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Overcoming a Pornography Addiction: Tips from a Christian Counselor

By Rick McGregor, MA, LMHCA, Seattle Christian Counseling, PLLC

RICKMC 1369968_27456384A As a Christian counselor, I am aware of the epidemic of countless individuals who struggle with pornography. Every day, people of all ages are exposed to this evil force. It is extremely enticing and appealing, and selfishly gratifying, although only temporarily so. Yet it is also unavoidably addictive, and so incredibly damaging to our thoughts, lives, families, and society. Pornography is a subtly destructive epidemic, yet it is accepted by the so-called majority as nothing more than an expression of personal choice and freedom.

Anyone addicted to porn will certainly testify that the reward of this selfish and addictive behavior is anything but freedom. The reality is that thoughts become infected, commitments and responsibilities are discarded, crimes are committed, addictions developed, and selfish gratification becomes more important than self-control. Pornography is an industry that makes a few wealthy at the expense of destroyed lives. It tears apart marriages and families and essentially weakens the foundation of our society. And yet, in the midst of the daily bombardment of immorality seen on the TV, in movies and magazines, and on websites, it is possible to overcome temptation and to walk away from addiction. In this article, I want to suggest several tips that will not only help you avoid and overcome the addictions of pornography, but actually result in self-confidence, family stability, and personal fulfillment.

Tip 1: Get Real about Sexual Temptation

The first step is to begin by recognizing that sexual temptation is unavoidable in our sex-obsessed culture. Erotic images on billboards, films, television, the internet, and a thousand other stimulants bombard us every day. Being a Christian does not in any way exempt you from the reality of sexual temptation. So the first step towards developing or maintaining sexual purity is to get real. Admit that you are not immune and that sexual temptation is a reality you have to reckon with. If you are currently caught in the trap of addiction, you need to first acknowledge that the problem exists. You will not find freedom until you recognize your need and take steps towards change. He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but he who confesses and renounces them finds mercy – Proverbs 28:13.

Tip 2: Spiritual Surrender is Key to Fighting Addiction

The single biggest factor in combating a pornography addiction is to come under the authority of Jesus Christ. Trying to overcome addiction without being a Christian is like having a major arsenal to fight with but choosing the sling shot. I certainly don’t want to give false hope by saying this. There are many Christians who struggle with sexual lust and addiction. Having Christ as the head of your life does not mean that you will always be successful. However, surrendering to his authority and utilizing spiritual disciplines such as prayer, scripture reading, scripture memorization, and belonging to a supportive church family will certainly give you a head start.

Tip 3: You Cannot Overcome this Alone

RICKMC 14006147670_6b8801735d_oSexual sin thrives in the dark. If you are battling sexual sin, one thing is certain: The secrecy surrounding your actions is what strengthens its hold on you. However embarrassed or ashamed you may feel about admitting your problem to someone else, the reality is this that you cannot overcome this on your own. If you could, you would not still be struggling. Accountability helps you to avoid these problems. In a relationship of accountability, you have access to a mature Christian whom you trust, and to whom you can be honest and open about the challenges you face. You should also consider downloading an online service such as CovenantEyes.net. Covent Eyes and other similar services remove the secrecy involved in internet use. It works by sending a weekly report to your accountability partner of all the sites you have viewed online and has proven a successful tool for those dealing with sexual addiction.

Tip 4: Adjust Your Activities

Simply changing your habits can help you overcome temptation. For instance, if you spend time on the computer after your spouse goes to bed, make a commitment to stay off the computer during that time. Avoid streets that have certain establishments that cause your thoughts and eyes to wander. Discipline yourself to look away as soon as you see anything or anyone that is counterproductive to your goals of becoming healthy. Of course, it goes without saying that if you have not already destroyed any pornographic materials, you need to do so. This includes magazines, videos, and pictures or movies stored on your computer.

Tip 5: Sexual Addiction Support Groups

It is possible to stop the endless cycle of addiction. A firm commitment is the first requirement for that change to begin. The willingness to embrace and follow through with a recovery plan is also important. Among other things, your plan should include a curative, nurturing, non-judgmental relationship with a Christian counselor experienced in sexual addiction. Sexual addiction involves hiding and isolation. Coming out of hiding, and getting to know others, is crucial to your recovery. Participating in a support group with other individuals who are also struggling can be a valuable component of your change and growth. A sexual support group can help you to develop the tools of building and maintaining motivation, coping with urges, managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and living a balanced life. If you are struggling with sexual addiction, there are active groups available in your community.

Tip 6: Christian Counseling for Pornography Addiction

You have just read through an article dedicated to those struggling with pornography addiction. Perhaps as you read it, you got a sick feeling in your stomach. Or you may be scared, lonely, and ashamed. You may wonder if you can be free of the sexual addiction that grips and controls you. Sexual addiction is a challenge that I deal with every week as a Christian counselor and I want you to know that there is hope for recovery. There is no magic pill that will free you of your addiction, but change happens when you face your behavior honestly, understand the roots of your addiction, and go to work believing that God and a caring professional are on your team.

Photos

“Confrontation” by BagoGames, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0); “Touch-A Hand” by jasiakay, Image ID 1369968, freeimages.com

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