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Defeat Lust & Pornography 4 minute read

Making This One Simple Sacrifice Will Help You Eliminate Porn

Last Updated: April 12, 2024

Sometimes the answers to our questions are simpler than we would like. When I’m eating ice cream and cake late at night and begin googling “secrets to getting lean and jacked fast,” I’m looking for a magic fix that doesn’t exist. I want to find the big fat easy “secret” to getting in shape that requires next to nothing from me so that I don’t have to do all the little, annoying, boring, painful things real change requires: not eating cake and ice cream late at night, going to bed earlier, and asking for accountability. The more complex a task or goal, the more excuses we have for not accomplishing it, and the less likely we are to get started.   

Our search for quick, easy fixes is a way of prolonging the inevitable and avoiding some not-so-pleasant truths: Getting porn out of your life will not be easy.  It will require sacrifice, consistency, hard work, boredom, failure, and humility. But when you think about it, what truly good things in life don’t require sacrifice? What good things in life do we come by easily? Most of us know the general principles of getting in shape. Eat less, eat better, and move more. It’s pretty straightforward and quite simple.

So, why don’t we do it?

Circumstances Shape Our Decisions

We are not purely logical creatures. We have powerful emotions and desires that ebb and flow. We are affected by our circumstances, including the time of day, how much sleep we got the night before, the state of our relationships, and even how hungry we are. While in many ways getting porn out of your life is simple, we are not simple, and this is where the challenge lies.   

Many people get in trouble because they take their phones into their bedrooms at night. Sometimes it’s because their phone is their alarm clock, and so, in a very real sense, they need it to wake up. Others keep their phones with them to avoid boredom—to make sure they’re available if someone needs them, or simply out of habit. 

The problem is that when we have our phones with us in our bedroom—when the temptation to look at porn hits—we have put ourselves in the perfect position to give in because we are:

  • Most likely alone
  • Tired (no one thinks straight when tired)
  • Have easy access

Our Willpower Is Limited

After giving in, we tell ourselves it’s the last time. It won’t happen again. But at this moment, we are doubling down on the willpower strategy. Even though it hasn’t worked in the past, we are assuming that our willpower, a finite resource mind you, will carry us through the next time we feel tempted, despite often having much evidence to the contrary. We need a better strategy.  

I know this example is silly, but what would you think if an alcoholic told you they needed a bottle of alcohol with them at all times because they might find themself in a situation where they needed it?

You’d think they were crazy! If they couldn’t use willpower to control themselves around alcohol in the past, why would it suddenly work now? No, they need to remove their access so that even when they feel tempted, they are not able to give in.  

We need to do the same.

Meaningful Change Requires Sacrifice  

And so, here is my proposal:  Give your phone a bedroom and a bedtime. This might mean you need to buy an alarm clock. This will almost definitely mean you need some accountability to follow through and not take your phone into your room at night. But, as we discussed earlier, good and meaningful change requires sacrifice. It always does.

Now, you might be thinking, “Not taking my phone into my room at night isn’t going to completely solve my problem with porn. I mean, Ken, you haven’t even addressed the heart and what’s driving me to act out! Are you really that dense?!” 

And to this hypothetical thought you might be having, I would reply, “You’re right. This step won’t completely get porn out of your life, and it doesn’t dive into the deeper places of our hearts driving us to act out, and yes, according to my wife I can be very dense.”  

However, if we think of recovery as climbing a set of stairs, we need to begin with the first step. If you want to get porn out of your life, it won’t be easy.  There is no magic fix. It will require sacrifice, consistency, hard work, boredom, failure, and humility.  

But when you think about it, what truly good things in life don’t require sacrifice? What good things in life do we come by easily? There are a multitude of steps we must take in the pathway to recovery. But without taking the first step, we’ll never ascend the staircase. This may just be the first step, but it’s an important one.

So, right now, if you know in your gut that giving your phone a bedroom and bedtime would be wise, you can try the application below.  

Application:  

Decide what you want to do, and text someone in the next minute:

I want to do _________, at this time____________, and I will text you ______________ that I did so. If I don’t text you, will you be a true friend and follow up with me for accountability? I need to make this change, and I don’t want to self-sabotage again.  

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