Fleeing from pornography is tough. I know, you’d think I’d be able to scrounge up a deeper, more inspiring intro for such an imperative topic, but when it comes down to it, Paul had it right in Romans 7:16 when he said, “I do what I don’t want to do.” I can’t begin to count the number of moments where I sat down crying out to God, and, sadly, more to myself, “Never again.” But then again, I can’t even fathom the number of instances where “never again” failed, faltered, and I was back where I never wished to be. Failure within a pornography addiction can be crippling towards a path of sobriety, but what I’ve come to learn during my times of letdown and disappointment is that this just doesn’t have to be. I’ve discovered that within letdown, God’s passionately working, and there’s much we can take away from it.
Foremost, return to Jesus and His welcoming grace. It’s easier said than done, because I know the guilt one feels when we’ve sinned – when we’ve done exactly what we once said we wouldn’t do. There’s that immediate reaction that we must “clean ourselves up” before approaching Christ, but that’s not the case; the cross reveals that. Jesus wants us just as we are, because healing only begins once we’re presenting the real, honest us.
Once you’ve fully unfolded and presented your failure to Christ, you can begin to identify one crucial characteristic of God we often neglect: He’s a father. When a toddler is learning to walk, does it miraculously pickup on the movement right away? Of course not. It takes painful spills into coffee tables and promising “baby” steps that result in falls. Only then does an infant learn how to walk. However, that’s not my point. While a baby is falling and struggling with each minor step, is the father their scolding the child because it’s not walking? Absolutely not. With each step the father is there cheering on their child. With every tumble he’s there reassuring his beloved infant that he or she is getting closer to what we would call “success.” I believe God works in the same way. God isn’t distant; He realizes how difficult your addiction is, and He’s delighted that you’re wanting out. With every fall, Christ is there to pick you back up and reassure you that your past baby steps are leading you onwards to better things. Embrace this factor and let it encourage you as you move forward.
I’m sure you’ve heard the following argument made in one manner or another, but I believe it’s best represented when it comes to freeing yourself from pornography addiction: don’t follow the definition of insanity by doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results. Freedom from addiction means making changes. Everyone’s changes are going to be different, but rest assured that they’ll need to be made. If you ignore this portion of the blog, expect yourself to be right back at ground zero at some point. Figure out what triggers you into wanting to watch pornography and run from it. Maybe that means only being on your laptop around others or in a public place. Maybe it’s Internet filters. It could mean disconnecting your phone. Again, don’t under estimate this, as it’s absolutely the framework for success.
Lastly, be open. It’s quite possibly one of the scariest endeavors you’ll initially face, but it’s undoubtedly one the best tools for fighting this addiction. James touched on this exceptionally well in his book (James 5:16), saying, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Find someone that’s not only your accountability partner, but someone who’s a brother or sister to you. It’s one thing to have someone “checking in” on you to see how you’re doing, but it’s another to have a figure that’s always there to challenge you, push you, and ultimately love on you despite your current obstacles.
If you’ve fallen again, you’re not alone, and you’re certainly not down for the count. Freedom is found in many ways – you only must wish to obtain it passionately. Don’t let failure withhold you from pressing on, but use it as a tool to learn and grow towards recovery.