running a good race and making it to the finish line.  

The Iron Man believes in LSD– long slow distance running. 

The Iron Man knows that recovery is a process.  He has to keep working at it over time.  He knows that he has to build greater distance between his old, bottom line behaviors and himself.  He knows that each step in the right direction is one more step of separation.  

The Iron Man knows that the healing of his heart and of relationships takes time.  Things won’t be restored in a day.  Trust won’t be restored quickly.  


Q:  What other traits of a recovery a Iron Man can you think about?
Q:  What are the recovery veterans you know doing right?

** Jeff and his wife Marsha have been in recovery since 2007 from Jeff’s sexual struggles.  They have found God’s victory, healing, and renewal in their marriage.  They are co-creaters of  Jeff podcasts twice a week on “Top Tips For Sexual Purity” (I-Tunes) sharing quick, meaty bites that he’s learning in his own recovery process.

  1. May 5, 2010 8:06 am

    Very motivating! You touch on it above but Iron men get past themselves and start to listen to the difficult feedback about themselves from others. Iron men make amends for their wrongs and wherever possible seek forgiveness and reconciliation. Broken relationships make up a big part of the power source of sexual sin.

    Iron men experience a greater sense of peace and joy knowing they are fighting the good fight.

  2. May 5, 2010 9:38 am

    An ironman also has lazer focus. He knows what he needs to keep his mind pinned on, Jesus Christ, and he keeps it there! He only allows good foods into his system, the thnings that will build him up, not take away from what he has been able to build up.

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