Paul was very discouraged when he came in to his counseling session.  He had fallen again into pornography use and masturbation.  He felt he would never overcome this vice in spite of the progress he had made.  When he began recovery, he was viewing porn and masturbating daily.  Now he was falling into it about once a month.  His hopelessness was making it difficult for him to embrace the recovery process and the success he had achieved.  Rationally he knew recovery would take time; however, emotionally he wanted to be rid of this vice immediately.

For many men who struggle with pornography use/addiction, breaking free can be frustrating.  There can be many falls before sobriety is achieved.  It’s very easy to get discouraged.  Here is where it’s important to embrace the virtues of hope, patience, and perseverance in recovery.  Let’s define each of these virtues and discuss how they are intertwined in recovery.

There are many definitions for hope.  The one I like in this situation is “to expect with confidence.”  In this definition the word “expect” means waiting, and “confidence” means being sure of.  Thus, one who has hope is sure that in time he will achieve his goal.  Hope is a theological virtue, meaning it is a gift from God.  This is one way that God is intimately involved in recovery.  Through the virtue of hope one can grow patience knowing he can succeed in recovery.

The best definition for patience in recovery is “bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint.” In recovery, pains and trials occur when one falls into pornography use and masturbation again, despite one’s best efforts to avoid them.  Patience can help one endure such falls and learn from them.  One can then use this information to strengthen his recovery program and avoid such falls in the future.  This can increase hope for success in recovery.  Because there can be several falls before true sobriety is achieved, perseverance is also needed.

To persevere means “to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement.”  Thus, in recovery, one needs to press on every day in spite of trials and failures.  Here is where hope and patience are also needed to help one recognize that amid the trials and failures there are victories and successes.  This can help one endure discouragement and press on. 

As time passes, with hope, patience and perseverance most men come to realize that the victories and successes in recovery outnumber the trials and failures.  This further strengthens hope, patience and perseverance, which contributes to the ultimate victory over pornography use and masturbation. 

So how do we grow in these virtues?  First we pray for them.  Every day ask God to strengthen these virtues in your life.  Ask Him to provide opportunities to grow in hope, patience, and perseverance in recovery and many other areas of your life.  God will not ignore these prayers.  Through the people you encounter and in challenging situations, you will find yourself growing in hope patience and perseverance.  It may be challenging at times, but the results will be worth it.  You will be able to endure the challenges of recovery and ultimately eliminate pornography and masturbation from your life.

Understand the value of hope, patience and perseverance in his recovery helped Paul pray for them every day and to look for opportunities to grow in them.  While he still felt sad when he fell, he was able to offer the falls up to the Lord, learn from them, and move forward in recovery.  This helped him see that there were more victories than falls.  This built momentum in his recovery and the falls began to decrease.  While Paul still struggles at times, he is grateful for his progress and knows that in time he will overcome his addiction.

Source:

Definitions for Hope, Patience, and Perseverance from https://www.merriam-webster.com.