Through-out my struggle with Pornography I always came back to the addiction. Sometimes it was a daily struggle, sometimes it was a few days of temporary freedom, then right back to the addiction. There were also times where I felt I had finally overcome the addiction when I would be able to fight off temptation for a few weeks. In each instance something inside of me was triggered and I would relapse and then feel guilt and shame over what I did - and the cycle would repeat (for over 20 years).
My view of God through-out the addiction was very out of order. I really didn't think much about God to be honest, except for the times that I would beg him for forgiveness for acting out again. It got to the point that I became so numb in the addiction that I really didn't care and really didn't ask God to forgive me. I felt hopeless and alone. My heart was so focused on myself and my needs that I didn't have time to let God take control. I would always take control of my sexuality when I felt the urge. I mean pornography was only a click away.
Porn always served a purpose in my life when I felt lonely and needed a release or when my wife was unavailable to me. I used and manipulated my relationship with my wife. I would really pitch a fit like a child if she told me no. I was able to get her to give into my need for sex most of the time. My compulsion though was to the point that even though we had a good sex life (3-4 times per week), it was not enough. I was looking for more...and more......and more sex. My life was all about sex.
Looking back on my life, I was so selfish and my definition of love was how much my wife was giving into my endless demands for sex. So how did I turn it around? How do you get yourself out of a mindset that always seeks more sex? How do you overcome an addiction that keeps urging you to act out in a sinful way to fulfill the pain you have in your life? I know for myself I was trying to fill a void in my life that porn really couldn't satisfy.
Below are a few of the ways that I was able to overcome my addiction to pornography. Remember, we have to change a mindset that seems to be overwhelming at times. To do this we need consistency in our life. We can't waver back and forth between giving up the addiction and going back into the addiction. So many caught up in this addiction find themselves stuck in the middle of this conflict. We know it's wrong to do, but we convince ourselves just this one last time and that's going to be it. I did it this way for over 20 years and nearly lost my marriage.
Below are a few of the keys that I found to overcoming this addiction.
Building a relationship with Jesus Christ -
Jesus has to move from the bottom of your list to the very top. There can be no compromise if you want freedom in this area of your life. The addiction will break through an open doors that it can. Surrender to Jesus is key. Running to His arms is the most important decision you can make. Running away from Him is what the enemy wants you to do. Draw near to Him and surrender it all over to Him. He wants to show you love, He wants to lift you out of the pit, but the choice is yours. Learn who you are in Jesus and what you mean to Him. So much of this addiction is based on the lies of the enemy that tell you that you are a hopeless cause, that you are not worthy, that you are unlovable, but these are all LIES! Jesus does not see you as hopeless. His heart breaks for you when the wrong decision is made. Know who you are in Christ by picking up a bible and studying the word and find out the truth about who you are in Christ. There is an awesome book that explains a lot of this. It's called "Eyes of Honor" by Jonathan Welton. Get it and meditate on it. Understand that you are powerful in Christ. Learn to fight porn addiction. You are made for much more than being stuck in a life of hopelessness.
Have Support Contact(s) -
One of the most important things to my recovery has been not only my relationship with God, but my relationship with others who understand the struggle that I've faced. It's been vital for me becoming the person that I am today. Porn addiction seeks to isolate you and keep you hidden from others who care. I can tell you that I spent so many years in the darkness and it took me so long to finally come out and admit to another human being that I was struggling. The pride in my life was great, but God was greater. Here at our Reboot group it is a safe place to share your story and hear the stories of others who struggle and also hear from those who have been able to recover and find freedom from this horrible addiction.
Be Proactive -
Use a computer web filter and/or accountability software. If you are serious about recovery you need to be intentional about being transparent. This begins by holding yourself accountable to someone else. This is an important step because as I mentioned above, the enemy is looking for any open doors that he can find and if he finds that the computer is not guarded, then he has an opening that he can begin working on your mind. I have been using Accountable2you.com software and it's very good at what it does. It will even send text alerts to your partner. It costs $4.99 per month, which is a small price to pay to keep you on the right track.
I believe that by following these steps you will be able to overcome this addiction with the power of Jesus residing inside of you. Knowing your identity in Him is everything. You don't have to live another day in addiction. Jesus has called you out and wants so much more for your life. Feel free to contact us on the webpage if you desire to know more about our life-changing group! Blessings to you!
My story starts as a 12 year old boy. It actually starts earlier, at maybe 8 years old when I started to be bullied because I was fat. That took its toll on my life over the next 4 or so years. However while riding bikes behind the local mini-mart I discovered what many other boys had come to discover: discarded pornographic magazines. You can imagine the overwhelming feeling of sexual gratification a young boy on the verge of hormonal explosion was feeling at that moment.
This was back in the mid-1970s. So often I found myself back in the trash heap looking for new exciting images of naked women. Kind of symbolic don’t you think? One at that age is not truly aware of all that is happening to him. There are these feelings that course through you and it's a mix of, "I shouldn't be doing this," and "This is incredible!"
Being raised in a Christian home, I knew that it was not right to see this type of imagery. Fortunately for me it was a crap-shoot. There may or may not be magazines back where we rode our bikes so I didn't have a regular diet of this, still the imagery was in my mind and I began to fall into sexual sin due to self-gratification. That's after I found out that you could do that kind of thing with your body.
Over the years, due to my low self-worth from bullying and the sexual side of things (that was sometimes enhanced because school chums knew where their dads hid a stack of girly magazines) I began to get involved with girls in the dating scene. I would become physically involved as a teenager - mostly heavy petting and touching places I shouldn't. I objectified the female body right from the start. Most of the time after dates and making out I would go home and relieve myself of the sexual tension.
Back in the early 1980s a sex flick came out in public theaters and I went to see it. I was probably 16 or 17 and can't believe I made it in but I did. Also with the advent of cable TV and the sexual revolution increasing into the media, channels like Playboy could be seen if you paid for it but also if you tricked your cable access box into staying on that channel by flipping back and forth on the remote. The jamming of the signal wasn't that great and I discovered how to get a few minutes of sheer viewing pleasure by doing this. I guess other men had figured that out too since you can't do such archaic type things anymore in this digital age.
Then came the VCR player! TADA!!!!
Now older guys my parent's age were no longer stockpiling magazines but adult erotic films. And in their ignorance thought they hid them well in their clothes closet. Well a friend of mine from high school introduced me to this new media. That was it. If there was ever a moment in time where I could've backed out and stopped going down the road of addiction that would've been it but I did not. I chose to go full steam ahead.
After that it was not just adult films but phone sex where I would accrue multi-hundred dollar phone bills and have to lie my way out of it claiming I was talking to friends long distance. I would then, because I worked a part time job, offer to pay for the phone bills.
Then I joined the Army. I was stationed after all my training in Germany. That was the proverbial frying pan into the fire. On almost every corner there were houses of ill repute. A number of buildings in the downtown area of where I was stationed had little booths to watch porn movies. American movies dubbed in German with subtitles but did we really need them? Like the plot was even relevant? I spent the next two and a half years immersing myself in all that was porn. I saw it all, or so I thought.
In 1986 I came home. I had spent the last 2 years of my life quite often drunk and constantly self-gratifying. I once again started dating and those relationships quickly became physical - this time objectifying women, wanting them to perform for me like the ladies on the silver screen. It worked for a while until they wanted to get married.
Then a door opened for me. Full time ministry in 1993. My life had been a series of ups and downs. Wanting desperately to live for Jesus yet wanting desperately to feel the pleasure of sex. It was a horrific roller coaster ride. The shame, the secrecy, the isolation, the regret...It was emotionally and mentally draining.
Eventually I did marry in 1995 at the ripe old age of 30. Problem solved! I found the perfect girl, beautiful, pure, innocent, godly, talented, sweet, caring and kind. Surely being in full time ministry and married to such a woman should clear things up for me. Well, somewhere in there came the INTERNET! It pulled me right back in. I continued to objectify my wife and demand certain sexual favors from her. I always felt dirty after sex and now I know why. It didn't compute back then.
The year 2000 arrived. We survived the Y2K crisis but I bottomed out. I shan't go into reasons why but suffice it to say that all of the issues of my life decided to converge at one time and like a bomb dropped over Hiroshima it just dropped on top of me. I had been in full time ministry for almost 8 years at this time. I was married, had one child who was not even a year old and ended up having an affair. I lost everything - ministry, family, friends. After taking the first part of 2001 to try and find myself, find the source of it all, I simply decided it was too much to bear. Nothing made sense. I couldn’t find one aspect of my life that I could latch onto and make work. I tried to make my marriage work but I was too far gone. We ended up conceiving and having another child but still it felt more like the world closing in on me than it felt like some divine answer to make me stay. The irony of it all is that I was simply mad at God. Mad at Him for not having a safe childhood and not feeling worth anything. I was mad that because I felt that way I couldn’t find real love or give real love. And when you can’t go to Him for answers where else are you going to turn?
I spent the next 3 years just angry. Kind of lashing out. Started messing with booze again and getting drunk a lot. Self-medicating they call it. I ended up staying with the woman with whom I had the affair. Moved in with her but still I was so empty. We continued to be sexually active but all the while I was wondering if I should go back to my wife. I was fragmented in so many ways. Deep inside there was this desire to do what was right but I offered God a list of demands as to how He should do it. It’s like running in place as fast as you can to get away from everything but then you find you’re just exhausted and you haven’t gone anywhere. I ended up signing the divorce papers in June of 2004.
Later that year, I woke up and felt that “I missed God.” I wanted to be with Him again, serve Him again but had no idea how on earth that would happen. The woman I was with felt the same way but both of us had been a part of the church establishment where there were so many things we hated. We hated the show, the hype, the lack of real relationship, lack of discipleship, loving and serving people. Another point of irony was that when we were at the same church together we would talk about how we longed to see the church return to what Jesus had commissioned it to be. We were both so burnt out by the time we met and we seemed to be the only people listening to each other. Suddenly we entered into something so unrighteous by talking about that which was righteous and one of the deepest desires of both of our hearts. NOTE: This is a warning for people in full time ministry getting close to people and entering into a very gray area and not accepting accountability. The enemy loves this stuff because he knows how beautiful it is when people get so deep spiritually with each other, especially people of the opposite sex. It is such a trap and one needs to heed the danger signs in their heart as well as listen to others when they try and warn you.
Going back to church was the last thing we wanted to do. But we did. We wanted to reestablish a foundation for our lives again. The one we did have was demolished to dust.
We found a cool place, got connected, got married but still I found myself drawn to pornography, especially with the ease of the internet. It was the back and forth type of addiction and sin. You would think you were free, you would think you had finally beaten it then something would trigger in your brain and you’d be right back at it again and again and again. My life was still very restless in trying to help raise my kids - kids who I had deserted - and I was trying to make sense of their lives as well as mine. Not a day goes by that I don’t live with regret for my decision. Sometimes I just end up crying for a while because of how many lives I hurt in the process.
I continued to be involved with pornography up until 2011 when I had a spiritual wake up call. Some amazing opportunities were presenting themselves to me. A church environment was forming that seemed to be right along the lines of what my current wife and I had spoken about a decade earlier - an environment of real love, service, reaching out to others, building community, spiritual accountability, discipleship. I heard God tell me, “You have longed for this your whole life. Even in the midst of your sin you have always wanted what I wanted and a way to serve that purpose on earth. It is here but you cannot have it if you continue to give into your sexual sin.” What a horrible feeling. It wasn’t judgmental, it wasn’t harsh, it was like a father telling his son, “You don’t get to go to the amusement park if you’re going to continue to act that way.” Right then and there I felt I had to let it go. It wasn’t just an issue of loving God more than my sin. It was matter of loving God and hating my sin.
For 35 years, roughly, I was bound by this sin. I was completely addicted to pornography and sexual perversion. It was the only way I could feel good, even if for a moment in time. It covered the pain but then added to it. Because of the internet I began to give myself to a whole new genre of pornography. I won’t rehearse it here but I can honestly say to you that this side of hell, I cannot imagine what I have not seen as far as what is available in this industry. It is horrid. It reeks of hell. And now it is slowly becoming normal in our society and it feels like the task is too great to even try and rescue people from it. My prayer is that people simply come out from the shadows and shame and regardless of what anybody says, regardless of the consequences they may face as a result of coming clean; they will find the love of a true and perfect Father who will love them back to health. You will never find freedom from pornography and sexual sin until you completely abandon your life to Jesus Christ. You must go to the purest source of what real love is and what sexuality was designed for in the first place. I now understand what so many have come to know - a loving Father, not just the big judge in the sky waiting to throw the book at you when you mess up.
I still struggle with the thoughts. I’ve not visited any pornographic sites but the mind games continue. After 35 years I’ve easily cemented pathways in my brain that I will have to continue to jackhammer day in and day out. You cannot find freedom from this addiction with Jesus Christ. It won’t happen. You have to realize he is the only person strong enough to rescue from this sin; in fact He did when He died on the Cross and rose again. It is possible to live completely free of this and allow Him to rebuild your life again. You are never too far gone. Take my hand, join me in this fight let’s walk it out together.
I started my journey into the world of pornography around the time that the Internet was starting to catch on. I remember the dial-up connections that would take sometimes 10 minutes depending on connection speed to get one picture of a girl to appear on the screen. As soon as one image would appear on the screen, that one just didn't do it for me so it was off to the next image. I did this for 20 years.
Technology advanced and the age of dial-up connection came to an end. Then there was DSL Internet connection. This was much faster than the traditional dial-up connection. Soon after that I found that there were free videos online. Free is a relative word though. It definitely was not free as I would learn later on in life. I would watch and fantasize over videos and images that I saw on the screen. As the years went by and I made promise after promise to God that I wouldn't touch porn again, but would find myself acting out once again the next day.
My life was quickly getting out of control, but I denied it was a problem. Loneliness made the addiction to porn seem justified in my mind. When I met my first girlfriend that would eventually become my wife my addiction to porn continued and she didn't have a clue. I justified it all the more. The cycle of insanity would continue into the marriage. I remember having thoughts that when we got married that I would finally be able to put the addiction behind me because I could go to my wife for sex. I found out very quickly a few days into marriage that porn would still be an active part of my marriage.
I carried the secret throughout the first 11 years of our marriage. I finally was caught using porn by my wife in 2010 and this time I couldn't hide anything. There were no excuses, although I came up with all sorts of excuses at the time. I tried to blame her for my addiction. It was her fault for not giving into my high demands of her. I was manipulating her to the point that she would do things she really had no desire to do with me just to fulfill what I saw that happened in the porn videos that I had watched. After months of my wife trying to get me to go to a meeting to get help I finally gave in and attended a meeting. I remember my first SA meeting and the weird feeling I had having to introduce myself to other "sex addicts" as they labeled themselves. I was told that their objective was to not have any sex with anyone except their wives. No self-gratification at all. This really never worked for me. I called myself clean, but I was still actively acting out still in porn. I found myself lying to the guys as I attended the meetings. I couldn't admit that I had a problem. I attended this meeting for a little over a year, but really didn't feel that my identity should continue as being labeled a sex addict even if I had 10-20 years of sobriety. It just didn't add up to what the bible was telling me.
When I finally found Maurice Crane my life was a mess. At this point I had started individual counseling and my wife really lost all trust in me. I was quickly losing the battle for my marriage. As things seemed to go from hopeful to hopeless over and over again almost like the cycle of porn that I was involved in I really began to think that our marriage was doomed to fail. We didn't communicate with each other. There were so many nights that we wouldn't say a word to each other. We both lost love for each other. Porn had completely destroyed my soul.
The past almost two years have been a nightmare relationally. Even though the porn usage stopped, the work trying to get the marriage back to a normal state was a lot of work. About six months ago we both sat in our joint counseling session and my wife told me she could not do this anymore. Fear had gripped her, PTSD had taken over, and frankly she didn't feel safe around me. For the next month or so we slept in separate rooms.
During this time apart is when God finally started to break through in our marriage. We both started to really concentrate on our relationship with God because that was honestly all we had left. My wife had an experience with God where she physically felt God pulling the fear out of her. It completely changed our marriage. One touch of God in her life was all it took. I know though that a majority of marriages never get to this stage. A lot of marriages end by this point because the wounds are just too deep.
This is where our group comes in. Maurice has spoken into my life so much truth and so much life. I am so grateful for the friendship that we have and the group of men that we share our struggles with every Tuesday evening. Whatever battle you're facing please understand that there is always hope. My situation seemed very hopeless at times and I really felt like just throwing in the towel, but God has a way of taking the worst situation and turning it around for His good and glory.
I pray that you receive healing from this addiction, but to do that it is important that you get relationships with others who have had victories and have overcome the demons in their lives. We all come from different walks of life. Some of us still struggle and some of us have had victory over this addiction. I pray that we as a group will bring light to the darkness and that we will be a safehaven for those who are still caught up in the web of destruction caused by porn and other sexual sins.