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Your First Seven Days of Porn Recovery

Last Updated: April 2, 2019

Mark Denison
Mark Denison

Mark Denison, D.Min., along with his wife Beth, is the founder of There’s Still Hope, a national sexual addiction recovery ministry. Mark has a Master’s in Addiction Recovery, is a certified PSAP (Pastoral Sex Addiction Professional), and is an active member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. Mark is a former church planter, pastor (30 years), NBA chaplain, and university board chairman. Mark has written four books on recovery: Porn in the Pew, 365 Days to Sexual Integrity, A 90-Day Recovery Guide, and Porn-Free in 40 Days.

While traveling recently, I attended a 12-step group. I enjoyed the meeting greatly, but was saddened by the lack of long-term sobriety in the room. Over half the guys admitted to acting out that week. What’s the take-away?

The first seven days of recovery are the most important. For most of us, recovery began as an unintended consequence of getting caught in our addiction. We wanted recovery, but didn’t have a clue where to start. The result was a life of constant relapse.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I’ll keep it simple–and practical. Forget the lifetime recovery plan. The first 90 days? Don’t even think about it! What you need is seven days.

You can only secure recovery one day at a time. Here are seven building blocks for your first seven days.

Day 1: Cut off all contacts.

The Bible warns, “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). The best way to flee from something is move so far from it that you can’t see it anymore–even in your rearview mirror.

This means deleting phone numbers, email addresses, and social media contacts. It means cutting off toxic relationships. It means having zero contact with former acting out partners–forever. No more calls, texts, or contact of any kind–ever. Get rid of any porn you If you are serious about your recovery, start here and start now. If you have to stay up all night to do it, still do it–delete everything!

Day 2: Tell someone.

French novelist Andre Malraux wrote, “Man is not what he thinks he is; he is what he hides.” Someone needs to know your story.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer lamented, “The final obstacle to true Christian fellowship is the inability to be sinners together.”

And James said, “Confess your sins to each other so that you may be healed” (5:16).

You need to tell someone your story right away. Secrecy is the incubator of addiction. You must bring it out into the open. You don’t need to tell everybody, but you do need to tell somebody. And you need to do it now.

Day 3: Attend a 12-step meeting.

I didn’t want to go. The mere thought of sitting in a room full of addicts, telling my story, made me sick–literally. But five and a half years and 600 meetings later, I know that stepping into that first meeting was one of the best decisions I ever made. Why? Because the opposite of addiction is community.

Paul said, “Therefore encourage one another, and build one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Can you do this apart from SA, SAA, or CR? Yes, but you’ve already tried that and failed. You need the support of a group of other addicts who get it. These meetings provide a safe zone. After attending hundreds of such meetings, I can honestly say I have never failed to benefit from a meeting.

Day 4: Fast and pray.

You cannot find sobriety apart from an intimate walk with God. When faced with a huge challenge, Jesus said, “This kind can come forth by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29).

When Nehemiah heard that the walls around Jerusalem had fallen, he said, “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven” (Neh. 1:4).

In order to take your problem seriously, you must take God seriously. On Day 4, set aside time to fast and pray. Nothing else will be so empowering as you fight the disease of addiction. I like the way Oswald Chambers said it: “It’s not so much that prayer changes things, but that prayer changes me.”

Day 5: Schedule a C.S.A.T. meeting.

Your best thinking got you into this mess; it won’t get you out. You need to talk to a professional. You need to talk to a C.S.A.T. (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist) if at all possible. A C.S.A.T. is the most highly trained therapist in this field.

We know that “without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Prov. 15:22). Your plan was never to become addicted to pornography. But your current strategy is perfectly suited for the results you are getting. It’s time to go all in. Find a C.S.A.T. and schedule an appointment today.

Day 6: Get on Covenant Eyes.

The prophet Ezekiel was appointed a watchman over Israel (Ezekiel 33:7). His job, Matthew Henry said, was “to discover the advances of the enemy, and to give notice to them immediately by the sound of a trumpet.”

Covenant Eyes provides that service with a layer of accountability you need–now. In simple terms, when you sign up, you will designate a trusted friend as an ally who will receive a weekly report from Covenant Eyes, detailing any inappropriate sites you have attempted to view online. I am so convinced of the benefits of this accountability platform that I require it of every client with whom I work.

Day 7: Enroll in a recovery plan.

Jesus offered this analogy. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” (Luke 14:28). Your first seven days are your most important seven days, but they are just the beginning. It is critical to have a plan going forward. This plan should include therapy, 12-step work, and accountability. Our ministry offers a 90-Day Recovery Plan. But there are plenty of other good options. Pick one and get started today.

Recovery starts today.

You cannot secure sobriety in just seven days. But you can’t secure it without seven days, either. The best time to get started in recovery was last year. The second best time is today. So get started. The Bible promises, “Your beginnings will seem humble, but your future will be prosperous” (Job 8:7).

Recovery. It starts today.

  • Comments on: Your First Seven Days of Porn Recovery
    1. Andrew on

      Really great post. Mark’s ministry has helped me in my journey and currently I have just finished 12 months of sobriety. Things can change, we can be healthier and the work outlined in this post works if you work it.
      Thank you to Mark.

      Reply
    2. Gary Wofford on

      This is very similar to the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” Most know that the answer is “One bite at a time.” The same is true of most large projects in our lives. You have to get started somewhere, and the seven day start described in this blog sounds like a manageable start. After that, you can make it to 30 days. I had a pastor in the past that frequently said, “If you can go 30 days without something, you can go years.” If you can make a short term goal and reach it, then extend that goal and when it is accomplished, then realize that you can go without something for much longer. If you can succeed in small things, you can succeed the next day, or week, or month. The advice in this blog is very good. I would highly recommend that you follow these steps to get started. Almost no one gets out of this addiction without help. God never made us to do life alone. We all need help, and Mark Denison is certified to do just that. Help can be on its way. Just ask. You’ll never do it alone.

      Great blog.

      Reply
    3. Tom on

      Through his ministry, Mark provides the degree of compassion, understanding and counsel to help anyone overcome their addiction. This 7 day plan is a very good example of the solid and clear direction Mark lays to begin your path to recovery.

      Reply
    4. AJ T on

      Potent and worthwhile first steps.

      Reply
    5. Danny on

      Mark Denison is the best! His blogs have been among some of the best I have ever read and have challenged me to go all in with my recovery. I receive his “Recovery Minute” email every day and it always has excellent thoughts, ideas and encouragement. I’m in the process of working through his 90-recovery plan and it has been great. It’s not easy, but I can say that I’m better today than ever and celebrating total sobriety (of which I never thought possible) for more than two months! With God’s help I know I can be sober today and tomorrow, He’ll help me do it again.

      Reply
    6. Jon Wolfe on

      Excellent blog that is full of truth!
      Thank you Mark for not being afraid to tell it like it is….

      Reply
    7. Laurence on

      Thank you,the seven day plan has really been helpful to quite many

      Reply

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