Hi everyone. This is a brave addiction story by one of our supporters. He wanted to share it with you as a message of encouragement. For those out there who are struggling, you are not on your own. There are many people who have similar stories and who have gone through the same struggles.
How it all began
I don’t remember exactly where it all started. I do know that masturbation was part of my life from a very early age, we are talking before the age of 5! At times, once I was old enough to understand that it wasn’t socially acceptable, I tried to stop, and maybe managed a few months at best without it in my childhood years.
I remember finding nude scenes on videos, and then looking at a porno mag on a scout camp, and a friend showing me his dad’s magazines after school – but for most of my life this was a very big secret for me. As a teenager I decided I wanted to be a Christian but I wasn’t the best at living that out. I spoke out about the importance of waiting until marriage but in the secret I looked up porn, masturbated over it and got involved in sex chatting online. I was a hypocrite.
I had not intended to live this dual life, many times I tried to stop. When I moved to Melbourne to study at university I got a new computer and thought, “this will be my clean machine, never again will I look up porn or go into a flirt chat room.” That determination only ever lasted a few weeks at most.
I eventually started working full time but the addiction was right there with me, taking away my weekends, my nights, some times all night! You can imagine that my productivity at work took a dive. All the while I felt like a hypocrite and knew I had to get help, but how do you tell someone about this?
From addiction to recovery
Late one night after a few hours of chasing a lustful fix, in my shame and desperation I found a website that had a course to help guys struggling with porn addiction. While that wasn’t the end of my acting out it got me onto the right path. The lessons from that site encouraged me to open up to a friend who, along with another friend, encouraged me to seek help. They suggested that I go to rehab.
A week later those friends drove me over to a rehab centre in Adelaide, which dealt with all types of addiction, where I spent probably the toughest 6 weeks of my life. These were, however, also the most worthwhile 6 weeks of my life. In the week leading up to heading to rehab, I had to tell work that I needed to disappear for 6 weeks without telling them where I was going, and I had to tell my housemates that I had an addiction.
Arriving at rehab on the Sunday, there weren’t a lot of people around, just one staff member (everyone here had struggled with some form of addiction), and the guy who ran the place who I met for a couple of minutes. The rehab was in a big house that had a high concrete fence with a big iron gate, so escaping wasn’t an option (that and I had paid a large sum of money to be there so I wanted to make the most of it).
My friends prayed for me before they left to drive back to Melbourne and I broke in to uncontrollable tears; it was the hardest thing to see them drive away and the big iron gate shut behind them. Upstairs, the weekend house manager went through my things as I packed them into the cupboard. He was making sure I wasn’t bringing in any drugs or contraband (this included anything with sugar, so he took my chocolate and lollies to put into a snap lock bag for 6 weeks’ time).
He also explained that he needed to take my phone, I hadn’t even told my parents that I was going away. I called them to tell them where I was and why I was there. It was so hard to explain it that I burst into tears again. I handed my phone over and spent most of the rest of the afternoon sleeping, exhausted from such an emotional morning. I had always tried to be a good Christian boy but here I was at my most vulnerable realising that it wasn’t about trying, just surrendering.
My time in rehab taught me that I wouldn’t come through the six weeks cured, it means changing my lifestyle. I started to exercise regularly, change my diet, got into a support program and most importantly got really honest about my struggle with a couple of people who I knew I could trust. I also learnt how similar my addiction was to other addictions like alcoholism, gambling and drugs; I could relate to each person’s story, both in their struggle and in their recovery.
Today I am so grateful that I haven’t acted out since getting back from rehab, and that hasn’t been in my own strength rather by admitting I wasn’t in control in this area of my life and surrendering to God who I believe is in control of all things. I have shared this story a few times, and every time I do, other guys tell me that they have struggled or are struggling with something similar that results in a great deal of shame and even depression in their lives. That’s the reason why I share this story today, in the hope that it will shine a light on the path to freedom for others.
Help is available
If you are struggling with porn addiction then I would encourage you to seek help, this is not a road that has to be travelled alone. I found help with some of my closest friends, but they had already been open and honest with me first so that made it easier.
Some other resources you might find useful include:
- www.settingcaptivesfree.com was an online course based on the bible that I did which really helped a lot.
- I installed some software on my computer which sends a weekly report to a friend so that he can check in with me if I view any questionable sites. The software I installed was called Safe Eyes and I just downloaded it off the net but there are heaps out there.
- goforgreatness.org has a great help page which includes links to courses, counsellors and programs that can help with porn addiction. Click here to go to their help page.
We’d like to thank our friend for wanting to share his story. Like he mentioned, we have a range of information on our website that link to help. Recovery is a process and a journey that is not fixed straight away. Think of it like this. A child is learning to walk, when they fall down we don’t tell them to give up. We encourage them to get up and try again and we keep on doing this until they succed. Don’t beat yourself up if you do fall in the process of recovery, get up, try and keep trying. You will succeed if you stick at it. You must connect with help and get accountable. A program that we use on our computers is one called Covenant Eyes. You can install this on your computer and smart devices, and select a trusted friend to be your accountabililty partner. They also have a bunch of great resources online that is regularly updated.
Keep on fighting because it is so worth it.
The Guilty Pleasure Team.