No one’s porn addiction is beyond forgiveness…

By Biz Gainey

When one thinks of Easter, they think of furry, white bunnies, Peeps, and baskets so full of candy that we know that a dentist’s visit is right around the corner. But it’s not candy or a furry white character that is the reason that we celebrate Easter. Rather, Easter has a deeper meaning, a more profound meaning that changes our lives forever. It literally transforms us.

For those of us who have overcome/are overcoming a porn addiction, Easter is so much more. It is the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made upon dying on the Cross and His Resurrection – which paved the way for our forgiveness – that enables us to stand boldly knowing that nothing we’ve done is beyond forgiveness. Nothing we’ve done is beyond redemption.  Every day, I am grateful for this ultimate sacrifice, but more so during this joyous Easter season. It’s not pornography that defines us. Are you with me?

We don’t have to erase our browser history anymore because our history – our past – has been erased with the blood of Christ. He makes all things new. This is what Easter is all about. This is why we can shout with impassioned joy that we are new!

We aren’t porn addicts.

We’re men who have been forgiven.

And it is because of that forgiveness that we boldly proclaim: “I am a man against porn!”

Yes!  I am a Man Against Porn.  I love the sound of that!  It’s a great reminder to and encouragement for me to know that I am now – and always – more than mere addiction!  I do not have to stay bound by my addiction any longer.  It’s not a statement of perfection.  Nor is it a way for me to say that I am beyond the pull of porn.  Rather, it’s a bold proclamation – similar to the empty tomb on Easter Sunday – that the tomb of porn addiction, no matter how powerful its pull may be, cannot hold the soul set free by the love of Christ!

To say that I am a Man Against Porn is to testify that Christ has, is, and will always do for me that which I am unable to do for myself.  That is, Christ offers me forgiveness and grants me security in the freedom his forgiveness provides!  To say that I am a Man Against Porn is to say that my identity is found in my relationship to Christ as His child.  As such, though the power and pull of porn are strong, I am no longer bound by my addiction!   To say I am a Man Against Porn is to say that because He lives, all is well!  Because He lives, I am free!

I hope that you, like me, have had a personal encounter that gives meaning to your everyday life. If not, I encourage you to contact me with any questions you may have. We’re in this together, so I’d be crazy not to tell you about this liberating Joy that I have found. Contact me!

Easter is the perfect time to receive God’s grace and mercies… You are forgiven and loved!  To be forgiven and loved is to be set free!  So, let’s live into the freedom Easter proclaims and Christ provides this Resurrection weekend!

Because He lives,

Biz Gainey

PS: If you haven’t already, it is imperative to find a support group, where you can be paired with another man or woman, who has overcome addictions to pornography.  You can find more about resources to help you make this step in our Memes and Partners section.

Does One Bad Moment Make Me a Monster?

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:

1.       Fatigue.

2.       Isolation.

3.       Boredom.

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.

You fall.

You crash.

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. 

Pick one. 

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.

 

From a Starkly Sterile Screen to a Sloppy Wet Kiss

By Biz Gainey

I numbly sat humiliated; trapped in a ‘porn consumption prison’ of my own creation. 

“Everything about you is beautiful.  And then there’s . . . there is this FILTH,” she said as her shoulders and eye lids lost their struggle with gravity and pulled her body violently to the floor.  She lay there crumpled in a “what did I get myself into” haze. 

I reached for her. 

She cringed. 

I tried to speak; to tell her how sorry I was.  She glared.  She was repulsed. 

In that moment, my very presence was revolting; my touch nauseating.

It was the absolute low point of my marriage.  Looking back on that moment now, nearly two decades later, I see that it was also the beginning of a new path. 

Yes.  Out of the ashes beauty has formed. 

Perhaps you have been there yourself?  That moment when you thought you had lost it all, and you - and you alone - were to blame.  Perhaps, even as you read this, you feel trapped; trapped by not just one, but more than one such moment in your life (as have I).

WHOLENESS IS THE OUTCOME OF FREEDOM BOUND TO TRUTH

If so, then, I invite you to experience a truth that has loved me into wholeness.  I am not offering a ‘silver bullet’ that fixes all.  Rather, it is a truth that has had to capture and recapture me again and again and again and, yes, again.  It is the single thread that has run through my walk in this life beyond porn all these years.  The truth is, and really it’s more than truth; it is my one great hope:

I am defined by more than what I do, or by what I ‘see.’  I am defined by who I am and how I love.  Porn consumption and addiction exploits and distorts my desires, taking me away from my ‘best self,’ rendering me unable to offer my ‘best self’ to others. 

Yes.  Personhood is more about who I am and how I love than what I do or see.  This truth has been important to me down through the years.  It’s the single thread I had to cling to in times of great distress and relapse.  This thread has now been used to weave a vast fabric of freedom and forgiveness.  I don’t care how recent your lapse/relapse or how powerful your addiction is, right now.  If you can cling to the truth that you are more than what you have done or what you have seen, you too can be free!

PORN EXPLOITS AND DISTORTS DESIRE

We tend to be controlled by whatever or whoever captivates our heart; or better, our desires.  Once Upon a Time, a television program my wife and I watch, explores this reality through the ‘evil queen’ who reaches inside one’s chest and literally extracts their heart.  When the queen has your heart, she has you in her control.  It always leads to destruction, and often, it leads to death.

Over three decades ago, pornography captured my heart.  In those days porn was hard to come by and a young person had to go to extraordinary measures to obtain and consume porn.  Nearly two decades ago, I began what I now call my journey out of porn, into freedom, unto my truest self.  In order to embark on my journey I needed a complete ‘reorientation.’  You see, by the time I decided to face the problem, I was around 28 years old and had been involved in consistent porn consumption for about 15 years.  By the age of 28 I was married, in ministry and expecting my first child.  Everything was wonderful.  Everything was beautiful.  Except for the reality that porn had captured my heart.

DISCIPLINES, RHYTHMS AND THE DISCOVERY OF JOY

This journey – through the years - has chartered a new course! This new course has required new disciplines, both ancient and modern.  These disciplines have created more fully human habits in and through me. The ‘modern’ disciplines or rhythms (I like the sound of rhythms better) I pursue are:

1.  The discipline or rhythm of intimacy with my spouse.

2.  The discipline or rhythm of intimacy with a close community that will hold me accountable. 

3.  The discipline or rhythm of responsibility with my time and resources (e.g. computers, phone, etc.), and my particular strengths/giftedness and desires. 

4.  The discipline or rhythm of Presence.  Being fully present to and engaged in every moment.

The primary ancient disciplines or rhythms I practice are:

1.  The discipline or rhythm of silence and solitude.  I try to get away and ‘clear the mechanism’ daily, weekly and monthly!

2.  The discipline or rhythm of confession.

3.  The discipline or rhythm of service.  The practice of serving others keeps me grounded in and guided by the good I can bring to the world.

Each discipline has, over time (often at an unbearably slow pace) shaped me into a man who craves (desires) a deeper sense of God’s presence and a greater joy in the flesh-and-blood reality of my bride and the life He has given us together.

While I dare not say I am home free, I can say that my life beyond porn has created a deeply erotic and emotionally fulfilling intimacy between my wife and me.  I also found that my freedom produced a joy in my closest family, friends and community!  This new joy was often absent because of the addictive power of porn.  We all know that porn doesn’t just take us away from others while we are consuming it. Porn continues to consume us long after we click that link and keeps us away from most – if not all – of the subsequent moments life offers.

Recently my wife uttered the words, “Everything about you is beautiful.”  I waited with baited breath wondering what would come next.  I was humbly moved to thank God when the next moment was greeted with a ‘sloppy wet kiss’ on the lips.   Yes!  I will take the joy of a sloppy wet kiss from my wife over the judgment brought on by the starkly sterile screen of porn’s distortion any day!

What are some of the disciplines or rhythms you have practiced?

How have they helped you on your personal journey out of porn?

We’d love to hear from you!!