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Commentary: Road to recovery

Jon Hauser

FARGO—Pain. Isolation. Internal struggles. Wounds. Unresolved hurt. Secret sins. Abuse. Where do you go to get help?

In April, one of the finalists for a superintendent of schools opening in our community was accused of publicly exposing himself 16 times since November. He had a strong resume and a successful track record, including being voted Minnesota's top superintendent in 2010. His behavior seemed to come out of nowhere. He resigned his current superintendent position. I pray that he and his family find God's grace, truth and healing.

Last week one of the candidates running for secretary of state in North Dakota dropped out of the race. He chose to withdraw after a report surfaced on his 2006 window-peeping incident on the North Dakota State University campus. He was 29 at the time the incident took place.

Ten years ago, when working on a job site at a well-known business in Fargo, I went to the bathroom. Located on the urinal were several issues of pornographic magazines. During work that day, one of the contractors from out of town opened up his laptop and showed us nude pictures of the lady that lived with him while he was working out of the country. He rented a room, and he paid this lady to cook his meals, sleep with him and have sex with him. I walked away as he opened his laptop and continued to talk. The other two men listened to his stories and chuckled as he proceeded to close his laptop and state that he needed to get home to his wife and kids.

Do we have a much bigger problem in our society than newspaper reporting, elections and politics? Do we have a major problem with sexual addiction and various degrees of sexual "sickness" among many men of all professions, economic backgrounds and leadership positions? How many unreported cases of sexual abuse are happening around us? How many affairs are taking place? How many men are living in fear, shame, insecurity and isolation, convincing themselves that their private life isn't hurting anyone and will always remain private? How many men will take their next step and "act out," affecting people they love for decades?

In recent years in our region we have witnessed child pornography charges, illegal video recording, solicitation of prostitution and illicit affairs among men of significant influence and life success. Sex addiction and illegal behavior are less acceptable than other addictions and behavior. Many people laugh at the fact that Fargo was voted the fifth drunkest city in America. I do not. It breaks my heart. Pornography in many circles is "just the way it is" and is "certainly better than illegal or immoral sexual actions." But, if sexual addiction is mentioned, the perception seems to change. Should it?

Could it be that our sexual "sickness" is covering up internal pain, unhealthy beliefs and isolation? Should our overuse of alcohol and our gambling or marijuana addictions also cause us to pause and ask ourselves some difficult questions?

Do we as men have a lack of authentic, accountable relationships where we can process our fears, hurts, joys and life story? I'm on the road to recovery from isolation and past wounds. I pray you are too!

God bless you. See you next Sunday!