Part 1: “I am addicted to pornography on the Internet. I would like for you to give me some advice so that all this that is disturbing my mind will leave me in peace. I would also like to know a little about God.”
Part 2: “I am a young medical student. Since I was very young I have had problems with pornography. Some nights I have wet dreams. I can’t stand it any more. I need help. I don’t know what to do.”
Part 3: “From my teenage years until now I have continued to battle lust, pornography and different sexual fantasies. Each time I am alone, the temptation overtakes me in various forms and I can’t resist. I need urgent help. I can’t take this situation any longer. SOS.”
You are not alone! In just a few weeks we have received many cases from men who have this same problem.
Let’s start with an illustration that at first may not seem to make sense. Imagine that you are out in a rural area where there are no roads. Each day you must travel several miles to arrive at your destination. But there are no roads, so you must create a new path on which to travel. As you move forward, you push aside the bushes and plants in your way. The going is slow, but you finally arrive.
On the way back, you try to find the same path. It’s a bit easier to go where you’ve already cleared the way. The next day you must travel again, so you go along and you follow the same path. As the days pass, the path gets easier to travel and you arrive more quickly. You have successfully carved out a comfortable route that will last for a very long time.
As you expose yourself to pornography, you create a similar path in your brain. As you follow the path repeatedly, pornography becomes a habit and the brain pathway is strengthened. Even after you come to the realization that the pornography that is constantly invading your thoughts has the power to destroy your life, you keep going back to it anyway because the brain pathway is still there and is very easy to go back to. That pathway attracts you like a magnet, even when you don’t want to go. The only way to stop is to build a tall stone wall across the entrance.
How can you build that wall? Here are just a few stones to get you started building:
- Put the computer in a public room of the house. Make sure the screen can be seen by anyone in the room.
- If this is not possible and you have the computer in your bedroom or a home office, put it so that the screen can be seen by anyone passing by the room. Always leave the door open when you are working on the computer.
- If you have pornographic magazines, get rid of them and never again go to the places where you have bought them in the past.
- Keep a calendar. Every day that you avoid any pornography, sign your name to the calendar in witness that you have avoided pornography. This is a graphic record to remind you of how many days you have stayed off that destructive path.
- Find an accountability partner. If you are married and your wife knows of your problem, she can be the one. Tell her you want her to ask you every day about whether or not you have gone down that path. But don’t get angry when she asks! If you are not married, find a trusted friend and confess your problem. Ask that friend to check up on you and ask you how you’re doing on a regular basis.
- Since pornography can take up a lot of your time, find something else to do during that time. This will develop another brain pathway for whatever activity you choose to take the place of the pornography.
- Write out what you would say to the following people if they were to discover your addiction to pornography: your parents, your wife or girlfriend, your siblings, your friends, your coworkers. For each one, imagine how you would explain yourself and how you would feel. Think about how they might look at you or treat you differently in the future.
- Read a women’s novel or magazine that has high moral values. Write down examples that show that women are thinking, feeling, caring, and loving human beings (for example, a woman who is doctor shows intelligence, ambition, persistence, self-sacrifice, and concern for others). Remember that every time you look at pornography you are turning those women into worthless objects. You are taking away their feelings, their intellect, and their infinite capacity for love just so that you can concentrate on their bodies.
Although having a wet dream can be a natural human release designed by God, your constant thoughts about sex are very likely causing vivid dreams which make this happen more often. As you stop traveling the pornography path, your brain will gradually strengthen other pathways you have developed, and this will lessen.
Right now you are experiencing a great amount of guilt because you have not been able to stop this habit. Guilt is a good thing when it lets us know that we are hurting ourselves by our own behavior. However, there is no way for us to get rid of our own guilt.
To get rid of guilt, you must be forgiven. To be forgiven, you must turn to God. He can forgive you right now of every single time you have been weak. He can forgive you for every time you said you would stop but then you didn’t. He can forgive you for hurting yourself and your present or future wife. All you have to do is ask Him, and he will do it. Ask Him to come into your life and to help you build a wall one stone at a time, as we have described.
God will not take away the pathway you have created. You have caused a change in your brain that is the natural consequence of pornography. God rarely takes away natural consequences because those consequences teach us the lessons we need to know. You must take active steps to build the wall so that the pathway will remain unused and will finally diminish in length and width.
Don’t give up! You can do it!