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Fighting Porn Addiction: The Key Missing Weapon

Last Updated: November 3, 2020

There are many important weapons a man or woman should use when fighting porn addiction:

Unfortunately, more times than not, many people are missing the key weapon, the one that binds all of these strategies together and makes them effective: humility.

Without a gut-level honesty and humility—one that says, “Yes, I have a problem; yes, I’m weak; yes, I can’t do this on my own”—we aren’t likely to pick up any of these weapons anyway.

Plan for Your Worst

Psychologists call it a restraint bias: people underestimate the strength of their urges in the face of temptation, and this leads to impulsive behavior.

A study from the Kellogg School of Management, led by Loran Nordgren, examined how one’s belief in his/her ability to control impulses (greed, drug craving, sexual arousal, etc.) influenced responses to temptation. The study found that people in a “cold state” (not experiencing hunger, anger, sexual arousal, etc.) wrongly estimate the amount of temptation they will be able handle in a “hot state.”

What is the answer to this? Nordgren says, “The key is simply to avoid any situations where vices and other weaknesses thrive and, most importantly, for individuals to keep a humble view of their willpower.” Three thousand years ago, King Solomon put it this way: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

What should we do, then, when it comes to porn? Christian blogger Tim Challies tells his children the same advice he takes to heart as an adult: When you are at your best, plan for your worst. This is the reason why porn addicts so easily get blindsided, derailed, or lazy: they find a small measure of victory and think they can drop their guard and quit their plans—that everything is okay.

A Weekly Humble Reminder

One of the benefits of accountability software for those who have been tempted by porn online is that it is a permanent step in the direction of humility. When others you know and trust receive a regular report of all the questionable places you go online, it changes how you use the Internet. It also serves as a regular reminder—to yourself and others—that your willpower is not as strong as you often think it is, that you are prone to moments of weakness.

Accountability: Not a Last Resort

We tend to carry our pride like a badge of honor. We use it for a shield against anything that might threaten our self-esteem.

Accountability doesn’t come naturally because we are naturally prideful, but we can learn the art of Christian accountability as we explore what the Bible has to say about Christian community.

It is crucial that we come to the understanding that fighting porn addiction is not something we can do alone. Unfortunately, accountability is often discounted as nothing more than a crutch, a place to hide one’s own inadequacies, a last resort for those who are “really messed up.” But accountability is not a last resort; it is a lifestyle. Once we realize that our objections to accountability are rooted in pride, we are finally in a position to ask for the help we need and use the strategies for freedom effectively.

Photo credit: londondesigner

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