Tag Archives: addiction

Thoughts from Being 10 Months Porn-Free


I didn’t plan on this today; I thought maybe I’d write something about how I was doing once I reached the one-year mark. But today is my ten-month mark of being pornography-free, and I have a lot of thoughts about it. I spent some time in my journal last night, wrestling. I would like to share that journal entry.

This month was probably the hardest temptation-wise out of all ten so far. I’m not sure why, but I’ve had to be extra proactive and cautious with myself lately. I fought for this month.

Here’s what gets me: in ten months of freedom, you’d think I would know what was working, would know why I’m doing well and what got me here. But I really don’t. And people ask me, and it feels weird to not have any answers.

I don’t want to invalidate my addiction story; I truly did do things I didn’t want to do, repeatedly/routinely, and I still face repercussions. It was real. But I also don’t want to tell people that grace, candor, and hard work will cure their addiction. I know it is not that simple. It’s just all I can pinpoint that has contributed to my own recovery. I really do not know how I got here.

Though I am so grateful for the way things have worked for me, I understand not everyone who does the same things I’m doing fares the way I somehow have. I don’t have the explanation for that. I fully believe God heals and restores all who come to Him, that He is strength in our weakness, that He shows absolutely no partiality. I trust His timing for everyone. I just don’t know why some of us find visible healing sooner than others, why the timing varies from person to person. Or why I get to be one of those who is seeing my healing already.

Not that I don’t still face temptation, as this month especially has proven (though I can’t exclude the other nine, either). I do face temptation, often. I don’t have it “easy.” But I know I have it easier than many. Maybe I caught my addiction in earlier stages than most who enter recovery.

tiny buds and bloomsI think that’s what I want to stress most: recovery doesn’t stop.

“Porn addict” is in no way part of my identity, and never was. But it’s something that has been/is part of my life. And recovering from being a porn addict and remaining in that recovery? It is an almost guaranteed lifelong process. This is something that will probably always be part of my life. I believe it gets better. But as long as I live in this skin, I have potential to act out of it and I have a lot of choices to make.

I truly do believe in full recovery. I am just not naïve enough to tell anyone, including myself, that there’s a point of arrival. God heals, and He also doesn’t take away our freedom of choice. It’s constant; it’s maintenance; it’s abiding. And I am also not so privileged as to believe people who do what I’ve been doing are guaranteed to see the same outcome I’m seeing. It is different for everyone. Honestly, I really wrestle with that sometimes. Timing is so beyond us, and I don’t understand it.

I think finding the balance of celebrating where I am while commiserating with those in an overwhelming place in the struggle is something I will have to work through for a while. Today, I don’t feel like celebrating, though I know it would be okay for me to. I know the highs and lows of this process, and I want to honor everyone in every stage of it. I am still learning how.

I’m so grateful for these ten months. I don’t take it for granted. I know it’s a gift I don’t deserve, one that puzzles me to be in possession of sometimes.

To my brothers and sisters who are in recovery– be it day one, month ten, or year five– you are in the midst of something holy. He is proud of you. He is working in you. He is there in the mess of the process with you, day by day. And if you have to start over again? Nothing about this changes. There is nothing you can do to change the love He has for every bit of you. Lean into that.

[This video on recovery/sobriety is so eloquent and echoes a lot of my feelings, and also carries some solid encouragement. I highly recommend it.]

Choosing Love


This is going to be hard.

I guess I’ll start from the beginning. I’ve told you a lot of my story; I even have a tab above for that exact purpose. But. . . you don’t know everything. My stomach feels constricted right now; I am so nervous and afraid to tell you. I’m terrified that you won’t see me as I am anymore, that you’ll just think of my past every time you read my words or even look at me. I pray so fervently that you will still see ME. But I feel like I have to share this. I’m going to. Ready? When I was a little girl, I made a friend, and her influence led me to masturbation. Even after my friendship with her ended, my addiction did not; I would fall back into it one or two times every year.

Firstly, can I back up a little and say something to those of you thinking, “But masturbation isn’t bad!”? Even before I knew what I was doing had a name or was ever done by anyone else, I knew it was wrong; it was sinful, it was harmful, it was disgusting. I knew when I was in grade school and no one had to tell me; my conscience did. It is not something Jesus wants us to do. There is no question about it.

This is so hard to tell you, but I’ll keep going.

Jesus has freed me from the chains of masturbation. It took so long, and if I’m being honest I know I could relapse within minutes. But I haven’t, because He has made me strong. He has protected me. But a few weeks ago, when I was working on a piece of writing, I realized I might want to illustrate something I’d been talking about with a photo. A quick internet search. . . an accidental porn photo before my eyes. I could have clicked away. All I had to do was close the window and leave. I had a choice.

I tearfully admit that I chose against Him.

I followed the picture to its website. It was only a minute, but that minute haunts me every day. The fact that I heard Him. I heard Him! He was SCREAMING! He was crying and begging me to stop. But for a minute, I ignored His pleas. I rejected His protection. And the fact that I did that hurts me more than the porn did.

After that minute of wide-eyed, short-of-breath trembling, I closed the window, subconsciously put on a worship song, and begged in one-word prayers: “Help.” I couldn’t feel anything but disgust for myself. I don’t know how long I spent sitting there, shaking, wrapped in a blanket, images flashing in and out to renew my shame over and over. But after that period of time, I opened my Bible. I craved His words, no matter what they might be, because I knew I desperately needed Him; He was the only one who could save me. I expected to hear fierce reprimands–

But He said nothing about it. Not one thing. My dear friends, He didn’t even allude to it.

taken for the 5:19 Photo Project, 2013Oh, He spoke. He said a lot of things. But not one thing had even a hint of “I warned you” or “you failed” or “you are disgusting.” He told me that He had given me His righteousness; that He was going to teach me how to guard my mind; that I could move forward. If that isn’t mercy, I can’t imagine what else mercy could be. This is such a hard thing to write and I keep wrestling with myself about sharing any of it with you. But. . . what if you need this? That’s what makes me consider it. That’s why I’m still typing.

I want you to know that you are not alone in your struggles, no matter what they are. I want you to know that freedom is possible, within reach for you. I want you to know that Jesus is screaming your name, just like He was screaming mine on that day. He is not ashamed of you; He is crying out for you.

If you feel alone in what you’re facing: analyze those around you. Prayerfully consider someone, not just anyone but someone whose reactions you have admired. So many reactions are possible and I am painfully aware of that. I know people who, when I’ve shared my heart with them, have asked if I was crazy, tried to fix me, or seemed nonchalant about a serious issue. But there are special people whom God has gifted with graceful reactions– genuine prayer, brokenness, sometimes even the rare-but-incredible, “Me, too!” These are people you can go to. Find one of them and pray for an opportunity to tell them about your secret, even if it’s something that no longer holds you. If you still feel like you can’t tell anyone, maybe you haven’t completely faced it. Not everyone needs to know; this is for you, not anyone else. But being able to talk about it is an irreplaceable aspect of healing. If they share your struggle or if they “simply” walk with you as you face it, you have the invaluable comfort of not being alone. I was over-the-top blessed to have my person respond with a “me, too”; I don’t think I will ever be able to feel like no one understands now, because God has given me someone who does.

If you feel as if you will never be free from your addiction: I have a story for you.

Maybe a week after I found porn and received mercy, I had a dream: I was with a slightly younger friend of mine (in reality I don’t know who she was). We were walking on the sidewalk just before the long driveway to her house, and she was telling me that her boyfriend was coming that day, that I could meet him. But I already had a bad opinion of him based on what I gathered from stories she had told me; he sounded manipulative and like he was dating her only because she was rich and beautiful. I walked just a few steps ahead of her and soon heard honking behind us from the road. My friend said, “It’s him!”, but I acted as if I hadn’t heard her and started to hurriedly walk into her driveway. She continued to call my name and he honked a few more times. I heard him begin to pull into the driveway as I still rushed ahead, and when he saw me, he shouted, “I want to meet the girl with the sexy legs.” I was shocked and disgusted– yet secretly pleased with the compliment. Then I woke up.

I tried to fall back asleep and see what happened next (I’m a story-lover), but I couldn’t. By the end of the day, I realized what the dream had meant: Jesus wanted me to chose an ending in my actual life.

I see other people reveling in sin and it is so clearly wrong to me, yet in my own life I still am pleased by it. It’s suave and has an alluring voice; it compliments to get what it wants. But I CAN CHOOSE. I can choose to entertain sin because it’s lies are flattering and make me feel good, or I can ignore it’s words, knowing that what I’ve seen it do is contrary, and try to woo the people I care about from it. When I found that porn, I chose lust. But the next day? I chose love. I chose to spend time with Jesus, at His feet, listening to His wisdom about how I could move forward and guard my mind. And that choice was right, even when choices that looked a lot easier were in front of me. Since then, I’ve chosen love and I’ve chosen lust, but that’s what I want to stress to you most of all: IT IS A CHOICE.

I know what addiction is like, that it makes you feel trapped in it. But I also know that every time I gave in to my addiction, I was choosing it. I wanted to do what I was doing. Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire (James 1:14). Maybe it’s different for you. I don’t know; I don’t want to make assumptions about you, and I am fully, one hundred percent aware that addiction runs deep and we almost always need to get help for it. There is no shame in getting help and I hope you know that; it is a deeply brave thing to seek help and I recommend that you do. But I also hope you know how much power you have, that your choices make a difference. Our choices strengthen or weaken our addictions. We can take that and let it fill us with guilt, but we have another option: we can realize that the power to change is in us! If Jesus is in us, we have His righteousness in us. He can help us, we can choose to listen to Him!

If you are struggling with any addiction, but masturbation in particular: my dear, dear friend, the only reason I’ve decided to share this is that you might need it. You need to know. You need to know that no matter what you’ve done, no matter what still haunts you sometimes, no matter what you may be stuck in now,  YOU ARE LOVED. You are loved, you are clean, you are free, and Jesus is not ashamed to love you or interact with you. He chose you. Choose Him.

Choose love.