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Our Journey

We are on a journey of self-discovery to explore and address underlying issues and embrace our authentic masculinity. The core of this journey we call “M.A.N.S. Work.”

Get Sexually Sober

Bring your thoughts and behaviors in line with your spirituality, faith, values and morals, commitments and self-respect.

In our experience, all the personal-growth and emotional-healing work in the world will not bring real peace to anyone who continues to struggle with same-sex lust or out-of-control sexual behaviors that conflict with his spirituality, faith, values or morals, identity, marital commitments or self-respect. Living in integrity with your values — sexual, spiritual, moral and ethical — is essential to being at peace with your same-sex attractions.

People of faith often use words like chastity, fidelity or abstinence. Twelve Step programs refer to “sexual sobriety.” Within Brothers Road communities, we usually speak of “sexual integrity” or “sexual sobriety.” Just as individuals’ values and morals vary, their specific definitions of “sexual integrity” or “sexual sobriety” can vary too. But within the Brothers Road community, the term at minimum assumes ongoing abstinence from same-sex erotic touch of any kind.

Same-Sex Attraction Is Not Sex Addiction

To be clear: Same-sex attraction is not the same as sexual addiction. In fact, many of us have never acted on these attractions with another male at all, let alone become addicted to such behaviors.

When Sexual Behaviors Are Out of Control

But probably more than half of the men who come through our Journey Into Manhood program do struggle (or have struggled) with out-of-control sexual behaviors — a fact that typically causes them and their loved ones significant distress.

And no matter how much growth and progress you make make in other areas, it is almost impossible to feel at peace if you continue to “act out” sexually. 

So we learn to surrender same-sex lust. Doing so requires courageous accountability and vulnerable transparency, support from others, and humble surrender to God. 

Break Unwanted Sexual Habits Through Heart Power, Not Willpower

Willpower can be invaluable in an emergency, to get us to call for help and get past an immediate temptation. But it’s not enough to just not “act out.” What we really want is to no longer want to “act out.” We want to be free of the temptation or struggle because we so strongly want something better, instead.

We call this approach “heart power”:

Desire sobriety more

  • We shift our focus from trying to increase our ability to resist temptation to instead increasing our desire to live lust-freeWe have to want sobriety more than we want lust — because ultimately, whatever we want most will win!
    • We become willing to yield our hearts to God’s will. We become willing to want what God wants, to do whatever it takes, and to align our will with his. Until we are genuinely ready to do that, we pray to become willing to become willing to turn our desires over to God. 
      • We set your sights on a higher life purpose or life mission. We have to be motivated by something even greater than our own egos or even our peace of mind.
      • Connect deeply

      • We find or create supportive communities of trusted brothers and invite compassionate, courageous connection, accountability and encouragement. We can’t do this alone!
        • For those of us who are married, we find it’s essential to re-connect more deeply and authentically with our wives. Anything we do to direct our sexual energy outside our marriage is only likely to worsen our lust while hurting her, our marriage and ourselves.
          • We connect with God as never before, in whatever ways work best for us. We invite him into every step of this work.
            • We connect with our own bodies in non-lustful ways. We find healthy ways to self-nurture, release tension and respond to stress.

            • Redirect & replace

            • Rather than wait to be tempted and then respond reactively, we expect and plan to be tempted and proactively plan positive, affirming interventions.
              • We proactively practice healthy sobriety habits daily (sobriety reading, check-in calls, prayer and meditation, for example).
                • We establish external barriers (online filters, geographic tracking apps, for instance) and rewards (celebrate small successes!).
                  • We accept that it’s impossible to just stop a behavior without replacing it with something else. Something better! So we replace old habits with healthier, rewarding, new ones. We discover healthy ways to self-nurture.

                  • Discover the why

                  • We search inside ourselves and dig into our pasts to uncover some of the original sources of our triggers that may drive our temptations.
                    • We may uncover harmful thoughts, beliefs, and feelings (fear, shame, etc.) and memories that have been keeping us stuck.
                      • We discover that we didn’t fall into sexual traps because we are weak or immoral or defective. Rather, we fell into (or were introduced to) lustful habits as a way of coping with pain and legitimate but unmet needs.

                      • Meet the real needs

                        • First, we learn to love, accept and value ourselves right where we are today.
                        • We challenge harmful thoughts and beliefs that have kept us stuck.
                        • We process and release painful emotions rather than use lust to avoid and numb them.
                        • And we learn to meet our real needs in healthy ways instead of using sexual habits as a crutch to suppress them.

                        Surrender the rest

                      • As the Serenity Prayer teaches us, we become ready to “accept the things we cannot change.” We accept what is, release the past, forgive who we may need to forgive (including ourselves!), and release the future into God’s hands.
                        • Rather than fighting our temptations and triggers, we learn to turn them over to God, both in the moment we’re triggered and in our daily sobriety practices.
                          • We continue to actively yield our hearts to God, constantly asking him to change the desires of our hearts to align ever more closely with his, rather than to strengthen our ability to resist our (selfish or unhealthy) desires.
                            • This is the power of the heart!

                              Whatever You Want Most, Wins

                              Whatever you really want more than anything else is ultimately what you are going to do.

                              Whatever you want most deeply, most passionately, most consistently and most persistently will ultimately win the battle between willpower (what your mind says is right to do) and “heart power” (what your heart really wants to do).

                              Willpower can be great for the occasional emergency intervention (“Stop! Don’t do it! You’ll regret it later!”). But as a long-term strategy, willpower inevitably fails. The heart inevitably gets its way.

                              In the battle between willpower and heart power, the key is not to increase your ability to resist temptation but to increase your desire for something better. To reach for something higher. To become someone greater.

                              Too often, a man starts with “Uh oh, I feel like I’m going to be tempted today. How do I resist the temptation to do something I really shouldn’t do (but really wish I could)?”

                              While that’s certainly a noble thought, and shows his good intention, he is inadvertently setting up a powerful (and likely painful) tug of war between his heart (his passions) and his will (his logical, practical self that knows better).

                              He is far better off to start with, “Uh oh, I feel like I’m going to be tempted today. What can I do now to significantly increase my desire to live lust-free today so that I don’t even WANT to act on the temptation?” 

                              Resisting temptation can be painful. Desperately wanting to do something and then trying to force yourself not to do it is a recipe for pain and, likely, failure.

                              Or better yet, he starts to work on increasing and anchoring that higher desire long before temptation even strikes. 

                              Resisting temptation can be painful. Desperately wanting to do something and then trying to force yourself not to do it is a recipe for pain and, likely, failure.

                              On the other hand, sincerely wanting something else more than you want to act on the temptation is freeing, even exhilarating.

                              Increasing your desire for something better won’t likely cause the temptation to lose all of its appeal (at first anyway). But something else becomes far more desirable — enjoying a lust-free day (or a lust-free month, or a lust-free life) or becoming a better man who doesn’t even struggle significantly with lust at all.

                               Source: These concepts are highly influenced by the book Willpower Is Not Enough: Why We Don’t Succeed at Change, by psychologists Dean Byrd and Mark Chamberlain. 

                              Our Stories

                              I need to have close, fully accepting men who I can call when I’m starting to feel tempted. I call a “smoke alarm” if I’m feeling tempted, or a “fire alarm” if I’m already looking at porn, and I regularly need to practice this by calling a “fire drill”

                              Andre, Australia

                              The most practical steps or tools in attaining sobriety have helped me see the difference between the immediate desire to act out and what I ultimately want. Things like reframing, Living Waters, my relationship with God, worship, reading SSA-related books, and in-person programs have all helped.

                              WP, Massachusetts, USA

                              Shortly after I started my involvement with Brothers on a Road Less Traveled, I stopped all erotic-touch encounters with men, and in that respect remain sober to this day, thank God. Without the feeling of commitment to the Brothers Road principles and community of men, I probably would never have achieved this. It is very gratifying to me to feel that I am living a life more in consonance with my moral and religious values.

                              Steve, Israel

                              The tools have changed as I’ve progressed. Initially it was being authentic with other guys and sharing life together to remind me I’m not different or alone.

                              Now it is being aware of my feelings when I lose my sense of being grounded, then internally combating the lies and feelings with truth, and asking for help from others. Basically, spending less and less time in those negative feelings as soon as they come up.

                              Jacob, Tennessee, USA

                              I used to be miserable when I was acting out sexually. I was always seeking a bigger high. My behavior was progressing to much riskier behavior. I saw folks who were doing the things that I was heading toward and I realized they were not happy either. I was so entrenched in sexually addictive behavior that I could not see a way out. I was in the depths of misery and disgust with myself. It wasn’t until I found a therapist and then learned of resources out there for someone like me that I found hope and eventually was able to see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

                              Jimmy, Arizona, USA

                              For too long, I fought my feelings of same-sex attraction. I battled them every day, but no matter how hard I tried, the feelings and thoughts would never go away.

                              When I finally accepted myself just the way I am, I found that surrendering unwanted thoughts or feelings right then, in the moment, is what helped me to be free. I do my best to surrender these things to God when they arise, and I know that He hears my prayers. I have turned my entire life over to Him, and I’m taking things one day at a time.

                              Justin, Utah, USA

                              I had a pretty good handle on my “acting out” before Journey Into Manhood, but afterward I felt happier and more peaceful maintaining my abstinence from those behaviors. I feel much less drawn to pornography now, and when I am tempted, I’m able to use the tools I’ve learned to identify what my body and mind are trying to tell me. I’ve found so much joy with my family, and I’ve finally come to the knowledge that I’m really not missing out on anything by not living a gay lifestyle.

                              Ryan, Pennsylvania, USA

                              For several years I allowed myself to look at any porn I desired on the internet and to experience several sensual encounters with men. I removed all self-imposed restrictions on my life that I felt had been placed there by my strict upbringing. For a while, I felt liberated and happy.

                              Then I realized that despite the euphoria of sexual arousal and release, I was still empty. I longed for real relationships, not just envying a body on a computer screen, or having a quick encounter with another dude.

                              When I decided to no longer view pornography, I realized that my addiction had been covering a deep well of grief within my soul. With the addiction removed, I began to actually feel things deeply for the first time. It was hard not to run to pornography for comfort, but I found that the less I did this, the more alive I felt.

                              I now realize how much better I feel when I’m in integrity with myself and others. I married 8 months ago and have discovered the joy of saving my sexual energy for my wife. Whenever I’m tempted, I remember my love for my wife and realize again that I want to use my sexual energy to express love to her instead of just to ‘get off,’ with all the aftermath of empty feelings that comes with it.

                              John, Washington, USA

                              I gave up homosexual sex over 38 years ago. But then I became addicted to gay porn about 5 years ago. I couldn’t live with myself. I was miserable. I am a sex addict in recovery now. I’m still struggling, but making progress. And I can tell you I would rather be a sex addict in recovery than a sex addict in addiction. That is slavery. I want to be my own master of my life and be in control–not controlled by my addictions.

                              Alan, Ukraine

                              After living a lie for 28 years and cheating on my wife during that time, I attended a Journey Into Manhood weekend that changed my life. It gave me comfort to know I was not alone in this challenge and journey and also gave me the experience and tools to accept myself and hope to change my behaviors.

                              I went 5 years without acting out, but then I found myself returning to old habits. I loved my wife and wanted to continue in our marriage, but a life of secrecy since 14 years old was too much to change.

                              I started attending a Twelve Step program and found heterosexual men who accepted me as being gay but showed me that I could be friends, even close friends, with men who were not attracted to other men. I found that I can be gay, but make choices to not act out and to be faithful to myself and to my wife.

                              It’s now been 9 years without acting out with another man and having wonderful relationship with my wife where there are no secrets or infidelity. I can be happy in my marriage and I can live without a sexual relationship with a man. I found, for me, it is not possible for me to change my basic sexual orientation, but I can live a happy and fulfilling life with my wife.

                              Glen, Utah, USA

                              Any time I struggle with unwanted desires, help and encouragement are only a phone call away. These relationships were the direct result of the Brothers Road community.

                              John, Texas, USA

                              I have found more joy out of the platonic, authentic connections that I have made with men in my life than I ever got through sexual contact with men. I see that my desires for sex with men were based in trying to fill my own wounds within myself. Now, after five years of no sexual contact with men, I have found much better ways of getting my needs met.

                              Jay, Tennessee, USA

                              I used to act out sexually for acceptance. Now I don’t have to do that. I don’t need anyone to make me complete. I am complete. In my past, I let men use me to get their needs met. Now I have self-respect. I don’t want anyone to use me, and I don’t want to use anyone either.

                              Steve, Louisiana

                              I have never felt more authentic to my true self than by coming to terms with my same-sex attraction. Today, I can admit to same-sex attraction without committing to a gay lifestyle — a lifestyle that would not be right for me and would only darken the struggle and make it more conflicting.

                              For me, being honest about my same-sex attraction and making the decision to not act upon it in a sexual nature is being true to my core self! Brothers on a Road Less Traveled and my local support community have helped me become authentic, transparent and whole regarding my sexuality and the decision to not engage in behavior that would only compromise my authentic self.

                              Larry, Ohio, USA

                              I surrendered my sexual desires to my higher power, God. I only accomplished this by coming out of the closet and confessing to another human being who I trusted, then others as time went on. I started to take off the mask I always wore and admitted I had a problem. God’s grace took over.

                              The slavery to masturbation, including the other acting-out behaviors that resulted, was broken. Abstinence from that one behavior has made me free. It had kept me chained and on the fence with SSA and OSA. Talking to a Journey Into Manhood brother who shared that he had given up masturbation for (at that time) about 2 years — and he wasn’t even married! — gave me hope. There is happiness in not being enslaved to a behavior that made me respond every time I had an urge. I was weak but through Christ I have been made strong.

                              Dale, Arizona, USA

                              Tools & Resources