Porn and masturbation addiction was one of the ugliest aspects of my life. They affected so much of my childhood, teenage, and young adult years.
Once I began to feel how sinful and immoral it was, I became anxious and scrupulous but still didn’t stop these behaviors completely. But I was blessed also with periods of chastity and peace, and it was wonderful. It is these moments of successful abstention that give us hope and courage that it’s actually possible to change.
“Scrupulosity” refers to an obsession with guilt, often related to sexual temptation. Like Luke, many people dealing with porn addiction also face challenges with anxiety or scrupulosity. Understanding the relationship between these struggles can be confusing and difficult. If that’s you or someone you love, here are some articles that can help!
AA (alcoholics anonymous) uses the following tactic to remain sober each day. Instead of declaring “I will never drink again,” they make a statement that’s much more humble and achievable: “Today, I’m not going to drink any alcohol”.
Anyway—back to my story! By going to confession, my confessor helped me understand that one of the big triggers in my life was owning a smartphone, as it was the main instrument that enabled me and enticed me to sin. Through God’s grace and the help of this priest, I was able to give up my smartphone and start using an old brick phone (no internet and no camera). This helped tremendously!
When breaking free from these behaviors, you may encounter severe withdrawal symptoms and find yourself scrambling desperately to find an alternative source to feed your addiction. I do advise having a good friend, as well as your adult family, if possible, informed on your situation, so that they can help you through this difficult stage.
“Triggers” are circumstances that often lead people to relapse, even after a period of victory over pornography. For many, learning about triggers and how to avoid them is a critical part of finding freedom from porn.
Withdrawal symptoms also pose a challenge for many people in their journey away from porn. Like someone addicted to alcohol or drugs, someone who quits porn may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms for a time.
Although the relapses became significantly more infrequent, there was still the problem of my laptop. Covenant Eyes did help me in this aspect, once I successfully installed it and set it up correctly. It may not always be enough, however. I’ve been praying to God and asking for his help for years, and He has wonderfully blessed me. Seek His help. I have and still am praying St. Thomas Aquinas’ prayer for purity, which I recommend to you.
I know that every perfect gift, and especially that of chastity,
depends on the power of your providence. Without you a mere
creature can do nothing. Therefore, I beg you to defend by your
grace the chastity and purity of my body and soul. And if I have ever
sensed or imagined anything that could stain my chastity and purity,
blow it out, Supreme Lord of my powers, that I may advance with a pure
heart in your love and service, offering myself on the most pure altar of
your divinity all the days of my life.
For more suggestions, check out The Secrets to Effective Prayers Against Pornography. Take courage, and continue to strive for, hope, and pray for freedom. May God bless you!
At Covenant Eyes, we believe in the power of relationships. As Luke says in his story, it’s important to have a trusted friend or mentor—an “ally”—to help you on your journey. In the context of these relationships, Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability is an essential tool for learning how to use your devices responsibly!