If You Could only Do One Thing to Quit Porn

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“If he would only read his Bible or pray more” has been the encouragement of many a well-meaning addiction recovery group. Tey are not wrong, but the answer is incomplete. Treating a pornography addiction as wholly a spiritual problem, when there are serious emotional and physical aspects as well.

For example, many assume that the porn addict is hedonistically enjoying every moment. Reveling in the unholy pleasure. But when research has been done on addictive behavior, the experience of the addict is not so much one of pleasure. Rather, it is a feeling of craving. I can attest to this in my own experience. I would often come away from a session of looking at porn feeling very disappointed in it. Why I would expose myself to that kind of shame for such a small payoff. I wish someone had told me that I was experiencing not a hedonistic desire for pleasure but rather a craving they had dug itself into my mind. How helpful it would have been to look at it and see it for what it was, a craving that would not satisfy (for more information on this, I would recommend the excellent book Change Anything:The New Science of Personal Success).

It has been useful to me since learning this. When I am tempted. I can name the temptation for what it is: a craving from my past that won’t pay off. Of course this doesn’t fix everything, but it is one of several tools that, when all working together, make the addiction beatable. Knowledge of my adversary is key.

Recently I was introduced to a wonderful series of videos called the Conquer Series. These five DVDs were by far the most thorough treatment of all three aspects of pornography addiction. It takes into account the emotional, the physical, and the spiritual. If you do what Ted Roberts says, you will eventually overcome your porn addiction. Dr. Roberts says it take about 2-5 years. It took me more like 8 years, so I guess I’m kind of slow.

A warning, some of you will go to the website and watch the trailer.  The special effects will look a little corny to you and the interviews will sounds too Christiany. You will then decide that this series really isn’t worth a look. That is a mistake. Take it from me that this DVD series is gold and you are a fool to turn it down. If you would like to overcome your pornography addiction, find a conquer group and watch the series.

You will thank me one day.

-Chip

The Sideways One above is courtesy of Daniel X. Niel and is used with permission.

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Victory Over Pornography

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It’s been a long time since this blog was first founded. I wrote the first posts in an attempt to get control of a difficult habit in my life. I suppose it was a way to have you help me get control of my own cravings. I thought I would give you an update of where things are at for me. My porn habit is now well controlled. I continue to attend my weekly group but have not had a slip-up in well over a year. In the spirit of Alcoholics Anonymous, I will always be an addict, but I am no longer a slave.

A porn habit can be conquered

At first, I was doubtful that this was possible. After many failures and the crippling shame, I wondered if porn was a permanent feature of my life. In the decade since those dark days, my progress has been slow but steady. If I had known then what I know now, I’m sure it would have been a much shorter journey. But such as life. We don’t know what we don’t know.

One of the most important discoveries I’ve made is that pornography is driven by not just a spiritual problem but also physical and emotional problems as well. I didn’t know that I was using the easy pleasure of pornography to mask the loneliness and insecurity I had. Medicating my pain like any good addict. I also hadn’t realized how much my own brain conspired against me to compulsively return. That is not to say I am not guilty, I certainly am. But it is a more holistic explanation for why it was so hard to quit.

The Cycle of Shame

Failing to understand the complexity of the problem made me very harsh with myself. Increasing the shame I felt about my pornography problem. The shame would drive me to the only thing I knew that I could feel better: the porn. This terrible cycle, all too common with addictions, would have been easier to resist had I understood exactly what was going on. If I were to go back and speak to Chip from 10 years ago, I would spend a lot of time educating him on how his brain works.

Ironically, those of us who battle with addiction end up being twice blessed. By addressing the root causes of my own compulsive behavior, I was able two find my own loneliness and address that. I was able to build a more authentic relationship with my wife. I was able to come up with a more robust view of what the cross of Jesus means. I was not a nice guy who deserve to be forgiven. I was a compulsive rebel who was deeply loved anyway.

Help from the Other Side of Porn Addiction

So I want to speak to you, the man or woman who is currently struggling with pornography. The person who embraces those naked images and is crushed by shame. I have hope for you. I’ve learned that many if not most of those who try to stop do. If you have the drive to quit, it really is a matter of how long it takes for you to quit, and not a matter of whether you will succeed. You can and will if you don’t quit.

So be encouraged. You have been unable to stop because there is more for you to learn about yourself and the God who made you. There are joys unlooked-for and double blessings waiting for you to find them. You don’t know the good things that you will find on the other side of your porn addiction. So keep fighting! It is worth it. As someone who is now on the other side, I can tell you the view is great from here.

-Chip

The lovely image above is courtesy of Tom Newby and is used with permission