I have been thinking about rites of passage to manhood for a while now and have even studied aboriginal peoples to see if I could find what I was looking for. All rites of passage I have found are hard, physically painful, and most of the time the participants are naked. I think we have lost something in these caveman type rites that we need to recapture.
What happens when a young man gets caught up in porn or some other type of sexual activity is that he stops developing because that act is a substitute and it steals from his future. As I have been working through what it should look like for us in the culture we live I came to grips with an understanding that passages to manhood come in stages or seasons and we must walk through it to get to the next one and sometimes they over lap. So with these thoughts running through my head I picked up John Eldridge’s book The Way of the Wild Heart. Now that book has sat on my shelf for years and then just jumped into my hand at the right time. John breaks the stages down to Boy 0-13 Cowboy 13-20 Warrior 20-30 Lover 30-40 King 40-60 and Sage 60-…? (Compare this to the life of David and it’s pretty accurate) Every level is so important for the one to follow. For example if man skips the stage of lover and then becomes King he will be oppressive.
I have seen many boys in men’s bodies because they got hooked when they were 13 and now are trying to raise a family, hold a job, and mentor others but they can’t do any of it right because they never passed through the stages themselves. In my study of Native peoples I came upon the Vanuatu’s on Pentecost Island in the south pacific. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdmbkeJe6zo&feature=related These guys are onto something here. Bungee jumping with vines from bamboo towers and as they grow older and braver they jump from higher up. Finally the old guy who has been doing it forever cuts the vines for the younger men the right length so they don’t break their neck. It’s a pretty good picture of what it should look like.
So…depending on where you are at and your history you most likely have some homework to do. What stages did you miss, and what do you need? Find them and go get it. Camping with your boys or even other young men even though you’re 35 will be very healing if chasing girls took president over those times when you were younger. It will be a wise move to do this as this is what your heart really needs and when it is taken care of, it won’t just get you out of the cycle of addiction, the rest of life with fall into order.