Fight the New Drug

Fight the New Drug Video: My porn recovery story

***To see my featured talk "How Love Defeats Porn" given at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C. click here. ***

Friday, December 20, 2019

Why I believe in the Fight: One Day in the Battle

Why I believe in the Fight: it’s a sustainable way of life.

Yesterday I went into the office and there’s literally no one there. No students, no staff, just me. With no immediate accountability and no urgent (but important) deadline work to do, I found myself wandering the Internet eventually in my work time.

“OK, Matt, you’ve been here before.”

Scripture comes to mind.
“Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

When I know I’m in a spot like this, the first part of my “Yes” Battle Plan is to get up and pray. Luckily, it’s coming up around noon so I go to Mass at St. Mark’s. I don’t particularly feel like it that day and there’s voices to stay so I can “get work done” or “you’ve already wasted time, waste some more time” or “you’re not going to be able to focus at Mass anyway, now that’s a waste of your time…”

I go to Mass. One voice was right, I wasn’t able to focus at all. But I remind myself Frob’s words that “it’s not about feeling”. Sometimes it’s just about getting your body there, feel the effects later.

Still after Mass, voice is saying, “Go get something to eat, you deserve it.” A piece of me wants to go get some campechano tacos at that place Keane and I went the night before. I’m also aware that getting something heavy to eat like that in the middle of the day is another way of throwing in the towel and exasperating the “let’s just waste the day away” mentality.

Upon exiting, I look right down the hill to the adoration chapel. Another voice, “Go ask Mary what to do.”

Key: I don’t really want to go. Other days that’s not true but not that day. I force my body to go anyway despite that feeling. In the struggle, I know I have to exert more energy than usual to achieve victory.

I slip in adoration and take out my Mary book I’ve been reading/praying with. Then I ask, “OK, Mary, what do you want me to do? What does your son (as I look at the Eucharist) want me to do?”A lyric from Frozen 2 because I’m a dad of girls comes to mind: “Do the next right thing.” Another reminder of my battle plan: do one small victory/task. That always helps me get back on the horse. My Why returns. I know if I finish with a wasted day, my disposition will prevent me from being fully present and loving to Mimi and the kids when I get home. I need to fight for them.

What that means to me: going back to the CSC, making the soup I had planned, and choosing one small task. 

After lunch, I also texted my accountability partner, one of my best friends Anthony. “Prayers for focus.” He knows the drill. An eventual text back: “Got it.”

The task I chose was adding Noah V to the GroupMe. I did exactly that. I went to a meeting with Ann, got back on the horse, and finished my day strong. The beginning stirrings of a storm earlier that day has calmed down to tranquil waters. I went home able to look into the eyes of my family with love and fervor.

Prayer. Accountability. Mary (this time, not with the rosary). Yes Battle Plan. All needed to get me through the day. 

Why I believe in the fight: it’s a sustainable way of life not just for lust, but for anything we’re battling. 

But by the grace of God go I. Feel free to share your own victory stories on here, too!

Let’s fight brothers!

Friday, August 17, 2018

McCarrick, PA priests, the Devil: My response to our Church that's burning

Image result for fire
What can we do before the fire we finally see before us?
Photo credit: W. Chiu/AP

           It is an understatement that our holy Catholic Church is on fire right now.  Well it’s been burning for a very long time, but now the light of truth has allowed the rest of us to see it.  This summer we started with the scandal of (former) Cardinal McCarrick and his abuse of power, sexually assaulting seminarians and priests in his earlier years.  We learned about the cover up bishops and dioceses made.  And now in recent news: the report of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury, with accusations of 300 priests responsible for sexual abuse incidents of almost 1,000 minors.  Even worse is the graphic detail of these abuses, which I do not recommend reading in its entirety.

              My sentiment is I’m sure, like many:  I felt and still feel literally ill and disgusted after reading any details of either scandal.  I mourned, and although no tears fell, I cried deep in my soul.  One thing I recognized is that this is not a “them” (priests and bishops) versus “us” (everyone else) struggle.  It’s just an “us” thing because we are all connected, those living and deceased, as the Body of Christ.  In that case, in my small way, I mourn the deep hurt my Body (the Church) has caused.  On behalf of all Catholics, I am so sorry for what my Church has done in destroying these young people’s lives. 

This is not a “them” (priests and bishops) versus “us” (everyone else) struggle.  It’s just an “us” thing because we are all connected, those living and deceased, as the Body of Christ.

I’m angry.  I’m really angry.  I’m angry that men whom people relied for fatherly love abused that role in the most sick, twisted, and unimaginable ways.  I’m angry at all the bishops who covered up these scandals, using more than a million dollars of the people’s money, offertory money, so these scandals can stay silent.  I’m angry at the response of both McCarrick and Cardinal Wuerl and their “surprise” of the news.  I have three young girls, and we teach our oldest to tell the truth always, even when it’s scary, even when it hurts.  I am angry because I feel lied to.  I am angry there seems to be no ownership, no apology.  These actions are an awful example to my children.

With that said, there are a few things I want to say, how I’ve been processing, that I feel few places have emphasized:

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Passion and Priesthood of the Pregnant Woman

Wiping off the dust off of this site.  A post by my beautiful, nine-month-pregnant wife Mimi.


I have always had relatively “easy” and uneventful pregnancies.  Having tackled some of my physical and mental issues over the past two years has helped this third one be the “easiest” yet. But even an “easy” pregnancy is in no way without aches, pains, doubts, and sacrifice.

Throughout some of the tired days and uncomfortable moments, the phrase that most often came to mind is Jesus’ words, “this is my body, given up for you.” In some ways, it became a mantra for my pregnancy. Doubled over because of an abdominal cramp? “This is my body, given up for you.” Sleepless night because every position makes my hips feel like they might explode from the heavy ache? “This is my body, given up for you.” A twinge of sadness when looking at the scale or in the mirror? “This is my body, given up for you.” And over, and over, and over. Even in the moments that I do not actively recognize my sacrifice, I am living it.

We are all called to be an image of Christ to others, but are there many greater examples of this than a pregnant woman? In many ways, my body is a living sacrament---making visible the invisible mystery of Christ, a life given for another. Everyday, I make visible the words of Jesus, the powerful, mysterious words through which ordinary bread becomes extraordinary and God Himself enters our bodies.  My ordinary body becomes something extraordinary, as I receive another’s body into mine, creating another body that, for a time, resides in mine. This child, this human, who lives inside me for nine months, lives off me and my body. For this child, I become the food, for this child I provide the “bread,” the nutrients of life.

This sacrifice of giving life to sustain the life of another may be represented in it’s most visual and obvious form through the gift of pregnancy. I’ve learned, however, from St. John Paul II, that this gift, this privilege of giving life, is inherent to the soul of a woman, created as woman, whether or not that gift extends to physical pregnancy. Do we not then, simply by being a woman, have a special privilege of understanding Christ? Is it no wonder then that so many of the disciples who followed Jesus until the bitter end, who looked for Him after His death and resurrection were women? Is it surprising so many of those who have filled His churches, served His poor, educated and loved His forgotten, have been and are women? No doubt being a woman brings, in some ways, greater burdens, but does it also not in other ways bring a greater gift? Greater privilege? Even the least educated among us women can understand Christ in a way that a man, however learned in the Bible and theology, can’t. That doesn’t make us better, but in the scheme of life and eternity, that does make us privileged.

This is why I’m frustrated when I hear that women need to be priests to be equal in the Church. Through ordained Priesthood, God gave men the power to create life: a gift that had already been given to women (albeit in a different way) through their design. Thus, a path to equality should not expect women to do more. Rather, we must see as Christ sees: there is a unique priesthood of women that already exists. Look and see what I am already doing. Understand that there is something greater here than a waddle and a huge belly.  I don’t need to preach with my words; but simply be---be noticed, seen---sitting or standing or in whatever position I can possibly find comfortable. We must marvel at and honor what woman, through her femininity, can already do. 

Jesus labored in the garden, as I am about to labor as well. The cup could not pass from Him, but He knew, like I do, that the suffering would be over soon. That through the suffering, life would be new. As I prepare for my passion, for the end of this pregnancy, I pray that I may be a witness to Him through all that my femininity allows me to do.

For more on the feminine genius, check out:

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Three P's to overcome the obstacles of the Enemy

In honor of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, a message to men:

The father I want to be

We are called to greatness.  There’s less and less men out there who are actually really great.  We fall into the Devil’s intimidations, distractions, and temptations.  Here are the three P’s I think we all need to overcome the obstacles of the Enemy.

1. Purpose

We must all know our Why.  Know who we are and whose we are.  First, we each are a son of God that loves us and is proud of us.  Believe it. We are best when we are in service and act for others.  Every man needs to know his purpose.  I’ve been working on mine.  For me, every moment is a chance to “create opportunity for others and myself to encounter Christ together.”  My purpose in serving my wife? Help her get to heaven---by listening to her, serving her, praying for her, and doing the dishes :).  My daughters? Infuse them with love and discipline, that they always know that they have a father who loves them.  That their eyes will continue to shine when they look into mine.  These are my Why’s.  What’s yours?

2. Prayer

We see less and less men who are steady, firm, and consistent.  This type of rock foundation takes habit over time.  We see the effects of running every day or hitting the gym frequently, so we must have the same fervor of “getting in reps” of prayer each morning.  Let’s wake up and let God show us our blueprint to the day and not the other way around.  Ask Jesus questions.  Let Him answer. Read scripture.  Start with the daily Gospel.  If He’s in control, it takes off the weight we put on our own shoulders.  Filling up the soul tank, we can give what we receive.

3. Persistence

It’s not about never falling, but getting up each time we do.  It’s about looking at failure in the face, leaning on Christ, and standing back up.  It’s about having the humility to ask for help.  It’s about learning from our setbacks and adjusting our battle plan moving forward.  No one goes through life undefeated.  So let’s stop fearing failure.  When it comes to doing the right thing, we must do before we feel.  Strive for excellence at all moments.  Surround ourselves around the right people who will support us getting there.

And please, don’t look at me as an example.  Look at Christ.  He has always come through for me.  He will always come through for you.  Now let us come through for others.  If Christ is the light, we can bring the torch into darkness and can light others on fire. Rock solid men make rock solid husbands and fathers.  Rock solid husbands and fathers make rock solid families.  Rock solid families positively change communities, churches, and effectively, the world for generations.

Let’s start with ourselves.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Men: 7 Battle Tactics in the Fight for Virtue

This past week, I totally wiped out.  I gave into paralysis as described in John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart explanation of the story of Adam and Eve:

Needless to say, the story doesn’t go well. Adam fails; he fails Eve, and the rest of humanity. Let me ask you a question: Where is Adam, while the serpent is tempting Eve? He’s standing right there: “She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too” (Gen. 3:6 NLT). The Hebrew for “with her” means right there, elbow to elbow. Adam isn’t away in another part of the forest; he has no alibi. He is standing right there, watching the whole thing unravel. What does he do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He says not a word, doesn’t lift a finger.* He won’t risk, he won’t fight, and he won’t rescue Eve. Our first father—the first real man—gave in to paralysis. He denied his very nature and went passive. And every man after him, every son of Adam, carries in his heart now the same failure. Every man repeats the sin of Adam, every day. We won’t risk, we won’t fight, and we won’t rescue Eve. We truly are a chip off the old block.

I was haunted by the question Eldredge later writes about his marriage: “What if I offer her all I have as a man and it’s not enough?”    It described me to a tee.

He continues:

The evidence is clear: Adam and Eve’s fall sent a tremor through the human race. A fatal flaw entered the original, and it’s been passed on to every son and daughter. Thus every little boy and every little girl comes into the world set up for a loss of heart. Even if he can’t quite put it into words, every man is haunted by the question, “Am I really a man? Have I got what it takes . . . when it counts?” 

When it counted, I didn't come through for Mimi.  A week later, through gracious prayer from my beloved, I feel like I’m finally coming back to being me.  I’m beginning to feel the warmth return after a frostbite devoid of emotion.  How do I respond?  Prayer has lead me to write this list of advice for men (and to myself) from seven quotes that I didn’t listen to all week.