My Biggest Addiction Isn’t to Porn

For as long as I can remember I have had an issue with pride.

I can remember back to the 4th grade when I was given a solo in the school Christmas program. I was all jazzed about getting to sing my heart out with my very own microphone. But then the week of the program, my music teacher decided she wanted another girl to sing with me.

A duet.

Even on the night of the program I remember pushing myself ever closer (and pushing her further away) to the microphone so that my voice would carry over hers. After all, I had been given the solo. It wasn’t right that I had put “so much work” into my solo to only have it taken from me just days before I was set to perform.

Every once in a while that ugly pride monster comes out again. But there is nothing more dangerous that when he shows up in midst of my sobriety walk.

November 19 will mark my 7th year of long-term sobriety from pornography and sexual addiction. It is an awesome milestone to be reaching. But I will be honest with you that my sobriety has not always been stable.

And I admit now that following this past (and somewhat still present) season of busyness and stress (writing my book, job stress, DGM planning for 2011, etc.) I have not been good at keeping in continuous accountability with someone. Neither have I actively worked the steps of sobriety. And by doing so I have put myself at greater risk of relapse.

When life gets this way and my defenses are weakened I tend to do one of two things: 1) suck it up and ask for help or 2) exhaustion sets in and I begin to isolate myself. And unfortunately lately I have been doing the latter.

I isolate in order to deal with it myself because anymore my addiction to pornography and sexual behavior are not my biggest addictions.

My biggest addiction these days is my own pride.

It is a blow to my pride to admit that I don’t have it all together. It is a blow to my pride to admit that I still need help. It is a blow to my pride that even as an addiction counselor/ministry director I still need to work the steps. It is a even a blow to my pride to be writing this post.

But the reality is . . . the greater blow to my pride would be having to admit I had a relapse . . . which the way I have been living could easily have caused.

I am thankful for friends who know me well enough to ask the tough questions and who chase me when I begin to runaway/hide. And who challenge me not to forget to care for myself in midst of caring for others.

Because regardless of how busy life gets, or how many awesome opportunities for DGM come—my OWN sobriety and my OWN integrity must come first.

And your own sobriety needs to come first in your life too.

By Crystal Renaud

Crystal Renaud is the Founder & Executive Director of WHOLE Women Ministries whose projects include Dirty Girls Ministries and WHOLE Women’s Conference. She is also the author of Dirty Girls Come Clean (Moody Publishers), a speaker and student who lives in the Kansas City area. Follow @crystalrenaud on Twitter and visit her website for info on coaching and speaking at


  1. I was just talking to a sponsee this morning about this very thing. For so long I took pride in very little. No matter how well I did on a project or a test or in choosing a husband, it was never good enough for my mother. Never. Talk about letting the air out of the balloon!!

    She died suddenly in March. Never knowing I am an addict in recovery. 3 years, 3 months, 14 days. I didn’t mind sharing my recovery with ANYone else. But, pride kept me from telling her. Even as far as I have come, I KNEW what her response would be. Disappoint me. There is that hissing sound again. That poor balloon!

    And if it’s all about me, it’s not about recovery. It’s not about what God has done to transform me. Pride = selfish me. It’s not always easy. I like that pat on the back every so often. My self-esteem needs that boost. But, “everything in moderation”!!

    Recovery is life-restoring. It is for life. It has put a mix of people around me I could never have imagined 3 years ago. I always look at the foundation of my recovery like a poured foundation for a house. Four sides. Each side has a purpose. Meetings. Step-work. Sponsor contact. Service work. I have found that if I slack off in any one of those sides, it could crumble. I cannot (and do not) go through the beginning of recovery. Ever again. As long as God is at the center & I do what I need (have) to do, I continue to be just another addict in recovery!


    Crystal Renaud Reply:

    I can relate. I only just told my dad about my past addictions just 6 months ago. Same thing: Pride. And I love your house analogy. Thanks for sharing!


  2. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t struggle with the pride thing. You are in good company. Or bad company depending on how you look at it.


    Crystal Renaud Reply:

    Thanks girl! I think good or bad we’re all in this mess together. xo.


  3. Way to own up and ‘fess up, friend. Pride is my biggest, ugliest monster…has been for so long. It gets me in more trouble than I’d like to admit. Your willingness to do what is right is inspiring and encourages the rest of us to do the same!


    Crystal Renaud Reply:

    I wouldn’t be doing anything right without the encouragement of good friends and trusting in a better God than myself.


    John Riggs Reply:

    I’ll second that! :)


  4. Crystal,
    I think you are the most authentic person I have ever met. I definitely appreciated this post, and pride is definitely a day to day struggle, but just starting this group and putting this addiction out there is a huge blow to pride. I honestly can’t say if I would have the courage to do what you are doing. You are so wise to focus first and foremost on your own healing. That is the only way you could help anyone else. Good job girl.


    Crystal Renaud Reply:

    Even as much as I tend to hide, it is always so refreshing to come out of the shadows. It is always the better decision.


  5. Working the steps is a big part of any ‘sober’ program. You can’t work the program if you don’t work the steps. And if you don’t work the steps you fall back into old habits, ways of thinking and other potentially dangerous habits.

    The benefit of your honesty is acknowledgement of previous issues, and the struggle to keep moving forward when we get complacent in our sobriety. Honesty is awesome.

    My sister, who wouldn’t mind me sharing, has almost five years of being clean and sober. I’ve watched her struggle and triumphs. The hump she hits is always not working the program, and the ycle begins again with negative self-talk, and thoughts of complacency. So kudos to you for seeing reality and moving forward.



  6. Crystal:

    Thanks for your honesty. Pride is a biggie! I have been thinking quite a lot lately about the 1st step (from Sexaholics Anonymous). There is no question that admitting that we are powerless over this addiction is difficult. It was for me and it is for most that I have sponsored or watched from a distance. Keep up the good work.


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