Once a Porn-Addict, Always a Porn-Addict

I kissed my wife good night and the kids were sound asleep. I was about ready for bed since I had to wake up early the next morning. She was headed to the grocery store to pick up a few things for the home. That left me alone in bed for the next hour or two. As I laid beneath my comfy blanket, as so many times before, my iPhone's screen called out to my hand. Once again, I felt the gnawing urge to unplug my smartphone from its charger. The very thought of what I could explore on the device led to the insatiable urge and the urge brought me to an action. An action that I knew would leave me feeling empty again and again. 


Yes, I was addicted to PORN and I didn't know how to stop. I've heard people say if you don't like something "just stop doing it". That's like telling a drug addict to stop doing drugs cold turkey. But it just wasn't that simple. I knew it was robbing my marriage and family of who I was meant to be. I knew the cost of porn use was incredibly high. Pornography was not free; my heart was the pornogra-fee. 


I'm writing to bring you a story of hope. If you are as I was (addicted) you are definitely not alone. People of many walks of life are struggling with this same drug and don't know how to be free. Let's be honest, most of us are afraid to tell anyone "hey, I can't stop looking at porn" because, well, that's just embarrassing. But what I'd like to do here is share the main lessons I've learned in becoming victorious over pornography. 


1. Honesty+Community


Okay, I guess that counts as two. Two are better than one, right?


Most of my life consisted of hiding my struggles. I somehow convinced my porn warped brain that I could overcome any of my struggles on my own. I believed that, I tried that for years. And for years it was an endless cycle. I needed to be honest and completely transparent with someone who would not scold or slap me for admitting I looked at porn and masturbated the night before. I believe honesty with someone (or some five) you can trust is essential in winning this porn fight. 


You can't do this alone. Yes, you are strong but, you are much much stronger when surrounded by mentors and trusted friends who you can be totally honest with. 


2. Roots


It took me years to realize my problem with porn was linked to more than the fact that it provided momentary pleasure. It might take you some time but learning why you do what you do is helpful in overcoming. When you identify the real need inside you, you are then able to meet that need in healthy ways.


My addiction was linked to my desire to feel wanted and accepted. I learned that Porn gave me a counterfeit feeling of acceptance and affirmation. I didn't have to worry that a random woman I didn't know was going to reject me. But it wasn't the women I wanted: I really craved affirmation, acceptance, and feeling valued. Once I found the root I was able to chase healthy ways of meeting my needs. Now, I ask my wife what she thinks if I'm having doubts about myself, and she affirms me. Now, I spend time reading a good book that reminds me of my value or I take a walk with a good friend - all these things give me what I was really craving and are healthy ways of connecting that human beings were designed to pursue. 


Honesty and roots are probably the main lessons I've learned on my journey. I hope and pray this encourages you in yours. I have so much more to share and will continue sharing what has helped me. How I wish the things I share with you were shared with me when I was a teen discovering porn for the first time. But, we all have our own journey and story. My journey isn't yours and yours isn't mine but, each is equally important.


Once an addict, always an addict is the most ridiculous statement I've ever heard. You can win. There is hope. There is freedom. Let's fight, live, and thrive together. 

Check out xxxChurch.com. I highly recommend their online groups - I also lead a group of my own in affiliation with their amazing ministry.

Here's to freedom,

Mark J.

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Conversations Cured My Porn Addiction

Addiction is comparable to playing the same song over and over even though you're sick of it. But you keep playing it because you don't have any other song to play. That's how it felt for me, anyway. I was sick of porn but kept going back to it. Some days I could go without but the insatiable hunger would tap me on the shoulder and I would drown back into the pleasure this digital drug provided. Doesn't make sense to feed on what kills you does it? No. But I gave in more times than I can count.

Porn is always about self. It's about how you can feel not how you can love. I don't believe men and women were meant to be craved the way porn trains them to, as if they are equal in value to a value meal. It simply doesn't work. No matter how many fast food type sexual experiences you have they will never satisfy the hunger for intimacy God made you with.

After maintaining freedom and realizing that it actually is possible, I learned more about myself in a year than 25 or so years prior. I found clarity. And that clarity of vision enabled me to see my secrets were slowly killing me emotionally and spiritually. You see, porn itself was not what kept me hooked, my secrets did. And The more I locked my struggle away in this secluded safe deposit box I started building at 12 years old, the stronger my lust grew.

Confess your sins. so simple isn't it? Sure it is. So tell me how often we approach someone at church and said "hey, I can't stop looking at porn. Can you help me?"  For most the answer to whether or not we have been that transparent is an oversized "never." And that's because we have convinced ourselves that we can manage our addiction well enough or or at least look Christian enough to get by. Guilt and shame also play a huge role in convincing us that secrecy protects us. But even thinking you're "getting by" while addicted to pornography and masturbation is a lie itself.

I used to think the same way. I thought I was getting by for years but I was actually feeding snowballs into a mountain that was coming to an avalanche. I was headed for failure because that's what sin is: failing to hit the mark or "missing the mark." My addiction wasn't happy with one or two videos. That's because an addiction isn't based on reality. It's centered on fantasy, and fantasy just isn't real no matter how much we wish it to be.

Here's a golden nugget I dug up from the scriptures just a few days ago: He who hides his sins will not succeed. Really?! This is from the book of Proverbs. Don't condemn me ifI quote a Beauty and the Beast song(I wonder why I didn't see it there before?!). How many times did I skim past this amazingly powerful passage? And how many times did I ignore "confess your sins to one another" using the excuse that I was abiding by so many other biblical principles such as prayer and fasting?

Confession requires conversation. Prayer meetings are great. but they didn't change my addiction. Church is awesome but it didn't heal me. Altar calls are such great experiences but they didn't break my habits. What sparked my transformation was transparent conversation. And transparency means no secrecy. There's a lyric that grips my heart from Francesca Battiselli's song If We're Honest: "freedom comes when we lay our SECRETS down at the cross" - I love that!

That's right, ladies and gents.. That's what changed everything for me and those closest to me -- family, heart, and direction I was headed -- It was brutally honest convos that guided me to a fresh water brook. It was transparency that brought this wavering father back to being the protector of his home. It was openness that reconnected my heart back to the woman of my reality(who, by the way, is way more incredible than any fantasy).

What I have found on my journey is how much my soul was starving for real talk. No, not the locker room type of garbage some think makes them extra manly. I mean the type of conversational connection that hides nothing. The place where you can be you, not who you want people to think you are. No masks. Just real, honest, heart-to-heart, eye-to-eye conversation.

Connecting with others through conversation was an amazing tool that helped me overcome porn addiction. Some days I woke feel the urge come back. In stead of giving in to tat urge I would connect with another human being. I would take a walk and just have real talk with a trusted male friend. How do you think I felt after those convos? Amazing! It was like a new high. A good high. It was the type of intimacy porn never provided. It was kind of like porn but without the sexual stimulation and negative side effects (if that even makes sense).

I say that to say there is hope and there is freedom. Be encouraged on your journey. Welcome others that will do life with you, talk with you, connect with you. Freedom from the cycle is indeed possible but certainly not in isolation.

I'd love to speak/perform at your next event. Connect with me below! I also lead an online group with XXXChurch.com and would love to have you join! Send me an email for details. Be sure to subscribe to my blog below as well.

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