“I can’t believe I just watched that. Okay, that was the last time. It is for real this time, I know I’ll stop looking at porn tomorrow. What would my family and friends think if they knew I always do this? I feel like a fraud.”
These were just some of the thoughts that would run through my head nearly every time I looked at pornography. I viewed porn for the first time when I was nine years old and was not able to stop looking at it for the next sixteen years. The adrenaline rush of doing something wrong intoxicated me. Every perversion in the world was at my fingertips. Proverbs 26:11 says, “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool that returns to his folly.” No matter how hard I tried, I could not stop looking at porn and masturbating.
My Addiction Brought Death
My addiction to porn hurt my well-being. I stopped enjoying things that used to bring me joy, because all I could think about was watching porn. No matter what I was doing, if I saw a pretty girl, all I wanted to do was find her look-alike on a porn website and fantasize about having sex with her. I wasn't in control of porn. Porn controlled me.
Finally, a few years into my adult life, I realized my problem with porn wasn’t something that I was going to outgrow. My addiction had followed me into adulthood, and it wasn’t planning on going away. I had to search for freedom.
I Found Freedom in Christ
The remedy to my pornography addiction turned out to be Jesus. Thanks to Him, I knew what needed to change for me to find freedom:
- I admitted my problem. For years I was in denial that I was addicted to porn. I thought that addiction was something that only happened to alcoholics or drug addicts. Surely, I could never be classified as an “addict.” Many people who use porn on a continual basis refuse to admit that they are addicted. If you are unable to stop, you are addicted. Admitting addiction is necessary if you want to ever stop watching porn (Romans 7:18).
- I believed that God could heal me. For sixteen years I tried by my own strength to be free from porn. While depending on my own strength, an occasional, porn-free few months was the best that I could do. I needed to believe the truth that God has the ability and desire to free me. I needed to trust in His power to change me (Psalm 103:2-5).
- I confessed my addiction to a friend and asked him to hold me accountable. Not looking at pornography a daily battle, and because of that, I needed to commit to 24-hour sobriety. Until I eventually found freedom, my friend texted me every night to ask if I had looked at porn that day (James 5:16).
- I repented by removing access to porn and turning to God daily. Though I knew what I was doing was wrong, the only action I was taking in response was feeling bad for myself. This only led me to look at more porn. I needed to repent by turning from sin to God, not just feel bad every time I did it again (2 Timothy 2:22; Romans 2:15). In Matthew 5:29-30, Jesus says that no measure is too extreme to prevent yourself from sinning. I realized I needed to cut off access to porn. I installed monitoring software on my computer, sold my smart TV, activated parental controls on games, deleted apps from my iPhone, and removed non-monitored web browsers from my phone. I didn't leave easy loopholes for myself (Romans 13:14). Then, every morning I would turn to God by reading my Bible and praying. This practice helped redirect my thoughts to God, reminding myself daily that true life is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ, not in my sexual desires. I would ask God daily for strength to not look at porn and memorized scripture to help me fight temptation (John 10:10; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 10:5).
Today, I can joyfully say that I am free from an addiction to pornography. I was not free from it overnight, just like I did not become addicted overnight. The process took time and was not an easy one. Sometimes, I am tempted to go back to my old ways, but now that my addiction is gone, I can see the danger more clearly. I used to be a slave to pornography. I now walk in the freedom offered by Jesus Christ. Will you join me?
- Calvin S.