OK, I’m back with the Q&A. I know you must’ve thought I forgot, but to be honest, some of the comments have been in the tone of such dire straits that I had to pray about who to go with next. God led me to Derek. I pray that my response to him will also address some of the other concerns. If not, I’m sure you’ll let me know. 🙂 Anyway, here we go.
Q: Well I have dealt with porn addiction, masturbation and homosexuality for as long as I can think of it and it only gets worse in my eyes. I try so hard not to buy yet I always fall into it! I know its not right and I know I need to change and I want to but for some reason I can’t fully commit to it and I let guilt take over and it only makes me worse! None of my friends or family know but I feel like I need to talk to someone about it to get help which is why I’m talkin to u but can I do this with just the help of God or do I need some other kind of help?? Please help me!!!!
A: Derek, my heart really goes out to you. Not so much because of your addiction(s), but because you seem to be in so much turmoil about them. Before I begin, let me just say this: I recently looked up the definitions of the word “addiction” and one that really stood out to me was, “an abnormally strong craving”. Derek, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have that on some level, so you are not alone. Sometimes, the best thing to hear on the road to healing is just that; that you don’t have to feel unloved, unaccepted or isolated just because you are struggling with an issue. Until you are ready to share your challenges with others, you will always be welcome on this site. We will always have an open ear and loving heart.
Now, with that said, let me go deeper into your question.
I’m not sure how long you have been reading these Butterflies blogs, but I am not someone who doesn’t empathize with the struggle of sexual addiction and pornography. It was actually a past sex partner in college who introduced me to it (“it” being the porn, the sexual addiction is generational) and since, porn and I have had a “love/hate” relationship. For me, it was an escape from my reality. I used it as a diversion, not just from the “actual sex” that I wasn’t fully enjoying, but the stresses in my life as well. For me, it was a physical and mental release. However, over time, I realized that one, it was progressive (went from Cinemax to hard core to erotica—from cable to videos to books to the Internet) and two, I found myself very angry not long after the physical release took place.
It was weird, but the very people I lusted on the screen, I found repugnant soon after. I hated them for “pimping themselves out” like that and I hated me even more for using it as entertainment. However, like a junkie or alcoholic, I returned for months and months and months…and actually relapsed over a couple of years. Whenever life seemed a bit too much to handle, to me, porn seemed like “the acceptable drug of choice”. I wasn’t hurting anyone (else), I wasn’t getting pregnant or an STD and really, for all intense purposes, no one had to know.
But I knew and God knew and what God revealed to me about it is something that I continue to keep in the forefront of my mind even now: “When I created sex, it wasn’t for you and another man, you and another woman or even you and yourself (porn and masturbation). It was for you and your husband (Genesis 2:24-25, I Corinthians 7:4).”
There is a lot of power that comes with marital sex. The proof? Look at all of the ways the Enemy has tried to defile it! (John 10:10) As much as my past sex life tempts me at times, to be honest with you, I am sick of not getting THE REAL DEAL. I’m tired of having sexual experiences that only and/or eventually leave me broken, scared, peaceless and guilt-ridden. None of those words are supposed to be attached with a gift as beautiful as sex. My time of abstinence, to me, is a time of deprogramming; of seeing what God really desires for my life when it comes to my sexuality.
But, once we come to these discoveries, I think we as addicts or recovering addicts try and cut out the act(s) without having something in place to fill the void(s). You know how they say “Don’t quit your job unless you have another job to go to?” I am a firm believer that when you are trying to kick a destructive habit, you also need to have some things in place. If Internet porn from 7-9pm is your thing, get a gym membership or go to the bookstore to get yourself out of the house at that time. If Cinemax is your fetish, DISCONNECT IT. If erotica is how you roll, burn the books and journal out why you are drawn to it in your moments of weakness. If strip clubs are what get you going, factor in how much money you spend per month and put that into a savings account towards something you really want. If you have friends that feed into this lifestyle, FIND NEW ONES. Bottom line, if illicit sexual activity has been your distraction of choice, find something that will distract you away from it. Soon you will discover that there’s not so much of a void as you wean yourself away from it because there are so many other things in its place. In time (and yes, it takes time), you will find that there’s no room for the porn anymore.
Secondly, BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. God is not nearly as hard on us as we are. You didn’t get into the addiction overnight and so there’s a great chance that you won’t get out of it in 24 hours, either AND THAT’S OK. Pat yourself on the back for even having a conviction about your habit(s). That’s a good sign that God is still close, even if the Enemy tries to tell you otherwise.
And thirdly, if you sense that you need help, you probably do. THAT TOO IS OK. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.” Therapy doesn’t make you “crazy”. It makes you aware that you are in something so deep and your perspective is so biased that you need objective help getting out. When it comes to the addictions that you mentioned, pornography and masturbation pretty much go hand-in-hand, but homosexuality and your conviction about participating in that lifestyle, well, I encourage you to speak to someone who can help you get to the root of that matter. You have no reason to be ashamed that you have struggles. It’s people who live in denial of their strongholds who should feel bad.
Derek, I know this probably doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of your torment, but I hope this encourages you in some way. I will be in prayer for you, as I’m sure the rest of the XXXChurch family plans to do. In the meantime, look at it this way: You are reading this, you are alive and breathing, and so, even in the midst of it all, God still has a plan. He still loves you. He’s still there.
Take care. Keep us posted.