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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How Quitting Your Porn Addiction Will Give You Your Life Back

“... everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

~Matthew 5:28 (NRSV).

I’m not sure there is a man alive that hasn’t struggled with this; and I dare say a reasonable percentage of women too. In this area, all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).

Still, some struggle more than others. Some are woven into a string of deceit they barely have hope of retrieval. Besides what many think, being Christian is no protection here; the devil takes sharp delight in implicating the pious! Indeed, I’ve often wondered that if I can think the way I do—a Christian who is writing about Christian spirituality every day—how can it be for others with a less fervent spiritual life?

Despite the foregoing, there is a scale to the issue—every man struggles with it, but some are tormented by it.

No Condemnation

Let’s begin by reminding ourselves that, in Christ, there is no condemnation for the sordid things we do, taken that we’re genuinely penitent about them.

Anyone addicted to something has been to repentance with belligerent routine. They have a broken and contrite heart; God does not despise that (Psalm 51:16-17).

It’s the devil in the minds of these, however, that accuses and vexatiously so—they stand between the rock of guilt and a hard place known as “Despair,” yes, vacillating between the two.

Understanding the Nature of Sin

Sin is only ever a problem because it affects not just us, but others too. This is when we provoke the ire of God.

We might be tempted to think that addictions only affect the person in their addiction, but those ripples of self-abuse and neglect are recoiling tsunamis in the lives of others.

In the case of porn addiction—and let’s focus, it’s not just hard porn but soft porn[1] too—the patterns of thinking and behaviour have their direct and indirect impacts on those we love and on those we don’t even know.

Honesty – the Best Policy for Recovery

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have the simplest most effective practical strategy in quitting, with effect, any addiction—because it deals with the moral fathoms of such perplexing problems.

The source of all sin is moral ineptitude—again, we all struggle.

These are the steps I suggest for people who are serious about giving up their porn addiction:

1. Google “AA – How it Works”. Quickly you’ll find chapter 5 of AA’s Big Book which describes the pathology behind an addict’s thinking and how to disentangle oneself. Education is a key to awareness.

2. With ruthless honesty, confess your sin to trusted others. Family are not always the best people to do this with, not initially; if it’s done poorly they’ll perhaps be irretrievably hurt. Go to a pastor or counsellor, or even AA itself, first.

3. Maintain your honesty. It’s your only hope of smashing the devil’s grip on you via the addiction.

4. Commit yourself to a program of recovery, understanding that recovery is a process taking the rest of your life. This is aided never better by empowering trusted people to hold you to account. The importance of accountability cannot be understated.

Do these things and there is a high percentage of recovery... healing toward salubrious life.

Getting Your Life Back

It’s only someone active in their recovery that knows this beautiful reality. Spiritual freedom, like that never known before, comes as a blessing for having remained rigorously honest, and able to be held to account.

Doors open up—despite those appropriate ones slammed in our faces—and a new life beckons. Indeed, there is something fundamentally better than getting our old life back; a new life with fresh hope and possibilities comes. It’s a world that can only be imagined this side of it.

This life is one free of fear for deceit; courage is adding to our moral warehouse and life continues to blossom. There are no secrets to hide; no shame or guilt. Trust and respect are supplemented in our relationships.

With each honest day, one after the prevailing other, more is added. A mood of praise and thankfulness is established.

Stay honest and all of God’s coming blessings will be added to you.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.




[1] It’s important to understand that Jesus spoke in Matthew 5:28 about the “heart” which is key. It matters little whether the “porn” is full-on sex or naked bodies or ogling for that matter—it’s all the same thing. It comes from a heart disposed to sin.

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