Recovering from the ruinous effects of pornography


#1

It is apparent to me that frequent viewing of pornography over many years has severely distorted my conscience, my mind, and my ability to have romantic relationships with women.

Will avoiding pornography allow these aspects of myself to return to normal, or must I additionally seek therapy to recover from these effects?


#2

Seek the Sacraments brother. A good confession is more powerful than an exorcism and it is through the Sacraments we receive grace enough to resist our inherited concupiscence. Never stop trying!
:thumbsup:


#3

I looked at your profile, and saw you’re only 25, and so you can’t have had that many more years of it than I did, myself being 25. My way of seeing the world and my conscience and all of that was also rather distorted, and while it is by no means perfect, all of these things are far, far better than they were. It’s at times been painful, at times been wonderful, and at all times required a committment to try to grow, but I’ve healed an awful lot from it.

Do you need therapy of some sort? Time, and the sound advise of a confessor or spiritual director, will tell. I would recommend, if possible, finding a goof priest to either go to confession with regularly, or if possible to receive spiritual direction from, or if he cannot do this, a most happy medium would be to ask if you could meet regularly with him to discuss your recovery from pornography. He’ll be able to, talking with you more specifically over a period of time, better determine if you’re so badly wounded as to need therapy.

Don’t go off and sign up for a therapist right now; give it time and try to find a priest to do those things. It’s easy to look at oneself, see how messed up you have become, and feel you’re so far off, especially if you see slow progress. The reality is that progress will be slow for some time. What you need to do above all is prayer, and in two ways:

  1. Pray for healing, for God’s help to stay away from sin, and for other help of this sort

But in one way more importantly:

  1. Just pray. Talk to God about anything, and everything. Read spiritual books. Go to Mass when you can. A great thing is to start praying the Liturgy of the Hours, however little or much you can. Try to pray the Rosary daily, or at least get in all the mysteries each week.

In other words, get to know God better. Ultimately, everything is about love. If you come to love God more and more, then all of that damage, and any powerful temptation to sin, will begin to dissapear - even if it pops up now and again. We get to love people by spending time with them, so spend time with God. That’s the number one thing a person can do for any wound or sin, and I highly, highly recommend it for this one. You do need to pray about your particular problem, but you need to spend even more time just spending time with God just for that sake, without the other stuff needing to be a part of it.

I’ll pray for you,

God bless :thumbsup:


#4

Great advice, guys. Thanks. I hadn’t heard of the liturgy of the hours before, but I looked it up and I really like the idea. I’m going to take a crack at oberserving (celebrating?) parts of it.


#5

It is helpful for this to realize that the two principle parts are the Morning and Evening prayers, and so if you can say even only those, that would be good. While you may not be able to celebrate the entire thing each day, it is good to try to operate with the mindset that you are “bound” to it’s schedule. In other words, once you get into it, keep in mind that evening prayer is said in the evening, and it’s something you ought to do if at all possible. Now laymen, obviously, aren’t bound to say any of it, and even if you start saying it as a laymen, you can say any of the hours you want each day, or none of them. The reason I say to try to operate as though you are in some way bound to it is that the way the LOTH will be helpful for your situation will be to consecrate your time to God. In other words, rather than the day being yours, you’ll recognize more and more how the day belongs to God, and so when you stop to say evening prayer, for example, you’re not only offering prayer, but offering prayer not of your own accord, but because the day belongs to God and this is a time for prayer.

I hope that makes sense!


#6

It makes perfect sense. Very insightful. Also a bit humbling to learn from a guy of my own age. Then again, just yesterday I was asking God to help me be humble.


#7

This is a long drawn out battle.

The person with the serious problem, as I see it, is the individual who does it compulsively over a longer period of there life time. This now has become an addiction that is physical as well as emotional, both involving brain chemistry. Its a toughie. The victim becomes addicted to the chemistry released by there brain and become entangled in a cycle of addiction. To max out the addictive drug, pornography is used to max out the amount that can be produced by his or her brain. This includes all types of sexual addiction.

I have see literally hundreds of posts advising everything from Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and confession, to lowering the thermostat in the house. Probably all good and well pieces of advice but doctor the symptom and not the cause. I think that’s the core reason that no matter how contrite the individual, they will be drawn back in. When impurity becomes a hard core addiction, the addict needs and must look at the root cause. They are narcotizing themselves with sexual pleasure to escape some emotional pain. It could be frustration, low self esteem, shame, criticism, rejection, sexual abuse maybe physical abuse. You name it. The cause is a wound in the victims spirit.

Yes. Step one is seeking Gods forgiveness and help. Step two is discovering the hurt and doctoring the wound. What I have written is just a tiny blurb in what is a professional health care field.

There are filters that run over your computer and block sites that you want out. Gambling, violence, language, and porn to mention a few. The best one I know of is Integrity on line, but I am sure there are others. I have tried a few. You need to tinker with it a bit. Get to know the software and I guarantee it will block out everything. Be sure to include proxy servers. If it does not block proxy servers its no good. Even with the filter on, you can open a free proxy server and open any site you want.

The better filter can provide accountability. It should send an email to a third party with all the sites you have visited. Every day. That is, if you are lucky enough to have one.

All filters will slow down your connection speed a tad, but it is what it is. Not much at all, just a bit.

So, what about the password? If you are protecting yourself, give it over to your accountability partner to set it, or worse case, let customer support set one for you. They know the deal. They will be happy to help. Be sure you have tinkered with it enough and it is working right before you do. It can take time. You have to tweak it so you can still browse but not the sites you and the filter settings have blocked. When the time comes, you will know when it working. Then give up the password.

One like Integrityonline will really work. No matter how smart you are, it will defeat you if you set it up right. Its the Cadillac. You can allow certain sites, block others, block everything. Even keywords for the search engines. If you spend a little time with it, your computer will be completely free. Guaranteed.

This just doctors up the symptoms. You must get to the cause. The wound.


#8

Very beautifully said … the true meaning of “fear of the Lord.” :slight_smile:


#9

Some of this is good advice, and in fact all of it is in the right context.

There are, however, a few points that I’d want to clarify, or perhaps disagree with. First and foremost is the statment that pornography and masturbation are always merely the symptoms of some emotional wound. This most certainly is often the case, and indeed it is nearly always the case that improving one’s emotional or social state helps. However, it’s not true that these things are always just the symptoms of some emotional wound.

Some people really don’t have some particular thing in their life that is driving them to pornography. Sometimes, as Freud said (much as I am not a fan of his), a cigar is just a cigar.

The reason this is such a dangerous error is that there is one root cause of which all of our struggles are merely symptoms: original sin. That is what needs be treated, above all. Indeed, even in those souls where some wound truly is driving them to some sin, treating that wound is still not the ultimate answer, for in the first place, neither unfallen man needed, nor does present day saint need to turn to sin over their pain, but for love of God they abstain from sin while dealing with their wound by some means, and in the second place, once the wound is indeed healed, the sin will remain until the true cause is dealt with: the spiritual cause.

It is helpful and important to examine ourselves to discover what wounds may be driving us to sin, but it is harmful and erroneous to come to think of our sins in terms only of emotions and physiology, because it makes it easy - very, very easy - for us to make excuses for ourselves, and because it gives too much credit to the material and not enough to the spiritual. Again, this is not to say that these sort of earthly troubles cannot and do not drive people closer to sin. These things, however, must be treated as a part of the problem, for again, through God’s Grace it is possible to suffer any emotional or physiological problem, and yet not nacroticize it away with sin.

Also remember that we have an enemy, and that enemy will use any and all troubles in life to drive us to one sin or another. Thus, we must focus in the first place on the spiritual, as we will never be free of wounds this side of Heaven.

I would, then strongly encourage seeking to understand and treat any wounds in your life which may be pushing you toward sins. However, I would encourage it only as one part, and then a secondary part, of the overall “treatment.” We will always be in the position to be wounded in this life, and we must be able to walk along the straight path even through such difficulties.

So far as filters are concerned, I have found them to be a mixed bag. For anyone currently struggling with pornography, I would most certainly advise them to try the filter for some time, and as has been suggested to fine tune it and to find a way to keep the password secure. It must be tried, for it can be very helpful. However, it may not eventually help all. For some, filters can make it easy to have a restraint based upon opportunity rather than fortitude. In other words, it can cause a person to be able to resist sin only when there is no opportunity for it, but to be weak whenever opportunity presents itself.

It did not help me personally for various reasons, and I eventually came to the decision that if I was avoiding sin only because it was not available to me, that wasn’t really in line with the true spirit of transformation in Christ. I wanted to be transformed such that I was truly rejecting sin, rather than simply unable to find it. Again, this may not be true for all, and indeed for some even setting up the filter is a deep transformation in Christ and may be the best they can do, at least for a time. I reitterate: if you are struggling, spend money on a filter, and try it. Even if you ultimately decide it wasn’t for you, you’ll learn a great deal about yourself through the experience.

God bless


#10

Good advice here. A couple more suggestions:

Pick up this book: Theology of the Body for Beginners. This is an excellent introduction to a brilliant and inspired work by Pope John Paul II. It’s the holy antidote to all the sexual perversion our society is wallowing in.

Also, read the Bible prayerfully, daily. Intend to gain the indulgences for doing so. The Scriptures actually have the power to cleanse your mind of the ‘stains’ from pornography.

Peace in Christ


#11

Well, okay. Who can argue that in the big picture what you have written is not so. Sure.

I see where you are coming from, but no. Not really. Not in any solid recovery. I may give someone around here a bit of slack. Dont try that in some recovery program. You will receive understanding by virtue of the fact that everyone has been there, BUT no excusing or cutting slack and the entire idea of it; the core belief is in dependence of that Higher Power. For us its our Divine Master, for another, another. Its a big world. Let go and let who? Actually, the prayer of the Catholic Saint, Francis is a key part of every type of recovery in the WORLD. We can be proud!

Sure, right-o. The filter is the first step. Not the last. Think of it like removing the booze and pills from the home. Step one. However, some day you will leave the house and face the real world.

Once the filter has been tweaked enough and its working. Slam that door to the internet and lock it. Give the key to that friend.

All of this is just a small blurb. I am not really smart enough on it to say much more. There is an entire health care field with health care professionals ready to step up to the plate. If only by providing books and web sites. ( Pure On Line workshops is the best I know of )Then there is the office visit and the “group”


#12

Very, Very good answer… I have found this to be true for myself as well–It makes ALL the difference in the world. Also, I guarantee that sitting alone in church before the Blessed Sacrament once in a while will have a PROFOUND effect… when you realize our crucified and risen Lord is sitting there with you–actually WITH you–His Love almost overcomes you at that moment. This is when you should open your heart to Him… Thank Him for getting up the first time He fell on the way to the Cross. He got up with full knowledge of every sin you , I, and all humanity would ever commit against Him.–And He CHOSE to continue on. Thank Him and make friends with Him, His Love is waiting to transform you. PEACE


#13

Porn makes its way into our world as a not so friendly demon. Persons in the no have been liberated by reading Rational Recovery techniques in a book by Jack Trimpey. It is on addictions. There are many kinds of addictions we as humans can become victims of. In my view breaking away from alcoholic troubles, or drug involvement, or porn all can use the same cure. Some how we must in the end accept that TOTAL abstinence is the answer. This can be achieved by the realization that there is a porn demon in the addict and learning to recognize that he wants to be feed at all cost. This knowledge can bring a saving grace that will make you free. It’s easy for some, very difficult for others. Truly overcoming addictions is an example of triumph over adversity. In my own life learning to hear the addictive voice of the porn demon helped me move on into a much better life without that nasty stuff. But it’s very hard in the beginning. Good luck.


#14

The word demon may be more correct than you may have intended.

There are Christian Healing Ministries that the believe that the porn user, by there sin, invites an attack by an unclean spirit and it will attached itself to the victim. I believe it.

The longer the person uses, the stronger the demon and its hook.

As time goes by, the sin may create more hooks for more unclean spirits the attach.


#15

Dear friend

You may need therapy, but ask your doctor on that.

Try studying PJP11’s theology of the body. It’s very good.

God bless you:thumbsup::slight_smile:


#16

YipYuPYep…….I did intend to use the word demon to explain how a person can have such a power of darkness taking control of their life at the expense of all that is holy. There are stores told of people observing warehouses full of porn films (and drugs) ready for shipment. Where witches were called in to cast spells upon the actual material. Thus when you buy one of the porn movies (drugs too) you get something extra………A demonic spell that takes up residence in you life. It sound like Black Magic and Voodoo….I am sure there are folks who will scoff and say this is just make belief. But the power is there just ask anyone who is fighting it………….when it takes over your judgment you can become hooked.


#17

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