“Recovery has been hell, but it is absolutely worth it. It is 100 percent worth it. It is hellacious, and fear was the number one ruler in my life before I found freedom.” - Sway
“Women have the whole world come crashing down. Now that we are back together, there are days that are difficult. But, YES. I do think it has been really worth it.” - Rachel
(TS0:00-5:00) Introduction to the Podcast: Steve and Chris announce the winner of “The Heart of A Woman” retreat. Due to generous donations from several individuals and Leading Saints, UnashamedUnafraid is sending three women to the retreat. We at UnashamedUnafraid hope this retreat helps them in their healing and they will find a love from God they have never felt before. With that, Sway and Rachel Chavez tell their story.
(TS5:30 - 15:20) Who is Sway? Sway was introduced to pornography through his best friend between the ages of 6 and 8 years old and was taught how to masturbate around that same time. Sway’s Dad was a workaholic and was unavailable. Sway feels this influenced his decisions to follow the paths he did. Sway feels he was on his own through life without any real parental guidance about how to build a relationship with Jesus Christ. In his home, the children were expected to go to church each week and go on a mission but there was no solid modeling in relationships and connection. Sway found counterfeit connection and validation with girlfriends, porn, and masturbation.
“I remember telling myself that I could stop at any time. And I realized through my recovery that my emotional intelligence was completely stunted at the age of 10 or 12 years old” - Sway
(TS15:30-22:16) Rachel’s Story - Rachel grew up in a home full of change and closeness. She moved around nine times between Kindergarten and sixth grade. Her family grew very close in their relationships with each other because that is all they had for consistency. Her mother was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and her father was a Baptist. As a child, Rachel was encouraged to discover her own path of spirituality and religion.
(TS22:30-29:00) Sway Enters the Picture - Sway and Rachel met in college. When Sway and Rachel met, all Sway talked about was his ex-girlfriends so the date was a let down for Rachel. However, Sway was persistent and continued to text Rachel and soon, they were married. Sway’s addiction got the better of him and he was unfaithful after about six months of being married.
“In my F-ed up brain, I said that it was all her and not me. After therapy and recovery, I realized it was all me!” - Sway
(TS29:30 - 44:30) Addiction after Marriage - In November 2012, Sway and Rachel lost their first child shortly after he was born. During that time, Sway was caught texting a former high school classmate. He blew it off and said it was nothing. Sway was lying and manipulating and Rachel was mourning the loss of their child alone. On September 13, 2016, Sway’s lies started to unravel and the truth was set free. Rachel had found his Apple Watch and Sway had been sending inappropriate texts to someone at work. Rachel demanded, “You tell me everything right now!” Sway remembers that in the Spring of 2016 he was hoping to get caught because his dual life was eating him up inside. It took Sway a better part of a month to come clean on his lies. With the truth finally out and Sway being willing to be accountable for his choices, true recovery started to happen.
(TS46:00 - 55:11) Recovery and the Hell You Must Go Through - God blesses and helps us in our journey in many ways. One of the ways he blessed Sway and Rachel was with an amazing therapist named Corey Holmgren (“Chap”) who was speaking at a conference Sway attended. He knew he had found his guardian angel and one of God’s gifts of recovery for him. Chap helped both of them find a relationship with Christ on their own individual journeys. At first, Rachel couldn’t care less if the marriage lasted. She was just trying to be a good mom and wanted Sway to at least be a good dad. Ultimately, Chap helped save their marriage too. Sadly, Chap passed away in an accident January of 2019. However, Sway still feels Chap’s influence in his life today. We had the privilege of recording 3 posts with Corey Holmgren about how to have healthy and connective sex (click here). Recovery and healing deepened for Sway when he started focusing on his love for his kids. He remembers one night looking at his son brushing his teeth in the bathroom and just loving him. “All of a sudden, Heavenly Father said, ‘This is just a taste of how much I love you.’” Sway had never felt that connection before.
(TS60:30 - 73:30) Sway and Rachel’s Marriage Now; Is Recovery Worth It? Sway and Rachel are a couple who have a healthy connection because they worked on themselves and set up secure/unbreakable boundaries for each other. For example, Sway goes out of town a lot so they have a five-minute rule. Sway has to contact Rachel within 5 minutes of her calling or texting him. Rachel also realizes that she cannot control him and does not want to. Sway has to be the one invested in his own recovery. That is the only way it will work!
Is recovery worth it to Sway? An absolute YES! It may be hellacious and the most difficult journey he has been on, but Sway is free. Rachel says that it is worth it; however, there are still days or moments that are triggering. How does Sway stay in recovery? He reaches out to his friends (who became his family) instead of reaching to his addiction. He reads books like, “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge and others that have influenced him to gain a personal relationship with Heavenly Father.
If you have been inspired or convicted by this podcast, please share it. It could be the first step of a new life in Christ and a deeper relationship with Him.
Sway & Rachel’s recommended resources:
Unashamed & Unafraid
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