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Back to the Basics: 5 Steps to Overcome Porn

Last Updated: July 31, 2018

Dan Wobschall

Dan serves as the Director of Gateway to Freedom, a 3-day intensive for men, and also serves as a Sexual Integrity and Recovery Mentor. Gateway to Freedom is a ministry of Be Broken Ministries. Dan speaks nationally on Sexual Integrity Leadership team. Prior to his engagement in ministry, Dan spent 32 years in public safety. He & his wife Julie have been married for 34 years and live in Orlando, Florida.

Most people struggle to find effective methods for overcoming porn in their lives. These five steps have proven to be highly effective when implemented as designed. The greatest variable in this process is you. The process works if you work the process.

The commitment you make to fully engage this process will make or break the outcome you’ll experience. You’ve got to truly desire to be free as you begin this. What I didn’t say is that you need to be fully confident you can make it. A true desire for freedom is a great beginning.

The five steps are taken from the “4 Pillars of Purity” written by Be Broken Ministries founder, Jonathan Daugherty. I don’t have the time to dig into the depths of each pillar, but these steps will give you a good starting point.

back to the basics_ 5 steps to overcome porn

Step One: Profess the Struggle

James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

As we profess or confess struggles and sins to one another, they are exposed to the healing power of the light of Christ. Those we confess to do not heal us, but God uses that relationship to channel His healing power.

In our weakness God’s manifest strength appears in our lives. Being willing to admit we are weak, broken, and in need of help has a healing and freeing power that challenges culture’s perspective.

In professing the struggle, we begin to slowly disempower shame, guilt, and lies that have held us in bondage. Their grip is strengthened in silence and isolation. Break the isolation barrier and profess and confess.

Step Two: Understand Your Triggers

Proverbs 20:5 states,“The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” And verse 24 continues, “A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?”

If you and I walked through any given large mall and wrote down all the sexual triggers we encountered, we would find many common ones, but some quite unique triggers as well. Sounds, smells, signs, and people are all forms of what awaken our sexual triggers.

Related: Trigger Alert! What’s Yours? 

We each have a sexual filter custom formed from our broken journey. As we begin to understand what’s getting snagged in that filter, we begin to understand ourselves. Emotions of which we cannot control (yes, I said we cannot control our emotions) will surface. Emotions are like gravity. Always present. Always active.

Our control lies in how we respond to the emotions as they surface. How we respond directly correlates to our beliefs about God, others, and ourselves. Learning to respond in a healthier manner is directly connected to Steps 3 and 4, but will not stick long term if extricated from Step 1.

Lost? Stay with me. I’ll bring this full circle and in clearer focus.

Step Three: Relate with God

Romans 8:5 says, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'”

This can be a very difficult step for many, especially if the relationship with your earthly father was not a good one. Many fathers leave wounds on their sons and daughters that leave accompanying pain. Pain that they try to medicate by turning to pornography, masturbation, and other forms of sexual acting out.

The unpleasant memories of our dads can pollute and taint our view of our Father in heaven. Those wounds paint an image of God in our minds. It’s a false image, but it certainly seems real to us!

In truth, the relationship with our earthly fathers were broken in the Garden by Adam’s sin. God sent Jesus as propitiation for our sin and created a way for the healing of that broken Abba Father-son relationship.

Let’s be real. No earthly father is perfect. I’m certainly not. I’ve made many mistakes with our three daughters. I have a great relationship with our daughters now, but that wasn’t always the case. As my relationship with God the Father became healthier, so did the bond with my girls.

So it can be for you. Seek God with all your heart and you will find Him. You will find a loving, patient, and forgiving God the Father. After all, you are made in His image and in relationship with Christ; God calls you His beloved and adopted son.

Let that sink in. With Christ as Savior, your divine and heavenly Father is God Himself. That makes Jesus Christ not just your Savior, but your brother in salvation. The first Adam ruined our relationship with our heavenly Father, but the second Adam, Christ, restored it when He was crucified and rose again from the dead.

Step Four: Engage Others

It’s been said, and I fully agree, that the opposite of addiction is community. Most addictions thrive best in isolation. When we choose to engage in community as we pursue greater sexual integrity and health, isolation begins to lose its appeal and grip.

Related: Porn and the Epidemic of Loneliness

Sin grows in the darkness. That’s why sin is equated to darkness in the scriptures. It’s recorded in James 5 for us to “confess your sins to one another so that you may be healed.” Bringing sin and darkness into the light, the light of Christ Jesus is where sin comes to die. In it’s death grip you begin to see freedom sprout and along with it, hope.

Hope is real. How can I say hope is real and tangible? Here’s how:

A study was done of a group of prisoners of war. One group that gave up hope of ever being free was found to suffer very little abuse or torture. The study shockingly found most of those men died in their captivity.

The second group studied were those who held tightly to hope and belief they would be freed. They were often punished, tortured, and beaten by their captors, but the vast majority of this group did experience freedom!

Those who preformed the study came to the conclusion that hope is real and has truly tangible impact on people’s lives.

Don’t give up hope! Stay connected to community and begin to walk out of isolation.

Step Five: Repeat the Steps as a Lifestyle

Overcoming porn is a process, and you need to repeat steps one through four as a lifestyle. This process isn’t final and permanent or one-and-done. I didn’t say it would be easy either.

Freedom has historically been fought for, and this is a war, make no mistake about it. This will take time and patience, and plenty of them.

After more than a decade free from pornography, masturbation, and lust’s deadly grip over my life, this very process is part of my life. It always will be. But it’s so worth it!

Make it part of your life as well. Your sexual integrity and health is worth it. Your spouse and family are worth it!

These steps barely scraped the surface of the foundation the Gateway to Freedom intensive workshops for men fighting sexual strongholds, including pornography. The workshops are held in various places and practically monthly throughout the US.

  • Comments on: Back to the Basics: 5 Steps to Overcome Porn
    1. Savitri Guard on

      I think Step 1 should be… surrender your life to God… fully repent… ask God for forgiveness… and lay down your life. A 180 adjustment of the mind and moreover the heart. Fully accepting God into your heart and renewing your life… I think these things are the most cruscial aspects to recovery. Then allow the Holy Spirit to work in you to combat the darkness -realizing this is a brutal spiritual battle for your soul. …And realizing fully that you can not with any 5 steps or 12 steps or any amount of any steps overcome anything without the Power of the Holy Spirit coursing through you.

      Just saying.

      Reply
      • Arthur on

        While i fully appreciate the angle you are taking on the issue i feel the article is not saying surrendering to God (the Holy Spirit) should be done away with. The article is designed to give the “practical” aspect of fighting in the struggle. Often Christians tend to over “spiritualize” their struggles by implying that if only they took their religious lives seriously they would not struggle. Porn is a brain altering experience…actual physical changes do occur in the brain when a person watches porn. The steps given above are evidence based techniques which are know to enhance recovery. Many Christians have continuously failed to overcome because of neglecting these steps. Many of us would wish for God to deal secretly with our porn addiction without any other person being involved, evidence suggests that pornography addiction is difficult to overcome. Addictions thrive in secrecy and are easily overcome when others are invited to come and help us. Addiction lose their power when we expose them to the light.(let others KNOW we are struggling and NEED help) Surrendering to “the Holy Spirit” includes doing exactly what the scripture says we do in the first step written in the article to confess our struggles to others. Many have tried to ”surrender to the Holy Spirit” without involving others and this has failed again and again.

        The lie is this “I can overcome this on my own”.

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