There are a good number of characteristics that we humans share with other living creatures on our planet. The will to survive, the need to eat, and the drive to reproduce are among the similarities. One thing that sets us apart is that humans are able to respect themselves. Animals are not.

Though the relevance to porn addiction may not be obvious, it is very commonplace in society these days to shrug actions off and blame them on just being wired “that way”. It’s along the lines of “boys will be boys”.

When a man sees a woman naked, it is regarded by many as stirring up emotions and desires that the man has no control over. But, such is not really the case for we were given the means of self-control by our Heavenly Father.

The internet isn’t helping the matter any. It has capitalized on the billions of profit dollars that roll in through pornography. Many people become hooked on viewing the sites. In doing so, a can of worms can easily be opened, leading to even further problems.

The Bible tells us that a man (or a woman) does have a choice in his or her actions.

Romans 7:15 says that we often don’t do what we know is right and rather, do what we know is wrong although we hate it.

In a reflection of his own behavioral patterns, Paul made known that his behavior was not lining up with the morals he chose to own. He talks about his powerlessness where sin was concerned and the grief it caused him. He wrote that the only way mortals can overcome our sinful nature is through Christ and by living in the Holy Spirit.

Don’t expect the scientific based community to necessarily back up the Biblical part, but they do agree that the nature of the problem is serious. They agree that it is an addiction and refer to it as “process addiction,” describing it as a behavior that is an addiction rather than an addiction due to a substance being introduced into the body, like drugs or alcohol. Some who are addicted to a behavior, like sex or porn, actually take on the same qualities as a person addicted to a substance – it is that powerful!

Some of the symptoms associated with porn addiction include withdrawing from activities that are social, spending more and more money and time on porn related material or activities, continuing to take part in it regardless of the negative consequences, increased intensity and frequency, and the inability to quit.

The addict who is entrapped in porn addiction often feels like they are programed to automatically cave in the minute temptation strikes. They may feel there is no recourse that their sinful instinct just takes them over and they are not able to think rationally during such time. In short, they feel powerless.

Russel Willingham’s “Breaking Free” is a book highly recommended for pornography addiction. It clearly lays out the steps of action that can break the sin’s bondage.

The summary below are some main steps which, I believe, are imperative for any Christ-focused sex addiction program of recovery:

1. Working towards a biblically-based sexuality standard
2. Establishing accountability and support
3. Learning how to surrender needs that are unmet

When you raise your appreciation and lower your expectations, you will come out winning. If you expect that every time you have a temptation or urge, you are entitled to the (temporary) gratification of giving in to it, you are setting yourself up for trouble

And, if you aim at nothing, that is also what you will get. If you don’t set goals and put safeguards in place, your lack of a plan is sure to cause you to fail. Change requires a plan of action and also requires that you take that action. There is a way out and that is the great news.

Jesus taught about having a plan or “way out”. Here are a few things He said in Mathew 5:28 that if a man looks lustfully at a woman, he’s already sinned. And in Mathew 5:29 He tells us that if your eye makes you stumble, it’s better to pluck it out and to toss it away.

Of course, Jesus obviously isn’t really teaching you to gouge your eye out. Rather, He is setting the standard high where lust is concerned and is delivering practical direction concerning how we are to deal with such situations.

Scientists believe neural networks are formed in our brains when we repeat an action over and over. At the same time, when we chose not to repeat it, the networks weaken. Where temptation is concerned, there are some things we can do to control it, just as Jesus tells us in His word. Porn addiction fits right in with scientific and Biblical teaching. True help comes from abstaining and not giving in. Easier said than done, right? That is where Christian counseling comes in.

When Jesus talked about sexual impurity with the eyes, he was telling us that the goal is not to look at another in a lustful manner. That is the standard we are to live by. Reducing the likelihood of seeing tempting things is the ultimate goal when it comes to porn.

Taking steps to prevent photos from popping up on electronic devices like smart phones, tablets, and laptops is imperative because it is all too easy to view them secretly and they are so easily accessed. Of course, simply following through with this step is not enough but it is a good start.

If an individual who is addicted to porn just tries to go off of it by sheer will power, like someone addicted to anything else, the effort will only last for a given time. It’s much like when allergens build up in your body and finally, you sneeze. Getting to the root of the pornography addiction is the only real, long term solution. Still, staying away from what it is that you are allergic to, or addicted to, is helpful.

Jesus tells us to get rid of the things that are causing us to fall or even to trip. Taking a good look at the things that cause you temptation is vital. If social media sources are presenting a problem and certain sites are tossing porn images your way, you have to get rid of them if you want to overcome the addiction.

Looking at lust-filled images now and then but not taking action is not the answer because they will build up in your mind over time. Throwing away the tempting sources is being obedient to what Jesus says to do.

The second essential for victoriously overcoming a porn addiction comes by reaching out for support from others. The Bible says in John 15:5 that He is the vine and we, humans, are the branches. He also lets us know that when we abide in Him, we will bear a lot of fruit but when we are separated from Him, we can’t do anything. While it is quite clear that the passage tells us to abide in Jesus, many overlook the reference to branches.

Have you ever seen a vine that has grapes on it but the other vines are bare? I haven’t. Nor have I seen a branch that is loaded of apples when all the other branches on the tree are without. The reason is that each branch is both dependent and supportive of the other branches. They are interdependent, you might say.

The exact same principle can be applied when it comes to a Christian’s spiritual growth. A porn addict may need several things at one time like confrontation, insight, coping skills, and ongoing support. A single person can’t meet all those needs at one time, usually. That is where Christian teamwork comes in.

A group setting is ideal for offering such support, especially when it is a group of recovering addicts. The fact that the other individuals can relate to similar experiences and have the same recovery goal in mind proves to be conducive in many ways.

Joining a group of recovering addicts is another huge stride forward. Sexaholics Anonymous is a support group that porn addicts often find quite helpful. There may also be support groups that are sponsored by your church or another church within your community.

Ongoing support through one-on-one accountability is imperative for recovery as well. Because thought distortions and triggers play such a big role in the addiction cycle, accountability is encouraged so the addict doesn’t fool himself by hiding motives and engaging in risky behaviors.

It helps to break the cycle when an addict meets regularly with a fellow believer. Accountability keeps us on the right track. The transparency of being open and honest with another person triumphs over the problems we all encounter when we try to do things alone, as a single vine or branch.

As with every addiction, it is very helpful to have a person you can call when temptation rears its ugly head. In James 5:16, we are told that when we tell others that we are struggling, there is healing and help. Those who pray for others experience healing and help too. In reaching out for help, you are also enabling that person to receive a blessing.

The goal is to practice spiritual discipline and to receive restoration and healing. Power is required when breaking the bonds of an addiction. Accountability, prayer, and on-going support are required in order to acquire that power.

Finally, it is important to address needs that are unmet which usually stem from childhood. Doing so is extremely useful in the process of recovery from addiction to porn.

It’s no secret that we live in a world that is far from perfect. Even our childhoods often presented unresolved issues when our emotional needs were not adequately met. Those who were not emotionally nurtured in their younger years are especially prone to addictions like porn.

A person who has grown up with a family that wasn’t nurturing learns not to trust others. This can easily lead to stunting growth within relationships and interferes with intimacy too. Jesus tells us that opening up our hearts through prayer and trusting Him is the way to overcome evil and to learn to give good things. He is waiting to help those who ask.

The process of asking is more difficult than it seems though. A person who is addicted to pornography needs to stop the cycle, put their feelings to words and come before God with their heavy load. Having the support of a group is imperative.

Summing it up, the recovery plan basics from pornography addiction consist of eliminating and reducing the temptations around you, getting a support team and connecting to God in a real and meaningful relationship. Reaching out for help through 12-step or church-based programs are also good ways to seek insight and to benefit from others who have walked the path before you.

Another extremely important piece of the recovery puzzle is to seek help from a skilled, compassionate professional therapist who will assist you to take steps to leave the bondage of porn addiction in the past. Porn addiction doesn’t just magically disappear. Seeking help from a professional, compassionate therapist is often the answer. If you would like to speak to a counselor who is ready, willing and very able to help, contact our center today.

Photos:
“Alone,” courtesy of Andrew Neel, unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Chained,” Courtesy of Trevor Leyenhorst, Flickr.com, CC BY 2.0 License; “Eye Contact”, Courtesy of Jordan Whitfield, Unsplash.com; CC0 License; “Bonfire bonding,” courtesy of Phil Coffman, unsplash.com, Public Domain

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