The Power of Porn
Trying to overcome pornography addiction can feel like an impossible task. No matter how determined and pure your intentions are, the lure of porn can be unbearable.
Men and women who struggle with pornography will know the overwhelming sense of enslavement that comes with this battle. The power of porn seems to prevail over even the most genuine commitment to your spouse, and you begin to wonder if it’s even possible to overcome it.
You will probably experience lapses on the way, that’s normal. But overcoming pornography addiction is possible. Here are five steps you need to take:
Addiction is a liar.
It says ‘you are alone’.
It tells you ‘If anyone knew, they’d be disgusted and reject you’.
This is a lie women are especially vulnerable to believing. The silence surrounding women and pornography leads them to believe they struggle with a ‘guys issue’, and any disclosure would result in judgment.
Male or female, you need to tell someone if you struggle with porn. This may be a friend, mentor or professional counsellor. Make sure you confide in someone face to face, not only online or anonymously. This is your first, and most powerful step to overcoming pornography addiction.
When you keep your issues secret, they grow in power. In the isolation of your mind, shame and self-resentment can thrive. By sharing your struggle, you open a space where truth and healing can be spoken. When you share with someone and receive love and acceptance, it is a taste of the grace of God, which is where true healing lies. Plus, it’s more than likely you’ll be met with the response ‘Me, too! I thought I was the only one!’.
There has to come a point where you know you can’t beat this on your own. Invite others in.
The power of porn seems to prevail over even the most genuine commitment to your spouse, and you begin to wonder if it’s even possible to overcome it.
When you’re dieting, the Golden Rule is to only buy healthy groceries, and rid the house of junk food. This means when the temptation to binge inevitably arises, you simply can’t satisfy it. You must restrict your access to the foods that encumber you from reaching your goal.
The same goes for online addiction. Easy access to adult content is what hinders your recovery. If you want to reach your goal of overcoming pornography addiction, restrict your online access by any means necessary while you’re in a positive headspace.
Make it impossible to break through your restrictions and access inappropriate content when the temptation arises (which it will!). Download filtering software such as X3Watch, Covenant Eyes K9 or Safe Surfer which have blocking and reporting features.Trying to overcome pornography addiction can feel like an impossible task. No matter how determined and pure your intentions are, the lure of porn can be unbearable.Click To Tweet
If you need greater defense, turn your attention to the devices themselves. Switch your smartphone for an older model, replace laptops with desktop computers in shared spaces or even forego internet for a time. You can always tune into public Wi-Fi when you need it.
If your struggle isn’t digital, find ways to restrict access to your vice, and employ the help of a friend of mentor to do so.
The key to overcoming pornography addiction is accountability.
You simply cannot do this on your own. If you could, you would have already.
It’s not enough to simply share with someone and leave it at that. You need to continue sharing struggles and victories on a regular basis. This can be done one on one, or in a small group. Choose wise and caring people of the same sex. Having this support will get you through the hardest parts of recovery, and these people will be your first point of contact in times of temptation.
You need to choose at least one person you can text, call or video chat at any time when temptation strikes. You need someone on the outside to speak clarity when your brain is on porn-auto-pilot. You need someone to remind you ‘Hey, you don’t actually want this, remember?!’ in those clouded moments of lust.
Accountability means brutal honesty and vulnerability. It’s not easy, but it means you will find freedom.
Overcoming pornography addiction requires more than just tweaking behaviors. You must reflect on what causes you to seek comfort in porn, and deal with this.
Picture yourself as an apple tree. The fruit is the behavior you exhibit. In this case, it’s compulsive pornography use. What caused that fruit to grow? What experiences, feelings and history are in the roots of the apple tree? These can span back to childhood.
▸ Could Covenant Eyes help you? Find out
Of course, when it comes to pornography, there is the simple magnetic draw of nudity and sex. It taps into our biological desires and puts our brain (and other organs) on hyperdrive, regardless of gender. We want to see more. We are particularly prone to satisfying this curiosity when bored, lonely or a little down.
Not all porn addicts have their roots in trauma or abuse, but many do, and most will find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of grieving ruptured intimacy, feelings of pain, loss, abandonment or inadequacy. Porn has become ‘medication’ for the pain. It is a fantasy world of faux intimacy with no risk of rejection and no need to be vulnerable.
Whatever the reason behind using pornography, everyone has triggers. Identifying these will empower you to put a strategy in place, and gain insight into your struggle. Without identifying and dealing with the root issues, you’ll never heal the fruit.
It can help to delve into these matters with a professional therapist or mentor, or by using recovery material and journaling. Delving into your deepest ‘why’s and needs is no easy task, but it is worth it for your healing.
Recovering from addiction isn’t all about restricting, it’s about adding to your life!
To overcome pornography addiction, you need to start restoring intimacy.
If you have a spouse, work on restoring intimacy with them. This doesn’t necessarily mean physically, but work on showing kindness and building up your friendship and trust. Be vulnerable and love deeply.
It is equally as important to restore intimacy with other people. Many porn addicts find themselves isolating themselves out of fear of discovery and self-loathing. Not to mention, the more often you’re alone, the more often you can view porn!
Take small steps to leave isolation and connect with people. This will look different for each individual but may look like picking up a hobby or sport, recommitting to church or simply making sure you catch up with friends on a regular basis. Have fun and engage with community again, and you’ll feel life and hope coursing through your veins.
▸ Do you have a sex addiction? Take the SAST Sexual Addiction Screening Test
Rekindling intimacy with God can feel a little trickier since you can’t really schedule in coffee with the Lord and chat to him face to face. But ultimately, he is your most intimate connection. He is the only one who completely knows you, and completely loves you. Connect with Him however you need. Sing, dance, yell, run, read theology books, pray, paint, swear or do whatever works for you. Remember He is big enough to handle your pain, anger, questions and struggles, and he wants to connect.
Overcoming pornography addiction may be one of the hardest things you do, but it is entirely possible. By following these five steps, you can give yourself the best chance of healing. This isn’t going to be a simple journey, in fact, it may even take years, but don’t let that dishearten you. Take every day one at a time and notice the daily victories. Every step makes you stronger and wiser, and there is no limit to how God can use your journey for good.