Battles

My Exodus out of Pornography

Olau T.

 

21 July 2018

 

 

It began when I was a kid. 

 

I might have been 10 or 11, when a couple of my mates and I first found a porn magazine in a skip. It introduced me to a new world of excitement, which only grew as I gained access to cable TV and high-speed internet in my late teens and early 20s. I would use porn at home and at work, before and after I was married. 

 

I would occasionally go a couple of months without accessing porn and delude myself that I had conquered my addiction…until I dived right back in it. 

 

Every time I used porn, I was filled with shame and I was so frustrated by my inability to overcome my addiction. I professed to hate porn, but had I been more honest with myself, I might have acknowledged the benefits I was seeking from porn – the thrill to liven up a dull work day, the experience of intimacy and acceptance when something had triggered a sense of rejection. 

 

The promised benefits all ended up as massive regrets – porn never really delivers – but every time I contemplated porn the promises seemed so real.

The seemingly endless cycle of using porn, experiencing shame and committing to do better finally came to an end on the 9th December 2011. I had used porn the night before, and I woke up with a strong conviction from God that my porn use had to end. I confessed to my wife and sought help from a friend, who had overcome his own addiction to porn in the past. 

 

Being willing to admit to my addiction and seeking help was a critical step for me, as it has been for many others - hardly anyone finds freedom on their own.

By God’s grace, I have now been walking in increasing freedom from porn for over eight years. Looking back on that journey, I can see three important factors that has helped me immensely, which are all summed up in a verse from the Bible (2 Timothy 2.22);

 

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 

 

Firstly, I had to learn to flee the evil desires of youth. People flee from someone (a person/an army) or something (wild animal/hurricane/famine) which they know will cause them great harm, and which they don’t have the power to resist. You don’t negotiate with a famine or seek to reason with a hurricane - you simply seek to escape its destructive path. 

 

Similarly, I am learning to be more ruthless in my choices. I don’t just want to avoid porn sites, but also the sorts of sites that can put me down a path of visiting porn sites later. I’m not strong enough to handle temptations if I deliberately put myself in environments that could lead me to stumble. Don’t negotiate - just run!

Secondly, I’m increasingly learning to pursue what is life-giving. Fleeing (what I don’t want to do) is very important, but it can’t be an aim in itself - we always flee for a purpose. We usually flee to survive...to live! 

 

If I only focus on not watching porn, my mind is still focused on porn. Like the person who are told not to think of a pink elephant, being told what not to do focuses the mind on that very behavior. Instead, I need to pursue what I really want in life - deeper relationships (with God, my family, my friends), greater work impact, fun recreational activities. 

 

Pursuing (like fleeing) is a very intentional act. It requires planning, focus and effort, but it is so much more valuable and the more I find life in healthy relationships and activities, the less appealing porn becomes. I’m increasingly tasting true life, rather than the counterfeit pleasure provided by porn. 

 

Lastly, I have to continually walk the journey along with others. Many people are aware about the need for accountability, but often use it in a retroactive way - i.e. their accountability partners know they have accessed porn after they have used it. Instead, I’ve learned the value of having people in my life, who ask questions about how I’m generally doing in life, who know when I’m likely to seek escape, who are regularly asking questions about my fleeing and my pursuing. They ask questions and help me make healthy choices that ultimately provide more and more freedom for me. 

 

The fear of having to tell an accountability partner that you’ve messed up might occasionally keep you from using porn, but it is usually not a sufficiently strong deterrent when you strongly drawn to porn. Open yourself up to trusted friends, and let them support you before you use porn. 


In my own experience all three elements (fleeing, pursuing, fellowship) are critical to recovery. It is like a three-legged stool - remove one of the three legs, and the stool falls over. 

 

As you consider your own attempts to find freedom from porn, it is worth asking yourself ‘Am I truly doing everything I can to run from porn? Do I know what is life-giving to me and am I intentionally pursuing those things? Am I actively seeking the help from people around me?’

 

In these last eight years, I have had the joy of walking in increasing freedom from porn and experiencing healing from some of the emotional damage caused by my porn use. That’s my story. Your story may be different, but I want to encourage you that finding freedom from porn is absolutely possible. If you, or someone you know, want help, a good place to start is www.clicktokick.com. We run confidential groups for men and women, and also support partners of porn addicts. Your path to freedom can start today!

Olau
Click to Kick facilitator

 

 

#addiction

 

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