Written by Jack
God can use our weakness and struggles to bring us closer to him. I have been reflecting on where I am in my journey with cross dressing. At first I felt like I had totally backslid and reached new lows in my addiction over the past year or so. However, when I looked beyond just my cross dressing, I could see God had been working in my life to bring me closer to him. I had a stretch of about 5 years where I only dressed 2 or 3 times and then only in very mild ways. But looking at the rest of my life it was a total mess. I was a workaholic. I seldom prayed. I never read scripture, and I just showed up at church on Sunday. My wife and I seldom spoke because I was afraid we would get in an argument and she would throw my cross dressing back in my face. If I graded myself only by the level of my participation in my addiction, I got an A. If I looked at the total package, it was an F.
A little over two years ago, due to job stress, my mom getting sick, and all the craziness around COVID, I started dressing more often. I even left my house dressed. I didn’t meet people but it was a big escalation. I went looking for people to talk about it online and what started out as mild talks about cross dressing ended up going to dark places. After a couple months, I wasn’t totally sure how I had stooped so low. I was living on a couple hours of sleep a night. It was impacting my work. I was irritable and put a huge amount of time into my addiction. I looked at myself in horror and knew I had to make major changes in my life.
At the time, I didn’t see how God was working to bring me closer to him. If I would have just continued on with my occasional dressing, I would never have opened myself up to letting Jesus guide my life. I didn’t just say I was going to quit, I actually sat down, prayed and then made a plan because I knew just getting rid of my clothes and stopping my other behaviors would only last a few weeks. I knew I had no power to change on my own. I went to confession. I didn’t just get rid of my clothes, I prayed about it before I got rid of everything. I started a devotional. I started going to Wednesday church services as often as possible.
The one thing I didn’t have was any religious friends to help me. One Sunday afternoon, I was sitting on the couch reading while my wife was listening to a podcast. I don’t have any idea what it was about. All I remember is the host said, wish me luck! I am starting Exodus 90 tomorrow. I had no clue what he was talking about, so I Googled it. I found out it was a religious exercise where a group of men get together to read scripture, pray, reflect, make sacrifices to God like fasting, and develop fraternity. It sounded like just what I needed in my life. When I signed up, I didn’t know you needed to form your own group. I had been going to my church for 12 years and had no friends there, so I had no clue who to ask. I just sat down on my couch and started praying. God sent me four men I had never even met and a guy I used to work with but hadn’t talked with in two years. That group of men is the greatest gift I have ever received. It was truly a miracle. Almost two years later, we are still meeting every week and no one has left. I started praying three times a day, reading scripture daily, and became more active in my parish. I am now an usher and teach confirmation class. My friend Chris, who encouraged me to start teaching at church, told me that you didn’t need to prep, you can just show up. That isn’t me, so I started reading all the material on the Saturday before class and watching all the videos. I spend about 1 or 2 hours going over the lessons. They are all about how to actually live your life and follow Jesus in our fallen world. I think I get more out of them then the students do. My marriage still has a long way to go, but my wife and I only argue occasionally when it used to be a weekly thing. She seldom brings up the fact I cross dress. We talk every day and I actually enjoy her company again.
If I only look at my life through my struggle with cross dressing, I am a total failure. But God has picked me up and carried me closer to him despite my best efforts to stay away. I would not have turned to him and accepted his grace, if I had not fallen so low. He gave me a friend who I met in online SAA who I talk to weekly. In the 12 step process, I learned that I should try and make amends to those who I have hurt. I actually apologized to many of the people I met online. Most of them blocked me or just disappeared but a few of them said, Are you a Christian? I wouldn’t have guessed. We then would have heart felt talks about our addictions. Everyone I talked with felt like they were trapped in some way by their cross dressing.
Cross dressing is like a prison, with many wings. I have talked to many CDs online and everyone is into something; porn, TG fiction, impure online chat (guilty), sexual infidelity, the list goes on. In the last 597 days, I have only crossdressed six times in two blocks of three days. I am not perfect but I feel that part of my addiction is pretty much under control. Cross dressing has caused my imagination to be overrun with thoughts that I would be mortified if anyone else knew. I just want to be free of them. The world tells me choosing to cross dress is freedom. I have found it to be slavery. Slavery to my lust. I am not free to do what I want, I am only able to move within the walls of this prison. When the apostles prayed, God opened the gates of the prison and they walked free. God did this, these Holy men were given a gift. In a similar way, only God can set me free from my personal prison. I feel like I am in the movie The Shawshank Redemption. I have made it out of my cell, gone down the crawl space, and am in the long sewer pipe that is leading to freedom. It is dark, it stinks, but I can see the light ahead. On my own I would not have even left my cell. Jesus is the mastermind of this prison break and I will trust him to lead me to freedom in his own time. Thank you for letting me share. God guard and guide you brothers! I am praying for you all.