Confessions of an Addict

What Happens When We Give In?

This article features an interview with an ex-pornography addict. The names have been changed to protect anonymity.
Jordan opens up about the very real struggles and aftermath of addiction.
 

Lindsey: How did you get involved with pornography

Jordan: It was, it’s a very slippery slope honestly because you know about things like pornography and masturbation, and you think that’ll never be me. I have disdain for stuff like that, it’ll never be me. When you have a certain mental and emotional state, one accidental picture that can come up online can be the defining point. You shut that down immediately, or you get curious, and you take a look at it.

When I was a junior or senior in high school, I had a lot of downtime because I was homeschooled my last two years of high school, so whatever I could do to keep myself occupied I would do. So, y‘know, one of the big things right now is Tumblr. You have a Tumblr account and you post pictures, and you can follow different accounts and take a look at the posts and the pictures. At that point, I was new to Tumblr,  and I was just trying to find different blogs to follow. Some people are very liberal with what they post. It may not all be pornography, but they’ll slip some pictures in there because they think it’s sexy or its cool or whatever. I saw that, and I was already into masturbation, so it was all downhill from there.

I was very curious, and I was not strong enough in my walk with the Lord to say “that is not my portion, that is not what has been set aside for me.” And I told myself I would just look at it this once, but it’s never just this once. It’s always from that point on you, you remain more and more curious. At that point, you start looking it up. It’s not that you just happen upon it, you start looking for it. You start using the search bar in  Tumblr or google searching.

I told myself I would just look at it this once, but it’s never just this once. It’s always from that point on you remain more and more curious. 

L: At what point did you realize you were addicted?

J: You go through a point of denial, for sure. You think, “I could stop at any point,” or, “it’s no big deal.” “It’s just for fun.” But it’s not. I would say it took about a year for me to realize that I had a problem, it wasn’t just me ‘having a bit of fun’ before I went to bed. I was addicted to it. At that point, I thought, I needed to fix myself before I get back to God. But that never works. You can’t fight and battle an addiction of your own strength, you will fall every single time. It was a long road of trying for a week on my own and falling, and trying for a month and falling again.

L: How do you think it affected your view of relationships, people, sex, yourself, etc?

J: It affected it drastically. At that point, I started to view relationships/marriage as just sex. I realized one day that marriage is not sex. That’s just what I’ve seen on TV, that’s what I’ve been addicted to.  It’s this fight for intimacy. You so desperately want to be needed and touched and desired and cherished, so you seek this artificial form of that. It is completely fake. It has no sense of satisfaction, I mean, other than about 3-seconds while you’re ‘in the thick of it,’  but once you’re done you literally have nothing but the guilt of what you’ve just done.

It definitely affected the way that I viewed sex and marriage. As far as how I viewed people, it’s really hard for me, even today, to walk into a room and not look at a guy for what he can do for me. Not just sexually, but ‘is this guy marriage material?’ rather than walking into a room of people and saying, ‘Thank you, Lord, for these brothers in Christ. Thank you, Lord, for these royal sons” Looking at them as royal sons, rather than a piece of meat; rather than what they can do for me. It’s such a selfish way to look at things because it is all about how I can be satisfied, rather than how I can serve others.

It changes the way, sorry, I won’t say changes because that’s not a strong enough word, it completely distorts the way that you view precious things that the Lord made. Marriage, sex, people. Three incredibly important things: a covenant, a sign of intimacy, and the Lord’s creation. Those are three very precious things that the Lord made, and they are completely perverted by this industry.

It changes the way, sorry, I won’t say changes because that’s not a strong enough word, it completely distorts the way that you view precious things that the Lord made. Marriage, sex, people. Three incredibly important things: a covenant, a sign of intimacy, and the Lord’s creation. Those are three very precious things that the Lord made, and they are completely perverted by this industry.

L: Do you think it changed the way you viewed yourself?

J: Oh definitely. if you know and love the Lord, you can’t NOT change the way you view yourself. A lot of it is conviction from the Lord, but a grand majority of that is the attack of Satan. You hear lies like, “you’re tainted, you’re not good enough for anyone now because you got into this mess.” It’s a lot of guilt.

It’s a ton of feeling like you are no longer worthy as a human being for anything or anyone because you are addicted to this. It’s really hard because it’s mentioned a lot in church. You go to some sort of retreat and they mention how someone is addicted to pornography, and you sit there as if it’s not you. You don’t want anyone to know. It’s like, “I can’t make any sudden movements or they’ll know it’s me that they’re talking about,” even though they’re just mentioning it in general, they’re not specifically talking about you or to you, but you feel that guilt whenever it’s even brought up. That’s the sucky side of it.  You’re attacked by Satan, and not only in the sense that you become addicted to it, but he turns back around and says, “wow, you suck because you did this.”

The good side of that is that you do feel, if you are seeking Jesus, you do feel that conviction from the Lord, that “I can’t believe I let myself get into this.” And it’s not guilt, but knowing this is not who I was created to be. This is not my portion. This is not what has been set aside for me. You mourn that loss because you essentially robbed yourself. You know from that point that there is grace that covers this. There is the opportunity to learn from the experience and seek help. It greatly changes the way you see yourself. You go through seasons of kind of hating yourself.

L: How does porn differ from men to women?

J: I know for men, it’s become a much more acceptable practice. I know that you can’t really go through that action without a sense of lust. I think it’s more prominent in men because of the way they’re wired mentally. I don’t claim to be any sort of scientist on the matter, but they were wired to pursue a woman. Because we live in a generation where men are not being brought up in the Word, they do not pursue women in a respectful way. They pursue women in a way that is going to satisfy them because that’s the world we live in. It’s a very selfish society.

It is considered more of a struggle for men, I suppose, but it’s becoming a lot more common in women, and that comes out of the desire to be pursued. Men seek pornography to pursue a relationship that’s not going to satisfy, and women seek it to be pursued by a man that’s not going to satisfy.

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L: How did you seek help, where do you go from that?

J: I was at my University, and we were having a Women’s Night. A pretty popular worship leader at the time, his wife came to speak. I feel like, especially nowadays, girls my age are really struggling with the idea of being single. Your friends are getting engaged or have boyfriends. At the very least they’re doing something exciting with their life, so it doesn’t matter that they’re not with something because they’re off traipsing around Europe doing things that you want in life. And I guess that boils down to jealousy.

Anyway, she came and spoke on her singleness, and how it was a weight for her, but in the midst of that weight she mentioned that she struggled with masturbation. It was the first time I had ever heard another woman struggle with what I struggled with. It was life changing. I walked up to her afterward, and told her I’ve been struggling with this for a long time, and how I had never heard anyone else struggling with this, any other women, and thank you so much. She told me, you have no idea how many girls have come up to me and said the same thing. It was baffling. I can’t believe I’m not the only one that’s struggling with this. It’s something that needs to be talked about much more often than it is. It needs to be talked about so that we know it’s not our portion, and it is a common struggle. Nobody is alone in this. At that point, I sought after people I could trust.

I finally came to a point where I could tell my mom, even though I was so ashamed of it. It really helped to bring it to light. From that point on, yes it was still a struggle, but there is something about bringing that sort of sin to light that makes it kind of lose its luster. It really helped to know that I wasn’t alone because then I felt like I could open up and ask for help, or tell someone else about it

Men seek pornography to pursue a relationship that’s not going to satisfy, and women seek it to be pursued by a man that’s not going to satisfy.

L: So what would you say to someone who is struggling with this?

J: That’s so hard because it’s such an internal struggle. Find that place deep within yourself to tell someone. Especially these days, it’s kind of expected that you do that, especially with men. It’s becoming kind of a running joke about, “Oh you don’t do that?” It’s accepted and expected of men especially. The more I’ve seen among the pornography world, it’s kind of expected from women as well.

I would say get to a point where you are strong enough to say this is not what I want for myself. I don’t want to view people as objects. I don’t want marriage and sex to lose its significance when that time comes for me. Take the first step, literally put one foot in front of the other until you make it to the front door of the person you’re willing to tell. It is so hard to have the courage and the bravery to go ask for the help, or even just put it out there and let people know you struggle with it. If you don’t feel like you can go get the help, at least put it out there.

It will help even just getting it out of your mouth.

I didn’t think I needed help, I didn’t want it. Not because I didn’t want to heal, but because I was afraid. And believe me, fear can do a lot when you’re struggling with sin. When you struggle with something pornography, drugs, lying, stealing, cheating, whatever the case may be, fear is what makes it worse. That’s why I say, get yourself in a headspace where you are brave enough to seek the steps or go and tell someone.

Fear will only make it worse. When you struggle with someone like drugs, same general concept. You’re never going to get healed by your own strength. It has to be a combination of surrender and you want to get better. In every aspect of my life, that’s what you have to do. It’s simple but incredibly hard at the same time, and it does take practice. You have to continually say, “Lord I’m giving this to you. I’m giving this to you. I’m giving this to you.” And with that, you start to gain this inner strength. It’s like re-working pathways in your brain when you tell the Lord you’re surrendering this to him Eventually, your natural inclination will be to surrender it to him.

Repetition is a powerful thing. Eventually, you do get to the spot that you think, “Wait, no, I’ve already given this up.”

J: I just want people to understand they’re not alone. I think another thing that has become so relevant is not to confuse tolerance with love. Tolerance is allowing action even though hits disagreed with. Love is not the same thing with tolerance. Love can very well be disagreeing without condemning. This is not okay. It demeans his children, it demeans you because you are so much more valuable! To fill your brain with this sort of filth is inexcusable.

The good new is that despite so many people struggle with this, He still loves us so much. He wants us to experience intimacy and love and good marriage and good relationships in a biblical way. He wants good things for us. That’s a promise in the Bible. He promises good things for us. We can’t keep robbing ourselves from His blessing.

At some point we have to say, I’m done demeaning that royal daughter or that royal son, I’m done demeaning myself. Dwelling on the fact that he calls me a daughter of love and a daughter of purity, those are the things that help me late at night when I’m feeling the temptation to say no. They help me to say no, I want to seek His goodness, His blessing, intimacy the biblical way.

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Lindsey Adams

Lindsey Adams

Editor, Go Everywhere

Lindsey Adams is a recent graduate of Dallas Baptist University. She is a music enthusiast, advocate of the local food movement, and passionate about pursuing the Love of Christ.

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