By Biz Gainey
I had been porn free for about three months. It was, at that time, the longest I had ever gone without clicking a website, watching a video, or trying to get porn in any form I could.
Then one day I crashed, badly. All the signs were there, I just didn’t see them. Either that or I simply refused to take note of them.
The triggers were:
In a moment of weakness, I ‘clicked’ a site and woke, about an hour later from a porn induced stupor, wondering where I had been, what I had done and, most importantly, why I had done what I’d done.
I was angry.
I was embarrassed.
I was sad.
I was miserable.
All the purity I had enjoyed? Gone. In one bad moment, with one click of a mouse and one surf on the web, months of purity were flushed down the drain.
If you’ve ever battled pornography addiction, then you can probably relate to my experience. You’ve made it a day, a week, a month or more without feeding the addiction. Then, one day, you stumble.
The question I want to ask, and I think it’s an important one for us, is this:
Does one bad moment make me a monster?
We feel like it, don’t we? We feel the shame and guilt. We isolate ourselves, dampen our emotional antenna and slink emotionlessly along. Zombie-like we wander, tethered to the haunting fear that we will be exposed and bound by the relenting anxiety that we cannot stop, wondering when the monster will rear its menacing head and come growling back for more.
We begin to live from a place of fear and anxiety. This place from which we live colors every relationship and experience with terrifying and crippling outcomes.
We lash out at the people we love.
We push away those who try to get into our heart.
We pretend we are well while we sour inside.
But what if one bad moment doesn’t make you/me a monster? What if that’s a lie the addiction has contrived to keep us trapped and hold us back?
What if one bad moment really could be just one bad moment and not a season of doubt, distortion and despair?
What if one bad moment doesn’t have to lead to fear and anxiety?
What if one bad moment could actually become a moment you build from rather than one in which you stay trapped?
What if you were able to implement one or two small steps - in that one moment – that would give you some traction on an otherwise rocky terrain?
Take hope. I believe your one bad moment can be the moment you turn your addiction around!
You don’t have to take major leaps, either. Just simple, but consistent, steps.
I am, as one who has experienced one bad moment, going to offer a few steps that have been meaningful to me.
1. Stop and tell someone on whom you can depend. This is crucial. That’s why I make reference to it in nearly every article I write. You have to let someone you trust know that you have slipped and fallen again. I don’t care if your latest ‘episode’ was one small click or a tortuous journey into the darkest side of your soul. Seriously! No matter how badly you have stumbled, there is someone in your life who can listen to you and bring hope to your soul. Tell them. If you don’t have that person, let us know. We will try to provide resources to help you make this possible.
2. Get up and do something. Get around people as quickly as you can. Over-schedule your time for the next day or two. Be careful where you go because porn triggers lurk around every corner. Just do your best not to find yourself alone for any extended amount of time as you begin your journey back to freedom! Isolation is a seedbed for addiction.
3. Block those mechanisms that exploit your addiction. When I am struggling, I disable the apps (primarily the social media apps) on my phone. I also restrict my computer usage to public places. If your trigger is a certain section of town, an old phone number, a massage parlor, a ‘fitness’ or ‘bikini’ page you enjoy visiting on the web, then stay away from it (them). You know your triggers; put in safe guards and reroute your life for a while!
4. Find a recovery resource (workbook, textbook, small group, web conference) and begin to work your way through it. You need to begin to replace the addiction with some healthy and life giving messages of hope and renewal. I would recommend a daily program (see the resource page on the MAP site) of recovery and restoration. Recovery programs have been a crucial part of my own journey into freedom and my life apart from porn!
Okay, that’s it.
You can take this step.
Your most recent one bad moment may or may not be your last one bad moment.
You may, in fact, stumble through a few more one bad moments in the future. If so, then pick one step I have provided. Perhaps you can share a step of your own with us.
No matter what, you must know – and I mean know deeply in your heart – that one bad moment doesn’t make you a monster.
It makes you a man, like me, struggling to break free.