Book Review: Out of the Shadows

By Sam Jolman | June 27, 2007

Shame, according to C.S. Lewis, is like a warm liquid too hot to touch, but not to drink. “If you will accept it – if you will drink the cup to the bottom – you will find it very nourishing: but try to do anything else with it and it scalds.” Our guilt or true shame can change us, nourish us, bring us healing if we accept it as honestly and as fully as we can. God created it to initiate healing and restoration. Try and dismiss it, minimize it, act like it never happened and you only get burned. Out of the Shadows, by Patrick Carnes, emphasized this reality all the more in the life of those impacted by sexual addiction.

From the addicts ritual of “acting out” to the belief system that drives addiction to the impact on the entire family, Dr. Carnes exposes with every page turn the pervasive destructive impact of sexual addiction. He also dismantles the false belief that secret sexual struggles, like a little pornography use, do not hurt anyone. In reality, no level of addiction is victimless. All addiction impacts how we relate with others and develops a pattern of manipulation, deception, and abuse. Add to this the fact that it keeps the addict from real relationships, those that could meet his or her real needs. And as Dr. Carnes says, “it can destroy a persons life in less than two years.” In some example stories, suicide or murder did take the addicts life.

I was sobered up by reading this book. I got that sick gut feeling that comes when hearing about an atrocious evil, like the deliberate destruction of 911 or the horrors of the Holocaust. This is sinister stuff, my friends, a weapon of the Kingdom of Darkness.

What is the hope? That sexual addiction, if faced with courage and brutal honesty, can be defeated. A person can change. God does forgive and heal. God is slow to anger and lavish in his love. Remember, Jesus always met the sexually broken with immense mercy. The Cross of Christ dethroned the forces of evil and the resurrection brings the promise of new life. A person can heal from the pain that the addiction numbed. Love and trust in relationships can be found.

Don’t go take a cold shower. Read this book instead.

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