I can’t stop … I can’t stop … How will I ever stop? These are the thoughts that went through my head on a consistent basis before I found sobriety. I can’t count how many times in my life when I literally thought that freedom from pornography was impossible. I would try, and try, and try only to fall again, and again, and again. It was awful and so incredibly defeating. I constantly begged God to deliver me from my pornographic dependence yet despite many pleas my struggle continued day after day, week after week, year after year. I wanted sobriety … I desired freedom … but in the end it seemed like just a dream. Thankfully I did eventually find sobriety. However, I had to realize a few things along my journey before freedom became a reality.
The first thing I needed to learn was the critical importance of accountability. I know this is something we constantly harp on but that’s only because it is so crucial. Anybody wishing to escape a porn dependant existence must instill accountability in his or her life. For most of my years I never secured reliable and Godly accountability and it cost me sobriety. However, once I found a solid accountability partner everything changed. I now had a partner … someone who cheered me on in victory and encouraged me despite defeat. Accountability changed the game for me and set the stage for a tremendous breakthrough.
Second, I had to recognize that God wasn’t going to do it for me. Don’t get me wrong, God is the only reason I found sobriety but He wasn’t going to fight my battles for me. Every time I threw up my arms and said “God deliver me … I’m too weak” I was really saying “God do it for me because I’m not willing to do the hard work.” There is a fine line between thinking you can do it yourself and expecting God to do it for you. Understand, God is like an investor. He has the financial banking. He can do things for you you’d never be able to do on your own. He has all the resources and calls all the shots. However, if you aren’t willing to do the work he’s not going to do it for you. Yes, he’s willing and able to change you but you need to truly desire and work for change even if it means uncomfortable and difficult decisions. We have to work like it depends on us but believe that it entirely depends on him, the author and finisher of our faith.
Lastly, I needed to develop a long-range mindset. When I was tempted it was always a matter of short-term pain vs. short-term pleasure. I would basically approach the issue as a simple math equation. The question I would ask is, “If I act out, is the pleasure I’m going to get worth the shame and guilt I’m going to feel?” Unfortunately because I was always dealing with short-term variables the math never stayed consistent. Some days it was worth it and other days it wasn’t. It wasn’t until I realized that my choices today altered my calling and purpose for tomorrow that I fully recognized the long-term impact porn had on my life. Suddenly the equation had changed because the variables had as well. It was no longer short-term pleasure vs. short-term pain; it was now short-term pleasure vs. the rest of my life. A few hours of guilt and shame I could occasionally live with … putting my entire life on hold was something entirely different. When I started approaching my daily decisions with a long-term mindset I found it easier to say “no” to my cravings. Simply put, the math no longer made sense.
There certainly were other things that played into my recovery but it wasn’t until I found accountability, started doing the hard work, and approached my decision making with a long-term mindset that breakthrough finally happened. If it feels like your struggle will never go away you are not alone. However, this does not have to be your lot in life. Freedom from porn is possible and long-term sobriety is achievable. Are you pursuing accountability? Are you willing to do some work even if it means getting your hands dirty? Are you approaching your sexual decisions with a long-term perspective? If not, I encourage you to start now.