Publisher and Publishing Date: New Growth Press. June 19, 2017. First published 2008.
Genre: Christian nonfiction, sexual addiction, pornography.
Source: Complimentary hardcover copy from New Growth Press. I was not required to leave a positive review.
Jonathan Daugherty is the founder of Be Broken Ministries, and founder of Gateway to Freedom workshop for men. He also hosts the weekly radio broadcast, Pure Sex Radio, and is in demand nationally as a speaker on sexual purity and men’s issues. He has appeared on multiple radio and television media, both local and national. He has authored “Grace-Based Recovery,” “The 4 Pillars of Purity,” and other works. Jonathan lives with his wife and three children in San Antonio, Texas.
Find out more about Jonathan at http://www.jonathandaugherty.com.
Summary provided by the publisher:
Everyone has a secret or two, a part of their life they would rather not share with the rest of the world.
But for Jonathan Daugherty, his secret was so life-altering and relationship-ending that he fought to keep it hidden at all costs. And it did cost him. His secret kept him from contentment, peace, and the possibility of being known and loved for who he truly is. That’s what any secret addiction can do-but in particular a sex addiction.
After his wife finally discovered his secret, their marriage appeared to be over. In Secrets, Jonathan honestly and courageously shares his story of addiction to pornography and how he lost everything to it.
But that’s not how the story ends. While Jonathan struggled, someone else was at work-his heavenly Father. At the lowest possible moment of his life, God stepped in and brought him hope and healing. This is a story of both loss and redemption that gives hope to anyone who has ever experienced the power and struggle of addiction and its life-destroying effects.
Addiction doesn’t have the final say over Jonathan’s life or in his marriage. The God who finds the lost, heals the sick, and brings life from death has the last, victorious word.
-A courageous, honest and open account of life as a sex addict and how sex addiction destroys marriages.
-A life-affirming and personal story of recovery and redemption that will inspire readers.
-Offers hope to all who struggle with pornography and sex addiction.
-Each chapter includes a “Living in the Light” section designed to equip and help readers find freedom from addiction.
-Suitable as a study for support groups of addicts and those who care about them.
It is always difficult for me to write a book review that is so deeply personal to me. I struggle with how transparent to be in sharing from my own life the similarities that I found in the book. Sexual addiction is not something I’ve struggled with. Pornography is not something I’ve struggled with. But these two issues have effected my life. I know first hand the ugly mess they make in a marriage and in relationships period. I could have passed over the opportunity to read this book. I could have chickened out and let the tour group know I can’t handle writing a review. But, maybe I am just the person who needs to read and share my thoughts in a review?
The first thing I noticed about the book is it’s small. The content of the book is only 124 pages. Most of the people I know, both family and friends, are not big readers. A small book is an approachable book to a nonreader or a person who reads little. I consider this a positive point about this book. It is a book with a heavy story and topic, but it is approachable in size. It at least looks less scary.
Daugherty’s writing style is informal. To write with transparency about a difficult subject, how he became involved, and the consequences of involvement takes courage. The serious nature of the book could have become so stomach churning that a reader might need an Alka-Seltzer. So, there are moments when he is witty. These moments are needed, they bring relief.
What I liked best about the book is Daugherty is quick to accept blame. He is descriptive in regards to the spiraling downfall of the addiction. He explains how indulging in one thing led to a second thing, and the second thing led to a third, and so forth.
Daugherty points out sexual addiction is about escape. I believe addictions, no matter the addiction, is about escaping from a reality that the person can’t handle.
He explains how sexual addiction effects intimacy. The fantasy in the mind is more enticing than a real relationship.
He expresses how deceptive the addiction is to the person who tries so hard to cover their tracks. They don’t want anyone to know. He tried to present himself as a Christian man involved in church, and as a married man, but he was living a double life.
In the final chapters, he shared the recovery process. A first step in recovery is admitting the problem, followed by confession. Daugherty stresses the importance of brokenness and repentance over the sin.
What I disliked about the book is the ease of reconciliation between Daugherty and his wife. What I wanted to read about was the details (including long-term) of working through what happened to them. Daugherty explains in some part. I needed more of the mechanics of what the couple did in processing the different emotions and the work to heal. I did not hear from Mrs. Daugherty in this book. I do not know her story.
When a couple reconciles after adultery has been committed, trust is one of the strong elements that must be worked on. And trust is never a given, it must be earned through the entirety of marriage.
Forgiveness is necessary, but forgiveness does not mean reconciliation will happen. People think sometimes that reconciliation is an automatic response after forgiveness. I don’t believe that. I also believe it is easier to walk away from a broken marriage then stay and fix it. Adultery, betrayal, deception, and abuse are things that cannot be undone in this lifetime. They can be forgiven, but they are not forgotten. People work toward healing, but full healing will not be in this lifetime. A question to ask is if my husband and I are out eating dinner at a restaurant and we see the person who my husband committed adultery with, what will we do, and how will we feel? What if people at church and the job know about what happened? What if someone tells our children? For the offended and betrayed spouse, it is humiliating and horribly painful. Years and years from now people will still know and talk about the husband who betrayed, and the wife who chose to stay in the marriage. Marriage can heal and time helps, but the couple must understand it is a lifetime of work. Renewing the wedding vows is not the key. It is a symbol and a good start, but not the answer. Daugherty was quick to state, “God healed my marriage.” I am thankful he gave God the glory. I still wanted to see the mechanics of their marriage afterwards.