8 Things I’ve learned About Overcoming Porn Addiction

A few lessons learned on the way to freedom from addiction.

When I was barely in double digits, I was introduced to pornography by a friend.

As intriguing as it was, I knew it wasn't right. What I didn't know though was that I would choose to walk down a road that saw me addicted to that nonsense for over 15 years.

I spent money on my addiction. I lost relationships because of my addiction. I became numb toward God because of my addiction. I reached a point in life where I had literally spent more of my life addicted to porn than not.

Talking about porn, even freedom from it, makes people, especially Christians, uncomfortable. We can be pretty hush-hush on the subject. We don't like to talk about the problem itself, or, curiously, even that some are free from it. Some don't want to talk about the "why?" when it comes to addiction or freedom. I do.

In November of 2013, I celebrated 6 years “sober” from pornography. Here are eight things I have learned along the way:

1. A “Little Problem” is Still a Problem

Don't fool yourself.

Don't Fool Yourself. If you look at porn, you have a problem with porn.

I'm constantly amazed at the number of people I talk to who think that if you don't view porn frequently, it means you don't have a problem. You may not have as big as a problem as someone else, but comparison is a dangerous game.

A little bit is the foundation for a lot. You have to stop before it becomes a bigger problem. Think if someone said to you, “But, I mean, you know, I just did a little bit of heroin this week!” Yes, you sound that ridiculous.

2. The Blind Can't Lead the Blind

If you were starting a business, would you go to someone who had little to no experience in business to ask advice on how to get started? Of course not.

The power of community is valuable, and there's something healing about a finding solidarity with people going through the same struggles as you. That's all well and good.

However, the blind can't lead the blind. It's like a bunch of blindfolded people in a jail cell with an open door stumbling around together hoping to fall through the opening. Funny mental picture. Poor usage of time.

But one thing that we don't often consider is finding someone who isn't addicted anymore and asking them how they found freedom. This is a different kind of community and confession than we might be used to—but it might also bear a different kind of fruit.

3. Fantasy Doesn’t Make Reality Go Away

I found that I had a lot of wars between fantasy and reality. The crazy thing is that when you are done with fantasy, reality is always sitting there waiting for you when you come home.

Just like with any other addiction, if you look at porn in order to cope with stress, or because you are dissatisfied with life in some way, you aren't actually solving the problem, you're compounding it.

4. Marriage Won't 'Cure' You

It just won't. Most people's problem is not the lack of sex. As a matter of fact, you will probably have to "unlearn" desires that you take into the marriage bed because of your addiction.

Marriage may mask the problem for a while, but I haven't met a person yet that was addicted to porn before marriage, and never looked at it again after saying, "I do.” If you don’t get help before you enter into marriage, you will only end up hurting yourself and your spouse more.

5. Accountability is More Than Just Once a Week

There are 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week and approximately 720 hours in a month. Do we really think that sitting across from someone for 1-2 hours out of 168 and 4-8 hours out of 720 should be called effective accountability? No, it shouldn't.

Accountability frequently just turns into a checklist of how you have or have not messed up. Real community is more intentional, and more natural. Have a group of friends that you're living life with—who are much more to you than just a sin prevention mechanism.

If pornography is a part of your life, you need to find a few people that can help fill up some of those hours with genuine friendship—the benefits will be far greater than just kicking your pornography habit. And If you aren't addicted to porn, you need to be one of those people who is there for someone who is.

6. Don't Let Your Guard Down

I sat across from a friend who told me that he had looked at pornography after about 30 days of not looking at it. When I asked him why he did that, he said that he began to celebrate the victory and let his guard down.

I have more "roadblocks" today than ever before. I can say that I have no desire to look at pornography anymore, but I'm not going to test that knowledge by becoming lazy.

On a similar note, nothing good happens late at night. Staying up late when there is no reason to do so can lead to all kinds of garbage. Just go to bed.

I discovered that I fought and kicked and clawed and begged for what I possessed all along: Freedom.

7. If You’re Free, Shout It From the Mountain Tops.

If you are free from pornography, listen to me: you need to tell people.

I had a guy sit across from me bawling his eyes out while telling me he had never met anyone other than me who was free from addiction to pornography. It broke my heart, not because I thought that was true, but because even the free are being quiet. You hold hope for so many. Help them.

8. Freedom is Yours. Claim It.

In my reflections on this, I've thought many times about Jesus' work on earth. He lived, died and rose from the dead. I am free from the law of sin and death because of that. I am free.

I discovered that I fought and kicked and clawed and begged for what I possessed all along: Freedom. You have every tool you need to overcome this when you have Jesus. You just have to walk that freedom out, and let others help you along that path.

Top Comments

Lydia Searle

2

Lydia Searle commented…

What a great, honest article. My story is nearly identical to yours with one difference: I'm a woman. I have been free from this for nearly five months, and I desperately want to tell other women my testimony, but there is so much secrecy and shame surrounding this issue of pornography. The sad truth is, more and more young girls are being exposed to these things at a younger age, as I was, and because there is shame within the Church about talking about it, it breeds and grows. Because sin can grow and breed when it's kept in the dark, kind of like bacteria. We need to get over ourselves and our 'pride' and start talking about it. I can count on one hand the number of my friends who were willing to talk through my problem with me; I can count a lot more who shut me down with embarrassed looks, shushes, disgusted stares or else the classic 'ew I would never look at pornography'. I think because porn is typically degrading and humiliating for the woman, it breeds mistrust and even hatred of men every time you watch it. I am so grateful I got free before marriage, but I wonder how many other countless women are living in a cycle of shame and secrecy?

Todd Thompson

1

Todd Thompson commented…

Wow. I needed to hear this. I have been sober from porn for 9 yrs and although I lead a support group and pour into others who struggle, I have kept quiet about it of late. I used to share my story once a yr or so at my church. I have not done that for 5 yrs, thinking it had become repetitious. Satan must have loved that. It's time to share my story again!

33 Comments

Ricky Ellis

1

Ricky Ellis commented…

One of the great articles that I read. Thanks for sharing such valuable information. http://www.remotespy.co/internet-filter.html Anyone can get rid of porn by blocking the sites. I have heard micro keyligger works more effectively in this purpose. Also works invisibly.

Casey Dynan

1

Casey Dynan commented…

Two best resources I've ever seen ACTUALLY help myself and other people get free:

- "Dangerous Men: Beginning the Process of Lust Free Living" - www.manup.org
- "Unveil: Beginning the Process of Lust Free Living" - www.unveilus.org (Women's site/resource)

It's super practical, honest, blunt, holistic, meets people where they are at, and it works really well with young men/women. We ran this for both the men and women's groups in our community, and God used it to totally change our men's and women's environments. It was surprisingly evangelistic, but communities change rapidly when people get free and it's attractive. It's messy to get there, leaders need to be vulnerable themselves, but totally worth the fight.

Mike Lano

1

Mike Lano commented…

Few things worked for me in deal with porn addiction (hope this helps others)

1. The mental realization is I need to beat porn addiction
2. Supporting individuals around me
3. Software to remove all porn from my PC. I used one from:

http://contentpurity.com/porn-addiction.htm

The hardest part is in the initial phase. It gets easier afterwards:)

Natasha Sproles

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