Is Recovery from Porn Possible?
“The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10a). It should be no surprise then that these three recovery killers we’ll talk about come straight from the father of lies–Satan himself.
Jesus on the other hand came to give us life. He said it like this, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b).
There are more than three recovery killers, but with years of experience as a recovery mentor and educator, I’ve seen that the three we talk about here are at the top of the list. Without understanding how these assassins can kill your recovery, it would be nearly impossible to confront and stop them. My perspective comes primarily from working with men, but these also apply to many women in recovery.
Porn Recovery Killer #1: Pride
Pride likes to call the shots. It says it knows best how to handle your recovery. Speaking to the danger of being led by pride, Proverbs 16:18 says,“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
In the early years of my recovery process, I embraced the self-reliant method of pursuing freedom. I suffered my bumps and bruises during those years.
As God revealed my pride problem, I began to surrender the “I can do this myself” mindset. I realized this attitude had landed me at a suicidal point in my life and I decided to try it God’s way.
I pasted Isaiah 66:2b to our bathroom mirror as an everyday reminder. It says, “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (emphasis mine).
This following statement may be challenging for you to hear, but experience demonstrates it’s true: “The proud cannot be taught.” A pride-filled heart tends to think it knows all.
At its core, humility is a position of our heart, and that heart can be taught. As the verse in Isaiah above indicates, God looks with favor upon a humble and contrite heart and spirit. Humility opens the door for heart change–lasting and enduring heart change. Without heart change there is no life change and no ability to be truly set free.
Porn Recovery Killer #2: Minimizing
The definition of minimizing is to “reduce (something, especially something unwanted or unpleasant) to the smallest possible amount or degree.” I’m not a master of too many things in my life, but I had this down to a science during the first few years of my recovery. I’m still prone to do this with non-porn related areas of my life. By God’s grace, I’ve been given clear conviction on that subject.
Minimizing sounds something like this, “Hey, I only looked at porn for 30 minutes this week. Last week, it was an hour!” This is not to diminish progress, because any progress is good. But this self-talk is dangerous in that it sounds more like justifying the behavioral sin rather than confessing it and repenting.
Minimizing is a form of justification, and to a wounded, traumatized wife, it’s defensive talk. I promise that it will not be received well, nor should it be. Defensiveness is a different dialect of the same minimizing language.
No matter how painful it may be, take the position of honesty and fully accept responsibility. It comes from a place of humility in our hearts and mind.
Porn Recovery Killer #3: Isolation
Your greatest need in life is to be fully known and fully loved. Fear and shame work together to keep porn users in isolation and away from anyone or anything that can open their eyes to their greatest need.
Adam and Eve attempted to hide from God in the garden. Why? Genesis 3:9-10 says, “But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’”
Satan, the deceiver and father of all lies, has been using fear and shame to drive us into isolation and away from God since the creation of mankind. And we keep buying the lie. Yet in the Genesis 3 account we see God as he is–the pursuer, grace-giver, and protector of his children. He sent his only Son, Christ Jesus, to redeem that which became broken in the Garden of Eden.
Addiction thrives in isolation and the opposite of addiction is community. In community, we can begin to have our greatest need met–the need to be fully known and fully loved.
Related: Porn and the Epidemic of Loneliness
Follow God’s Example – You Can’t Do it Alone
Even God lives in community as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Albeit a mysterious community, it is a perfect example of what being fully known and loved looks like for his children whom he dearly loves.
After all, he loves us all so much that he bought us back by the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son. And, it’s an open invitation to become part of the greatest eternal community, the family of God. John 1:12-13 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Step into the community of God, set pride aside, walk out of isolation, and begin one of the toughest journeys of your life–the journey to recovery, freedom, and new life.