Step-by-Step to Overcoming a Porn Addiction

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This is a guide for people who want to stop. I don’t know what statistics I want to believe. Ballpark guess, if you grew up with a computer (i.e. under 35), I think 95% of men were addicted to pornography at some point, and I guess probably about 25% of women. I’m no expert on the lady side; but of the young men I interact with, I assume all of them are struggling with pornography (and 95% of the time, I’m right, every time.) Some are winning the battle, some are losing it, and way too many aren’t battling it at all because they love this particular sin. So I’m speaking to that middle group who want to battle this addiction but feel like they are losing all the time. I’m writing this to my fellow Christians, but there’s value for all. (It’s been interesting to see all the anti-porn sites that are secular in nature.) My steps are all about escalation. You’ve got to be willing to do really difficult stuff if you see the value in experiencing victory in this area. And believe me, victory can be had. As long as we are in the flesh, we will not ever see the end of the war, but the battles do get easier in time. However, keep watch, because there is no amount of time that will completely free you from this stronghold.

 

Step 1) See Sin the Way God Sees Sin

The longer you’ve been around sin, the harder it is to identify. I think of a hot stove. If you touch the glowing, red burner you will hurt yourself. It’s gonna hurt bad. If you touch it again. It’s going to hurt worse. Keep touching though and something strange happens. After a while, it stops hurting when you touch the stove top. It’s not because the burner isn’t hot any more, it’s because you have 3rd degree burns and you have burned off all your nerve endings. Porn does the same thing to you. “Lesser” sins seem to have little or no affect on you (or is it effect?). You will be quick to look at some sins as “no big deal.” Until you look at lust as straight-up adultery you will not see improvement. I know for me, what I look at affects what I think about. What I think about affects more of what I watch. If I don’t fight this battle in my mind and with my eyes, I cannot ever hope to kick a porn habit.

Remember this is all about escalation. You will start noticing that the movies you watch, the Netflix shows you stream, the social media sites you visit, and many of the places you go to hang-out are filled with images that arouse passions that cannot rightfully be fulfilled. As the struggles continue, you need to keep eliminating those images that lead you right back to your old habits. It seems impossible to experience victory over porn now, because your entire life is filled with sexual images and thoughts. You have to get that under control first. A moment at a time.

 

Step 2) Get Accountability

Almost every person I ask thinks they have greater than average will-power. That when they put there mind to something, they can accomplish anything. Well first of all, only 49.9% of people can be “better than average at something,” but more importantly, it takes more than will-power to overcome sexual sins. The Bible makes a distinction. It says all other sins are committed outside of the body, but sexual sins are committed against your own body. They’re different. Watching pornography literally releases the same endorphins in the brain as a cocaine addiction. Your body craves it. You are your own worst enemy and you need to get someone to help you. Talk to one of your Pastors, you got a 95% chance that they too have struggled with pornography, and if the stats are true you got a 50% chance of having a Pastor who’s still struggling with pornography. So you can keep each other accountable. (Special News Bulletin: If you are a Pastor reading this and need accountability, I would be willing to help. I won’t tell your congregation on facebook or call your denomination. Pastors often times don’t know where to turn, but I’ll help in every way I can. Email me HERE.)

Pornography like all sin is like black mold. It grows in dark, solitary, damp places. Get it into the light and it will dry up and die. My recommendation would be to get an accountability partner (someone you respect) and then put Covenant Eyes for $10 a month on ALL your internet capable devices. (I wonder if Covenant Eyes will give me a kick-back for sending them more customers.) But remember… escalation. Sometimes your accountability partner just doesn’t cut it. Who’s the last person on earth you’d ever want to find out about your Porn addiction. Mom? Dad? Pastor? Your Small Group? I think you need to connect your Covenant Eyes account with whoever you would NEVER want to find out. Now, disclosure: part of me feels like you shouldn’t use your spouse here. Spouses don’t usually make good accountability partners. They’re too emotionally connected. It hurts too deep, and can create more issues than it stops. Spouses tend to self-blame and this can cause huge feelings of inadequacies. Now, I think there might be scenarios where it’s appropriate, but without talking to you individually I think you need to tread likely. But get accountability right now. I’ll wait. Seriously, message someone right now. Hey, you! Not joking. Go! Ug, fine. I don’t know why I’m writing down all this advice if you are not going to follow it.

 

Step 3) Set-up Barriers

Covenant Eyes will help but anyone with a little computer savvy can get around it. This whole point is all about escalation. Listen, we all think we NEED technology. All the devices we have are just a few years old, yet they’ve become additional limbs to us now. Let me just throw out a whole bunch of scenarios. Figure out which one applies to you. You might need to downgrade to a flip phone. You might have to sell your IPad. You might have to trade in your laptop. You might have to keep your computer at work, at school, or in your car. I’m reminded of the verses that says if your eye is causing you to sin you should pluck it out. It’s better to be a cyclops than to be headed straight to Hell (or something like that.) It’s so extreme. It sounds crazy. And honestly I think it is being facetious. It’s just pointing out that ANYTHING would be better than going to Hell. I am so thankful for God’s forgiveness and patience. God should have condemned me already, but in His infinite grace, He saved me instead. But are we to continue to sin so that His grace can abound? No Way! May that NEVER be said of you. Do not dare to continue sinning because God will just forgive you anyway. That is literally spitting on Jesus while on the cross (which He forgave.) Just treat this sin as seriously as sin should be treated.

If you can simply set-up a barrier that no screen enters your bedroom and that helps, well then great, stop there. If you can simply be disciplined in turning off all devices by 9pm, and that helps, well then great, stop there. But if you have to have a big old bonfire and burn everything that is helping you sin, well then great, you might not be able to stop ‘til there.

 

Step 4) Deal with It on a Spiritual Level

I always try to be so practical. Get accountability here. Burn your Android there. But it was just pointed out to me today actually that this isn’t a technology problem. It’s a heart problem. Cry out to Jesus for help. Read His Word daily. And just like every other step – escalate. Pray more and read more. I think you build toward fasting. I think you fast and pray and read the Bible until you feel that burdened lifted. I believe God can just take this addiction away. In most instances, He doesn’t. People ask me “why” all the time. I think it forces us to rely on Him in a way we might never otherwise. He basically forces us to reach out to Him every second of every day.  You honestly don’t want God to take away your sex drive.  God set forth a plan for sex very early on in the Genesis narrative. To take away the desire completely would be wrecking a beautiful future you can have with your spouse (this statement includes those who are already married.) Sin often times is when we substitute God’s plan and timing with our plan and timing. This always leads to heartache and consequences. God’s plan leads to love and joy and peace and the like.

 

Hope this helps in some way. I’d love any other advice you have for me to share with others. Throw them in the Comment Section below.


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