You should watch this before reading….
Much of religion is focused on what we shouldn’t do and why we shouldn’t do it. Undoubtedly there are things that we do to ourselves and others that cause pain and hurt. But is living in the constant fear of messing up and what that might mean, a good and free way of living for a Christian. There is a difference between not doing A so that B won’t happen (fear driven behavior) and choosing to live in another way, so that this will happen (Love driven behavior).
When it comes to addressing issues like porn addiction a more helpful approach is to move away from highlighting the shame that it might cause you and your community and instead focusing on how bringing it to light will bring life and joy and fullness instead.
Love always trumps shame.
So as a compliment to a recent blog post I read by Tim Challies on why you should stop looking at porn I want to offer some thoughts on how we should think about sin and 7 alternative reasons to not look at porn. Continue reading
On Monday, Nuts, the lads magazine announced that they were considering bringing their publication to a close and ceasing operations. I read a few tweets celebrating this fact and I’m going to admit it will be better for there to be one less magazine on display in shops which depicts women as just objects for men to masturbate over. Because let’s be honest nobody buys these magazines for the in-depth and insightful movie reviews.
But will it really make much of a difference?
Becoming free from the never-ending cycle of an activity that is harmful for you is one of the most difficult things that anyone can ever do. Addiction is a horrible thing to live with and the hopelessness that it causes is soul destroying.
I write a lot about addiction because I am an addict. I used to look at porn. I’ve written that sentence in various forms a lot over the years. At first it terrified me, afraid what people would think. After a while being clean I didn’t want to write it anymore because it wasn’t who I was anymore. Then I realized that actually it’s always who I will be. In much the same way an alcoholic can be sober for 30 years but still identify themselves as an alcoholic.
The reason we do this is simple. No matter how long you have been sober, you are only one pint, or one click away from falling back into old habits. So everyday I remind myself that I am an addict and I can’t go back to my old ways.
Some days are easy. Some are unbearably difficult.
But by reminding myself that I need help everyday, that I need to continue to reach out to the people who support me, to keep going over and over and over the tools that I use; I remember the beauty of where I am and will hopefully keep heading. Every addict who wants to give up will say that this was the last time. That tomorrow will be different. That I don’t want to feel like that again.
The moment you finally do give in again is one of the most depressing and hopeless moments in your life. All the hard work seems like it is lost. All the many victories pale in comparison to this one defeat.
And there is no warning. Your mood can sometimes play a part in staying sober but not always. Everything in your life working out can be just as much of a trigger as everything falling apart. That’s why addiction is so tricky. That’s why you take every day as it comes. Otherwise it will smack you in the face when you’re not looking.
When that moment came for me I had been sober for a few months. Everything had been great and then one day, one single event led to a spiral back into porn. I didn’t see it coming and I wasn’t ready.
That triggered months of indulging in porn.
I tried everything in the book to stop. Accountability, filters, reading the Bible more, praying fervently, journaling, you name it I did it. And yeah some things worked for a while. But not for long.
It felt helpless and I felt trapped in the cycle of shame, some fight and positivity in me, eventual failure and back to shame.
Deep down there was a part of me that believed that success was attainable. I had experienced it for several months before so I knew it was possible. Not in a theoretical sense but in a personal way. This was not someone else telling me I could do it; I had actually done it.
Then one day it hit me. I realized the mistake I had been making the whole time. It seemed so obvious but yet I had missed it completely.
I had been trying to stay sober for all the wrong reasons. I had been using the tools given to me for the wrong objective.
My goal had been to stop looking at porn and I realized that that was a mistake. I had to ask myself why I wanted to stop looking at porn. Yeah it made me feel like crap and yeah it stopped me from being part of things but those were the wrong reasons. As long as I continued to make not looking at porn my goal I was doomed to failure.
And it was so simple why it was doomed. Maybe too obvious.
But once I realized what my true reason for staying sober should have been there was no turning back.
A week after David Cameron’s announcement that he would be tackling internet porn by ensuring that all new internet users would have to effectively choose to be able to view porn online; it is fair to say that responses have been mixed.
On the face of it it’s good news for parents all over the UK who are concerned about what their kids are viewing online. Parents can now choose to block all porn sites and relax knowing that their kids will not be able to view porn.
Kids viewing porn is never a good thing. It can lead to years of shame and self esteem issues if let to spiral out of control into their teenage and then adult years. It’s is easier than ever to view porn and if you care at all about what your kids are looking at then you shouldn’t let the internet babysit your kids. Continue reading
While I waited for Mark’s call in my bedroom I thought about how what I was about to do was the complete opposite of what I was used to doing there. Sure I was nervous and scared but I was also incredibly excited and hopeful.
Knowing that Mark was going to call and ask me questions about my week specifically if I had looked at porn made me feel safe then vulnerable but ultimately confident. Normally I would hide away in my room creating a wall of secrets as I sat with my trousers around my ankles viewing porn. That day was different. That day I was opening up my life to someone like I had never done before.
From spending hours in my room feeling a mixed bag of emotions that usually ranged from ecstasy then shame; to a mixed bag of emotions that made me feel afraid but hopeful.
From creating secrets to exposing them.
This was my first experience of accountability.
And it changed everything. Continue reading