3 minute read

The Life-Changing Power of Sharing Your Story

Last Updated: November 5, 2021

Sam Guzman
Sam Guzman

Sam Guzman has been on the Covenant Eyes team for the last five years. He is the author of The Catholic Gentleman: Living Authentic Manhood Today and the founder of the blog and podcast of the same name. His writing has appeared in various publications and he is a frequent guest on podcasts and other media outlets. Sam is also a co-author of Transformed by Beauty, which teaches how beauty can help you heal from the wounds of pornography. He is currently an intern finishing his Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He lives in Oklahoma with his wife and five kids.

The statistics on porn use are staggering. It’s pretty safe to say that at least one in two American men, and a growing number of women, struggle with compulsive porn use. And it’s no wonder: porn is easy to access, free, pleasurable (at least for the moment), and anonymous, making it seemingly irresistible and highly addictive. 

But despite these numbers, countless porn users think that they’re the only one who struggles. “No one else,” they tell themselves, “finds porn as compelling as I do, and so I must be especially messed up.”

Among Christians, the problem can be even worse. Many young men and women think that no one else struggles with lust or porn, which makes their struggle feel even more shameful and sinful.

The problem with this belief is that it is completely unfounded. 

It’s Time to Get Real

Let’s get real about the prevalence of porn. 

There’s a strong likelihood that if you grew up around or lived during the technological explosion in the early 21st century, you’ve been exposed to pornography. Researchers seeking to study the effects of pornography on the brain have trouble doing so for the simple reason that they can’t find anyone who hasn’t seen porn to use as a control group. In short, pretty much everyone has seen porn at this point. It’s that prevalent. 

And if you’ve seen porn, there’s a strong chance that you went back and viewed it again. Porn presses all the right neurological buttons, flooding our brains with dopamine and adrenaline. It’s perfectly suited to be habit forming and even addicting. 

Oh, and if you think Christians are immune, think again. Studies show that compulsive porn use is just as common among Christians. It’s an equal opportunity destroyer. 

Here’s the point. Nearly everyone has seen porn, and lot’s of people—Christian or non-Christian—find it addicting and hard to quit. So if you think you’re alone in this struggle, it simply isn’t true. There are lots of people with stories just like yours. Some are still struggling, but many have found freedom. 

Nate Found Freedom in Telling His Story

One man who found lasting freedom from porn is Nate Larkin. He was a successful pastor with a large following of admirers. But he had a terrible secret: He was a sex addict. He compulsively viewed porn and even bought sex. 

After facing a crisis in his life, he finally found the courage to tell his story. Here’s what he says about his experience: 

Telling your story for the first time can be intimidating, even terrifying. It can feel like you’re about to lose everything—and that’s why many people don’t want to do it.

But once you actually do go public with your struggles, you realize you’re not alone. You find the burden of shame is lifted, and like Nate, you feel a new rush of freedom and hope. 

Tell Your Story

If you’re reading this, and you’re struggling with porn, tell your story to someone you can trust. It’s scary, I know, but you’ll be glad you did. Chances are, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a lot more encouragement and support than you think. More importantly, you’ll realize, like Nate Larkin, that your story isn’t nearly as unique as you thought. 

And if you’re reading this and you’ve defeated porn in your life, please tell your story. Hearing about a journey of authentic healing and recovery from porn use can empower someone else to open up and seek help. It can literally change a life. Yes, it requires some courage and vulnerability, but it’s an act of service and love. We’re all in this together. 

Author Brene Brown once said, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” Telling our story requires a great deal of vulnerability, and we often fear we will appear weak if we admit our struggles. But the truth is the exact opposite. Being vulnerable is one of the most courageous and freeing things we can do, and it can give others permission to be vulnerable themselves, and find healing as a result. 

If porn is going to be defeated in our culture, we need a lot more courageously vulnerable truth-tellers to stand up and be honest about their struggles—and victories—with porn. Telling your story is a powerful act of resistance to a pornified world, and it can empower you and others to live lives of freedom and joy.

  • Comments on: The Life-Changing Power of Sharing Your Story
    1. Stephen Bauer on

      Nate, thank you for sharing your story! Those of us who have been freed from this cancer need to speak up about how we were delivered and continue in freedom. The isolation is suffocating. We must create an atmosphere of compassion for these men (women for women) so they are able to talk about their bondage. I can’t wait for men to open up to me. I must talk about my own journey in hopes that they (other men) will feel comfortable opening up to me. Their
      story is always held in the strictest of confidence by me. Steve 330-697-6507

      Reply
      • Gary Womack on

        Anonymity available or no?

    2. Gregory A Swartz on

      Let’s not beat around the bush: Sharing your story is difficult.

      Taking the time to specifically recall the sins you are trying to forget, write them down in a logical manner, and then coherently tell others about it is… well… painful. Especially if you know the people you are sharing with… and more so if they were affected by your sin.

      I have my story written out. It takes me about 20 – 22 minutes to tell… and even after telling to several different groups of people… I still tear up.
      It is emotionally draining.

      But there is freedom in telling others.
      1. Yes, you are revealing your secrets. No more shame.
      2. You are telling other men they are not alone.
      3. You are also telling them there is freedom!

      When I meet with men in a one-on-one setting, I’ll usually say something like: “I was struggling with porn so much it affected me…”
      More often than not, they share a similar struggle.
      I then go real deep… and most feel the ability to share then.
      But only because I was willing to be vulnerable first.

      I’ve shared my story 8 times in 6 cities in open group and once from the pulpit in a Sunday Service setting with groups of 4 to 200.
      I’ve also shared in small group and one-on-one settings countless times.
      I’ve shared in 12 Step Groups.
      I lead a 12 Step men’s group.
      I’ve led 3 Conquer Groups.

      It is still hard to tell others your sin.
      It is still hard to tell others your struggles.

      But in the end, it is SO worth it!
      Greg

      Reply
      • Sue Laeupple on

        Hi Steve, thank you for sharing/your comment! My husband, Steve, is overcoming a decades-long addiction too. These comments on here are so encouraging, helpful and wonderful. Thankful for people telling their story, for God’s help to overcome and bring light to this wide-spread issue, and for CE software and support! God bless you and them! Sue

    3. Andres Jordan on

      Nate, I remember watching your story a few years ago and it truly impacted me! I have been on a journey of recovery for almost 10 years and can say that I am sexually sober (no sex with self, or anyone other than my wife) for two years now. Having been introduced to porn at the age of 8 by the abuser and living with abuse in the home made this a difficult life journey; however, connection to my God (higher power) and a relationship with Him, an open and vulnerable relationship with my sponsor, and my wife were tools that helped me on this daily walk. Thank you to Covenant Eyes for these mailings, but also for the software that helps me maintain accountability.

      Reply
      • Sue Laeupple on

        Hi Andres, thank you for sharing/your comment! My husband, Steve, is overcoming a decades-long addiction too. These comments on here are so encouraging, helpful and wonderful. Thankful for people telling their story, for God’s help to overcome and bring light to this wide-spread issue, and for CE software and support! God bless you and them! Sue

    4. Charlotte Green on

      I am a woman who has struggled with porn addiction. Me, a Christian -having this problem was hard to deal with.
      I ended up self-loathing.
      But God! He continued to comfort me and let me know that His Love will never leave. Each time I relapsed after quitting watching pornography, there was conviction in my spirit – and His powerful gentle reassurance that I was His child. NOW I AM FREE!
      It is not easy to quit/give it up. But we have a faithful God.
      Don’t give up giving up, each time you get a step closer to freedom.
      I pray that the Lord gives you knowledge of His never ending love. This will set you free.
      God Bless.

      Reply
      • Sue Laeupple on

        Hi Charlotte, thank you for sharing/your comment! My husband, Steve, is overcoming a decades-long addiction too. These comments on here are so encouraging, helpful and wonderful. Thankful for people telling their story, for God’s help to overcome and bring light to this wide-spread issue, and for CE software and support! God bless you and them! Sue

    5. John Williams on

      Porn was my functional escape during my middle 20’s, from 25-27 years old. At the time, I was serving as a full-time student pastor.

      When I outed myself to my wife, it was devastating for her.

      We’ve used CE for the past 2 or 3 years to help with accountability. It is a great resource and tool for us.

      Now, I lead other men on weekly mastermind calls to discuss things like being a better dad, showing up as a husband, and how to deal with life’s snares, like porn.

      Living free of porn has helped me shape a beautiful life for myself, my wife, and our kids. With God’s help, I’ve been able to launch a successful federally funded 501c3 organization, Life that Counts, Inc., where we help students make better decisions for more healthy outcomes.

      For the past 4 years, God has blessed us with the opportunity to speak, teach, and share life with people all across the US and beyond – from speaking at school assemblies, keynotes for professionals, and training educators in professional development around social/emotional learning.

      I’ll share one quick story before wrapping this up. A couple of years ago, I was speaking at a school in Northern Idaho, it was just days after the Parkland tragedy.

      Mid-assembly, I asked the kids if any of them had ever considered taking their own lives or those of others. In an auditorium of almost 700 9th-12th grade students, a hand went up in the back of the room.

      After the assembly, students began to file down the side of the room to come take selfies and such, but one student ran past the crowd, threw her arms around my neck, and with tears streaming now her face onto my shirt sleeve, thanked me for coming and sharing my story of growing up in abuse. It was the same student who raised their hand mid-talk.

      About an hour later, after the room cleared, the school counselor told me that the young lady was a 19 year old freshman with three kids – 2 of which, her dad was their dad.

      Her father pulled her out of school at the end of 8th grade and trafficked her for several years. Now, her goal was to learn to read and write before she had to leave high school at the state required 21 years old.

      I would’ve never been able to be there for her had it not been for coming clean with my wife and overcoming porn.

      Are there days when I’m tempted by it, sure. But the beauty is that I no longer live in shame. I’m not a victim to it. With God’s help, I’ve shifted gears and moved past this mind-gripping darkness.

      With Hope!
      John

      Instagram @therealjohnwilliams
      Facebook.com/lifethatcounts
      lifethatcounts.org

      Reply
      • Sue Laeupple on

        Hi John, thank you for sharing/your comment! My husband, Steve, is overcoming a decades-long addiction too. These comments on here are so encouraging, helpful and wonderful. Thankful for people telling their story, for God’s help to overcome and bring light to this wide-spread issue, and for CE software and support! God bless you and them! Sue

    6. David W Heughins on

      Dear Covenant Eyes,
      I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggled alone with sexual addiction for almost 60 years before finding freedom in Celebrate Recovery by breaking out of my denial. I was addicted before I ever saw porn, but National Geographic and my imagination were enough to make me an addict. I have given my testimony numerous times and it is a liberating experience. I recently published a book, Holiness in 12 Steps (Xulon Press), that explains how it worked and includes my testimony.. To God be the glory!

      Reply
    7. Chris Epson on

      I am in the process of sharing my story in a blog, although during the past 3 1/2 years of recovery I have shared with many, many people, and have spoken, along with my wife, in an addiction recovery”fireside”. But to write has been an amazing experience…
      http://www.recovery-light-life.blogspot.com
      Thank you Nate for sharing yours…

      Reply
    8. daniel michelson on

      Thanks to god and proper medication for bi polar disorder, i have been living free of porn and lust .

      Reply
      • Moriah Dufrin on

        Daniel,

        Praise God! I am so encouraged to hear that you are living porn-free! It is my prayer that you will continue to fight against temptation and stay on the path of recovery. Cling to God, and He will continue to guide you.

        Blessings!
        Moriah

      • Sue Laeupple on

        Praising God for that, Daniel! :)

    9. Glenn Hodge on

      At 73 yoa, I am finally feeling that maybe I have reached that place in my life where, with God, I feel good today as to my place in this world. My porn life began way back when I was quite young. Everything came undone three years ago when I fell for a Facebook post by a very good looking “female”?? My wife suggested divorce. I spent two months in a VA recovery facility. And finally was able to believe and find true salvation. God is truly the only way! If you’re suffering with this issue please seek God, He is the only way.

      Reply
      • Susan Laeupple on

        Thank you for sharing, Glenn! I’m so sorry and grieve that the devil has kept you in bondage so long, but I am so thankful that your heart was opened to salvation in God through Jesus!!! Yes, He is the ONLY way, truth, and life, and way to God and true freedom – body, mind, heart and soul. <3

    10. Sue Laeupple on

      Hi Steve, thank you for sharing/your comment! My husband, Steve, is overcoming a decades-long addiction too. These comments on here are so encouraging, helpful and wonderful. Thankful for people telling their story, for God’s help to overcome and bring light to this wide-spread issue, and for CE software and support! God bless you and them! Sue

      Reply

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