We catch up with Cris and Justin from the band Fallstar. Here is the video below as well as the full interview.
Chris Ratzlaff: As far as struggles with pornography, I struggled with it a lot when I was about 20. I was really depressed and I kept going to it over and over. For awhile it was like a nightly thing for me and it was pretty miserable. I was just wrapped up in depression. I was always taking NightQuil and it was just terrible. After my 20th year I hated it, I always hated it but I was able to go for a month, stagger, go for two months, fall back etc. It wasn’t night after night but I’d fall back into it and I’d get so frustrated. Pornography, in my life, as a struggle, with my girlfriend it makes it really hard to focus on her as a person. It skews your mind and you have to fight against it and pretty much you just want to have sex. You see her that way and it messes things up. It becomes this shame and struggle type of thing and I wrestled with that for three or four years of being okay then going down and down and down. It’s demoralizing after awhile. I could see direct effects on my relationship with a woman, like I could see how it affected my love for her, the way I could come to her and approach her and see her as her and be in love with her instead of her body or physical stuff.
Justin Haag: I dated a girl for about five years and through that we stayed pure for the most part, we didn’t do anything sexually. Through that, to fill that void, I fell into pornography. It’s definitely hard when you can’t fulfill that with the person you’re dating or your wife if it’s in a marriage. Pornography with me, just like took over my characteristics around her. When I was more involved in looking at it and we were together, I had more of an urge to seek her that way, just in the complete wrong way, the way we shouldn’t be seeking our girlfriends or wives. It definitely just misconstrues your mind and thought process on how to treat women. It was a hard thing for me to try to hide it from her. I remember one day just breaking down with her in a car in a parking lot and just saying “I’ve been doing this and I haven’t been able to tell you” and just to see the look on her face…I just knew that she kind of felt like she wasn’t sufficient for me. That was one of the hardest things with it, how it ruined her perception of herself. It was just super hard to see that and how she broke over it. That was my own doing, it definitely tears people and relationships a part.
Chris Ratzlaff: I want to say six months ago, maybe five, I looked at pornography and it was in that cycle of looking at it one time then going a month or two and saying “I hate this”, but then going back to it. But for me it was just one of those times and I was so pissed at myself and so frustrated. I remember looking at it like “What the heck am I doing?” and I shut my computer, I slammed it closed and I was just really angry. I opened it back up and thought “This is the time to do it”, and I went to xxxchurch.com and downloaded X3 Watch for my computer. I hadn’t done it before it was like $7 a month and I didn’t want to pay that and I could handle it myself but nope. So I put it on my computer and I have my dad, my friend Charles and later Craig from XXXchurch as accountability partners. Accountability really is everything. I’ll tell everyone when I tell them about my struggle with porn and I did that with my friends for awhile but it becomes too monotonous and I’m screwing up too much. Now I have it on my computer and if I look at it they know right away. That’s the only place I have looked at pornography. Having it on my computer has helped so much, every time you get on it you know you’re watched. It’s helped so much like these last five months have been the healthiest I’ve been. It’s always a struggle and you get those urges where you think you can go on someone else’s computer but having it on your own just keeps you triggered. I’ve just seen tremendous growth in myself, humble yourself and let other people know what’s going on.
Justin Haag: I found myself stepping out on stage and we would speak every night about all the strongholds that these kids have and it would just flash and bang at my door so hard because literally the night before I had looked at pornography. I had kind of gotten so far in, didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want to tell people but I knew I could tell the dudes in my band, just having conversations here and there. It was crazy being able to be put on the XXX Tour, actually looked into the software, and put it on my computer so I’ve had it on mine for about two months now, its incredible. I have Jason as my partner, and my mom, which is awkward but it keeps me accountable. I have it on my iPhone too and its just a good tool because its not a software that’s just going to block you out. Its for people who truly want to quit and it builds a community because you’re putting your friends on your list and able to speak and be transparent with each other and get out that I’m struggling with and he’s struggling with it. With the XXX stuff, that’s allowed me to be transparent too.
The XXX Tour.
Chris Ratzlaff: How we got involved with XXX was I ended up talking with Craig at the Launch 501c3 conference, I was there doing documentary stuff. I pitched him the idea of the tour and I love X3 Watch and they ended up sponsoring the tour on the condition that I wear a XXX shirt every night that we play and we just talk about X3 Watch to with our audience and we had some fliers to pass out. I didn’t think much about it I thought I was pretty open about pornography and we started talking about it and it was quite the experience, not at all what I expected. We were cheered and we were booed. Sometimes it was dead silent and sometimes people were into it. We had a lot of great conversations after shows with kids who struggled with and I was able to pray with them. You forget where you were when you were deep into it this stuff. There were kids who would come up to me and you could see the burden on them, they’d say “Thanks for talking about this I’m in it, like really bad and we need to pray”. We’d pray and talk about how the software works and what its done for me. A lot of girls would come up to us and be stoked that we were talking about this stuff because I think it instilled value in them that they didn’t know they were getting robbed of. They were stoked that people were fighting for them, like XXXChurch, its like a movement to instill value back in girls and take away this objectifying of them.
Justin Haag: That was definitely a point every night to really point out the girls in the crowd and tell them of their worth and this isn’t the way men should be looking at them. They could feel treasured and loved in the right way. We were at Cornerstone and there was this guy probably like 35 or 40 years old, he came up to us talking to us about it being very bold to go up and stage to talk about our faith and our struggles with porn and really just be vulnerable on stage. He has a wife and kids and still struggles with it to this day and how he was going to go home and check out X3 Watch. It was cool to see the feedback from this man, this married man who was still struggling with it and he could find hope in that.
Chris Ratzlaff: Its funny because agreeing to talk about pornography on stage for me wasn’t a big deal. We talk about Jesus every night and we get some flack but we get a lot of good things. The first night we talked about XXX and the struggle and redemption we get from it…Maybe five or six days into it, something clicked with our band, it was like we really believed that what we were saying was making a difference, getting behind it and really fighting to show everyone this matters a lot, you need to understand this and there is hope for you and this is destroying lives. For my mind, it’s a lot of stuff that I can’t get back or I’m still working through to get back. It was cool to see that change come across our band, like this is huge and we’re representing a movement that can change this generation, that was huge and it empowered us to what to see that change come.
We heard Showbread got XXX because of us. We just met Showbread a little while ago. They just started working with Come and Live too. We like them a lot. They saw us at Cornerstone and they heard the schpeel about XXXChurch and X3 Watch so they all got it, Josh and his wife even, all have it on their phones.