Tag Archives: cheating

Getting to the Roots

This post is about The Roots Retreat, Awaken’s therapeutic intensive weekend for men seeking recovery from addictive or unwanted sexual behavior. Our next men’s Roots Retreat is scheduled for June 4-7, 2020.

We also offer a Roots Retreat for women who have been sexually betrayed by their husbands/male partners. We’ll offer a post on the women’s retreat at a later date.

In early January 2009, my years-long sexual addiction secret was exposed, and I began a life journey of recovery. If you have not read or heard my story, you can catch up on that HERE.

In those early days of recovery, I learned a lot of new terms, phrases, and concepts. Now that my secret was in the light and I was working with a therapist and a sponsor, I began to soak in everything I could that would help me move forward.

Something I heard a lot about was the concept of “branches and roots.” For all the years I’d been trying to defeat my addiction on my own, my effort was almost exclusively focused on stopping what I was doing. “Stop looking at porn.” “Stop compulsively masturbating.” “Stop hooking up.” And while, of course, it was good for me to want to stop doing all those things, I realized later that I was trying to kill a tree by sawing off its branches.

All of the unwanted behaviors I was doing weren’t my real problem. They were evidence of my deeper problem. Something in my life was broken, wounded, sick, traumatized, and instead of ignoring or hiding those things, I needed to discover what they were. If my acting out behavior was the branches of a tree, then all my hidden brokenness was its roots.

Once I was able to identify those “root” areas of brokenness, I could see the connection between them and my eventual behavior. This was super-important in learning how to acknowledge the many contributors to addiction, while still taking ownership and responsibility for my own behavior and choices.

One way to get to the roots…

There’s another thing I’ve learned in my years of recovery. When a person is really ready for change, it can be helpful to take an immersive approach. What do I mean by that? Well, while working one-on-one with a therapist over weeks and months is a critical part of recovery, there are additional ways to do this work. One way is through attending a recovery intensive.

An intensive is an uninterrupted retreat in which an attendee works with therapists, volunteers, and other people in recovery over a short, but intense period of time. Instead of doing your therapy work one hour at a time over several months, you work on it solidly for about four days. This concentrated approach really helps a lot of people connect dots more quickly. The atmosphere of quiet and retreat from everyday life (no phones, computers, etc.) helps people to connect with and stay in their emotions, getting a lot done. People who attend intensives go home feeling much more in tune with where they’ve been, where they are, and where they want to go; and if they’re working with a therapist they have a clearer idea of their continuing path forward.

Awaken offers a four-day intensive for men called The Roots Retreat. The weekend helps them better understand how their addiction formed, how to take healthy responsibility, how to begin healing from their own trauma, and how to more healthily approach their marriages & other relationships. Men who attend work with multiple therapists and staff. The work is spiritually and emotionally challenging & intense, but can also be incredibly fulfilling and healing.

Since 2016, over 110 men have attended a Roots Retreat weekend, and for many of them it was exactly the catalyst they needed to help recovery take hold in their lives.

The Roots Retreat for men is offered three times a year, typically in February, June, and October. If you have been looking for a way to get unstuck and to experience more progress in your recovery, the Roots Retreat could be a solution for you.

To find out more about the Roots Retreat, click HERE. There are assistance options available for attendees with financial difficulties.


gregblogGreg Oliver struggled for years with an addiction to sex & porn. Since 2009 he has been on a journey of recovery. He and his wife Stacey founded Awaken as a way to walk with individuals, couples, and ministry leaders, and to help them experience healing in the midst of sexual brokenness. Awaken offers weekly recovery meetings, including virtual ones. Email us for more info.