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.