Recently I stumbled upon an article from a well known accountability and filtering software company titled, “After 7 Years of Porn, I Experienced My First Month of Freedom.” Of course, I had to read it. The main reason is that we get into these conversations a lot with the men we help. Questions that often get brought up are…

  • What is sobriety?
  • What is freedom?
  • And is there a difference?

Now what caught my eye in the article was the statement:

“I haven’t watched porn for 38 days. Change is possible. Freedom is possible.”

First, let me say that 30+ days of sobriety is great. It is certainly a reason to celebrate. Understand, the less you act out, the more your brain has a chance to recover from its dopamine dependence. Second, I couldn’t agree more with his conclusion that change AND freedom are possible. If I didn’t believe that we wouldn’t be doing what we do.  But the title of the post may cause confusion for some reading it.

Is 38 days of sobriety the same thing as 38 days of freedom? 

Probably not.

Sobriety is simply the absence of acting out. It’s going a period of time without using the substance of abuse you’ve come to rely on. That applies to drugs, alcohol, food, and sex/porn. But abstinence, while an important part of the recovery process, isn’t the same thing as freedom.

It’s just an important step towards freedom.

Yes, the truth is you can’t say you’ve found freedom from your unwanted sexual behaviors if you keep indulging in them. And again, you need to give your brain a break from the stuff you’ve been using to abuse it if you want to start healing it. 

But freedom is a much bigger concept than simply not acting out anymore. Freedom is a mindset, not a behavioral phenomena. I try to reinforce this message all the time with the men we help.

  • Yes, stop looking at porn.
  • Yes, stop using masturbation as an escape from reality.
  • Yes, stop going to massage parlors and strip clubs.

But more importantly, figure out why you need to do these things in the first place.

Porn use is a micro issue (I know that sounds like an odd statement). The macro issue is your mental wellness and the lack of ability to regulate your emotions in a healthy way. That is the real problem and until you learn how to fix that, you’ll be struggling for the rest of your life.

If not with porn, with something else. 

Again, freedom is not just the absence of problematic behaviors. It’s the ability to live your life the way you were meant to live it without those behaviors. So yes when I say freedom that includes freedom from the behavior itself.

But it’s also freedom…

  • from the shame of engaging in that behavior.
  • from the urges and intrusive thoughts.
  • from the loneliness and isolation.
  • from the need to be secretive.
  • from the need to use these things as a way to cope with your life.


  • Just because you are sober doesn’t mean you have freedom.
  • Just because you’ve learned to accept your behavior doesn’t mean you’ve found freedom.
  • Just because your struggles are somewhat in the past doesn’t mean you’re living in freedom.

True freedom is holistic. And that starts with having a healthy and fully integrated mind.

If you’ve found 1 week, 1 month, or even 1 year of sobriety, then GREAT! Keep going!  But don’t stop there. Work on becoming a mentally and emotionally healthier individual, so eventually sobriety becomes the natural norm and not just the exception.

By the way, if you are looking for a safe place to start your freedom journey, look no further than Small Groups Online. Our online support groups are perfect for those seeking sexual integrity, community, and mental wellbeing. Use code FREEDOM24 at checkout to get your first month for just $1.