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130 || Rescued From Porn Addiction: A Journey From Shame to Freedom

My porn addiction began around the age of 11.

It is difficult to remember exactly when it happened, but I do remember how it happened. My parents, like so many in the late 80s and early 90s, decided it was time to get cable. We loved having more sports, more shows and more options. Not to mention the cable company gave away free trials for the movie channels.

But what the cable companies failed to mention was the type of entertainment that would play on those movie channels at night. I imagine many unsuspecting parents back then had no idea what their children were watching.

Like most kids that age, I hated going to bed. I would lie awake at night, waiting until my parents were asleep so I could get up and have the run of the house. Whether it was reading, playing Nintendo, drawing or watching TV, I remember always being a night owl.

And I’ll never forget the night I discovered After Dark on the Cinemax channel. I was just a kid, but instantly a whole new, secret world opened for me. I would never be the same. With that first image of some naked woman doing things I had never heard of, I was addicted and could not wait to see more.

A Little Background

My life was not difficult in the sense that I had major sociological hurdles to overcome. I had loving, Christian parents, a church family and a knowledge of God. But I also had a tendency to be a loner and later discovered I have a predisposition to being depressed.

Pornography became my escape from the normal difficulties of teenage life. When I needed to get away, I stayed up late and watched movies or got my hands on magazines, escaping into a porn addiction that temporarily allowed me to forget about life.

But, instead of escape, what I found was a soul-crushing cycle. The momentary pleasure was soon chased away by overwhelming guilt and shame. It fed the monsters of depression and loneliness, pushing me farther away from my family and friends. I was afraid of anyone uncovering my secret, so I burrowed deeper into isolationism.

So many times I tried to stop. I made deals with God. I apologized. I punished myself internally and, in general, just kept trying to walk away. But the harder I fought, the stronger the urge became. I was so defeated, so beaten, that I just gave up. Basically I created a place in my mind that revolved around my porn addiction.

And I had seen enough images in my short life, I no longer needed a movie, magazine or the internet.

An Escape

Then something crazy happened. At the time, I thought it was completely unrelated to my porn addiction, but it would be my life saver.

In high school I played on the football team—it was another way for me to escape the pain of real life. As I looked ahead to my senior year, I felt I had no future. Depression, guilt, sadness and hopelessness consumed me. Football was another escape, a way for me to avoid the brokenness I felt inside.

One afternoon in August, before school had even started, I stepped onto a football field as a player for the last time. During a play, a teammate and I tackled a receiver. When I stood up to walk, I couldn’t put any pressure on my right leg. I hopped back to the huddle, thinking I’d just walk it off. That’s what men do, right? But after my coaches and teammates carried me off the field, the trainer looked at it and said words that would devastate any high school athlete:

“I think you tore your ACL.”

She was more than right. I tore my ACL, MCL and meniscus— I blew out my knee. I needed surgery and eight months of recovery.

Now, I was not a stand-out athlete. I was a short, average-skilled athlete with a lot of heart. There were no college scholarships waiting for me. No one was scouting me. My sports career was over. The next couple of months meant a lot of alone time.

I had no idea where I was going to college, no dream of a career, and no hope for what the future held. What should have happened laying in that bed for two months was me and a lot of pornography. But something else happened instead.

I started praying.

My knee injury brought me to the end of myself, and two paths clearly began to emerge before me. If I continued on the dark journey I had begun, all I could see ahead of me was more depression, guilt, sadness and shame. But I knew God offered something different. I knew life was supposed to be about hope, joy, love and freedom. These were all things I had heard about but had never really known much about.

So I stared at my ceiling, and in tears asked God, “What’s the point of life?”

It Was Never a Secret

A Bible I had received at my baptism years earlier guided me to Ecclesiastes. Two sentences in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 changed my journey forever.

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

I realized all my hiding and secrecy were, in fact, not hidden at all. God had seen everything, every moment. And in my brokenness, He was inviting me to come and keep His commandments. To participate in His story. To find freedom by living the life He wants for me. So that night, I told God I was ready for a new journey, but He would have to take away the porn addiction.

Within a year from that night, I was at Bible college, studying to go into full-time, paid ministry and stepping into a newfound freedom of telling the truth. I started to let friends in. I opened up about my struggles. My mask of shame and guilt slowly began to peel away. The most unbelievable thing of all?

My porn addiction began to fade.

The more I learned to walk in the power God had given me through His son Jesus, the less shame I felt over my porn addiction. My greatest fear had come true. Someone had found out about my porn addiction. But instead of shaming me, He offered forgiveness and a chance to live a life of freedom. By walking in His ways, I found a life that didn’t need to escape. God rescued me from my shame and gave me freedom. He showed me how to walk out of darkness and into the light.

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4 Comments

  1. Jason, Owen and I had heard you and Sarah moved, but didn’t know it was to Huntsville. My sister lives there 🙂 Thank you for this article — in our marriage ministry we’re finding porn to be a much bigger “secret” problem that’s having huge repercussions. Thank you for your openness, and for showing the truth that Jesus does offer real hope.

    Reply
    • Lauren, it’s so good to hear from you! Yes, Sarah and I have moved to Huntsville and learning how to start fresh with four kids. Quite a challenge! Thank you for reading and feel free to check out the rest of the magazine. It is a powerful resource for helping people see how God is at work in every circumstance.

      Reply
  2. Pingback: Freedom From Pornography Addiction As A Woman – Shattered Magazine

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