Brad Ruggles

The Art Of Living

The New Porn Addicts

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Crystal Renaud, a blogger friend of mine, is working on a new book that addresses the relatively un-talked about subject of women addicted to pornography. Her book site, TheNewPornAddicts.com launches today.

According to some surveys (which are always hard to verify on this subject) as many as 17% of women struggle with porn addiction. Here are some more statistics from Brigham Young University:

  • 13% of Women admit to accessing pornography at work.
  • 70% of women keep their cyber activities secret.
  • Women are far more likely than men to act out their behaviors in real life (such as having multiple partners, casual sex, or affairs)
  • Women favor chat rooms 2X more than men.
  • An estimated 9.4 million women access adult web sites each month.

So if this is such a big problem why aren’t more people talking about it? I’m sure this is due in part to the social stigma associated with women and pornography. For whatever reason, our culture has commonly accepted the behavior with men but label women who struggle with the same issue as freaks, sex-addicts or worse.

Thankfully there are more women like Crystal stepping up and talking honestly about their struggles. Here’s part of Crystal’s story from her site:

crystalAs a young girl (age 11 to about 17), I struggled deeply with a pornography and sexual addiction. One that I battled in silence and very much in shame.

My addiction started out as nothing more than the curiosity of a young girl when I found a porno magazine in my older brother’s bathroom. What started out as curiosity quickly escalated to something dark and out of my control. Sin had taken over and took me down a path of what seemed like no return.

I had no friends. No passions. I had one mission and purpose in my life: pornography and adhering to my addiction. Any way I could find it, I would. And it didn’t matter where I was or what I was doing. Home, school, my friend’s houses, summer camp and yes, even church: my addiction came too.

Porn. Masturbation. Cyber Sex. Webcam Sex. Phone Sex. Anything you could think up, I watched, experienced and enjoyed. Even to the point of questioning my own sexual orientation. No matter how many times I said I would stop – I would just keep doing it.

But why? Why did I enjoy something so much and hate myself so much for doing it all at the same time?

You can read the rest of her story at TheNewPornAddicts.com.

In the meantime Crystal is looking for some help in establishing how best to communicate the far-reaching damage of this growing problem for her book. Here’s how you can help. She currently has 3 surveys on her site for women only who either are currently addicted to porn, used to struggle with an addiction or knows someone who is.

If you’re a woman who fits into any of these 3 categories would you please consider taking a few minutes to click the link and take a brief survey?

The results of the survey will be compiled and used in Crystal’s upcoming book. I have a feeling that this is a much wider-reaching issue than many of us realize. Thanks in advance for helping spread the word about these surveys via Twitter, email and on your blog.…

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You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Post Is About You

Well, actually it is.

I’ve gotten quite a few new subscribers in recent weeks which is awesome but I’m starting to feel lost. So many awesome people I haven’t met yet! If I could, I’d slap a name tag on you to help me remember who you are. Hey, that’s not a bad idea!

hello-my-name-is

Please take a minute to fill out your name tag (even if you’re a long-time subscriber) and let me know…

  1. YOUR NAME
  2. WHERE YOU LIVE

Any additional information about yourself that would help me get to know you better is definitely welcome but not required.

Go ahead, here’s your sharpie.…

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Pardon Me While I Vent

venting

I am trying to keep a good attitude but I’m not doing so good. I’m so pissed off right now!

Remember that condo we’ve been trying to close on? Back in the beginning of April we had an approved offer for a condo that was a really good deal. Then we’re heading back from Florida for the closing when jerk-face mortgage guy (that’s what I’ve been calling him lately) called us up to tell us that we weren’t going to be able to close because he couldn’t get us approved. He tells us this the day before we were supposed to close! Which leaves us scrambling to find a place to live in the meantime while we explore other mortgage options. We’re going on our third week of living in a hotel which gets pretty old!

Lisa has been doing an amazing job of checking out other banks that will work with us. Our challenge has been because I’m self-employed and don’t have two years of tax returns as a self-employed contractor. That combined with the current mortgage issues that the market is facing makes getting a loan quite fun!

So Lisa finally found a local bank that would work with us and we get our pre-approval letter together and call back on the condo. They sold it on Tuesday for $20k more than our offer! Not only did we lose the condo but we lost a chance to get a great deal and have instant equity! Do you see why I need to vent?

I know that God must have something better (you do God, right?) but that doesn’t make this any easier! I’m just so ready to be over this mountain and get settled in a house.

Keep praying – for Lisa, the kids, our house (and my attitude). And thanks for listening to me vent.…

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Meet Jackass Brad

Allow me to introduce you to an acquaintance of mine. You probably don’t hear me talk about him often because most of the time it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist.

His name is Jackass Brad.

This the is the part of me that comes out when I’m stressed or things don’t go my way. He’s not a pleasant person to be around as he tends to think mostly about himself. He’s short with his kids and cranky with his wife. If you’ve known me long enough I’m sure you’ve met him.

Lately, I’ve seen a lot more of Jackass Brad than I care to admit. He blames his visits on stress – as if that’s an acceptable excuse to barge in and complain. Just last night he showed up in the car with Lisa and the kids and proceeded all evening to do what he does best – be a jackass.

The good news is that I’m working more on recognizing him when he shows up. With prayer and conscious choice I can give him the boot before he even gets his foot in the door.

So there you go. I’ve introduced you to someone I don’t like to talk about. If you happen to see him, can you give him a message from me?

“I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” (Romans 7:18-25)

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Our 2,300 Mile Exodus

It’s only 120 miles from Fort Wayne, IN to Carmel where we’re moving. So why are we taking the 2,300 mile route? Good question.

Towards the end of last year we began to feel God calling us to step out of our comfort zone into something new. Little did we know that it would result in leaving a job/church, going back to freelance design work, selling our home in Fort Wayne and moving to a new city where we don’t know a single person!

The past few months has been an amazing journey of faith for my wife and I as we’ve been stretched further than we’ve ever before. We’ve watched time and again as God’s provision and timing was perfect for each need.

So we’re less than a week away from beginning a new adventure! I’m so excited (and a little nervous). We’re going to take the next few weeks and visit some churches and attend a couple of conferences before settling into our new home in Westfield, IN (just outside of Carmel where we’re looking at planting the church).

Here’s a few places we’ll be stopping and things we’ll be doing along the way:

  • Coffee with Pat Rowland (former youth pastor buddy from FW)
  • Lunch with @pwilson (withoutwax.tv)
  • Crosspoint Church weekend service (this Sunday)
  • Relaxing at a condo in Tarpon Springs, FL
  • Exponential Church Planting Conference – April 22-24 (anybody else going to this?)
  • LeadNow 08 Conference – April 24-26 (how’s this for a speaker lineup: Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Dan Kimball, Amena Brown and Margaret Feinberg!)
  • DisneyWorld (don’t tell Chloe & Emily – it’s a surprise!)
  • Elevation Church (May 4)
  • Pigeon Forge, TN

Are you anywhere along our route? Will you be at any of the conferences/churches we’re attending? If so, hit me up on Twitter or let me know so we can hook up!

I’ll be posting throughout the trip so be sure to subscribe to my blog (RSS or by email) and follow me on Twitter so you can hear all about it! Wish us well!…

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God is our Realtor

forsaleThe other day we were putting up the “For Sale by Owner” sign in our front yard and a guy who was walking down the sidewalk stopped and said, “Good luck selling your house. We’ve had ours for sale down the road for 3 months with no bites. The market is really bad right now for selling.”

I went back in the house and told Lisa, “Hey, I’ve got great news! This guy just told me how bad the market was for selling right now and how long he’s had his house for sale in our subdivision. So now when God sells it we’re going to know He was the one that did it!”

That’s really been my perspective lately. It seems the more you step out in faith and trust God completely you begin to trust God for things that are more and more impossible. And that’s where God likes to work!!

 …

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