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How Accountability Saved My Academic Career

Last Updated: November 3, 2023

My struggles with pornography addiction have posed a major threat to my education since I was 12 years old. Starting at this time, I spent countless school nights in front of the computer in an addictive trance, instead of completing school assignments. I remember the agonizing tug-of-war I’d play in my mind every evening, weighing the benefits of studying against the instant gratification of watching porn. Each time I yielded to temptation, I knew I’d regret compromising my education for a cheap passing thrill, but I also felt like I had little choice in the matter.

Somehow, I managed to sustain good grades through high school, but my pornography use undermined my academic ambitions and clouded any cohesive vision of a gratifying career path. I dropped out of college after one very idle and porn-filled year and turned my back on formal education for the subsequent decade. Increasingly, my life spiraled into a cycle of depression and self-loathing that I sought to medicate, and ultimately made worse, through my compulsive porn use. This miserable pattern continued until I bottomed out in the midst of the pandemic.

From the spring of 2020 to the Summer of 2021, I literally watched pornography around the clock. The days and nights blended together into an incessant stream of digital images boring into my mind through my computer screen in the dim loneliness of my bedroom. I remember being stunned by how quickly four hours, eight hours, even twelve hours would drift by. Weeks felt like days and months felt like weeks. I stopped going out of the house.

Feeling Desperate

One day I drove down to Monterey to meet with a friend and tell him how desperate I was. It was then that I finally came to terms with the seriousness of my addiction. The weather was cool and sunny that July morning, and we stood out on the pier looking overlooking Monterey Bay. I barely saw the ocean as I stood there beside him, and instead looked back over the porn-induced wreckage of my life. The wasted potential. The threadbare relationships. The mind I’d ignored and corroded.

Following that chat with my friend, I drove straight back to the local community college and enrolled in summer classes. Shortly after enrolling, I called my good friend and told him the news. He congratulated me and promptly asked how I planned to finish any work without watching porn. I told him I wasn’t sure, and he said that I’d need some accountability software, which I hadn’t considered as an option. Following his recommendation, I downloaded Covenant Eyes, and my life has been graced ever since.

Without Covenant Eyes, there is absolutely no way I’d be where I am today. Less than two years after bottoming out in a pornographic malaise, I’m finishing up my undergraduate with the intention of applying to graduate school in the fall. I’ve sustained a 4.0 GPA since going back to school and have raised my cumulative GPA. To put it plainly, Covenant Eyes has transformed my educational experience, and my life as a whole, from a fragmented manifestation of my pornography addiction to a promising journey in the direction of genuine interest and collaboration with intelligent and motivated people.

Having a Goal

Living with integrity using today’s technology has been a major challenge for me, but, with plenty of help from my support system and Covenant Eyes, I’ve developed a clear idea of what it entails.

It is important for me to have a constructive goal in mind whenever I reach for my phone or my laptop so that any time I spend on apps or the internet is geared towards productive and healthy pursuits, rather than destructive and toxic indulgences. If I find myself on a device merely out of boredom or uneasiness, it means I am in trouble and will likely waste time and energy looking at things I shouldn’t. Even though Covenant Eyes makes it nearly impossible to feed my pornography addiction directly, I’m still at risk of consuming provocative images on social media and streaming platforms. For this reason, my integrity is contingent on me being honest with myself and understanding that sites that might be okay for some people are detrimental to my own well-being. Simply put, if my online activity isn’t directly contributing to something worthwhile, like getting schoolwork done or communicating with loved ones, I have no business being on a device.

Staying Accountable

The second way I maintain my integrity with regard to technology is by staying accountable to the people in my support network who take an active interest in me overcoming my pornography addiction. This means letting them know when I’ve abused technology, even in the mildest ways. If I’ve found myself idly scrolling on social media or watching inappropriate movies or shows, I let them know and have them adjust my filters accordingly so it becomes harder to access this sort of content. Maintaining this high level of honesty and transparency enables me to avoid the pitfalls of denial and secrecy and to leverage any mistakes or indiscretions I make as a means to further refine my support network and accountability systems.

Covenant Eyes has created an effective barrier between me and my pornography addiction that has allowed me to establish strong and healthy habits specifically in regards to my educational pursuits. Knowing that watching pornography is no longer an option, and any attempts I make to get around my filters will be fully visible to my account guardians, has allowed me to let go of the compulsion to watch porn and transfer that previously wasted energy towards study, fellowship, and prayer. Covenant Eyes blends seamlessly with the fellowship I’ve found in my local support group since my account guardians are also group members.

In addition to interacting with them on the phone and going over the account reports they receive every day, I have the privilege of seeing them in person on a regular basis and nurturing meaningful friendships with them through group meetings and activities. Even now after using this software for almost two years, I’m acutely aware of its role in sustaining this new and blessed life that is full of meaning, compassion, and courage, and free of the sloth, selfishness, and fear of my addiction.

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