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Surprised by Addiction

These ministers faced their compulsions""and stayed in ministry.

Addictions come in various forms: alcohol, gambling, drugs, pornography, overeating, and binge shopping, just to name a few. Whatever the particular vice, addictions thrive on secrecy and shame. And while addictions can be difficult for anyone to divulge, pastors face an even greater challenge in revealing their struggles. They risk losing not only friends, but their livelihood as well. As a result, many wander down the dark path of secrecy, isolation, and despair. But more are beginning to seek help.

David, a 41-year-old Lutheran minister in Southern California, has been free for more than a year from online pornography, although no one else on staff at his church even realizes he had a problem.

He kept taking bigger risks, escalating to a crisis point where he found himself in a chat room with video capabilities with an underage girl. David found help through anonymous weekly meetings of a church-based sexual addiction recovery group, Operation Integrity. The meetings, along with the help ...

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