I think it takes courage to speak out of one’s own story and to strive to offer hope into someone else’s journey. Today, Joe Klock is guest blogging for me. Joe wrote a book, in which he shares his struggle with pornography addiction and his journey toward hope and healing. Does his story resonate with you…
If you are like me, you’ve pledged to stop using pornography thousands of times, only to go a day, a week, a month, or maybe a even a year….and then fall to temptation again.
And when that happens, it’s the most devastating, shameful feeling in the world. The personal humiliation coupled with the pounding self-loathing only increase the weight of the burden you carry. The burden of a dark and terrible secret, and the constant fear of the even more terrible consequences, should anyone find out what you did…..and who you are.
I am here to tell you that yes, it is possible to break the addiction. I am living proof of that.
For over 20 years I struggled with this addiction, which I have come to call “the snare.” From modest beginnings, it led me to extra-marital sexual encounters, and eventually a full-fledged affair, which destroyed my marriage, my relationship with my children, and even my career.
Against my heart, my conscience, and all of my strength, I succumbed to the temptation so much and so often that I hurt myself and others with mindless cruelty and reckless abandon. When the urge or the temptation came, the only thing I wanted was pornography.
And I got it.
But I can tell you today that I am permanently clean and I believe that it is also possible for you to be clean and stay clean. I documented my 25-year journey and the strategies and tactics I used to finally overcome this addiction in a book I titled “Escaping the Snare of Pornography Addiction.”
How do you get clean? You have to change your life. That starts with a strategy for changing what you believe. Learn a lot about pornography and you will be astounded at the devastation it causes in the lives of young women.
And even your beliefs about yourself have to change. You are NOT predisposed to falling to the temptation of pornography. You can change your life. Once your beliefs change, your thinking changes.
And once your thinking changes, your words and actions will change. And then you can start on the tactics. What you do and how you do it can be modified to lead you away from temptation, instead of toward it.
And there is a LOT you can do!
The secret to all of this is self-honesty. If you are caught in the snare, you know about a life of secrecy. You are probably well acquainted with having to lie, clean temp files off of a computer, and protect your image, which really isn’t who you are, is it?
The definition of integrity is “What you do when you are alone and no one knows.” If you don’t want to do anything you might have to lie about, then don’t do anything that you would be ashamed of if your wife, children, boss, best friend, or parents were present. If you are in the snare, you have no integrity.
But you can gain it back. It can become who you really are.
My only hope is that by honestly sharing my personal struggle and eventual success, that I can help even one man escape the snare, and save a wife and children and family the destruction that pornography causes.
The world does not need another divorce, broken marriage, and kids living in single parent houses. The world needs trust, honesty, and integrity. And that starts by getting clean and staying clean….forever.
It is possible, and you can do it. It takes courage, determination, and faith. But you can do it. God bless.
Thank you Joe for sharing so vulnerably. His book is available in paperback, on Kindle and at www.smashwords.com. He also started a blog about the subject.
14 thoughts on “Is It Truly Possible to Escape Pornography Addiction Permanently?”
I think it’s fantastic that Joe is willing to be transparent with his story and want to help other men!!! One thing I’d like to mention, though, is that women struggle with pornography as well. I guess it’s not as common, so it’s very difficult to find resources to help the very different female psyche overcome the addiction. I would be very interested to hear from a woman who has been able to do the same as Joe, if you could find one.
Joe, thanks for sharing this! Speaking for myself (and an addiction that lasted for about 15 years), a heart change from the Lord is indeed the only thing that will bring lasting freedom.
I would be interested to know if the author can articulate the ways in which this is a Christian book and the place of Jesus and his gospel in the process of transformation? What is described in this article has an air of cognitive behavioral therapy; changed thinking leads to changed behavior. Certainly Christians need a renewed mind that leads to renewed behavior, but it does not seem clear that an explicitly biblically-informed mind renewal is what the author prescribes. Additionally, there seem to be repeated admonitions for the person to believe they have the power to change…without a single word about a new heart, new life, faith, trust, etc. that is oriented toward or placed in Jesus Christ. In other words, can the author articulate how this book could be differentiated from the other self-help, self-empowered-change books in the marketplace? It is not entirely clear from this presentation if the author is calling people to follow his example, or if he is calling people to follow him /as/ he follows Christ. Or is the vagueness in this regard part of the way the author is attempting to whet our appetite to read his book without people immediately dismissing it as “one more spiritual book on stopping pornography….been there, tried that”?
@PM… thank you for your comment. There is a ministry that reaches out to women who have struggled with sex addiction and/or pornography addiction. It’s called Dirty Girls Ministries… check it out here: http://dirtygirlsministries.com
@Scott W… Thank you for your comment! I’ll let Joe speak to many of your questions, as I think he would be better equipped to answer them. Joe, please feel free to comment in response to Scott.
@Greg… thanks Greg for stopping by to comment. I appreciate it!
In response to Scott, and thanks for your response. There are a lot of questions there and I’ll try to answer them the best I can. First, I’m not sure what cognitive behavioral therapy is, so I can assure you that I was not writing from that perspective. Second, yes, this book was based on my experience and what I believe to be true, which is that if we believe in Jesus Christ and submit our minds, bodies, souls, and spirits to Him, that God will renew our minds and hearts according to both our willingness and His promise. But in my life, I have not found this to be a simple, fast, or easy transformation, especially considering the evil inside of us combined with this highly addictive temptation. And I would never ask anyone to follow my example, everyone should follow the example of Christ as you suggest. But I believe that each of us can share and learn from our own experiences in our individual journeys as disciples. If by sharing my experience and what worked for me, one other person finds freedom and one marriage is saved, then it was worth the time writing the book. I do believe that what we believe is the cornerstone that shapes our entire lives, and I think that’s evident to most people. If we believe in God and salvation through Christ, then that is our foundation for living. If we believe that pornography doesn’t hurt women, then we would be very wrong, and our thoughts and actions would echo that belief. And that particular belief is mine, which I have come to believe based on my faith in Christ and what I witness going on in the world and in my own heart. To me, it is the truth, and worthy of belief. I hope that makes sense to you.
And as far as differentiating this book from others, I have read a few books on finding freedom from pornography and most of them are very helpful in one respect or another. I am sure that my book is different, which is good, but I was not trying to market or sell my book very aggressively. I wrote it because I have a strong compassion for men caught in this addiction, and I wanted to do what I could to help them. If people buy my book, I sincerely hope it helps them, and if they buy a different book, that’s great and I still hope they find freedom. There is no “one way” to escape the snare. God deals with each person differently, so I think that sharing our experiences openly and honestly is an excellent way to put into action the ‘becoming one’ prayer that Jesus prayed for us in John 17. That is my ultimate goal. To be one with Christ and with all of my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I discovered my husband’s addiction to pornography 13 years ago, we have been married 20. 13 years ago we spent 8 months in marriage counseling and support groups for sex addicts/spouses of sex addicts. I was terribly angry back then as he brought this into our marriage. He knew about my history of alcohol addiction/recovery process prior to our marriage. I was angry because I found myself in the 12 step stuff again. It was hard enough working on my own recovery and here I was back into it again because of his secret. Back then we established rules, boundaries, sponsors, counselors and lost several close friends in the process. At the time we whew both on staff at our church as state licensed mental Heath counselors. Fast forward 6 years. I caught him again using porn lying, betrayal all that goes with it. We once again established rules, boundaries and accountability partners. Fast forward another 3 years, here we are again. I’m so tired of it. I read, I pray, we have separate bedrooms. I’m lost and angry and hurt and ….I don’t know what to do. Each time through the battle god reveals new things to me. Currently I believe God is telling me to trust Him, that His plan is so much bigger than I can imagine. Through reading various books I believe my role is to be an intercessor for him and having faith that God answer my requests. I’m so angry at my husband’s denial and lack of repentance and apathy regarding our marriage. I’m hoping for some direction from you.
@Lisa…. thank you for your vulnerable comment. I am heartbroken by the pain you’re going through and the struggle that continues to wreak havoc in your marriage.
I don’t have easy answers, but I do find it encouraging that you believe God is telling you to trust Him.
Is your husband willing at all to do any counseling, accountability group, etc., at this point… or is he beyond wanting to try anything again? Even if he is not willing, I encourage you for your own wellbeing to seek support and insight from a counselor and/or mature Christian women who will pray with you, offer suggestions, etc.
You may also want to read the below post on my page, particularly the COMMENT section, where readers offer resources aimed particularly at wives whose husbands are struggling with porn addiction:
I am so sorry for what you are going through. Every marriage is different and some survive porn addiction and some do not. I encourage you to continue to press into God before making any decisions about the future of your marriage, and trust that He will guide you. You are right that He has a much bigger plan. I think it’s understandable that you are so angry and hurt. What your husband is doing is devastating.
For me, personally, I need my wife to be attentive to me sexually and just this small, insignificant yet so torturous and tiresome, insignificant, unneeded, so hard a thing, will keep me away from porn easily. I swear, when she is “on me” I have a firewall against porn. I can be alone online and attend my classes, check news and stocks without a hint of temptation. Yet she blames me for intimacy problems. When I go a week without sex or her being attentive to me sexually, temptation ends and I “act out.” and I don’t feel guilty either. For the most part, since she hates me so much, I stay away from porn because it keeps me up and kills time and after awhile, all the pictures look similar (soft porn). I have most pics deleted and my favorite nude pics are of my wife. But as we are, she hates me. she really does. My kids like me though.
What about the other end of the spectrum? Women are also victims of porn addiction that can wreck havoc on a relationship, but I feel like that there are not any resources or help for those women who are addicted to pornography.
@Jill… thank you for your comment. There actually are a few ministries and resources that are dedicated to helping women overcome porn addiction. Visit http://http://dirtygirlsministries.com.
@Olaf – you have hit a key factor in porn viewing – your SPOUSE’S contribution to sex! How many married people would view porn in lieu of a satisfying sex life? Very few, and the temptation would be greatly reduced for everyone else. Even as a Christian, I have a real hard time blaming the viewer of porn when it’s all the sex they’re getting from their partner. Fix the intimacy issues FIRST, see what porn viewing remains, THEN address that. Too many women view a healthy male’s sex drive as “addictive” when it’s just…healthy for a male. One website I visited for marriage issues had a wife calling her husband a “sex addict” when he wanted sex 3 times in one week…an ADDICT she called him! I figured out why – put a label on your husband as an addict, and the wife doesn’t have to do anything in the intimacy department.
Sir , Please help me i am porn addicted thank you.
This is a tough one for me. For years before I got married, I had an ongoing addiction to pornography. This was in dial-up days, so I would read graphic literature while I waited for pictures to load.
About 8.5 years ago, I got married. Things were great at first, but as our sexual intimacy has decreased, the temptation to indulge in porn has increased. Now we have high-speed internet, and I know that videos are only a click away. My wife doesn’t seem to understand how important sex is. I don’t recall exactly when the last time we had sex was, but I know it was before Christmas, maybe even before Thanksgiving. Once to twice a month, if I’m lucky, is typical. She can and does spend hours gaming online, but when we go to bed, she’s consistently “too tired” for sex. We sleep naked, but if I try to feel her up, she consistently slaps my hands.
I know pornography is wrong, but it really would be easier to give in than it is to continue to get shot down.
I’ve been into pornogrphy from a very young age, and like Mr.joe klock said from small beginings, I grew up to be someone who does want to stop porn addiction but finds himself in the same pool of mess, I’ve made many resolutions with respect to the issue of stoping porn addiction but I still can’t help the urge. Mr.joe klock you made mention of changing ones belief, which in turn leads to a change of thought and consequencially a change of behaviour. My questions are how does one candidly change ones belief and how does one make a fruitfull resolution. Thank you.