I have been dealing with my own truth. A truth I was ashamed of and a truth I didn’t want to admit to.
My truth is that I am addicted to porn.
I am a 16-year-old decent guy. I have never smoked weed, tried to vape once, snuck alcohol from my parents twice, played soccer for 6 years, have good grades, go to youth group every Wednesday, have good parents, have friends, and live what I see as a very normal life.
I was shown hardcore pornography for the first time around the first or second grade on the school bus. Another kid had a phone and was sharing something with another kid. I was curious and wanted to see what was so interesting. Well, I saw. I was horrified and knew full well I should not tell a soul about what I saw.
I kept this secret until I hit middle school and somehow shoved it under the carpet thinking if I told an adult I would be punished.
I was reintroduced to porn in 6th grade.
There were some boys in the neighborhood who would hang out at the field by my house. I was there and, again, someone pulled out a phone and there it was… images extremely similar to the ones I had seen on the bus several years back. I remember thinking, “This must be cool or what boys do”. My friends were laughing and joking and it seemed kind of like a joke in itself.
I was curious from that day forward…
I began my google search and found websites that didn’t just explain sex (my parents had already had “the talk” with me) but these sites showed me what sex was all about. I felt a feeling I had never experienced before. I am not going to go into details here.
My parents had explained sex as a positive good thing that happened when “you are older”. My feelings scared me but they also drove me to continue to return to the sites I was watching.
This was a slow steady progression until it wasn’t anymore. It grew to be a huge part of my life.
I found myself thinking about the sites for most of the day. Random times, just popping into my head and thoughts. I found myself feeling a constant draw towards my laptop knowing exactly the feeling I would have produced from complete strangers on a computer screen. This caused my life to shift in a drastic way. My grades fell. The girlfriend I always wanted never happened. My commitment to soccer was gone. My interests changed. My relationship with my family became non-existent by the age of 15.
My interest in porn graduated to websites built on chatting with real people as well as real life involvement online. Interaction with real people and even role playing some really sick stuff. My life consisted of my computer and lying to my parents, trying to cover up what I was doing.
I knew this was “bad” but the desire and pleasure outweighed the negative stuff in my life. I was important on these sites. I could be anyone or any age I wanted. I could hide from myself.
Porn is an addiction.
It took me months of Becky being in my face for me to finally see my truth. Here I am. I am an addict of a hidden substance most people don’t want to acknowledge. It is real and it is true. Those were hard years for me and porn felt like a relief — something good in the midst of something bad. I was hooked.
I came to Christ at a young age and grew up in church, but there was always a dark side to me. I began feeling guilty in high school but learned it was better not to talk about it. I thought I needed to figure it out on my own, just Jesus and me.
Maybe you’ve fought a similar battle. Maybe you’re fighting one now or know someone who is. You’re not alone.
When I was 21, I attended Bible school in Austria and later entered full-time Christian ministry. I brought my pornography addiction with me. I lived two lives, and my shame started to grow. I didn’t understand why I was powerless over this sexual darkness, so I hid that life at whatever cost.
I took a year away from ministry to focus on restoration. It was a great year, but it didn’t help with my addiction. I attended counseling, but that didn’t help with my addiction.
I believed Jesus wanted to transform me, but I could not understand why He wouldn’t heal this area. I decided either I was broken beyond repair or that, maybe, God wasn’t real. I was in despair, completely hopeless. I had tried everything and stopped believing I could be free.
A chance encounter with Ted Roberts, founder of Pure Desire Ministries, resulted in my wife and me beginning his counseling and recovery program. I had finally met a Christian man who could make sense of what was happening in my life. Ted and his wife navigated us through sexual addiction counseling integrated with a biblical worldview.
I learned that at the core of sexual bondage, there’s often an intimacy wound. Now when I struggle, I understand why and have resources to help. My intimacy wounds are healing, and I’m learning how to trust my wife and the Lord with all of me.
I can now say I’ve had three years of solid sobriety with no acting out. I’m taking what I learned from Ted and teaching others because this topic is something people are desperate to hear.
What Was the Solution for My Porn Addiction?
Everyone seems to want a book, and there are some good books. But you can’t just pray this away. You were likely wounded in a relationship, and that’s where you’ll find healing. In the context of safe community groups, you must focus on four areas:
1. Confront Denial
You can go to a group and talk about struggles with work or alcohol, but when you say you struggle with sexual issues, it clears the room. There’s so much shame around this topic. We feel the need to hide our sexual struggles, so we learn to hide from and deceive even ourselves. Commit to honesty at all costs.
2. Understand the Nature of the Battle
There is more knowledge about how the brain works now than ever before. Sexual addiction is not just a moral problem; it is also a brain problem.
We are not merely making a poor moral choice when we choose to indulge in sexual sin. A powerful chemical neurotransmitter called dopamine, or the “gotta have it” molecule, is released in our brains when we view porn or act out sexually.
We can develop a brain problem with moral implications that can’t be healed by moral solutions alone. We cannot just read our Bibles more, pray more or attend more small groups. We must be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and we must find healing for our wounds.
So where is healing found?
3. Access the Wound That Makes You Return to Unhealthy Addiction
We live in a broken, fallen world. You can grow up in a perfect family with tons of support and still get hurt. Some people can process their pain relationally with others, but many of us can’t do that. We don’t know how. We find ways to numb our pain, and those can become addictions.
Ultimately, you must go on the journey of exploring your own life and ask, Where have I been wounded and how do those wounds affect me today?
Have you been hurt by abuse? Divorce? High school? If we don’t identify these wounds, we’ll end up treating the symptoms rather than the root problems. You must explore your own story with safe people. Discover where you’ve been wounded and allow yourself to process that pain. Then you can find healing.
4. Practice Preventative Accountability
If you don’t know how to do accountability well, you’ll find yourself in relapse over and over again. You fail, you confess and pray. You fail, you confess and pray. Eventually, you stop being so transparent because it’s simply not helping.
Begin looking at the circumstances around you and identify stressors, such as marriage, work or finances. Look for the triggers, and then choose to stay in the pain and process it with others rather than trying to numb it with porn or other addictions.
Be watchful when you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT). Talk with your accountability group about what you desire when you are in these states. Process ways you can respond better together. Be relational with your pain. The biblical idea of “weeping with those who weep” and “rejoicing with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15) is a learned skill for many of us, and it takes practice. Let others into your pain, celebrations, joy — live life in color with close friends rather than just keeping things on the surface.
There is hope. You can find lasting freedom. But you won’t find it alone, with just you and Jesus. Breaking isolation and learning to ask for help — that’s where trust is built and freedom is found.
This journey is difficult, but I’m now walking with integrity and purity, and you can too.
The first step in this journey is that we must trust the only One who can conquer sin — Christ. Have you made the decision to trust Christ as your Lord and Savior? Learn how here.
Do you struggle with temptations like lust or pornography? If so:
- Find a local Pure Desire or Living in Freedom Everyday support group.
- Helpful resources include:
Devices are not addictive. Behaviors and patterns are.
Interested in more? I would love to virtually meet to you! Email or call anytime to schedule a virtual session. (817) 701-5438 | firstname.lastname@example.org
CRT, CCDC, CACC | Counselor & Life Coach
Empowering individuals, families and communities to grow and heal through advanced approaches in Creative Arts Therapy, setting the standard for treatment, practice and training within the field.