I saw hardcore pornography for the first time around first or second grade.
The effects it had on my life were similar to those of abuse. I was reintroduced to porn at a bookstore as a middle-schooler. Those were hard years for me and porn felt like relief— something good in the midst of something bad. I was hooked.
I came to Christ at a young age and grew up in church, but there was always a dark side to me. I began feeling guilty in high school, but learned it was better not to talk about it. I thought I needed to figure it out on my own, just Jesus and me.
Maybe you’ve fought a similar battle. Maybe you’re fighting one now, or know someone who is. You’re not alone.
When I was 21, I attended Bible school in Austria and later entered full-time Christian ministry. I brought my pornography addiction with me. I lived two lives and my shame started to grow. I didn’t understand why I was powerless over this sexual darkness, so I hid this life at whatever cost.
I took a year away from ministry to focus on restoration. It was a great year, but it didn’t help with my addiction. I attended counseling, but it didn’t help with my addiction.
I believed Jesus wanted to transform me, but could not understand why He wouldn’t heal this area. I decided either I was broken beyond repair or that maybe God wasn’t real. I was in despair, completely hopeless. I had tried everything and stopped believing I could be free.
A chance encounter with Ted Roberts, founder of Pure Desire Ministries, resulted in my wife and me beginning his counseling and recovery program. I had finally met a Christian man who could make sense of what was happening in my life. Ted and his wife navigated us through sexual addiction counseling integrated with a biblical worldview.
I learned that at the core of sexual bondage there’s often an intimacy wound. Now when I struggle, I understand why and have resources to help. My intimacy wounds are healing and I’m learning how to trust my wife and the Lord with all of me.
I can now say I’ve had three years of solid sobriety with no acting out. I’m taking what I learned from Ted and teaching others because this topic is something people are desperate to hear.
So, what’s the solution?
Everyone seems to want a book, and there are some good books. But you can’t read or pray your way out of this. You were likely wounded in a relationship and that’s where you’ll find healing. In the context of safe community groups, you must focus on four areas:
- Confront denial. You can go to a group and talk about struggles with work or alcohol, but when you say you struggle with sexual issues it clears the room. There’s so much shame around this topic. We feel the need to hide our sexual struggles, so we learn to hide from and deceive even ourselves. Commit to honesty at all costs.
- Understand the nature of the battle. There’s more knowledge on how the brain works now than ever before. Sexual addiction isn’t just a moral problem; it’s also a brain problem. We’re not merely making a poor moral choice when we choose to indulge in sexual sin. A powerful chemical neurotransmitter called dopamine, or the “gotta have it” molecule, is released in our brains when we view porn or act out sexually.
We may develop a brain problem with moral implications that can’t be healed by moral solutions alone. We can’t just read our Bibles more, pray more or attend more small groups. We must be transformed by the renewing of our minds and we must find healing for our wounds.
Where is healing found?
- Access the wound that makes you return to unhealthy addiction. We live in a broken, fallen world. You can grow up in a perfect family with tons of support and still get hurt. Some people can process their pain relationally with others, but many of us can’t do that. We don’t know how. We find ways to numb our pain, and that can become addiction.
Ultimately, you must go on the exploratory journey of your own life and ask, Where have I been wounded, and how do those wounds affect me today? Abuse, divorce, high school? If we don’t identify these wounds, we’ll end up treating the symptoms rather than the root problems. You must go on the journey of your own story with safe people. Discover where you’ve been wounded, and allow yourself to process that pain. Then you can find healing.
- Practice preventative accountability. If you don’t know how to do accountability well, you’ll find yourself in relapse over and over again. You fail, you confess and pray. You fail, you confess and pray. Eventually, you stop being so transparent because it’s simply not helping. Begin to look at the circumstances around you and identify stressors, such as marriage, work or finances. Look for the triggers, and then choose to stay in the pain and process it with others rather than trying to numb it with porn or other addictions.
Be watchful when you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired (H.A.L.T). Talk with your accountability group about what you desire when you are in these states. Process ways you can respond better together. Be relational with your pain. The biblical idea of “weeping with those who weep” and “rejoicing with those who rejoice” is a learned skill for many of us, it takes practice. Let others into your pain, celebrations, joy – live life in color with close friends rather than just keeping things on the surface.
There is hope. You can find lasting freedom. But you won’t find it alone, just you and Jesus. Breaking isolation and learning to ask for help – that’s where trust is built and freedom is found.
This journey is difficult, but I’m now walking with integrity and purity, and you can, too.
The first step in this journey is we must trust the only One who can conquer sin— Christ. Have you made the decision to trust Christ as your Lord and Savior? Learn how here.
Do you struggle with temptations like lust or pornography? If so:
- Find a local Pure Desire or Living in Freedom Everyday support group.
- Helpful resources include:
- The Conquer series
- Pure Desire by Ted Roberts
- Surfing for God by Michael Cusick
- Websites including Puredesire.org and Faithfulandtrue.com
What’s your story? Did you become a Christian through any ministry of Cru? If so, tell us more at [email protected]
At the age of 13 I was introduced to pornography by accident. This chance encounter would forever change who I was at that moment and who I would one day become. It was the day that I pressed play on the VCR and the images that popped up on the screen would forever be embedded in my head. Little did I know that at that moment I was doing something I would do thousands of times over the next 21 years. The videos that I watched are what I got my sex education from and it is the same education that I would wind up ultimately bring into every one of my relationships.
Several years later I met my wife Darcy and continued bringing pornography into our relationship. During our time together I would even use pornography to coerce her into having sex with me. As our relationship progressed through marriage, careers, and children, pornography was a large influence in my life. During this time I became a very angry, selfish and out of control man.
On December 2nd, 2006 God showed me there was more to love. This happened at an unlikely church event called Porn & Pancakes hosted by XXXChurch.com. It was at this event that I surrendered everything to God. I had the men of the ministry and other people from my church pray over me. After the prayer was finished I knew what my next move needed to be. To tell my wife how bad my addiction had become.
During the entire drive home I was nervous, sweating and very unsettled about what might happen to me when I got there. It was weird but when I had walked in the house she looked at me and neither one of us said a word. I went and got my “stash” of pornography, started a fire, and threw everything in. We held each other as we watched the stuff burn.
After this my passion for helping others who also struggled with addiction to pornography grew. I knew God was leading me to help others. I contacted XXXChurch.com to find out how I could get involved. I began to speak at events just like the one where God showed me I needed to give everything to him. With each time I told my story more weight was lifted off of my shoulders.
It also allowed my wife and I to talk about what we were thinking during the time of my deepest addiction. One thing that killed me is when Darcy looked at me and said, “I am not afraid of you any more.” What did she mean by this? She was scared at nightime, getting ready for bed either very early or after I had gone to bed, just so that she would not have to get naked in front of me. She didn’t want to risk the chance of me wanting to have sex with her and then deal with me bugging her until she gave in. As a husband anytime your wife is scared of you it should make a difference in how you feel. I felt like I had let her down again.
The road to recovery has been anything but easy. In fact there have been many hours of talking, listening and even crying. Even though it was hard to walk through, it was ok because I knew Darcy was walking next to me. XXXChurch.com has helped me start the walk down the road to recovery. For this I will always be thankful. I have recieved blessings and now it is my turn to be a blessing.
At XXXChurch.com we provide support for those who are personally struggling with this issue, those affected by others struggles, and helping those who are in the adult industry get out. The current statistics out there can be overwhelming in regards to the viewing of pornography.
- Over 25% of all Internet searchs are pornographic related.
- 47% of families say that pornography is a problem in their household.
- The adult industry profits more that the NFL, NBA, MLB, & NHL combined.
- Over 40 Million people visit pornographic websites.
- 53% of men attending Promise Keepers viewed porn in the previous week.
- 72% are male consumers and 28% are female consumers.
- The #1 growing addiction among senior citizens is pornography.
If you are struggling with this make a change in your life and make this your first day of purity. Below are a few tips to help you get on your way.
Confession – Tell someone you are struggling with lust and sexual integrity. Grab someone you know or trust and tell them what you are going through. Keep this conversation open and honest getting everything out in the open. You cannot take a chance by leaving just a hint of this in the dark. This person can be a friend, pastor, church staff, counselor, or spouse.
Accountability – Without accountability there is no way to know whether or not someone is really successful in their recovery. PCs, Macs, and mobile devices allow for us to have way too much access to this material. You need to keep yourself accountable in this area. You can use software like X3 Watch to help provide this accountability. These types of programs will send reports to your accountability partners.
Purity Plan – When you have taken the last two steps you need to step back and look deep into your life and figure out why you turned to pornography in the first place. Is it stress, boredom, loneliness, past history, or something else? Break down your days and find the times that you usually act out. What is going on when this happens? Is there a pattern or common theme that comes up? Develop a plan that counter-acts these times and will stop you from acting out.
by Emma (Germany)
Lord, you as our creator, we trust in your name so we call for your help day and night. I have so many fears day and night, deep in my soul I cry every second of my life because of lost my son due to his extreme drug addiction for many years.I pity him a lot. If i could only embrace and tell him how much I really love and care for him as a mother,yet now he wouln’t understand it.
Lord,you know how I feel every moment I think of my son.I didn’t realise that the world can be so cruel to me as he choses drugs more than anything else in this world.I have always tried to mold him to become good boy yet things turned differently as I imagined.I hurts a lot to see my son being sick physically and mentally.
I will never stop begging for your help and for those parents who are suffering the same problem as I have.Abide us in those hard moments.Amen.
Return to Prayers for Children