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  • Writer's picturePatrick Norris

64. Blaine Bartel – A Minister’s Story of Resurrection from Addiction

Welcome to Episode #64 of the Red Ink Revival Leadership Podcast. Today’s conversation is with Blaine Bartel. Blaine was once considered “Youth Pastor of America.” He was a bestselling author. He hosted a national TV show. He hosted the largest weekly student gatherings in America. However, behind the curtains of his success was a man who was overcome by an unbreakable sexual addiction, severe clinical depression, and marital brokenness. After losing it all–a marriage of 30 years, his reputation, his career, and financial success–he began a journey to a full life resurrection. His story is one of redemption. Of hope. Of freedom. It wasn’t easy, it didn’t have a quick fix, and it was arduous. But it was worth it to finally know the real Christ and the power of His resurrection. Blaine’s ministry opportunities, coaching, and resources are at

Our conversation includes the following topics:

  • Blaine’s story of a “Death by a Thousand Lies” book and documentary.

  • How his addiction began with simple access to pornography in a hotel room.

  • How life as a guest speaker was filled with weariness, highs, and lows that predisposed him to vulnerabilities.

  • How for 23 years, the addiction moved from pornography, to live chat lines, to massage parlors, to escorts.

  • Why trying to control, beat the temptation, manage it, and repair compulsivity without other process relationships is ineffective.

  • Why Blaine didn’t reach out early on in his story to find trusted relationships and get help.

  • Blaine’s fantasies of escape to another country, and even ending his life through suicide.

  • The tension of a Jekyll and Hyde life: how the church Blane pastored rapidly grew in spite of his secret life.

  • The night his double life was discovered, and his first steps in the journey to recovery.

  • The tragic moments of watching his wife sob uncontrollably for days, after his disclosure to his wife and kids.

  • How psychologists Dr. Ralph Earl and Dr. Ken McGill changed him, the way a surgeon helps with physical problems.

  • The psychological and neurobiological autopsy at the treatment center for his recovery.

  • The season when Blaine feared that his recovery would only be incremental, rather than a true transformation and resurrection.

  • How Blaine has been in sobriety for 9 years without a relapse, experiencing real freedom different than white knuckle discipline.

  • How Blaine’s ministry is helping ministers to find safe places to come clean in their stories and find the help they need.

  • What Blaine thinks about the recently discovered double life of Ravi Zacharias.

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Edited and produced by Evan (Emac) McAlister

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