I Was Wrong Too:
Fifteen years later, and I was still drowning in the shame of a terrible porn habit.
I figured if I installed a few internet filters, found accountability partners, and made a few high-stakes promises to God, my behavior would change in no time.
Each one came up short.
Free for a couple of days, then another slip.
Free for a week, saw something triggering on social media, slip again. Free for a month, one weak moment, back to square one.
My ministry and personal life were falling apart. Being a Christian who struggles with pornography was difficult enough, but now I was pastoring a church.
The stakes were higher. So was the shame.
Then, I made an important discovery that changed everything.
It turns out, my approach to getting free was all wrong.
Everything I tried up until that point focused on the external.
Device usage, web screening, behavior modification, trigger management, the list goes on. On the outside, it looked like I was doing all of the right things to get free.
But the real problem was internal.
Porn is a fake connection. In my situation, it was medicine for feelings of neglect. But medication is not the same as a cure. Medications treat the symptoms of the problem, cures treat the cause once and for all.
It’s kind of like taking a lawnmower to a patch of weeds. The yard looks clean for about a day.
Then the weeds grow back. Thicker and pricklier.
That’s what I was doing with my behavior. I was cutting the weeds instead of uprooting them. No wonder I was going around in circles!
When you overemphasize the external and undervalue the internal, cycles are inevitable.
As long as I only dealt with the behavior, and not the root issues, I was bound to keep struggling. I had to address the heart of the matter.
And while that’s a nice theory, it’s not exactly the most fun practically. Who wants to open up the deepest parts of their core identity and explore the insecurities, pride & vulnerabilities that have been festering?
Surely there is an easier way?!
Well… if there is, I haven’t found it yet.
But here’s what I can say – as soon as I started dealing with my belief system, everything began to change. I experienced more freedom in a month than I had in years.
I started to think clearly. My emotions stabilized. I made better decisions. And I was resisting temptation with greater ease!
I felt confident. Shameless. Clean.
All because I finally focused on the roots of the problem.
What were my roots?
Root problems are unique to the individual. In my case, I discovered that I had felt neglected for almost my entire life. This was an odd discovery, considering I grew up in a safe home where I was loved & encouraged regularly.
What I realized was that the way love was shown in the home was not the primary way I received love. I need words & quality time to feel loved, but acts of service and provision were the primary way love was shown to me. As a result, I felt neglected.
And it turns out those feelings of neglect were driving me to pornography. Porn is a fake connection. It temporarily medicated my feelings of abandonment.
While viewing pornography IS a behavioral issue, the reasons why you’re watching are the real problem.
They’re also the most significant clue to your solution.
Because once you tackle root issues, the behavior takes care of itself.
It’s almost 4 years of freedom since I made that life-changing discovery. Once I processed the pain of neglect, reached a place of forgiveness for what happened, and found healthier ways to find connection, my life has been radically different. I’ve started a business, married the girl of my dreams & traveled the world, encouraging others in their journey to freedom.
You can experience this kind of freedom, too.
All it requires is the bravery to look inside, a willingness to own the issues, and a trusted guide to lead you through the process.