This article was originally posted at Relevant Magazine.
When I was barely in double digits, I was introduced to pornography by a friend.
As intriguing as it was, I knew it wasn’t right. What I didn’t know though was that I would choose to walk down a road that saw me addicted to that nonsense for over 15 years.
I spent money on my addiction. I lost relationships because of my addiction. I became numb toward God because of my addiction. I reached a point in life where I had literally spent more of my life addicted to porn than not.
Talking about porn, even freedom from it, makes people, especially Christians, uncomfortable. We can be pretty hush-hush on the subject. We don’t like to talk about the problem itself, or, curiously, even that some are free from it. Some don’t want to talk about the “why?” when it comes to addiction or freedom. I do.
In November of 2013, I celebrated 6 years “sober” from pornography. Here are eight things I have learned along the way:
- A “Little Problem” is Still a Problem
Don’t fool yourself.
Don’t Fool Yourself. If you look at porn, you have a problem with porn.
I’m constantly amazed at the number of people I talk to who think that if you don’t view porn frequently, it means you don’t have a problem. You may not have as big as a problem as someone else, but comparison is a dangerous game.
A little bit is the foundation for a lot. You have to stop before it becomes a bigger problem. Think if someone said to you, “But, I mean, you know, I just did a little bit of heroin this week!” Yes, you sound that ridiculous.
- The Blind Can’t Lead the Blind
If you were starting a business, would you go to someone who had little to no experience in business to ask advice on how to get started? Of course not.
The power of community is valuable, and there’s something healing about a finding solidarity with people going through the same struggles as you. That’s all well and good.
However, the blind can’t lead the blind. It’s like a bunch of blindfolded people in a jail cell with an open door stumbling around together hoping to fall through the opening. Funny mental picture. Poor usage of time.
But one thing that we don’t often consider is finding someone who isn’t addicted anymore and asking them how they found freedom. This is a different kind of community and confession than we might be used to—but it might also bear a different kind of fruit.
- Fantasy Doesn’t Make Reality Go Away
I found that I had a lot of wars between fantasy and reality. The crazy thing is that when you are done with fantasy, reality is always sitting there waiting for you when you come home.
Just like with any other addiction, if you look at porn in order to cope with stress, or because you are dissatisﬁed with life in some way, you aren’t actually solving the problem, you’re compounding it.
- Marriage Won’t ‘Cure’ You
It just won’t. Most people’s problem is not the lack of sex. As a matter of fact, you will probably have to “unlearn” desires that you take into the marriage bed because of your addiction.
Marriage may mask the problem for a while, but I haven’t met a person yet that was addicted to porn before marriage, and never looked at it again after saying, “I do.” If you don’t get help before you enter into marriage, you will only end up hurting yourself and your spouse more.
This article will continue in the next post.