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CBN.com An alcoholic father created a childhood of fear for Revel Dawson. The physical abuse started before he could walk and only got worse.
"The environment in my household was very stressful. It was full of anger, alcoholism, fighting, and fear. My father would come home, and in fear of his rages I would hide in a closet, behind clothes. I would bury myself in the closet and hide there until he passed out, " said Revel.
There were times when Revel couldn’t hide. At times, no one was safe.
"When my father would get in one of his drunken rages, he didn’t want to be bothered by me. He would tie me to the bed and keep my brother and I there all day."
By the time Revel was six-years-old, the physical abuse turned into sexual abuse.
"I felt as if I was somebody’s play toy. It was humiliating," Revel said.
Family and friends of his father raped Revel until he was 13-years-old. Then, he turned to drugs and alcohol to take away the pain.
"The drugs were very easily available. It was not uncommon to get high after school. When i was involved in sports, it was not uncommon to be high before and after the sports."
The rising track and field star secured an athletic scholarship to Cumberland College. There were many Christians at his school, but he wasn’t interested in hearing anything about God.
Revel thought, "If God loves you why did I experience so much pain?"
In spite of his pain, Revel found himself next to all the other athletes in church.
"God had begun to work in my heart. I don’t remember the sermon, but I remember the song, and I ’d never heard it before. It was 'Just As I Am.' It was October 17, 1976, one of the happiest days of my life," he said.
That day, Revel gave his life to Christ. Revel soon became the pastor of a little country church. However, Revel had no closure on the past.
"Because of the early sexual abuse that went on with me I developed some very unhealthy attitudes towards sexuality. I still had a very extreme, strong pull to women and as a result of that, I began to migrate towards relationships that would accommodate that sexual desire," said Revel.
Revel married twice, but his affairs led to divorce. All the while, he continued to pastor his little church in the country. Essentially, he lived a double life.
"I would stand in front of the church, praising God and worshipping God and acting as if I was Joe-Christian up front in the church and sitting in the front row. Then the next day, I'd go to the massage parlor or some type of prostitute ring. It was not uncommon for me to spend eight hours a day on the internet looking at pornography."
When Revel met Caroline, he thought he could put his addiction behind him. They married, and six months later she was pregnant. Revel only became bolder about his addiction.
"I began to go out and see women. I began to bring them to my office. I began to bring them to a safe place. I began to see women in my car, almost in public places. I was daring to get caught, " he said.
Four years into his marriage, and unwilling to hide his addiction from his wife anymore, Revel confessed. Caroline was devastated, but she chose to stay and fight for her husband. But Revel still wasn’t ready to give up his double life.
"I would come home, and kiss my wife and only had been gone from a prostitute for half-an-hour and walk in and act as if it were nothing. I couldn’t get enough sex, " Revel revealed.
Caroline realized that something was wrong with her husband, but didn’t know what. She insisted Revel attend a weekend conference for men with sexual addictions. There, he realized the need to be set free from his sin.
"It wasn’t easy. It was months of counseling. Things are different in a way of transparency. I believe wholeheartedly what you do in secret you have to confess in the light."
After years of trying on his own, Revel knows only the power of God could deliver him from such an overwhelming addiction. Today, he focuses on staying pure and faithful to his wife and family through accountability and trust.
"When we surround ourselves with Godly men, we will do Godly thing," Revel said.
The couple now ministers to men and women bound by addictions. Revel’s radio show and book, Managing the Madness, help addicts stay sexually pure and drug free.
"It used to be hard for me not to lust, not to want to be with another woman. It's easy now because I've had that spiritual cleansing. I'm not recovering, I've recovered. God has healed me, and He can do it for you."
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