The worst friend[Editor’s Note: Today’s post is an excerpt from the book “Pure Eyes: A Man’s Guide to Sexual Integrity” by Craig Gross and Steven Luff]

Whether you realize it or not, every day, every second in which you have used pornography has been another day or second away from building healthy relationships and another day or second toward building unhealthy relationships. How long have you been using pornography? Months? Years? Decades? The longer it’s been, the more revolutionary your change toward sobriety will be.

You’ve spent a lot of time developing a close personal bond with an imaginary friend while ignoring or eliminating bonds with real flesh-and-blood humans. The longer you used pornography, the further and further you distanced yourself from reality and the more difficult it will be for you to return to it.

The good news? You can return. No matter how far you got, you can always come back.

…As many men can attest, going sober can be an otherworldly experience. If you are going sober, you really may feel as if you are losing a friend (and in essence you are—-you’re losing the worst friend you ever had, a friend who lies to you, cheats you, and steals from you). Ultimately it’s like an abusive relationship where an individual systematically isolates you, twists the truth you once knew and understood, and keeps you under their control by telling you that the world you once knew doesn’t understand you but that they do.

So what’s it going to be like walking away from this “friend?” It’s going to be scary, it’s going to take a lot of courage, and most of all, it’s going to take a lot of faith in God that all of the visions and promises He offers you through scripture really do exist, even if you can’t quite see them.

In the end, it’s going to feel like letting go of a sharp, jagged rock in the middle of a violent ocean. That rock appears to be your only resting place, the only thing between you and death, the only thing that can sustain you, understand you, and meet your needs. It has told you that it will always be there for you, all while ripping the flesh from your body with every wave that has pushed you against it.

But as you let go of that rock, you will find that you not only can keep your head above water, but that the ocean also becomes less violent the farther away you drift from it. You will discover that there is a new resting place, one that is wide, soft, and gentle with plenty of shade, a cool breeze and more food and fresh water than you can possibly use in a lifetime.