Pastor and his wife find healing, purpose after his porn addiction

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Birmingham (WZDX) — Did you know Alabama ranks fourth in the nation for the amount of time spent on adult porn websites according to a recent study

For some, that habit is tearing apart marriages and families across the Tennessee Valley. It could have cost a Birmingham pastor and his wife their marriage, but as their story shows, healing, hope, and happiness are possible.

Greg and Stacey Oliver attend Mountaintop Church in Birmingham, where Greg started a new role as pastor in March 2018. After getting fired from his job as Worship Pastor nine years ago, he wondered if he would ever be a pastor again. Now, he is Pastor for Care and Recovery at Mountaintop.

He lost his job at a Birmingham church after getting caught with pornography in January 2009.
“Thankfully, I eventually made a mistake through an email I sent to someone I had a connection with.”

The juggling act was over.

“There was the part that everybody saw, who was a music and worship pastor, who was leading the band, leading the church in worship, and then there was the part of me that no one — including my wife knew about — this person had been struggling with sexual sin and addictive stuff, pornography for years and it kept progressively getting worse.”

It was a secret struggle for 17 years of his marriage. 

“Foolishly I believed for a long time that finding better efforts, better self will techniques, that I would be able to defeat it on my own, and it just doesn’t ever work like that. it kept getting worse and worse. What started as kind of dabbling, porn addiction, eventually crossed the line into physical adultery,” he said.

Those secrets that impacted their relationship.

“A good decade of the wrong input affected what I was able to be and how I was able to be with my wife,” he said. “Pornography teaches wrong lessons about sex. It teaches that it’s on demand. It teaches that it should be whenever I want it. I don’t have to think about another person. I don’t have to be vulnerable.”*

Stacey experienced posttraumatic stress syndrome after everything came to light.

Both she and her husband committed to the process of getting healthy.

“We got into counseling right away, which was great. She was really good in just helping us understand addiction and that was helpful for me,” said Stacey, Greg’s wife. “She told Greg about a men’s group he should go to. There wasn’t a group I could go to, but she told me about a lady who had been through the same things and her husband was in ministry.” 

She and Greg have found purpose through their pain now helping others struggling with sex and pornography addiction through Awaken Recovery, the gospel-based ministry they started in 2015.

“Through what we’ve walked through, and now we’re doing what we’re doing, and the amount of people that reach out — it blows my mind,” said Stacey. “I still kind of think at times, why do we have to do sex addiction recovery ministry because it’s hard. cut. It’s really an obedience thing for me. God has walked me through it, and I’m not just going to stuff it. I’m going to talk about it.”

It’s a conversation that is helping others open up about their struggles.

“God can heal anybody, but he uses people. He does that in (the) community,” said Stacey.

Community and counseling are both keys, they say, in the recovery process. Through Awaken Recovery, Greg and Stacey hold group meetings, where people who have been impacted by porn and sex addiction are encouraged to share their stories and support one another. They say that group support is critical in the healing process. They now offer virtual group meetings for people seeking this type of community and support who live outside the Birmingham area. Meetings are held online, giving people the opportunity to connect with one another virtually.

“I don’t live in the shame of our story. I wouldn’t say that I would have picked this story,” said Stacey. “But I see how God has used everything in my life up to this point to allow me to know him in a way that I have not known him before. I can share what I have been through and say yes, God can heal. He can restore marriages.”

And not just restore but make stronger than ever.

For more information about signs of pornography addiction as well as treatment options, visit Fight the New Drug.

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