Overcoming Addiction to Pornography Part 1: Repentance
Updated: Feb 7
28,258 users are watching pornography on the internet.
$3,075.64 is being spent on pornography on the internet.
372 people are typing the word "adult" into a search engine.
By the time you have finished reading this article, around 70 new videos and 14 hours of content will have been uploaded to Pornhub.
(And for the record, I think it’s safe to say that no one just “watches” pornography.)
Why I am writing this
What I am writing about affects men and women’s lives and eventually, it damages children. I will be writing more on this issue, the surrounding issues related to narcissistic abuse and what kind of support we really need to heal. I also want to express that I am a Christian (which in itself has been a painful and difficult journey, but literally the most life-saving one). It is not ‘convenient’ for me to be Christian in the slightest and in fact I feel very young in my journey. There are crucial lessons I believe you can take from my experiences, regardless of your faith, religion or worldview. Whether you are atheist, agnostic or believe in a higher power, these are human issues to face:
The damages that pornography causes emotionally, mentally and in our perception of sex
How pornography degrades human beings
The need for repentance
The need for support from greater love, strength and power beyond your own
The need for a support community
The Damages of Pornography
I remember reading a book, years ago - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, by Stephen R Covey. He cited pornography as “deeply addictive, mental poisoning” affecting young people’s mental health. Back then I thought he was being what I mockingly thought was, ‘a typical Christian’ - boring - on a moral high horse and a killjoy on what’s really, ‘not that bad an issue’. That attitude doesn’t kill joy. It kills the selfish, greedy want to be gratified and be entertained. That is not joy. As a Christian myself now, living life is far harder than years ago because my faith asks me to commit to the absolute truth and not indulge my lies or escapisms. My commitment to absolute truth shows me how my sense of lusts, instant gratification and escapism leads only to more negativity. I still cave in to other addictions now, but I believe firmly now that Dr Covey was 100% right about pornography. The normalisation of pornography, in my view, is one of the biggest ills of this world. To give you an idea…
The damage that pornography does to men, women and our world
Women who were exposed to pornographic materials earlier on are more likely to have sexual fantasies involving rape and a greater belief in common rape myths. Men on the other hand begin to believe that this behavior is normal and expected of them.
The financial cost to business productivity in the U.S. alone is estimated at $16.9 Billion annually.
From the age of about 15, until around 32 years old, I was addicted to pornography. There are things I have watched, addictions I have fed, that I am not proud of in the least. I have over the years questioned my own sexuality and found escapism, relief, a hideaway, an outlet, in porn that was making me more and more unhealthy.
The Biggest Obstacle to Helping Others
My mentor Paul S. Waugh once asked me what the biggest obstacle was in helping others….
"What is getting in the way? Believe it or not... Pornography. Can you feel your heart sink? That addiction rattle your cage? Nothing more could be more decimating of the soul and spirit of the human, of the heart. To reduce real human beings to sex things, in an industry that is as vulgar as that, that is the opposite of Lighthouse, completely and utterly the opposite, to reduce humans to things."
It did hit me hard. Pornography today is almost as normal-yet-unhealthy as fast food. Everyone knows there is something unnatural about porn, yet it’s somehow accepted as a part of life.
Coming To God Through Repentance
A few years ago, Paul shared some essential guidance. Paul is my mentor in life and in business and has helped me enormously in my spiritual journey.
Here are some crucial and very personal issues Paul has helped me with:
"It’s not what you do that God cares about, it's your attitude to what you do."
This is so powerful, because so much of my life I have been incredibly anxious about making a mistake. Being a Christian means I hold myself accountable to the total truth embodied by Jesus Christ (The Way, The Truth, The Life). That is THE highest standard. So it’s easy for anyone to berate themselves and condemn themselves for things they do wrong. But what Paul showed me was, that it isn’t ever about the mistakes, it’s about repenting and turning away from that mistake, that addiction, seeing it for the damage that it causes, forgiving myself, and seeking a higher plane of living. This is where Paul gave me advice that has never left me…
The Sacredness of a Human Being
"While you’re watching porn would you pray? Don’t pray for you, pray for the person doing that for a living. The younger the person, pray for them even more, because they’re probably in some form of slavery. Then pray for yourself."
There’s a reason Jesus Christ said,
"Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed. adultery with her already in his heart." (Matthew 5:28)
When you can look into the eyes and the soul of another human being and know that you’ve hurt them, whether that’s a stranger or someone you love, it hurts. It breaks your heart. It broke me to look back at my own eyes to see that I had become someone who was hurting others for my own pleasure and gratification. More than any fact or statistic, that got to me.
Overcoming Chronic Addictions Requires Loving Strength Beyond Yourself
I needed love and compassion from a source far greater than I was capable of giving myself. Like I said at the beginning of this article, whatever your beliefs, you cannot heal yourself by yourself. You will need help, whether you seek that help from God, from a counsellor, from a friend, from a therapist, and/or a support group. I know now that to be forgiven, to have compassion, I needed to go to the very source of forgiveness, compassion and love. I believe, for rational and personal reasons I have sought, that source is Jesus Christ. Whatever you believe, know that you can only go so far by yourself; whatever your addiction or challenge in life.
Pornography is an industry, just like retail, fashion, or food and beverage, that is responsible for trafficking. This is one reality check from a young woman, Alia, who was trafficked:
The primary principle we are violating with any addiction or lust, is the principle of human sacredness. When we as human beings decide that we can treat each other however we want (in our own heads at the least), we create an unnatural, ungodly, unsafe world for children. We choose to be laws unto ourselves and choose to make up our own rules instead of subordinating to what is actually true and real.
Every day, I continue to grow and repent for things I have done wrong in my life. It is painful, but healing and freeing to come closer to reality, rather than continue to live my life in a self-deluded bubble. I have written this blog to invite anyone else to come forward and both heal and help others. Sex is sacred. Yet we are so miseducated and it is so disrespected in our culture today.
I am very fortunate to do the work I do and we have support groups for anyone who wants to overcome any addiction, as well as help others to do the same. The most powerful thing we can do with any struggle, is to serve others with theirs and, in doing so, we stop struggling ourselves, because we have become a benefactor instead of a beneficiary.
In part 2 of this blog I will be sharing more about the damage that pornography has on relationships. If you want me to write about a particular issue related to pornography or addiction in general, please do let me know.
If you would like to learn about these groups, mentorship, coaching, counselling or any other kind of support, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org