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The one thing you need to do to break porn habits forever

Last Updated: November 3, 2020

John Doyel

John Doyel has dedicated himself to helping men recover from sexual sin and return to God. He leads a recovery ministry at Vineyard Columbus called 180 Recover. He also writes daily emails of encouragement to help believers recover from porn or sex addiction, which you can sign up for on his website or by emailing at doyel@me.com.

I wish it were that simple. One thing? If it were that simple then it would be simple, but you and I both know that is not the case. Certainly gouging out your eyes and cutting off your hands as Jesus mentions in Matthew 5 is an option, but not a good one…he is using metaphor in that passage, so please don’t take me literally.

Breaking porn habits is an extremely difficult task, as you well know. However, the freedom you desire will not be the result of a procedure, but found in a process.

Going into surgery is having a procedure. They go in and remove the tumor or appendix or tonsil…sew you up and send you on your way. Some things are fixed by a procedure. When I was four my appendix ruptured and I was rushed to the hospital where they cut me open, did what was needed, and I have had absolutely no problem with that anymore.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. No procedure exists to end that. However, the process of eating the right foods and getting enough exercise is keeping it under control. I need to follow this daily process and all is good.

Recovery is not a procedure but a process.

Now, if I were to boil it down into one thing we need to do to begin the process of not using porn again, apart from the need to keep being filled with the Spirit and walking in the Spirit, it would be to…

Break the isolation.

I know you keep telling yourself that if you really wanted to you could stop, but you haven’t. There are moments of best intentions but when the loneliness sets in or your anger triggers are pulled, back you go with the promise that you will do better next time.

The reality is you are in a battle way over your head. You are aligned against …

  • the spiritual forces of darkness (see Ephesians 6)
  • a chemical addiction in your brain to the drugs porn release
  • deeper emotional issues and wounds that drive your behavior
  • relational stresses with your spouse or friends of work

Admitting you have a problem and creating an accountability team around you is where you need to start.

Luke Gilkerson’s book Coming Clean is a tremendous resource for you. So my best recommendation for you—that I do daily myself even after 9+ years of recovery—is to find two people you can trust and be honest with them. Tell them what you are struggling with. Ask them if they will be available to you for daily contact for at least 90 days. Then you initiate the contact with them via phone, face to face or e-mails/texts to honestly tell them how your day has gone.

  • Comments on: The one thing you need to do to break porn habits forever
    1. John Smith on

      I can attest to changing workplaces DOES help. I used to use my computer in my bedroom and I would watch porn. I moved my computer to the living room, and I have not watched porn in a week. A small step but a step nonetheless.

      Reply
      • samuel bhaskar on

        I must quit sexual sins I agree with this article I must start a new life in Christ Name

    2. Mike on

      John, why dont you write an article to women about not doing porn? Millions upon millions of women are doing it. The bible talks about tempting women. Maybe we should start holding women accountable for their actions too.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        I’ve already answered this question in another comment. You can read what I said there. We talk quite frequently about holding women accountable.

    3. Thomas Weyandt on

      As for myself, after a month of no porn in May, the months of June and July have been disasters. Again and again, I gave into temptation. To be sure, there were times I successfully resisted and when I fell, I got back up again and continued the fight whenever it hit but it is more frequent temptations and my failures are demoralizing. I should point out that as a single person at age 60, I don’t have anyone who can be accountability partner to use your services. The closest I can come to one is my clinical psychologist who is part of my treatment team for I am a Christian and I am also that modern leper in the Body of Christ, a mentally ill Christian and I am very mad that it was the secular professionals who helped while the Church was silent.
      Checking with those secular people, who are all women, I was told that stigma was still a big problem for the Church according to their experiences and trainings. This is a shameful thing for the Body.
      It is cold out here left in the cold by the Body.
      I have, however, in my two pastors, also women, and that is an issue I don’t want to fight today, found Christian ministers willing to listen and learn about mental illness. Found one former pastor,also a woman, at a local church who actually had as part of her seminary training spending time in a mental illness ward.
      As both mentally and spiritually ill, that is two strikes against me along with porn exposure that started young thanks to adults who left their porn laying around the house.
      The love/hate aspect makes me wonder if I’ll ever be free.
      I have a female friend, close friend, also a dedicated Christian, but she has made it loud and clear that she doesn’t want a relationship.
      I accept that but wish it was otherwise but then, being obese, I’m not to physically attractive to her but I am one of only a few best friends who help her out a lot.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        So sorry to hear about these last couple months, though it is good to hear about your track record in May.

        I hear what you mean about the church being silent. While I see a lot of sweeping changes in the church today, especially among young leaders, I know a lot of people were burned by the silence about pornography and other taboo sins or conditions.

        Social shame is a big factor in all of this, for sure.

        If you don’t mind me asking, what steps have you taken in your life to distance yourself from your pornography habits?

    4. Thomas Weyandt on

      Most of the time that I’m online, I don’t think about porn. There are some links to suggestive sites that I try and avoid but I have to start steering clear of more. Suggestive sites just stoke the fires of temptation. I only go to porn sites when I have already given in to temptation. I’m still going to church and still pray but my prayer life could use some improvement and regular Bible reading. Started Grace by Max Lucado.
      My personal life is still messed up by depression and other mental illness discorders.
      Most days, I endure, and don’t have many happy times but perhaps that is exaggerated.
      When temptation hits and I resist mostly through prayer.

      Reply
    5. Leah on

      I am a woman who struggles w temptation to look at porn. I had no problem at all until my daughter said to me, “You look at porn.” Since that day I’ve struggled with it.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        This is a really interesting comment, and I’m not quite sure what to think of it. It sounds partly like you’re blaming your daughter–and it’s really typical of addicts to place blame on others, so that fits. It also sounds like you’re giving your daughter a huge amount of power over you–which is also typical of addicts, to see themselves of victims.

        I’d encourage you to seek out some help for yourself. No matter how this started, or who might be at fault, you are responsible for your own choices.

        Here are some groups that might help: Celebrate Recovery, SAA, xxxChurch, even AA. A personal counselor who’s experienced with addiction could be a help to you as well, I think.

        Blessings on your healing journey, Kay

    6. JeremiahP on

      Yes, absolutely. Bring that which is in the darkness into the light. We need to love transparency and being completely embarrassed to be able to confess our sins and better serve God.

      Reply
    7. Pete on

      I urge all to download and read COMING CLEAN. I wish when I had the opportunity in my marriage to use CE, that I had read this and followed it’s suggestions and advice. I got CE on my laptop after my wife caught me viewing porn and online sexting. I was very convincing and coniving with it. I purchased an iPod touch online and kept it in my truck. I fooled myself and my wife for quite sometime. However in 2012 I got sloppy and she found it! I had digressed to teen porn and scantly clad young girls. I lost my wife, my life, respect of the community, of my family and friends, AND I WENT TO JAIL! The BEST part of this whole episode is…….I DISCOVERED MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!!! I still battle but knowing He is with me and will never leave me nor forsake me…..keeps me going! SO I BEG YOU…..GET HELP TO FIGHT THIS DISEASE AND REGAIN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR FATHER!

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Glad you liked the book!

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