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  #1  
Old Apr 22, '13, 12:10 am
AndyT_81 AndyT_81 is offline
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Default My experience and advice after a year free from porn

Hi all,

It has now been over a year since if have been free of the scourge of pornography, by God's grace, and I feel the call to share with you all what I have learnt in my long battle with this self-afflicted affliction. Prior to this last year of being free from this addiction, I was falling at a rate of around once every six months for a year or two, then prior to that much more frequently (weekly in the early days of resistance). All up, I have been fighting this battle for around 7 years. While I will never be free of this cross to bear, I feel like I have gotten to the stage where I can give advice with a straight face.

First of all, I want to encourage you in your fight. Where many of you are, in that state of hopelessness where you could see no light or possible redemption, I have been also. No matter how dim things are, do not despair, God is there yearning for us to lean on Him daily and be finally free of this terrible affliction. It has become clear to me that God allowed me to fall into this pit, so that I might see more clearly how much I need him. My life prior to my full conversion was one of self-indulgence - I only thought about myself. I frittered away all my time on music, video games, self-centered ambitions and sensual pleasures. Even if I experienced something of a conversion in this state, it would have been a weak one - I can see now that any initial zeal that I had would have quickly fallen away into mediocrity. However, God in his infinite wisdom allowed me to reach a place where I could clearly see that my only hope rested in Him.

This leads me to my first piece of advice: prayer. It is your life-line. Be disciplined and spend at least an hour in prayer every single day. Under no circumstances (within reason of course) should you skip prayer - this is equivalent to neglecting to fill your oxygen tank before a deep dive. In my experience, every time I became lax with prayer I would inevitably fall - WITHOUT FAIL. Through this experience, God has shown me how much we depend on Him to live a good Christian life.

My second piece of advice: filtering software and confiding in someone. Satan loves secrecy, he wants to isolate you from your loved ones, your support network, those who can help you in this fight. Satan doesn't want you to become a saint, which is exactly what God is teaching you to become through this cross, and therefore he wants you to feel alone and powerless. Find a confidant who will support you, and get them to help you to set-up some filtering and accountability software. Make your support partner someone who loves you and who you would be embarrassed to have seeing what you do on-line. I can't stress enough the importance of having a difficult barrier to overcome between you and the source of your addition. If you have no filtering software on your devices it is comparable to an alcoholic living next to a bar, or having a large stock of booze in their house. The temptation will be too great for you - God gave you reasoning ability to practice prudence, and this is a very prudential thing to do. While ultimately we want to be so completely free of the addiction that we can resist even unprotected devices, to expect this sort of strength initially is fool-hardy - don't make any excuses, install something straight away! Give yourself some breathing space to grow in the sacraments of the Church.

My third piece of advice: this fight will cost you your life. The cross that God has given those of us who suffer from this affliction is a life or death affair. Because of the seriousness of the sin which we willingly allowed ourselves to fall into, for the rest of our lives we will be walking a tight-rope with the real possibility of damnation if we fail. This is not meant to frighten anyone, rather paradoxically I see it as a blessing. This affliction is an inoculation against mediocrity, for if we live our life in a mediocre way we are sure to fail. Therefore we must make the choice to cut away all useless things from our life and give everything to God - to start a new life in Christ. This is the only path for us to follow, we need God to sustain us in everything. The only reason that God allowed us to fall into this sin is so He can pull us up out of it - it is our path to become saints!

My fourth piece of advice: immerse yourself in scripture, the writings of the saints and other theologically rich writings. Pretty self-explanatory really; when you cut away all your useless recreations you'll need to fill that time with something. What better to fill it with than the Word of God and examples of the transformative work of the Word in the lives of the saints!

My fifth piece of advice: You will inevitably fall, get to confession straight away! If you fall, recognise your weakness and your utter dependency on God, confess it, examine where you went wrong and pick up where you left off. Do not allow Satan to trick you into thinking that God does not love you or won't forgive you. Look at the cross! That is the extent of the infinite love that God has for each one of us. Let me re-emphasise the examination of where things went wrong - this is very important so you can understand what situations to avoid or prepare for in the future. I would also recommend the Examen prayer and Ignatian discernment.
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  #2  
Old Apr 22, '13, 12:11 am
AndyT_81 AndyT_81 is offline
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Default Re: My experience and advice after a year free from porn

My sixth piece of advice: practice bodily mortifications. By this I do not mean anything excessive, but rather fasting and the avoidance of slothfulness. This affliction that we suffer from is very much rooted in our bodily desires - we therefore need to practice bodily mastery in order to train ourselves for the battles ahead. I would also recommend thinking ahead - if you are aware of an approaching near occasion to sin (say a work trip away from home, one of my personal weak spots) fast in preparation and during the occasion. This is a very selfish sin (as they all are), so it is also good to practice the opposite virtue - self giving love! If you can, getting involved in volunteer work is a good way of tackling selfishness.

My seventh piece of advice: be devoted to the Blessed Sacrament. It is the source and summit of our faith, and therefore the source and summit of our strength!

My eighth piece of advice: pray the Rosary and devote yourself to the Holy Mother! Enough said.

Apologies for the long post - I sincerely hope that it is of some use to any of you out there who are suffering from this terrible cross. I am a very weak individual, so all glory goes to God for any success that is present in my ongoing recovery. If any of you would like to talk to me personally, please don't hesitate to send my a PM.

God bless you all.
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  #3  
Old Apr 22, '13, 3:38 am
Wa Michael Wa Michael is offline
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Default Re: My experience and advice after a year free from porn

Thank you!
All for the praise and glory of God!
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  #4  
Old Apr 22, '13, 4:21 am
Lisa1967 Lisa1967 is offline
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Default Re: My experience and advice after a year free from porn

Thanks for sharing!
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  #5  
Old Apr 22, '13, 4:34 am
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mountee mountee is offline
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Default Re: My experience and advice after a year free from porn

May God continue to support you throughout your life with the freedom from this addiction,
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  #6  
Old Apr 22, '13, 5:43 am
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agnes therese agnes therese is offline
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Default Re: My experience and advice after a year free from porn

God bless you, Andy.
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Old Apr 22, '13, 5:54 am
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WaitingForJesus WaitingForJesus is offline
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Default Re: My experience and advice after a year free from porn

Thanks for sharing this. It is wonderful to see how the Lord can transform someone!
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  #8  
Old Apr 22, '13, 6:12 am
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sennincatholic sennincatholic is offline
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Default Re: My experience and advice after a year free from porn

Thanks Andy for this post.I have been suffering from thesame addiction for years now and though i have not fallen to that mortal sin since i last went for confession(just before i joined CAF..lol)i do not wish to fall ever again.All of what you said about fighting it is true.I'll get back to you.
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Old Apr 22, '13, 4:28 pm
AndyT_81 AndyT_81 is offline
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Default Re: My experience and advice after a year free from porn

Thanks all for your kind comments - glory be to God indeed! Looking forward to hearing from you sennincatholic
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Old Apr 22, '13, 4:57 pm
spes_salvi spes_salvi is offline
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Default Re: My experience and advice after a year free from porn

Exactly what I needed. Thank you, and thanks be to God.
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Old Apr 22, '13, 11:44 pm
AndyT_81 AndyT_81 is offline
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Default Re: My experience and advice after a year free from porn

Thanks be to God spes_salvi!
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