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