GroupsHealingRecovery 5 minutes to read

Do you remember your first day of school? I mean your first day of preschool or kindergarten. I remember mine. I felt scared, uncertain of what to expect, and excited, all at the same time. 

Does this sound familiar? It’s not just with our first day of school. All of us have experienced the “first day” on so many different levels, whether it was with school, a new job, being part of a team, when we got married, when we became parents, or even the first day of group.  

The first day of anything can either make or break some people. Some first day experiences can be pretty traumatic and scary. But the blessings that can come out of these experiences can be amazing! 

When it comes to recovery and healing from sexual brokenness, this can be especially true. At the beginning, it feels like your life was just blown apart. You were discovered by your spouse or you finally came clean about your unhealthy, secret sexual behaviors. Pain, trauma, anger, and a million other feelings rise to the surface and consume your mind. But remember, it’s just the first day.  

Some of you may be thinking, None of my first days were amazing, and this may be the case. But it’s typically through these difficult seasons of life that we become aware of how important the first day can be.   

The First Day of Group

So you decide to make recovery a priority and you join a Pure Desire group. You show up, meet the other people in the group, and the leader shares their story. This doesn’t seem like a big deal until the leader asks, “Does anyone else want to share their story?” You immediately recoil: Wait, you want me to do what? Share my story and be real with where I am at? Your mind is racing and, in that moment, you’re again redefining what scary, first day experiences look like.    

The group leader knows exactly where you are because they have been there too. This is one “first day” we all experience. But the others who are new to the group are at the same place as you. You are not alone in this process, not even on the first day.  It can feel a bit overwhelming when you hear words like “vulnerability,” “transparency,” “accountability,” “commitment,” “homework”…all of these intimidating words that are often discussed during the first day. These words describe a way of life that we never learned to live by when we chose to live life on our own terms.  

I think for some, this first day can be a make it or break it moment. I know it was for me. But I made the decision to go all in, no matter the cost, and I quickly discovered that I would have many more “first days” throughout this process.

When I look back over my years in recovery, I can clearly see the impact of many of my first days. 

  • I remember how grateful I felt when I took my first step in the right direction toward freedom. 
  • I remember the first day I realized that my life was meant for this day: God had much bigger plans for my life than I did. 
  • I remember the first day I thought to myself, I am no longer a slave to the grips the enemy has on me—the day my sexual brokenness began to unravel under the healing power of Christ. 
  • I remember the first day I truly appreciated the guys in my group; my healing community that was essential to rebuilding a healthy life.

All of these first day experiences, and so many more, happened because of my first day in group.

Your first day may be one of the hardest ever; but let me tell you about the God I know. He is a redeeming and loving God who has covered everything we have done, or will do, and has made us new again through Christ. He is a God who is calling you out of the darkness, regardless of who you are, what your struggle is, or who you may have hurt because of your sexual brokenness. 

That’s right, God created this first day for you. A day where you can walk toward freedom with the others in your group. And it’s during this time that you will experience many first days. Even if your initial day is terrifying, you’ll reach a milestone where you haven’t relapsed and that will be an exciting first day! Over time, when there is a positive shift in your marriage, that will be another first day worth celebrating! And this will happen again and again throughout the healing process, where you will have so many amazing “first day” experiences. 

All of our first days will look different, but one thing is certain: although our first day of group may be stressful, uncertain, and scary, it will be one of the most important first days in your healing journey. It will be the foundation from which all your next “first days” are built upon. And, at times, it won’t be easy and you’ll want to quit. But incredible things happen on your first day and every day after. 

As I have walked through this journey and continue to help others find healing, I have found this verse insightful as it defines what happens to us when we are courageous enough to seek out “first day” experiences.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

Ezekiel 36:26 NLT

My encouragement for you is, don’t wait. Start your first day now! There are men and women around the world ready to lead you in your journey to freedom. You are stronger than you think you are. And if you’re ready to join others in this fight for sexual health, make today your first day.   

Rich Moore

Rich is the Associate Director of Men's Groups for Pure Desire and is a certified Pastoral Sex Addiction Professional (PSAP) through the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP). He has been involved with Pure Desire for over 20 years and is a foundational piece to helping churches start a Pure Desire group ministry. Rich is also the author of The Silent Battle: One Man's Fight for Freedom.

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