‘The unexamined life is not worth living’ I don’t think Socrates had pornography addiction in mind when he uttered these words at his trial for heresy but non the less an apt statement for those ministers struggling for release from a dark addiction. Not only are we caught in the world of pornography but we also shut down our lives and become ‘unexamined’ for fear of being found out. This is a tragedy on two fronts, a minister of the Gospel should be the most open and examined of people as this is still the way disciples are made and by becoming unexamined by others we also become unexamined by ourselves for we begin to despise ourselves and fear what we will find.
The examined life begins with self examination and we must develop the ability to be honest with ourselves, without self flagellation, and identify area’s of deficit. I had to drill deeper into my life and needed help with this and found people who had experience in identifying the true roots of my desires. I initially thought that my triggers for pornography were things such as visual stimuli, frustration, work pressure and lack of self discipline and was continually working on solutions to attack these. Not watching late night movies, not reading magazines I know would have scantly dressed women, better work/life balance, learning to say NO to new opportunities, software on the computer, etc. Now these are all good things to do but were surface and as such did not really answer the real reason why I was looking at porn, I would have to dig deeper to really know what was driving me.
I am not one that typically likes digging to find some obscure reason in the past to explain my, or others, actions but the ability to really examine the heart identified that I had deficits. The loneliness I felt was driving me, the feeling of not quite measuring up was acting out, the desire to be somebody was directing me. Now from the outside I didn’t show any of these traits and in fact would probably be the poster boy of a self confident go getter loved by everybody. The triggers to my porn addiction were deeper than expected and the solutions to these triggers required a radical (to me) and different approach than just self discipline.
Because these deeper triggers were driving me I had now developed a full blown porn addiction that rewired my brain and now certain surface triggers would get me fired up as well so I had to fight the battle on two fronts. Deal to the deeper triggers through honest counsel, outside help, prayer, new understanding and transparency while instigating immediate actions focused on what I looked at, alone time, access shut down and accountability.
Knowing your triggers requires honest examination, then a life can be built to heal, mitigate or avoid these triggers thus keep us from diving into pornography. The suggestion being sobriety is a lifelong understanding of our life drivers and a continued purposeful desire to become whole. I believe the deeper triggers require deeper help and this is the place Christ loves to work and true disciples are built. I continue the good fight against porn addiction in my life, both on the front lines in close hand to hand combat and in the war room trying to understand motives, heart issues and deeper drivers.