For me, giving up porn came down to an issue of my diseased soul.
Dis-ease. Not at ease. That was me.
After masturbating and fantasizing from my early teen years through my late-thirties, it all boiled down to a typical pattern that looked like this.
My Saturday recipe for freedom (addiction) looked like this:
Saturday evening is always date night with my wife.
I can forget about the work week, and I have no responsibilities on Sunday.
It’s time to live a little and let my soul be free.
With my waist expanding, my soul rotting, and this dependency secretly cloaked over and hidden from my family and friends, I’d crawl into bed next to my wife.
I faithfully followed this wicked prescription every Saturday for nearly three years, and it almost wrecked my life and marriage.
It took a good while to get to this depth of sickness and self-medication. I’ve since learned that all compulsive behavior of this nature is progressively destructive, inwardly focused, and is often hidden from others right in plain sight.
These choices covered me in guilt and shame and left me feeling like a hypocrite to the outside world. It’s no wonder I shut off my heart and indulged more and more.
Before I completely numbed my soul and deadened the part of my heart that wanted to do the right thing and give a damn, a thick blanket of shame would come over me.
Before acting out with porn, sometimes I’d think about my two young daughters and wife sleeping upstairs a mere twenty feet away. My heart would move deep inside of me “What the am I about to do here?”, I’d ask myself. “This is sick. Truly sick”. (reference Glennon part on porn)
I felt like a shipwrecked sailor, adrift at sea in a rubber dingy, with the storms of life roaring in and leaving me helpless, with no control over their timing, duration, or destructive strength.
I was ill equipped to handle my adult life, and I believed absolutely no one could relate or care regardless. I’m a man, and this is a battle I must fight alone.
It was me against life, and life was an impersonal, raging storm that was kicking my ass.
And this is why I self-medicated. I thought there was no other option. “This is the only way I can be free; this is the only way I can ground myself and feel alive,” I’d tell myself.
Too many times, I pushed away that gentle nudge in my soul and opened the floodgates to my compulsive porn addiction, progressively becoming more dependent and ill. While I could white knuckle my way through times of clean living, the vices always came back and strengthened their hold on me during the next go around.
But on Saturday nights, all this soul searching and logic didn’t add up to any positive choices on my part.
Filled with alcohol’s false courage, I’d push aside this vacuum inside my soul and rationalize with myself saying, “this is your break, it’s your Saturday night, and you can go hard. Time to live a little and feel good about life.”
And feeling good for me on Saturday night meant drinking, followed by food, followed by more drinking, and more food, all washed down with a disgusting serving of porn before I fell asleep.
I lived like this for nearly 52 Saturdays over a three year period. When accounting for the holidays, random drinking nights, and other special occasions, I estimate this pattern went down a solid three to five times per month for more than three years. That’s roughly 144 laps around the same destructive path. And that doesn’t account for all the quick little runs in between that didn’t involve alcohol or marijuana.
Looking back now at my excessive drinking and eating, washed down with a serving of depraved porn to take the edge off, I can truly see what a low level of life I truly led. Letting my primal desires for food, sex, and pleasure rule me, I was no different than a baboon in the forest or a cave man gorging himself after a big kill.
It’s impossible to live like this and not suffer the consequences. I paid for all my bad choices which culminated in my full blown addiction during the last three years. I saw work as a loathful chore. I verbally abused, attacked, and cajoled my wife, using her as the scapegoat for my self-disgust and shame. I missed many opportunities to be a better friend to others, as my behavior was isolating and only focused on satisfying me.
While this season of life nearly destroyed my marriage, I did reach out for help. By the grace of God, I found the strength to overcome.
The things are most helpful to me are:
I now encourage you to do the right thing. We all have destructive patterns and struggles in life. If you are honest before Him and walk through open doors as he provides them, you will find the strength to overcome.