How to Deal with Porn Addiction

Red computer mouse with cable forming

I just left my office after meeting with a 19 year old young man that wants to be done with pornography. He’s just one of a multitude in the last four months who have come to me for help. I know so many brothers going the rounds in this fight that I couldn’t name them all if you paid me. It’s just too easy with the accessibility nowadays to find oneself in this destitute pit of perversion. When I am asked how to deal with porn addiction, there are three basic areas I focus on. There are more, but these are the heavyweights:

First, and most importantly, we need to cultivate a real hatred for what pornography does to the human heart. What it does to the lives of those on screen. The intangible yet very alive souls who have been taken captive in what is probably a career against their own volition. Perhaps kidnapped in sex trafficking, maybe black days of poverty thrust them into a quick dollar. Maybe perversion itself allured them. But ultimately, they are captives. And they have names, with mothers and fathers. They were once someone’s little girl. They have brothers and families and a maker who loves them and gave himself to redeem them. These images are more than mere pleasure agents whose existence was never purposed to satisfy our imagination let alone the meat-grinding industry into which they have been tossed by the enemy of their souls. Without a disgust for all that pornography represents and all the wreckage it leaves in the wake of our lives and the lives of these prisoners of the screen, we will never break the addiction. Such a godly hatred can be nurtured. And it must be cultivated.

Secondly, the barrier of embarrassment has been removed and must be replaced. Years ago, one had to clear the hurtle of being seen entering a smutty video store or purchasing a magazine at a sidewalk kiosk in broad daylight. But now, we just enter the false reality in the secret of our private room with no one but the cyberbots and our defiled consciences taking notice. We willfully shut out thoughts of our Lord whose presence, while unseen, is no less in attendance. Access is a big problem that needs to be cut out of the equation. Good will and self determination are not enough. New barriers need to be put into place, giving the Holy Spirit and our consciences the time needed to interact. The harder it is to reach, the longer it takes and the more time is given for conviction to set in and the soul to respond to God’s grace and prompting. Computers with their browsers and Phones and tablets with their plethora of apps must come under the management of another will, an accountability partner who has your genuine interest at heart. She or he will lock out your access with passwords and filters and if done properly, will follow up with routine checks on your devices.

Thirdly is a living, breathing accountability partner whose purpose is to be more than a name on an ideological list of uninvolved and unhelpful friends. Too often accountability partners are nominated but accountability is nowhere to be found. Addicts of porn need mentors who are difficult to look in the eyes and confess their deficiency to them. And those partners need to be proactive, not just an ear on the other end of the line waiting for confession to come after the wound has been reopened. They must initiate and counsel and exhort and encourage. Intentional meetings need to be put onto the calendar weekly. Yes, it’s a bit of handholding if you want to call it that. But the goal is to get them far enough away from the gravitational pull of this perverted vortex that they are able to walk in freedom and a healthy fear of the Lord who then makes these other steps redundantly unnecessary.

These three steps are my starting point. What are YOURS?
Advertisements

10 responses to “How to Deal with Porn Addiction

  1. thank you Mr. Nigro! Pastor Matt Chandler made a great point about conviction, he said (I’m paraphrasing) “the moment we stop feeling convicted for our sin is the moment we should be most afraid, because the Spirit is no longer alive and working in our lives.” I think also praying for that conviction, admitting to the fact that, as new creations, we do not want to be in bondage to this but only to the will of God. You mad a great point in the blog about developing a real, Godly hatred for such things. I feel it is vital to come before the Spirit and plead for His conviction and the strength to repent.

  2. That’s very true and frightening. I want to keep a short account with the Lord and press in to His grace and love and prompting always.

  3. I think for those who don’t care too much about moral issues we need to address physical consequences. The brain is negatively affected when an individual consumes porn. There are studies that demonstrate that the amount of grey matter experiences a reduction on those who are addicted to porn. Also, the brain functions the same way it functions on those who are addicted to cocaine, heroine, or any other addiction.

  4. As with any sin, the vacuum that once was filled with porn addiction must give way to positive, God-affirming activities that dissuade the idle mind from the often mindless task of internet pornography. In this way, new neural pathways overwrite the old ones that were committed to the activity that brings edification rather than bondage.

    In addition, I believe that the regular and public sharing our our testimony to what the Lord is doing in our lives has a sanctifying effect upon both the hearer and the one proclaiming the power the Holy Spirit has in redeeming our lives from the reckless path of sin that once consumed us.

    • Right on, Eric. This is very important too. The more we all dialogue about this, the more we realize there are many elements to the Christian response and recourse. Love you, brother.

  5. Hi Mark,
    I’m currently discipling a 19 year old who is addicted to porn and he can’t seem to win this fight. I know how he feels because I went through the same addiction a few years ago, I know that he truly loves the Lord and that he truly is heart broken every time he gives in to the desires of his flesh.
    So we have gone over every possible thing, we have talked about all those points, we have read the Bible and studied sexual immorality and purity together, we have even studied John Owen’s “Overcoming sin and Temptation” but he just can’t stop.
    As you mentioned he hates that sin, he has established barriers, and he has an accountability partner. But he is not overcoming. So by now I’m running out of ideas because he knows the theory way to well, he hates the sin because he knows he is not pleasing God and he knows the consequences. What would you recommend me? Should I perhaps be a little harsher and less compassionate? Because so far I feel like been so “loving” and “compassionate” hasn’t really helped.

    • Oscar, thanks for sharing. This is a tough one. Three years ago I had a similar situation with one young man. Felt like he was wasting both his and my time because no matter what, twice per week we would meet and he would tell me that he had fallen again. I toughened up in my approach a little and told him this had better be the last time and then asked him if he TRULY wanted to stop. That he needed to love the purity of victory more than the pleasure of the sin. There is more to the story but the short of it is that a stern approach got him going in the right track. This case was just too loose in that there was little effort on his part to do what I asked of him. And one more thing that is very important is to ask him how he is viewing it. Is there a breech in that barrier? Is he going out of his way to evade the safeguards? Plug up the holes where possible and tell him that at the end of the day, if he wants to find a way to around the help you’re giving him, he will. But if he wants to take the way of escape the Lord is giving him each time he is tempted, he can (1 Cor 10:13). It comes down to choice. But of course, there are many more things I can add to this and will, and I expect that this post will lead to a few other installments that will keep going for a while with some good interaction. Many people want help to stop. Many people are helping others to stop, and what goes on in that process is broad in scope. Keep an eye on the input here as others add to the mix.

  6. I think you hit it right on the nose Mark. It ultimately comes down to choice. I think a lot of people are willing to say that they are in opposition to pornography, feeling the conviction of the Spirit, but at the end of the day ultimately don’t truly want to fight it. I know because I acknowledge that heart inside of me, either too afraid, too lazy, or just not having the right heart. It’s funny when you actually declare war on it the victory that results in it. But it is the power of God through that decision that ultimately sees the person to the end. It’s always that interesting balance. God isn’t magically going to take away the problem, no good Father would do that. But then no good Father would let their son persist in saying “It’s too hard!” when He has shown us how to claim victory. God knows our hearts. The fear can be dealt with in taking the battle day by day rather than a whole, the laziness overcome by a fresh awakening of His Spirit by searching for Him and turning our eyes to Him, and the heart changed by giving our hearts to Him, not so that we can justify our hearts, but with eyes like flint, have Him change our hearts in our weakness. Then comes the dependence upon His strength. It’s like the model set up in Joshua. First they cut off the flesh and had Passover, then the LORD gave them the battle strategy to follow, and finally at the end His power came through.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s