As a child, I was molested and at an early age when my family fell apart through divorce, I was exposed to pornography. For the next 25 years, pornography and every kind of impurity plagued my life. I was depressed, self-absorbed, and saw no reason for hope that anything about my life could heal or change. Exodus 90 seemed more drastic than it actually is leading up to embarking on the journey, but I knew that I needed to do it. For years my wife suffered with me and my addiction. At first, she was patient with me and tried to help but eventually, the addiction wore on her to the point that she was drained of anything she could give to me as her spouse. On the other hand, my kids also suffered not really ever having much of a father. I was more interested in my own desires than addressing their needs.
I am grateful for being given the gift of freedom, a freedom I never before thought possible. No, I’m not perfect but I am striving for sanctity. That striving was missing altogether before Exodus. I was miserable in the first couple of weeks of enduring the asceticism but eventually embraced it. I thought about people who live in third world countries daily lives versus what I was giving up. It did not take long for me to realize why time and time again I’d confess the same sins of impurity in thought, word, and deed…it was because I didn’t even have the willpower to fast from the smaller things. I lived for as much pleasure as I could handle.
With the routine practice of asceticism and the accountability of my anchor and parish fraternity I grew in strength. Through prayer during daily holy hour, I began to journal again. Sad thing is, the last entry in my journal was from six-and-a-half years earlier when we were on our “Three To Get Married Retreat.” All three pillars of prayer, asceticism, and fraternity brought me a sobriety I’ve never experienced. That sobriety brought hope and that hope ultimately kept me moving forward to Day 91! I will always consider Exodus 90 as one of the best decisions I ever made. There are many rationalizations I could’ve told myself, but there’s no time like the present to get going. What if I die tomorrow? Did I try to live for God? Was I a real man? Was I a “man for others?”