5 Often Neglected Ways to Defeat Porn

Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.

You have tried to stop using porn, what…1,000 times? Maybe this new book, latest seminar, next program, men’s retreat, or alter call will make the difference. We all know the long list of failures that may have brought a short respite from using sex to medicate how we are feeling. However, we are the dogs that return to their vomit. We are the wretched men who need to freed from this body of death.

But how?

Here are what I believe to be five things you have likely not included in your efforts to stop. They are often neglected because they are hard. They are hard because they move beyond your own efforts…which have failed you how many times? But they work. They have and are working in my life and in the lives of many other men I know.

1. Create your sexual history.

A timeline of everything you can remember regarding the sexual sins you have committed or have been done against you. You do not need to record all the details. Approximate age and what happened is enough. Just get it down on paper or computer file that is password protected.

Related: What Your Sexual Fantasies (Might) Say About You

Mine took a weekend: after about 9 hours and 11 pages I finished it. It was extrememly sobering. It was painful and in the end I literally prayed; “Father, I feel like a pile of %&*#.” Then I heard Him say to me, “John those are things that you did. It is not who you are. You are my child, and I love you.” Great healing moment.

2. Share this with someone you trust and you know loves you.

I printed this list out and gave it to my counselor. This step of bringing these things out of darkness and into the light is crucial to taking away the power they have had over you.

What remains in the darkness will only fester and grow like the cancer it is. Maybe you can share it with your pastor, counselor or someone who will not react in a condemning way. Someone with the spiritual maturity to handle it. I have listened to many men share their list with me. It was painful to them and actually pretty hard on me. However, everyone of them would tell you it was a critical part of their recovery.

3. Find an appropriate small group.

By appropriate I mean a small of people who know about sexual brokenness and are on that journey with you. It will not be just a small group of people of the same gender. Most men’s groups or women’s groups do not know what needs to happen to help someone out or sexual addiction or brokenness.

Some churches have groups like Celebrate Recovery or a 12 Step program. Any thing is better than nothing. You might even consider starting your own and using the LIFE Workbook for Men/Women by Dr. Mark Laaser. Or find two other people and read Samson and the Pirate Monks by Nate Larkin. Just two other people and you meeting weekly for prayer and accountability…a place for you to be honest and confess both positive and negative things that happened that week.

Had enough? These three steps are huge! Each of them will help you. All of them will help you move forward in a journey of recovery. However, these last two put some teeth into it.

4. Find two accountability partners to connect with everyday!

Seriously? Yes, seriously.

Go to any AA meeting and tell them you are an alcoholic and they will tell you to “do a 90 in 90.” That means 90 meetings in 90 days. You have got to be kidding. Nope. They do it after decades of helping people recovery: 90 meetings in 90 days is designed to help you get the encouragement everyday so that you have a chance to get through withdrawal.

It is the same for us. My withdrawal period was more like 180 days. Now, 10 year later, I still do this. Connect with my two accountability partners almost everyday. I need it and so do they. We call or text or email to deal with anything that comes up that we need to talk about or confess. Note this passage:

Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:12-13)

Encourage one another everyday. That is why I send out emails 6 days a week to 700+ people. To encourage them and help them stay on the road to recovery.

5. Never let a fall go unexamined.

Winston Churchill once said; “If you are going though hell, keep going.” You may not believe this, but learning from your falls is critical. It is necessary for you to learn how you fell and why you fell and then set up the necessary boundaries so that does not happen so easily again.

Related: The Two Most Important Questions to Ask If You Have a Setback

That means talking with your group and accountability partners. That means examining how you were feeling, what you were thinking and what you could have done to avoid the fall. This is the hard work of recovery but learning from my falls created a mentality that I was going to keep going and never quit.

Hard stuff to put into place. However, there five things will lay a foundation on which your recovery will succeed. It takes time and a lot of grace.