There are lies we tell ourselves when we mess up or feel stuck in our porn addiction. I know because I’ve told myself the same lies repeatedly.
Have you told yourself half-truths? You know, the things we tell ourselves that have a nugget of truth but contain lies as well. Here are five that I have found to be a challenge for myself over the years.
1 . I’m stuck, I’ll never change so I should just give up.
This is a lie I have battled frequently over the years and can be especially hard to combat if you feel stuck in a pattern of occasional (or habitual porn use) and you feel like you can’t gain traction towards long-term sobriety.
The good news is that you can become unstuck. You may have to try things you have never tried before, such as filters, accountability, and diving deeper into your own behavior and mindset. It is possible to change. By God’s grace I am almost 90 days sober (and there was a time I couldn’t go a week without looking at porn).
Sometimes we need to get to a place of being so sick of being stuck in the same place that we are willing to try new things. Don’t give up. I’ve found that often when I was closest to giving up in different areas of my life, victory was right around the corner.
2. I messed up – which is bad – I might as well do it again.
This has often been my biggest hurdle. Oops, I messed up once, I failed, therefore, I am a failure. Therefore, it’s okay to relapse again…and again.
Don’t listen to this lie. Falling into a small divot is different than falling into a well. Don’t let a slip up turn into a pattern and result in you ending up deeper into shame and self-loathing.
You are worth it. When you slip, resolve to “get up” as fast as you can. Confess it to someone (and to God if you’re a believer) and move forward. Reflect on what triggers and circumstances led to your fall and think about how you can change things.
When it comes to porn use It’s easy to allow one mistake to snowball. The quicker you get back up, the better you will feel and the more self-control you will develop.
3. I can’t tell anyone because if anyone knew they would judge or reject me – Again, there is almost a kernel of truth here.
While it is not helpful to tell everyone about your struggle, you need to tell someone. While telling someone you trust can be scary, it is a worthwhile risk.
You may want to confess to a close friend or someone from your church. You may need to tell your wife or significant other about this issue as well.
If you don’t feel like you know anyone who will support you, you may need to join a group (online or in-person) to find an accountability partner who can help you and support you. While telling someone can be daunting, it can be your first step towards finding real freedom.
4. I’ve asked God to take this problem away and he hasn’t.
He has abandoned me. – While some people may experience instant healing, for most people recovery is a process. God could and occasionally might instantly take away the desire to look at porn, for most though, change is a moment-by-moment process. It is about building discipline, character, and accountability into the very fabric of who we are.
The great news is that just because God has not provided a quick fix, does not mean he has abandoned us. Far from it! He wants us to lean into him as our solid foundation during the struggle.
He leaves our brokenness in place and allows us the gift of working through it. He repeatedly tells us throughout the Bible that he will “never leave us nor forsake us.”
In fact, these are the words Moses used to encourage Joshua when he was leading the Israelites to take possession of their promised land:
It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)
The lie is that God has abandoned you, because of your failures. But the truth is he will never abandon you and wants to lead you into the promised land of freedom.
5. If I just remove all sources of temptation, I’ll be able to change.
I’ll admit, I’ve thought this way many times. And for starters, removing every source of temptation you can think of may help with first-order change.
However, white-knuckling your way through recovery and avoiding gaining a deeper understanding of your struggle likely won’t yield the long-term sobriety you are looking for. For me, I feel like the work of recovery is never over – there is always more to learn – about myself how I think, and why I do the things I do.
Since recovery is a process, we can’t expect to rely solely on filters and other means of removing temptation as the only source of victory. They may be a piece of the puzzle (and an important one), but not the whole puzzle.
If you haven’t done the X3 Pure video workshop offered by XXXchurch or joined one of their online small groups, those are great places to start taking additional steps to move forward in your healing journey.
I hope some of these half-truths were ones that resonated with you and empowered you to call out the lies that are buried within them. Keep looking for the lies you tell yourself and replace them with the truth.