3 Birthday Realizations




Sign up to receive updates and find out when the Live Free app becomes available.

Share This Article

Carl Thomas

Pastor | Live Free Founder | Lover of Jesus, Philly sports, fitness, tattoos, sarcasm, and craft beers.

So this Wednesday is my 53rd birthday.

I know, I’m getting old, but not much I can do about that.

It’s amazing to ponder about how only a year ago on May 1st, I found myself being rushed to the hospital via an ambulance after experiencing a tachycardia episode. At that moment, I genuinely questioned whether I would even make it to my 52nd, let alone my 53rd birthday. You can read more about that experience and some lessons I learned here.

So given the fact that all that happened, and I am healthy and still enjoying life, it gave me cause to reflect on some things.

There are moments when I reflect on my life and family circumstances, and I can’t help but feel a twinge of guilt. I know countless individuals who have experienced genuine turmoil and immense pain that cannot compare to my own struggles. Feeling grateful is natural, but at times, it can turn into a sense of unworthiness.

Because while life hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows for me, I have for the most part been spared a great deal of misfortune.

Most of that is because of God’s grace and some sheer dumb luck.

But at the same time, I realize that there are three important factors that have helped me shape my life and the quality of it. Choices and/or traits that have helped me, my relationships, and even my recovery. Here are three big ones:

1. Facing and dealing with past pain.

Again, I feel very fortunate that I’ve never dealt with physical or sexual abuse like so many others, but that’s not to say I haven’t dealt with real emotional pain. Some inflicted by family, some at the hands of “friends,” and some from employers.

For years, I suppressed that stuff. I ignored the toll it had on my sense of identity and worth. And rather than dealing with it, I often chose to escape through sexual means.

But when I finally had the courage to deal with it, really deal with it, by seeing a counselor, I was able to move past that pain and even find forgiveness for those people who hurt me.

So much of our porn use and unwanted sexual behavior is the result of shame and pain. When we acknowledge and confront our emotional pain, we can dig deep to understand why we make certain choices and behave in certain ways. This can free us from our negative patterns and lead us towards genuine freedom.


Stop Simply Surviving & Start Thriving

Join the Live Free Community

2. Finding contentment and practicing gratitude.

It took years for me to realize this, but resentment was a major factor in my past porn addiction. So often I would escape into my fantasy world because I felt like I wasn’t getting what I deserved in my relationships and career.

As soon as I began practicing gratitude and finding contentment in what I already had, my resentment decreased, and my unwanted pornography use diminished.


You may feel short-changed at times.
You may see others getting what you feel you deserve.
You may think there’s more to life than what you are currently experiencing.

But when you practice gratitude and find contentment in the blessings you already have, you disarm the power of resentment and the hold it has on your life.

3. Drawing boundaries

Having good boundaries is so important for everyone and especially for those seeking recovery.

It is crucial to understand that saying no can be difficult, but it’s essential if you wish to differentiate between conditional love and real obligations. When you take on more responsibilities than you can handle, you will face intense pressure and chronic stress, ultimately leading to exhaustion. It’s crucial to avoid this cycle of overextension to prevent collapse and burnout.

Simply put… Boundaries are a must for success.

And they are a must for successful recovery.

The truth is much of life is far outside our control. The good, the bad, and the ugly can all flood our lives without warning. But there are things we can do to help our place in the world and our recovery as well.

Deal with the pain.
Practice gratitude.
Draw some healthy boundaries.

Do these things, and you may be surprised at how life ends up looking for you in the end.

By the way, if you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter to get content like this sent directly to your inbox once per week with no strings attached.


Sign up and get our free plan to help you break free from porn use and start living the life you were meant to live.

subscribe for latest news & updates

Are you with us? Join the movement!