Here’s my 2 cents, and my experience. This was something I had a LOT of trouble with when I came back to the church. I too was used to basically 20 years of porn and masturbation. And not ever seeing it as a wrong thing. But to be honest, the older I got, and after I was married, I began to see how it was harmful and destructive to a married relationship. I think that at the time I came back to the church I was looking to change and get away from it anyway.
This is something I struggled with (and still struggle with) though. It is an addiction, I firmly believe that. Especially when you couple it with porn. It is something you have to fight through. And my priest offered me some advice in confession. Pray to God, ask Jesus for the grace to over come this. As simple as that sounds, it’s not something I ever thought of. Pray and ask for help in avoiding this sin and staying away from it. It will help you.
Then the common sense thing is to just stay away from the porn, stay away from the temptation to sin. You know that just starting up a little bit with this is going to suck you back in. So stay away from it. As soon as the temptation comes up, you got to end it. Say a prayer, ask Jesus for His help.
It’s a long fight, I will grant you that. But I will say that the more you have success, the easier it will be. The more you ask for and receive God’s grace in fighting this the easier the fight becomes. When you do slip up, don’t beat yourself up about it. Take it to confession asap. Don’t live or dwell in this sin, get rid of it off our soul asap. Getting it to confession and clearing your soul will help immensely. Everyone fails and falls into sin, don’t get discouraged when you do as well. Salvation is a journey through life, away from sin and toward God. But it’s a journey of two steps forward, one step back. The important part is to keep moving forward, to pick yourself up and get back in the right direction when you do fall and sin.
I will say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have been very faithful with this as of late, and it no longer tempts me or holds me the way it used to. If I do slip up, I get rid of it immediately through confession. And I will tell you, the less you do it the less it will hold you. The last time I did slip up it wasn’t what it used to be. It didn’t give me the same feeling I used to get, and I felt that all I had done is injured my relationship with God. That’s His grace at work. And I felt better knowing that this sin didn’t have the same hold over me any more, it was very encouraging.