My first exposure to pornography was through a childhood friend at the age of 8, but the curiosity exploded when the internet made its debut in the early-mid 90s.
That curiosity became addictive in nature when it became a quest to find out what was so taboo about sex. This all out quest was hidden from my parents while I used their computer to access these inappropriate sites. I was as hooked as any drug addict, becoming engrossed in searching the internet for entertainment any chance I could get.
In my teens, it started with online chat rooms, but also led to searching for erotic stories. In my 20’s, the search exploded as I became desperate for more. I began actively searching for pornography to fill my growing needs. What started with pictures soon led to videos, all being readily available on my parent’s unfiltered computer. Then, as if the struggle with pornography wasn’t enough, I began adding masturbation to this ongoing struggle. Words cannot begin to convey the amount of shame I have endured while living with this addiction to pornography. Chains had their grip on me since the tender age of 8.
I did not date much in my teens or 20’s. I didn’t need to since, in my world, pornography was my relationship. I didn’t need anything from anyone. Pornography was a constant friend which now I see was false intimacy. I see now, that I’ve been tortured by lies.
Pornography is a drug of the mind. I could use it and no one needed to know. Unlike street drugs, however, I never had to interact with anyone so, on the surface, I could maintain the “goodie-goodie” label. As time elapsed, the addiction became a daily routine but, as with any addiction, there were often days where I had to search out deeper and darker things to get the same “high”.
I have come to realize that the addiction to pornography was a band-aid to a deeper issue, being confused about my sexual identity. That confusion began in early adolescence and continues to the present day.
In late 2009, I reached the end of my rope with this crippling addiction to pornography. Living with this oppressive shame and guilt, in combination with my profession as a flight attendant, severely affected my health. I would spend hours at night searching out pornography, I was sleep deprived in a job that already had its own challenges of sleep depravation. My spiritual sickness was now leading to physical sickness but I still couldn’t seem to stop. In early 2010, I was desperate to make a change. I remember thinking on my 30th birthday, I didn’t want to go one more decade addicted to pornography. I’m now 33.
The biggest jumpstart in this process of ending my addiction to porn has been accountability. I have a wonderful spiritual mom (of five years) who mentors me and has held me accountable. I have placed filters on my computer and even went to the radical extreme of giving up my laptop computer for nine months. I heard it once called “radical amputation.” Computers that are not filtered or protected are dangerous to the pornography addict much like giving an alcoholic a beer to hold and expecting him not to drink.
Aside from accountability and filtering, church involvement/fellowship has been critical in my journey. I was seeing a Christian counselor who had high demands of me, completed her program. It’s the first time I actually have hope that I can overcome.
This addiction has consumed 24 years of my life. I lost part of my childhood, my innocence, time, energy, relationships, potential relationships, my walk with God and my health. I didn’t realize how deeply in trouble I was in until everything began being stripped away from me. It’s not worth it!
April 23rd was my ONE YEAR anniversary mark to being sober!