Jerry writes, "I discovered self-gratification around the age of 11 or 12. I was hooked, and it quickly became a daily habit that enslaved me. A couple of years later, I got drunk on a camping trip and showed my friends how to self-gratify. You can imagine my shame and embarrassment the next morning when I woke up and realized what I had done! I shudder when I think about it.
As a Junior and Senior in high school, my friends and I went to strip clubs, and peep shows, and going to bars to pick up women was what we did for fun. Being an atheist, this seemed normal to me. But even as an atheist, I clearly remember times as a 20-year-old dreading taking a shower because I badly wanted to be free from self-gratification, but I knew I was unable to stop by myself. I was THAT enslaved. I’m just glad that internet porn wasn’t readily available at that time.
At 27 years of age, I put my faith in Jesus and was baptized on February 1st, 1988. I immediately stopped the daily self-gratification, drinking, drugs, filthy language, and other obvious sins. My gratitude for what Jesus did for me transformed me. But I did still struggle with self-gratification sometimes.
The men in my life that were teaching me to obey confessed their sin to me and encouraged me to be open and confess mine to them. This accountability helped because without it I probably would have lived a secret life of self-gratification while going to church and acting like everything was fine.
Even with the help of accountability, I fell to self-gratification every 2 or 3 weeks until I got married in 1992. But even after being married, I would still give in maybe once a month. I would confess when I did, and it was always embarrassing, but this pattern continued until a friend told me about Setting Captives Free (1.0). The focus on overcoming sexual sin, consistent accountability, and the victory stories helped me to be free of self-gratification for about two years.
But then, in a moment of weakness, I gave in to self-gratification, and that opened the door to occasional falls over the next year or two, so I decided to come back to Setting Captives Free where I found the new focus on Jesus’ work on the cross, and I love it! The sixty lessons have taken me a year, but that’s because I am intentionally savoring the focus on the cross.
Focusing on Jesus on the cross has given me freedom from self-gratification since I started this course a year ago. I hope never to give in to this sin again, but regardless, I know Jesus has redeemed me, and I will always be grateful for that and put my hope in Him."