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I can't stop watching porn... I feel so dominated by this disgusting addiction

Like many others I’ve had victories in the past when it comes to pornography. I’ve gone a while without indulging and have always been much happier during those times. However, inevitably I fall back into it every time. I don’t know why. I don’t know my heart behind it. I’m not sure if I’m using it as a stress relief, a means to control my situation, etc. I’m just not sure anymore why I even struggle with it.

For over half a year now I’ve watched porn almost every other day at some point, many times not long after praying for relief from it and power over it. It’s like I fight for an hour and then while I’m in the middle of something else I just go down that inevitable rabbit trail and fail all over again.

I’m so tired of this and yet I can’t seem to stop no matter what I do.

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It’s brutal to want freedom so desperately yet feel like you walk back into addiction over and over. It is a sickening cycle of desire -> trigger -> indulge -> shame. It’s like Jekyll and Hyde. You know that your heart is good and that you are a good man and faithful and love God and want to do good in the world and to yourself; and it feels like there’s this split, like there’s this other part of you that you can’t seem to corral or integrate or destroy or bury or something to merge the difference. Over time, honestly, it can become so hopeless, like – not just will I ever get free, but is it even possible? Do I even believe that I can do it? Because after time and time and time again of trying to break free and then falling back into the snare, it feels like some kind of pit you’ll never be able to emerge from. It’s isolating and terrifying. To feel like maybe you’re the only one that can’t escape, that you’ll be the only one incapable of shaking this.

I know all of this firsthand. The triumphs, the disappointment, the constant wrestling with shame, the back and forth of believing you can and then not, of believing you are free and then slammed back down, the full landscape of the journey. You are not alone, certainly.

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It’s so easy to fall back into. Effortless really. No trips to the liquor store, no calls to a dealer, and no nagging feeling that you’re about to ruin your life with one indulgence. Just pull out your phone and off you go to fantasyland. When it’s all over, your day goes right back on track. Like they say, it’s a victimless vice, right?

I’m in a small group right now that focuses a lot on porn consumption. I struggle with it too, but being in this group has given me a lot to think about. How ready are you to give it up? How ready are you to surrender your shame instead of clinging to it? Are you willing to read scripture when you’re tempted to watch porn? Are you willing to contact prayer partners or community groups? Making non-judgmental people aware of your urges is a really good way to be held accountable and arrest those urges. That’s why people in recovery have sponsors they can call when they’re feeling vulnerable. It’s awkward, and I’m not ready to take that step yet. But I do recognize that hiding my porn consumption only protects my porn consumption. It doesn’t protect me or other people, and it doesn’t set anything free except my ability to do it again. Meanwhile I walk around with shame that I try to hide from myself by mitigating it, rationalizing it, and putting it out of my mind.

One guy in my group has been porn free for almost a year because he’s transparent when he’s vulnerable and has others hold him accountable. He says he struggles with the temptation about as often as anyone else, but he knows he has a way out. If you really want to go extreme, he suggested an app called Covenant Eyes that monitors your browsing and alerts your accountability partners if you’re wandering into risky territory.

And then there’s this song that is really catchy and a porn buzzkill.

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