Pornography

Breaking the Cycle

It’s amazing how God causes you to cross paths with people with whom you share similar struggles. A few weeks ago I had the privilege of reconnecting with a friend and she shared with me her struggle with pornography. I had told her about my 8 year struggle with porn 2 years ago, and now she was at a place where she felt comfortable talking about her’s.

In talking with her, she asked me for any advice I had to help her stop the addiction and curb the desire. Whenever someone asks me that question, my first thought is always: how long do I have to talk?! After struggling with this for a good portion of my life I have the potential of going on and on and on…

Since I have now answered that very question for numerous people, I thought I would publicly share my general tips. **Disclaimer: I’m aware that this issue affects males and females differently, so please take these tips in context.

  1. You won’t stop until you want to– that may sound obvious, but it’s the truth. There were many times early on in those 8 years that I said I wanted to quit, but inside I knew I didn’t really want to. I hadn’t hit rock bottom yet and there seemed to be no other alternative coping methods.
  2. Tell someone– short, sweet, and simple. Accountability is the name of the game.
  3. Discover the triggers– why do you look at porn? Is it because you’re lonely? Because you  desire emotional intimacy? Ultimately, handling the why will offer the greatest freedom.  Counseling helps with this a lot. DO.IT.
  4. Recognize the setting- when and where do you look at porn?  Is it at night? In the afternoon? After you’ve watched an overly sexual movie or TV show? In your bedroom? At school? If it’s something you can avoid, do so! Paul says run from sexual immorality! (1 Corinth. 6:18) I no longer take that lightly.
  5. Pray over spaces– if you know you struggle with porn in your bed at night then pray over your bedroom and bed before you get in it. And by golly get others to pray too!
  6. Declare truth out loud– this is both for yourself and the enemy. I am a firm believer of speaking things into existence. The biggest one for me was that “I am worth saving.” I struggled a lot with my value before God because of my shame during the addiction.
  7. Don’t focus on trying not to think about it- because in a round about way, you are thinking about it. Instead, actively think about something else. Discover and pursue the passions that God has given you! Actively think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and/or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
  8. Remind yourself of God’s faithfulness and power- the way I chose to do this was by writing down verses on index cards that were particularly meaningful to me and posting them all over my door so I had to look at them before I left my room in the morning. I also suggest  writing things on mirrors.
  9. Keep your computer in a public space- let’s just be super practical for a moment. Don’t allow yourself to be alone with your computer.
  10. Have a filter- when I was 11, the internet had just become popular and there weren’t many (if any) filters or even pop-up blockers. Now there are. Use them. A great free one is called Blue Coat K9 Web Protection. I use it. It’s pretty boss.

While these are all nice, strategic, offensive things to do to combat the struggle with porn, it is crucial that you remember that you are not going to save yourself. Sorry.

My journey through my addiction was what turned me into a Holy Spirit lovin’ Christian! When I realized in 10th grade that it was only through the power of the Holy Spirit living in me that I had any hope of regaining “control” of my life, everything changed. I switched from the losing team to the winning team and I haven’t looked back since.

While this may make my road to recovery look simple and smooth, it certainly wasn’t and temptation is still there. In the midst of all the turmoil never forget that you are a beloved child of God and that the battle is already won.

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2 thoughts on “Breaking the Cycle

    • I was addicted to porn for 8 years and I’ve been free for the past 3 years. In the last years of my addiction I definitely had what I would have called, “relapse” periods. It was awful. I felt like a failure and it was really easy to lose hope that I would ever get out in those moments. Even now that I am addiction free, porn can still be a temptation and I have given in on occasion. I recognize that I have been freed from my addiction and am no longer a slave to porn, but also recognize that the greatest vice in my life is lust/sexual sin. I used to wrestle with the idea of being a broken and sinful person because I had this idea that if I was actually a good enough Christian I wouldn’t give in to the temptation of looking at porn ever! But in thinking that, I was splitting sin into two categories: sexual sin and “normal” sin. Somehow I thought that I could completely cure myself of this sexual sin. But really there’s just sin, and I can’t cure myself of that. Praise God that he has promised to make us more like him as we journey with him through life! 2 Corinthians 3:18 and Romans 6:22 speak to that. That change in my mindset has been huge for me in understanding my post-addiction sexual temptations.

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