Sexual Integrity

5 Steps to Overcoming Porn Addiction

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The Power of Porn

Overcoming addiction to pornography can feel like mission impossible. No matter how determined and pure your intentions are, the lure of porn — like a siren’s call, can be unbearable.

Men and Women who struggle with pornography addiction will know the overwhelming sense of enslavement and hopelessness that comes with this battle. The power of porn appears to prevail over even the most genuine commitment & dedication to your spouse, and you start to ask yourself if it’s even possible to overcome it.

You will almost certainly experience lapses on the way, and that’s normal. But, rest assured, overcoming pornography addiction is possible. Here are five steps you need to take to help you recover from porn addiction:

Share

Addiction is a liar.

It says, “you are alone”.

It tells you, “If anyone knew, they would be disgusted, and they will reject you”.

This is a lie that women are especially vulnerable to believing. The silence surrounding women and pornography leads them to believe they struggle with a “man’s issue”, and any disclosure would ultimately result in judgment.

Whether male or Female, it is imperative for you to tell someone if you struggle with pornography. This could be a trusted friend, accountability partner, sponsor, mentor or perhaps, even a professional counselor. Be sure you that you confide in someone face to face, not just online or anonymously. This is your first, and most powerful step to overcoming pornography addiction.

When you keep your addictions secret, they grow in power.  In the isolation of your mind, shame and self-resentment are able to thrive. By sharing your struggles, you open a space where truth and healing may be spoken. When you share with another person and receive acceptance and love, it is an example of the grace of God, which is where true healing lies. Additionally, it is more than likely you will be met with the response “Me, too! I thought I was the only one!”

You will eventually come to a point, in which you know you cannot beat this on your own. Invite others in.

The power of pornography seems to prevail over even the most genuine commitment & dedication to your spouse, and you start to ask yourself if it’s even possible to overcome it.

Overcoming porn addiction may be one of the hardest things you do, but it’s entirely possible.

Restrict Access 

When you are dieting, the Golden Rule is usually to only buy healthy groceries and rid the house of junk food. This means when the temptation strikes and the urge to binge inevitably arises, you simply cannot satisfy it. You need to restrict your access to the foods that encumber you from reaching your goal.

The same thing goes for porn addiction. Easy access to adult content is only going to hinder you in your recovery. In the event that you desire to reach your goal of overcoming pornography addiction, restrict your online access by whatever means necessary while you are in a positive headspace.

Make certain that it is impossible for you to break through your restrictions and access inappropriate content when the temptation arises (which it will!). Download filtering software such as X3Watch, Covenant Eyes K9 or even purchase a Safe Surfer device, which has content blocking and reporting features.

Any time you need to have a greater defense, turn your attention to the devices themselves. Switch out your smartphone for an older model, replace laptops with desktop computers in spaces that are shared or perhaps even forego internet for a time. You can always tune into public Wi-Fi when you need to access the internet.

In case your struggle is not digital, find ways to restrict access to your vice, and also employ the assistance of a trusted friend or mentor to accomplish that.

Get Accountable

The key to overcoming pornography addiction is accountability.

You simply cannot do this on your own. If you could, you would have done it already.

It is not enough to just merely share with another person and leave it at that. You need to continue sharing your struggles and victories on a consistent basis. This can be done one on one, or perhaps in a small group. Choose wise and caring individuals of the same gender. Having this support is going to get you through the most difficult & most challenging parts of recovery, and these individuals will be your first point of contact in times of temptation.

You need to choose at least one person you are able to text, call or even video chat at any time when temptation strikes. You need someone on the outside to speak clarity when your brain is on porn-auto-pilot. You need someone to remind you, “Hey, you don’t really need this, remember?!”  in those clouded moments of lust.

Accountability means brutal honesty and vulnerability. It’s anything but easy, but it means that you will find freedom from porn addiction.

Reflect

Overcoming pornography addiction requires much more than just tweaking behaviors. You need to reflect on what causes you to seek comfort in porn and deal with it.

Picture yourself as an apple tree. Your fruit is actually the behavior you exhibit. In this situation, it is compulsive pornography use. What caused that fruit to grow? What experiences, feelings, and history are in the roots of the apple tree? These could possibly span as far back as your childhood.

Of course, when you are looking at pornography, there is the simple magnetic draw of nudity and sex. It taps into our biological desires and puts our brain (and other organs) on hyperdrive, regardless of gender. We want to see more. We are particularly prone to satisfying this curiosity when bored, lonely or perhaps, even a little down.

Not all porn addicts have their roots in trauma or abuse, but many do, and most will find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of grieving ruptured intimacy, feelings of pain, loss, inadequacy or abandonment. Porn has become “medication” for the pain. It is a fantasy world of faux intimacy devoid of the risk of rejection and no need to be vulnerable.

Whatever the reason behind using pornography, everyone has triggers. Identifying your triggers will empower you to put a strategy in place, as well as gain insight into your struggle. Without identifying and dealing with the root issues, you will never heal the fruit.

It helps to delve into these matters with a professional therapist, mentor, or even by using recovery material and journaling. Delving into your deepest’ why’s and needs is not an easy task, but it is worthwhile for your healing.

Restore Intimacy

Recovering from addiction is not all about restricting, it’s adding to your life!

In order to overcome pornography addiction, you need to start restoring intimacy.

If you are married, work on restoring intimacy with your spouse. This does not necessarily mean physically, but work on showing kindness and building up your trust and friendship. Be vulnerable and love deeply.

It is equally as vital to restore intimacy with other people. Many porn addicts find that they isolate themselves out of, self-loathing and fear of discovery. Not to mention, the more frequently you are alone, the more often you are able to view porn!

Take small steps to leave isolation and connect with people. This will likely look different for each individual but may look like picking a hobby or even sport, recommitting to church or simply making sure you catch up with friends on a regular basis. Have fun and engage with the community again, and you will feel life and hope coursing through your veins.

Rekindling intimacy with God can feel a little trickier since you cannot really schedule in coffee with the Lord and chat with Him face to face. But ultimately,  He is your most intimate connection. He is the only one who completely knows you and completely loves you. Connect with Him any way you need. Sing, dance, yell, run, read theology books, paint, and pray. Do whatever works for you. Remember, He is big enough to handle your pain, anger, questions, and struggles, and He wants to connect with you.

Looking Forward

Overcoming pornography addiction may be one of the most difficult things you will ever do, but it is entirely possible. By following these five steps, you can give yourself the best chance of healing. This is not likely to be an easy journey, in fact, it may take years to fully recover, but don’t let that dishearten you. Take each day one at a time and notice the daily victories. Every step makes you stronger and wiser, and there is no limit to how God is able to use your journey for good.

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