Am I the only one with a porn addiction? | Focus on the Family Australia
Am I the only one with a porn addiction?
By Matt Stickel
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Imagine if two out of three young men and one out of three young women everywhere were alcoholics. Regardless of whether they were Christians, 67 percent of men and 33 percent of women were drunk on a daily or weekly basis.
Thankfully, that many young men and women in Australia are not addicted to alcohol.

Sadly, they’re addicted to porn.

Only thirteen

I grew up in a Christian home. My parents home-schooled me, hoping to protect me from sex education classes and locker-room talk.

We had two computers in the house: one in my parents’ bedroom and one in the living room downstairs. My parents installed internet filters on both to block explicit content. My dad discipled me, teaching me about purity and respecting human sexuality in a God-fearing manner.

Despite all these efforts, one day when I was 13, I discovered online pornography. My curiosity got the best of me. I opened Pandora’s box and couldn’t forget what I saw.

Fast-forward eight years

I was a single 21-year-old male who felt like the scum of the earth. Despite professing to be a born-again Christian, behind closed doors I was addicted to pornography.

I felt all alone in the world. I wanted to put an end to the sexual content that consumed my life, but I couldn’t do it. I tried several times, but I kept coming back to it.

I wanted to ask for help, but as much as I wanted to quit, I feared being ostracised by my peers and a huge disappointment to my parents.

A vicious cycle I couldn’t break on my own

I was depressed and lonely. I turned to pornography to self-medicate those feelings. Although the high made the problems disappear for a time, after the high wore off, I was more depressed and lonelier than before. I felt worse about myself as a person, and I’d self-medicate with more porn to feel better … and then feel even worse.

In Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules For Life,” he talks about this vicious cycle and compares it to the ear-piercing sound you hear when you put a microphone too close to the speaker. The microphone picks up the sound coming out of the speaker, amplifies it through the speaker and then picks up the amplified sound again, resulting in a deafening screeching sound.

Thankfully, when I was in my 20s, I found a way to break this vicious cycle and gain traction in overcoming my addiction.

You are not alone

It doesn’t matter if you’re a single guy, married guy, a single girl or married girl struggling with pornography. You are not alone.

Studies have found that if you put three men and six women in a room, two of the men and two of the women have a porn problem. The secular culture looks at this and concludes that porn is socially acceptable. Most men look at it, so it must be normal behavior. As a Christian, I never believed that.

I knew what I was doing was sinful. However, I was afraid to confess it to my pastor or Christian friends because I felt like sexual sins are worse than other sins and not easily forgiven. I was sure they’d shun me or question my faith. I also felt like I couldn’t talk about my porn problem with my non-Christian friends because they’d just say it was normal.

The problem was that I assumed I was the only person within my circle of Christian friends who was struggling with pornography. I wasn’t — and the odds are you aren’t either.

Bring it to the light

Pornography has to be brought to the light. As long as it remains in the darkness, it will only get worse.

I went out on a limb and confessed to a Christian friend that I was viewing porn.

His response: Me too.

We talked about how terrible porn made us feel and how hard we tried to quit on our own. We held each other accountable. When either of us fell into temptation, we’d pray for forgiveness together.

I told my friend I felt like a huge disappointment to my parents and I was carrying a lot of guilt because of my secret sin. He encouraged me to tell the truth to everyone I was lying to and ask for forgiveness until the guilt went away. Without the guilt of sinning secretly, I stopped secretly sinning.

Like all sin

If you’re struggling with pornography, I know how you feel. And I know what you feel you’re up against. Truth is, more men and women in the church today are struggling with porn than are willing to admit it.

Take a leap of faith, be vulnerable and admit you need the love, grace and forgiveness Jesus gives us all. The next time you fall into temptation by looking at porn, talk to someone about it. It doesn’t have to be a face-to-face conversation with your pastor. Send an email to a trusted friend asking for help. Start a blog about how God’s grace is bigger than your struggle. Ask for advice in Christian social media groups, which are full of people in the same boat with you. You will find the support you need because you’re not the only one struggling with pornography.

If you talk about it, I guarantee you’ll find other Christian men and women who are right there with you, needing prayer, encouragement and guidance to overcome the same problem.

On the flip side, the next time someone admits to you that they’re struggling with porn, don’t treat them like they’ve committed the unpardonable sin. Respond with grace like you would if they admitted lying all the time or losing their temper. Take a tactful approach, and disciple them toward Jesus for freedom.

We have to stop treating pornography like it’s a sinful issue that isn’t running rampant in our churches and youth groups. It is, and it will only get worse as long as we don’t address it together. Porn is no match for Jesus, so let’s stop pretending it’s worse than it is by keeping it hush-hush in Christian circles.

Let’s be vocal about struggling with pornography and help point one another to the unconditional grace, undeserved forgiveness and victory over sin we all share in Jesus.

Copyright 2019 Matt Stickel. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Originally published at Boundless.org.

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