Love, God and Porn

Today I would like to share my own experience with pornography. There are many blogs out there, books, articles that discuss in the Christian realm about the dangers and how to avoid it and even how to recover from it. We see most of the time that the porn issue is dealt with in the context of marriage. This is fine and dandy, but not everyone is married and struggles, or struggled, with porn, nor do they have a friend or a group of others to help them. There are single men and women out there who see that they have a problem. This article is for those who struggle, either single or married, either way you feel alone fighting, but you’re not.
This will be long, so unfortunately I will have to cut it into two parts. In part 1 I will share with you from the beginning and into the recovery I have had. Part 2 I will present 3 topics that became relevant in my recovery, and that I still use, that also changed for me: my view of my identity, sexuality and temptation, and why I believe the “bouncing the eye” technique and making a “covenant with your eyes” is not realistic, workable, but not realistic.
It all began at a friend’s house. Yes. The cliché beginning, I know, but true. I am not going into all of the pictures and all that because there’s no point. We all get the picture. I was 14 when I began and a recent convert to Christianity, age 13. I was also beginning my growth spurt. The self-gratification and more importantly, the understanding of my sexual nature, as well as a woman’s, were displayed in porn. Throughout the 7 years of addiction, the view of myself and women were formed and changed from what little I was taught growing up. I was empty in the first place and I became emptier. I tried desperately to fulfill this part of me that longed for attention, or more importantly, affirmation of my identity, of myself. Although I still deal with the issue of my identity, the trap of seeking to fill my sexuality with pictures is no longer an issue. I am not trying to boast, I know I can go back to it any time. Yet why should I? It was not an easy battle. No battle is easy. Battles are meant to be fought and learned from. Sometimes you win, at times you lose. You can choose the battles you win.
Pornography is an addiction of the emotions and mind, it is used to replace or help us feel something in us. There are many definitions for the word ‘addiction’ depending on the situation (http://www.asam.org/for-the-public/definition-of-addiction), but I would like to present this one: “to intake an object for affirmation or acknowledgment as a reward or punishment, as a replacement for a lack of or overabundance of an external reward or punishment,” which I believe that this can be used for pornography. There is plenty of information and help out there. Although difference of opinion differ on addiction is a brain disease or not, the effects of addiction are real.
It captivated me to give my will to satisfy this longing for emotional satisfaction, for a food that left me hungry after a little while. I learned that sexual desire in humans can be satisfied in two different ways, or down two roads. One road leads you to more lurid actions, where I was heading down if I did not change myself. While another road takes you to satisfy them in the way which fulfills not only in you, but in your husband/wife properly: not taking, but bringing together collectively in the relationship, to solidify feelings, thoughts, and openness in the relationship. I found out this habit or addiction, ensnared me and trapped me, it is like oil. And as we know, oil takes a little bit to wash off. And recovering from an addiction takes time. Hearts and minds take time to heal. Oil from the deeds of darkness takes a while to wipe away.
It got to the point where I felt this vacancy, almost like a hole inside of my whole body and my own thoughts and feelings were not very good. It felt normal, calm. Almost peaceful because I did not have any high standards to force myself to TRY to live up to, nor anyone to make me feel guilty of anything. I felt free in my own pursuit in whatever I wanted. I felt unburdened if that makes any sense.
Yet it was strange, in all of this, I felt that something was talking to me, and this something did not try to force me into a corral of conformity, nor of debasement, nor of making me feel guilty. I will say that it was this voice that asked me, “How are you?” It did not tell me what I was doing was wrong. But I felt in that inner voice a different type of peace that was not based off filling my mind with debasing myself for selfish pleasure off others. But it challenged me to not say to myself, “I’m sinning so stop now.” Nor did it say, “Sin is your problem, repent!” Or “Why are you doing this? You better stop this!” Why? Because I did know already what was wrong and right. It did not mock me or make statements to shame me, or cause me to question myself negatively. But I felt this caring, this truthful caring for my own heart and soul, which I have never received before or from any human before or sense than. This is the voice that leads me back deep into my own soul to look at where I was coming from and to find out, “why?” in a deep sense of respect and love for me.
Soon after this I began to study fasting from Isaiah 58. This became instrumental in my addiction release. But the breaking away did not end there. We commit sin, sin meaning purposeful harm against another, against God, others and even oneself. Breaking free from porn was not just about stopping a sinful action, or just simply a changing in the way to think about women, no. It had for me a change in the way I believed about myself. No matter what I tried to do, or how many times I repented to God, or how many times I tried to bounce my eyes, it was about what was inside of me that had to change. Although I was a dirty cup, no outside action could change that. Even doing my best to avoid a temptation as I was often told in church, this I found was not the solution. After all, we can even be tempted in our own mind when no one else or computer around.
Even though I accepted Christ, there has to be a transformation of my mind, not about avoiding temptation and repenting all the time, that’s not the change. The change I had found was the perception of me. Although I still have healing to go in other areas of my heart and mind, this area I had discovered back then was elemental to not just gaining back ground I had lost, but more so a gaining what I had never seen in myself before, which can be very new and scary at the time. At that present time the perception of myself was that I was not lovable by a woman, that I am unwanted and not desired. Pornography was the way I wanted to confirm what I wanted as a man. I also found that looking at this material was a way to have control over what I wanted, rather than being controlled by another, regardless of the circumstances.
The real transformation was not that temptation was no longer as strong to look at porn and I easily fell for it, but that there was a transformation in my mind. When you have that transformation, regardless if it from pornography, or anything else, you actually cut off those ties, you cut those ropes and break the chains that bind you. This was my freedom. And that can be your freedom.
In part 2 I will discuss the process of this freedom I had.

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