I was a teenager in the infancy of the internet and fell into a trap that was seemingly harmless: porn.
I “quit” porn dozens of times over the following decades. It was sometimes weeks, sometimes even a month before I inevitably failed again. I kept telling myself that the next birthday, new year, or life event would be enough for me to outgrow the temptation, and I would put it all behind me.
But I failed.
I got married. I had kids. The years ticked by and I kept falling again and again. In moments of clarity, I knew intellectually how terrible this behavior was for myself and those around me. But in the moments of temptation, none of that mattered. I changed my environment; I set filters. Then I defeated those obstacles as if they were only an additional challenge. In retrospect, the chase became part of the thrill—maybe it always was.
One day, a friend confided to me that I might have saved his marriage by steering him away from his porn temptations and simply letting him know that he wasn’t alone in the fight. I realized that it’s possible to be flawed and to be a mentor at the same time, but I still wasn’t ready to admit that I hadn’t actually vanquished my own challenges.
Then I saw a video featuring a performer that I had followed for some time. For a second, I saw through the façade. I saw through the illusion and realized that porn is an act—a lie. It was only a second. A glimpse. But it was enough that I decided I needed to try a new strategy. I could not defeat this completely on my own.
I first found the Overcome app and went through those 40 days. The additional education and sessions helped me immensely to realize that I wasn’t alone. As I started to take the issue seriously, I studied and did research and found more resources. I joined the Fortify community and shared insights and saw others struggling like me. I found Fight the New Drug and read and listened to stories that helped elevate me out of the shame spiral I’d been inside.
I still slipped. I still fell. But I’d learned that it was a journey and not a light switch. A fall does not negate all of the progress that went before it. Somewhere in my recovery, I made the decision that my mental and spiritual health was worth spending a little bit of money on. I signed up for Covenant Eyes. At first, I was hesitant to have an accountability partner, but as the app kept insisting that the path to victory was outside of isolation, I turned to my aforementioned friend.
He was happy that I had confided in him and asked if I would reciprocate. I’m happy to say that I’ve been victorious now for longer than ever before in the last 30 years of my life.
I can’t say that it’s been an easy road. It’s not even always easy now but there are more days that are easy than difficult. I’m not foolish enough to think I’m ever completely safe, yet I finally have hope that I can stay out of the mire in which I previously stayed.
That’s my story and my victory so far!