We use the term “Addiction” a lot these days. In fact, we probably over-use the term.
In many ways, we’ve degraded the seriousness of addiction by using it to describe things that aren’t really an addiction. “I’m addicted to chocolate.” I’m addicted to this TV show.” There’s even the classic, yet cringy, song “Addicted To Love” by Robert Palmer.
This can make real addiction, people who are physically, chemically, or emotionally dependent on a substance or behavior, seem like it’s not all that bad. It can lessen the seriousness of true addiction.
True addiction is devastating. Addiction will destroy everything you love. Not CAN. Given time, it WILL.
Addiction destroys marriages, families, relationships, careers, and far too often, takes someone’s life.
My ministry is helping men who battle Porn and Sex Addiction. I battled through the darkness for over 15 years before finding freedom. My mission is to help other men fighting the same battle break free from it’s chains.
When I start coaching a man who’s struggling with porn addiction, I always try to the find the answer to this question:
What are you REALLY addicted to?
That may seem obvious. He’s addicted to porn. Well, here’s some hard truth for you.
You are not addicted to porn. You’re addicted to escaping your problems.
You are not chemically addicted to porn. There is nothing in porn itself that you become dependent on. Unlike alcohol or drugs, there is nothing that you can ingest to give you a dependency.
Instead, you are addicted to using porn to escape negative emotions in life that you are unable or unwilling to deal with.
What you actually become chemically addicted to is dopamine. At orgasm you experience a flood of hormones, primarily dopamine but also a cocktail of other neurotransmitters and endorphins. That’s the “rush” you’re seeking when you watch porn. It makes you feel euphoric. It makes all the problems go away for a time. It feels good.
When you feel overwhelmed, stressed, depressed, anxious, or whatever emotion it may be, you can run to porn to escape it.
Porn addiction isn’t dependency. It’s escapism. Instead of dealing with whatever is the underlying issue in your life, you use porn to cover it up.
Using porn to deal with pain is like slapping a band-aid over a bullethole. It only covers up the problem and does nothing to heal the wound.
This is why so many men try and try but can never quit watching porn. They’re not treating the “bullet hole.”
Porn is not just a bad habit. It’s not a behavior that you can just train yourself out of. It stems from years of using the dopamine rush as self-medication to treat the problems in your life instead of dealing with them.
So, you might ask, “If I’m not addicted to porn, but to escapism, how do I break free?”
- Dig deep into your heart to discover what it is that you are trying to escape from.
You’re using porn to treat something. You’re not just hornier than everyone else or have a higher sex drive. It’s not just because your wife doesn’t want sex as much as you do.
As I often say, “Porn Addiction is not about sex. Porn addiction is about PAIN.”
Maybe there was trauma in your life: abuse, divorce, abandonment, rejection, etc. Maybe you never felt loved. Maybe you never feel like you’re good enough. Maybe you’re so scared of rejection that you can’t face anything where there’s a chance you might be turned down.
It can be difficult to discover what that pain, what that wound, is. That’s why having a coach, pastor, or counselor is so important in fighting addiction. You might need professional help to do the tough self-reflection in order to find it.
Often, men hide from their weaknesses for so long and use so many “band-aids” to cover them up, it takes a lot of deep work to open up.
I work with many men who don’t think they have any trauma in their life, but after a few weeks of coaching, we discover there certainly is, and they’re using porn to escape it.
Finding the “wound’ you’re using porn to escape from is the first step towards true healing.
- Face whatever is you’re escaping from and learn how to process it in a healthy way.
This is honestly the hardest part of addiction recovery. Figuring out what you’re running away from is one thing, actually learning how to deal with it is another whole battle in itself.
Facing the pain in your life is a double edged sword. On one side, facing that pain is the only way to find true healing. But on the other side, facing that pain is what you’ve been so scared to do all this time.
You’ve used porn to cope for so long, that once you start facing the pain, your first instinct is to run back to the porn to make yourself feel better. This is why relapse is almost inevitable during recovery. It takes time to build up the strength and courage to face our inner demons. Sometimes you’re going to go to battle and lose. But with time, and a never give up attitude, you’ll eventually win that battle more often than not. That is where progress is made.
Once you have the courage to face the pain, then the true healing can take place. You can learn how to process that wound, the “bullet hole” in a healthy way. You might need to grieve. You might have to grieve a tangible loss like the death of a loved one. Or maybe you need to grieve an intangible loss such as the loss of your childhood or innocence due to some type of abuse or neglect.
You might need to learn to love yourself; to understand that you are worthy of love. Maybe you need to understand that you have inherent value, and your self worth doesn’t come from having to be “perfect.”
In order to process your inner pain you may need to actually forgive someone for a wrong they did to you. You may also need to forgive yourself for a wrong you did to them.
Learning how to process pain in a healthy way instead of escaping to porn will be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done, but it’s where true healing occurs. This work will allow you to break free from not only porn, but your addiction to escaping.
I challenge you to ask yourself that question:
What am I really addicted to?
The sooner you can answer that question, the sooner you can break free from the bonds of addiction and become the man you’re capable of being.
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Why try to find your own path through the darkness? I’ve been through it. Let me guide you through.
I’ll provide the accountability you need to finally quit porn. I’ll show you the steps to living porn free. I’ll encourage and support you every day to keep fighting for freedom.