Constantly struggling


#1

Hey everyone,

Over the past few years I’ve been struggling with one thing. I feel that I have grown a lot in other aspects of my Catholic life but this thing really keeps holding me back a lot.

Unfortunately, I have been struggling with pornography and masturbation over the past few years (I know this topic is kind of awkward…). I guess it would help to mention that I’m pretty young, going to be a sophomore in high school this year, and that I know a lot of guys struggle with this. I really kind of feel that I have been battling this forever but I don’t want to give up. I started realizing what I was doing wrong about a year ago last summer when I went to a Catholic youth conference and I really started to grow in my faith from then, and I’ve been battling it from that moment on.

It’s pretty much like I get the ‘Jesus shot’ from going to retreats, conferences, confession, etc. but then a few days after I always fall into it again. One of the main problems is that I always say, whatever, I can go to confession again so it’s no big deal, and then once I do it again, it comes to be a situation where it’s like, well I’ve done it, why not some more?

I think I’ve discovered what helps from keeping me away from pornography and masturbation; it’s staying active in church things; preferably all day things. Last week I volunteered to help with the Totus Tuus program at church (it’s like a week program for kids Grd. 1-6; lots of fun, games, water fights, pouring chocolate syrup over people, haha). It was from like 9 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon, then I went to the program for Grd. 7-12 for myself from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., where they also talked about pornography, masturbatoin, and chastity, which also helped a lot (in separate guys and girls talks of course!). So I was pretty busy with church stuff for that week and I really barely thought about pornography and masturbation for a while. But then when the week ended I kind of hit a brick wall and it’s getting pretty tough; I’m getting in that mentality where I’m saying, whatever, I can just confess this next time at confession…

I love staying busy with the church and being surrounded by great Catholic people and it’s a ton of fun. However, I don’t really get a chance to be at the church a lot helping out because I’m actually a pianist; not like a hobby thing but like wanting to go to Juilliard, practicing all day, I actually just played at Carnegie Hall last month. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing the piano, but it keeps me at home a lot rather than elsewhere and I think that kind of is influencing the problem.

I’ve prayed a lot about this and I don’t really know what else to do other than battle it as hard as I can. I try to get to adoration frequently, going to get to confession next week, so I really want to take the next step to stopping it. I’m actually going to another Catholic youth conference next week (Steubenville of the Rockies!), so I’m hoping that will keep me on a roll and give me another Jesus shot that will last!

So yeah just wanted to share my experience with this problem and would really appreciate any advice and prayers also!

Thanks!
Kevin


#2

I’m nearly in the exact same boat as you Kevrx3. Only difference is that it sounds like you’ve been catholic all your life and that I am going to be a junior in high school.

I converted easter 2008 where I was baptized and confirmed the same day (and before most kids my age are confirmed, lots of jealousy there, it seems lol). So, I do not have the problem with that sin of assumption (I am not sure it’s called that, but it is the sin of assuming you can ‘just go to confession’ after committing a sin) because I have not had the confessional long enough to take it for granted.

Anyways, knowing that you can go to confession, and allowing that knowledge to be an excuse for your actions, is wrong. That is probably just re-enforcing the problem even more. It is very important to confess everything that you can because things that you don’t pick up on can be slowly cutting down your faith.

Now, about the battle… I myself didn’t know the severity of this sin until 2 months after my converting at easter. At which point I went to confession (for the first time! what a nervous confession that was). After that confession I tried hard with God’s help to stop completely, and, though I haven’t succeeded in that goal, I have reduced the amount that I do it by a very significant percentage. Here’s the thing, it is a habit with me. I am having to reprogram my mind as to realize that there is more to life and that I had been living it wrong. As for you, I don’t know if it is a habit, but it probably is to some extent. In order to get over that it will take determination and much prayer. You’re already ahead of the game in keeping active it seems, but that’s not something you can always rely on. You need to get ready for the long haul. The idea of just gradually cutting back is not going to work here. It’s all or nothing, but don’t let that discourage you. This battle is going to take a complete lifestyle change. You need to cut out all the things that lead you to it. I love music and Prince is one of my favorite artists, but I realized that his sexual songs are just not acceptable anymore, even though some of them are some of his best. You might have to make big sacrifices like that as well. Just realize that solving this problem now is the best thing you can do.

Remember that every time you look at those wrongful images, you are creating imaginary wives in your mind that are going to destroy any hopes of a successful marriage, and masturbating has never helped anything, ever. No matter how ‘natural’ some people try to make it out to be, it doesn’t matter. It is only harmful and not worth your time.

Eventually it’s going to come down to the breaking point. Either you are going to succeed or you’re going to fail. Failing is okay because no one is perfect but you MUST pick yourself up and go to confession. God loves you no matter what, so you must let him forgive you and also forgive yourself. If you don’t turn away from the sin every time then you are going to have a horrible relapse. Every time you turn back to the devil, he comes back 2 times stronger, and it’ll be 2 times harder to resist him. Trust me, I’m at about 16 times the force and it is not worth it at all.

One of the most important things is to forget about it. Thinking about not doing it is just giving more attention to the problem. Stop letting it control you, and don’t look back. No “one last time,” and no stopping. You’re in it to win it. Don’t lose faith.

P.S. if you want to talk more feel free to P.M. me. I’d be very interested in speaking music with you, or even just school junk. I was just wishing earlier that I’d find someone else with faith like mine, seeing as all my friends are protestants and always try to crack down on my beliefs… Peace man, good luck.


#3

Here is an idea from my priest: enable a content blocking system.

On FireFox, this is very easy. Just get the Add-on ProCon. It is completely free and seems to do a good job (it can even blank out any words that you wish censored).

If you use IE like I do on one computer, this is a little more complicated. In Internet Options, you have to select the Content tab and enable content controls. However, for some intensely silly reason, Microsoft does not let you filter the administrator account! I have been looking for an add-in as a result.

It is a terrible addiction as it is easy to fall into and very hard to break out of. But you have to remember that you can. And Christ will forgive as long as there is an honest intention of amendment.

What also might help is a deeper devotion to Mary.


#4

Masturbation and pornography can be stopped with a powerful weapon known as the Rosary. Many people don’t know much about the rosary and its power ( Have a search online), but When you turn to Our Lady with a sincere heart and wanting to stop this sin she can free you from it. Persevere in saying the rosary everyday and she will help. I began learning and saying the rosary when i didn’t know what else to do and now i am free from masturbation and pornography and have a devotion to Mary. Try to stay focused on the mysteries and what you are saying and please persevere. Satan will attempt to stop you from saying the rosary and distract you in so many ways, eg. It’ll take to long, or i’ve not enough time ect. try to persevere and offer it all up to Mary and Jesus. You can be freed from this addiction. Yes, from time to time you will get temptation and sometimes very strong; but when that happens say a quick prayer like “Jesus i place all my trust in you” or a Hail Mary. Good luck and all the best. let me know how you get on.

God Bless
:signofcross:


#5

My dear friend

Some good things to do are guard your eyes and ears from anything that causes temptation or is impure, overeating caues this sin too, do penance for every sin - this will strengten you, pray a lot to your Blessed Mother, ask your Guardian Angel for help often, receive the sacraments as frequently as you are able, don’t listen to the devil when he yells you you can just go to confession or you may as well keep sinning since you already have- these thoughts come from him. Many people found the ultimate Jesus shot for this exact problem was to read about PJP11’s masterpiece on the theology of the body. It has worked for many and may work for you too. You can scour the vaticans website for many articles on this here gsearch.vatican.va/search?q=theology+of+the+body&btnG=Search+on+vatican.va&access=p&entqr=0&output=xml_no_dtd&sort=date%3AD%3AL%3Ad1&ud=1&client=default_frontend&oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF-8&proxystylesheet=default_frontend
Or buy a book summarising it. It was about 119 speeches the pope gave I think. A great book with the essentials is here shop.catholic.com/product.php?productid=16466

I am :signofcross::gopray2::gopray2::gopray2: for you.
Mary, Mother of our Lord, and our Mother too, watch over him and comfort, strengten, enlighten and guide him always. He is you son who needs help.:thumbsup::slight_smile:
John


#6

Thanks to everyone for all the help and sharing your experiences. I have been praying the rosary and it seems like it helps; I’ll try to develop a deeper devotion.

Wow thank you so much! I have been using Internet Explorer and yeah there’s not really any blocking system on it that’s effective. I’ve been using FireFox with ProCon and I’ve got to say this is a great solution; also downloaded the FoxFilter add-on that comes up with ProCon when you search for it, it helps to catch stuff ProCon might not get. Thank you so much!

Kevin


#7

I think I’ve discovered what helps from keeping me away from pornography and masturbation; it’s staying active in church things; preferably all day things. Last week I . . .

This is a big part of breaking any habit. It’s not so much of breaking the habit as it is replacing the habit. Unfortunately, masturbation cannot truly be replaced. Instead it must be pushed to the side by doing activities such as you mentioned. Out of sight, out of mind.

i still struggle in this regard to purity. But i can tell you what: once i made it out of high school and didn’t go on to college i do it a lot less often since i am simply not in contact with those people as much anymore. The way the girls dress nowadays makes it more challenging, the commercials on TV, etc.

It was St. Ulric (whose Saint day is today July 10) who said “Take away the fuel and you take away the fire.” in regards to preserving chastity.

i don’t know where your life will take you after high school but the women do generally dress more conservatively as they age, thank goodness, so suffice to say it should get a little easier.

BUT if you can be perfectly chaste at this challenging stage in your life, all the more greater your reward shall be.

What an excellent opportunity to show our devotion to God as to strive for and attain victory when the opposition seems its greatest!


#8

I’ve been maintaining chastity for the last 41 years, waiting for the right person to come along, but sometimes I feel tempted. Like the other night, I saw a prostitute on the street, and I couldn’t help myself. So I picked her up, and we went to a cheap motel where they do these things. I was feeling very conflicted, since I have believed deeply in saving myself for the one I marry. But this hooker was very attractive, with large, perky breasts and tight buttocks. I had an erection, but I knew I couldn’t go through with it, as much as I wanted to have sex with her. So we played chess. She turned out to be a good player, and a very nice person. I paid her $50 and left.

I feel terrible, and I don’t know what to do. Does anybody have any suggestions? I have prayed everyday, but I still feel bad about it.


#9

One of the phrases that I’ve often admired but found very difficult to grasp practically is that of older Catholics who quite frequently said, “Offer it up.”

How can you offer something up that by nature is sinful and grieves the Lord. 1 Peter 5:7 answered this question for me, “Casting all your care upon him, for he hath care of you.” And another, Matt 11:28,’ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

The problem that I always made in my life was to try and solve an issue that I had no control over. I always thought that this was ‘my’ issue that I needed to address before I could approach God. It took me decades to realize that the very thing that kept me from holiness was that ‘I’ was attempting to do what only God could do - that is to free me from myself!

Turn it over to Jesus - “Offer it up!” Only then will you be able to be truly free even if you stumble and fall along the way!

:slight_smile:


#10

You feel terrible, but you did the right thing in the end. Your Guardian Angel preserved you, and you saved yourself by listening to him. Pray thanks to God for saving you!

St. Padre Pio recommended praying frequently to one’s Guardian Angel. The devil came after Padre Pio a lot, so he knew how hard the enemy can make things. I recommend following his advice, praying to your Guardian Angel and praying the St. Michel prayer. But you did the right thing! Praise God! It’s a time to thank God for protecting you from the enemy, saving you from a terrible threat. It’s particularly threatening because once one has given in to temptation once, it becomes much harder in the future. I heard one woman tell me that she never thought about sex until she had it once, and then she could never empty her mind since of sexual thoughts. So you’ve been protected from something very dangerous.

You can take it to Confession and tell the priest what happened. I would do that if I were you anyway, because for a while at least you were planning to defy God’s will. However, you did not take that step in the end. You overcame the temptation. So it is a time to thank God also, as well as to pray for protection for the future.

If you can find some other, less risky street to drive along for the future, that also would be a good thing.


#11

For me, it helps to do what fulbert said and “Take the fuel away from the fire.” I realized that looking at women in bikinis has the same affect on me as nudity, and that seeing female nudity on film has the same affect on me as glimpsing pornography has had. I also realized that reading any sexual material that’s at all explicit in books often has that same affect on me. I felt like the Lord was calling me to give it all up last Lent.

A lot of the movies I really enjoy a lot have at least women in underwear in one scene. But as Jesus said, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.” So I stopped reading news stories that sexually excited me, banned myself from about half of my movies and tried to just shut off all avenues toward temptation. The remarkable thing was how the Lord then fulfilled for me the principle, “You do your part and I’ll do the rest.” When I closed off all avenues to temptation, the Lord empowered me by cleaning out my mind so that those kinds of images just about never entered my thoughts, and simultaneously He gave me strength to be able to look away quickly when society put those images in front of me.

If there are avenues toward temptation, such as web surfing or TV or other things that lead you regularly to sin, I recommend closing them off so that you don’t face the temptation as much. The purity of the soul is more important than pleasures that in and of themselves are innocent, but which might open doors to temptation.

I personally feel you did a really great thing in presenting this common problem to Catholics online here and seeking help. The will to make changes in your life, even at a personal cost of suffering, in order to do God’s will, is key to receiving grace.


#12

I love your courage and strength! May your Guardian Angel continually support and empower you!


#13

I would say, if your primary source for this is the computer, to cover your machine in images of Jesus, Mary and the saints. Also, if you have beloved family members, hang up some shots of their faces as well. Hang a rosary from the edge of the monitor too. Go all out, then see if you could even stomach looking at something frisky on there.

What Waacm said about “imaginary wives” polluting your reality is true! You will never be satisfied with these delusions!


#14

Thanks everyone for your help! I was just recently at the Steubenville of the Rockies conference where there was a chastity talk by Jason and Crystalina Evert; they are such amazing people to see as they have been through it all once before.

I feel that I’ve gotten better with this problem and I’ll just keep taking it day by day. Thanks again to everyone for sharing their experiences and guidance. It has really helped a lot!

Kevin


#15

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