My Relapse: From Temptation to Sin

In light of my church using my story in a message series recently and my own desire to be transparent (even in the areas that aren’t pretty) … I share with you my experience with a relapse.

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I’m not perfect.

The evening of February 22, 2009 — almost 6 years after I left pornography and my other sexual addictions behind — I had relapse.

I had just got home from a whirlwind trip.

  • I was stressed.
  • I was exhausted.
  • I was lonely.

It was the perfect storm for an addict.

And I remember the rituals begin to unfold in my mind. The deep emotions that I was feeling in that moment were so strong I could taste them. But instead of connecting with my accountability partner or doing a redirecting exercise or more importantly going to God … I chose to go against everything I knew to do… and went to the thing that I even knew would leave me empty.

It ended as quickly as it began. And it isn’t something I’ve told to maybe one or two people since. And it isn’t my intention to simply air my dirty laundry out here today. I have a lot of lose by sharing this especially given the recent coverage that DGM has received.

But I share it today because it is something I hope you, the person who is in recovery and working toward sobriety, will read and learn from. And I also share it because even though I slipped, I didn’t allow the enemy to rob me of my mission and my call to begin this ministry. Which I see now is exactly what the enemy wanted to have happen.

But His grace is still sufficient and He is power is made perfect in our weakness.

Temptation never ends. At least it is my experience and observation of others that it never does. And while temptation is not a sin… acting on your temptation is. The enemy isn’t clever. He will use what he knows works to break you down. Having solid accountability in your life is vital as is having a trusting relationship with Jesus Christ. Those two things will be your life preserver when temptation comes.

Because temptation is inevitable.

Are you prepared?

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Covenant Eyes
CovenantEyes Accountability differs from filtering in that it doesn’t block any websites you visit. While you’re online, CovenantEyes software works in the background, recording and ‘scoring’ every site you visit. Once a week, your accountability partner will get a report listing the sites you’ve visited, and you and your partner can view these reports online at any time. Together you’ll learn to use the Internet with integrity. If you need filtering, CovenantEyes also has a filtering option as well.

X3pure is the first online, confidential, streaming-video solution for dealing with pornography addiction. This powerful online workshop helps you take each important step toward recovery from your pornography addiction and is accessible from any Internet-connected computer at any time. X3pure includes a copy of Safe Eyes software that is good for up to 3 computers.

X3watch is an accountability software program helping with online integrity. Whenever you browse the Internet and access a site, which may contain questionable material, the program will record the site name, time, and date the site was visited. A person of your choice (an accountability partner) will receive an email containing all possible questionable sites you may have visited within the month.

Kansas City Support Group
If you are a woman struggling with a pornography/sexual addiction in the Kansas City area, we will be having a special summer edition of “Women’s Victory Over Porn Addiction” on Tuesday evenings beginning May 25 at 6:30pm. We’ll study The L.I.F.E. Guide for Women by Marnie Ferree. To order workbook & register click here (and scroll to the bottom of the page).


  1. … and this is why you are the PERFECT leader for this group.

    you GET relapse. you GET what addiction really is. you GET what struggling really means here. you also understand what it means to move on from there… not allowing yourself to stay in that pit.

    proud of you for revealing yourself here so publicly. you are amazing!

  2. I’m so proud of you for being so transparent! I agree with Jenni. This is another reason you’re perfect to lead this group.

  3. Crystal~

    You are doing a brave and very needed thing by sharing of your relapse. In the past, when I struggled, I was so desperate to know that I wasn’t the only one. That I hadn’t failed or disappointed God by falling back into sin.

    You being willing to show that it will always be a struggle will help many women see that you and your ministry are the real deal– authentic and willing to fight the “real” battle. Not just wrap up a 12 step recovery program to an addiction with a pretty bow.

    Women need to understand that they are allowed to fail, and to be broken over their sin again and again– that each time they do draws them closer to dependency on the only ONE that matters, and that He will never give up on them, leave them, or be disappointed in them.


  4. Shelley

    Thanks for sharing this. I know it is hard. There are many of us who understand this exact same scenario.
    Thank you for your bravery in sharing this.
    God is good. The answer for me is not to “try harder”, but to ABIDE in relationship with Holy Spirit. The compulsive behavior is reduced and peace, joy, and abundant life are able to flourish. I love His presence. And His kindness that leads to repentance.
    Thanks again for sharing. It’s so good knowing that we do not struggle alone.

  5. Thanks for being so honest and transparent, girl. Wouldn’t want you to be any other way. And I echo Jenni in saying that people struggling with addiction need to know that if they relapse they CAN find freedom again and it doesn’t mean that they haven’t changed.

    Beauty from ashes…You are beautiful!


  6. I ♥ You.

    Because you are authentic and real. You challenge me and remind me what authenticity is and should be.

  7. Shar

    I pray against anyone using this information against you. Praise God that we are not alone. The more transparent his people get, the better able to stand with each other. Lord, let us be transparent. Grow this ministry and the freedom of your people to live in your will. Thank you, Jesus!

  8. Nice post Crystal! From my own struggles and now leading a group with guys struggling with this there are few things more important than preparing for that time when you will be weak, and dealing with any future failures that may come in a positive way. Thanks for all you’re doing!

  9. Crystal you are amazing and everyone has flaws and shortcomings. Your honesty is an inspiration to all the people who love you.

  10. Crystal-

    Thank you for being so open and honest with the messiness of recovery, in spite of what you have to lose.

    Unfortunately, many who start recovery get painted into yet another corner of secrecy…believing the lies that “now I’m in recovery, I know better and should not be doing this.”

    If knowing better equaled doing better then we could all simply be moralists and would not need the cross.


  11. I’m so proud of you for writing this. More people need to read this than you realize. It lets them know that there is freedom in openness and vulnerability. Thank you so much for sharing this and for all the wonderful work you do with DGM. Praying for you my friend.

  12. Brave of you to discuss a relapse. Too often we act as if once you’re saved you never return to sin but that’s so untrue. We are still weak measly human beings and we will mess up. It’s one thing to come to know Christ, but I fear that if we never find ourselves fallen – again – that’s probably a good sign to check the reality of how much honesty there is in our relationship with Christ. If we’re just saving face, it’s easy to walk in victory – the enemy has no reason to come at us. Clearly your life is power to the Cross. Thank you for your honesty.

  13. Laura

    Thank you so much Crystal, this has really helped me. I relapsed a while ago after a long period of porn “celibacy” and it has been quite a struggle to get back on the porn-free band wagon for more than a couple months. I completely agree that the “temptation never ends” – I think I will be struggling with temptation for the rest of my life, truly like an addict. Which is humiliating because after I’ve turned my life around and am involved in ministry myself, the temptation and defeated surrender still reigns sometimes. “Will power” isn’t enough. We have so much freedom in Christ – but yet we choose to push the promptings of the Holy Spirit out of our head so we can sin uninterrupted. My constant prayer is that God would release me from this and remind me to just “get out of the house- now!” Confession made the road to recovery so much easier, but still, we struggle.

  14. Hey Crystal, thanks for the honesty. It is so important for us who are involved in helping others are honest about our setbacks and relapses.

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