The Man I Had Become: Kevin’s Story
My name is Kevin, and I am an addict. Although my addiction is dormant, I am an addict nonetheless. At the age of 12, my buddy and I discovered a VHS tape that was discreetly marked “XXX”. As many 12 year old boys have done, we put it in the VCR and felt our pubescent hormones go into a raging overdrive. It was fantastic!!! Little did I know that what most view as typical “boy behavior” would become a crucible that I endured until the age of 32.
For the next twenty years, my addiction was pornography. What started as a curious investigation of a VHS tape would quickly spiral out of control. Through the years, the addiction became stronger, more aggressive, and seemingly unconquerable. By the age of 15, I was a full-blown porn addict. And while friends and schoolmates would joke about porn in the locker room, it was no laughing matter to me. Nobody had any idea how severe my addiction was. By the age of 20, I owned in excess of 100 pornographic movies, not including the pornographic stash on my computer. By age 25, the addiction had consumed me. I would literally structure my schedule around when I could surf the internet to watch porn, oftentimes watching it 3-4 times a day. It was a vicious cycle that would repeatedly come full circle, with an insatiable desire for fulfillment.
At various stages throughout the years, I would make feeble attempts to beat the addiction, but I always failed. At one point, I spontaneously decided to throw away every single piece of pornography that I owned, expecting a freedom that I hadn’t felt in years. Instead, I felt an emptiness and despair where I expected joy and peace. Pornography had become my normalcy, and without it I didn’t function correctly. I knew I needed help, but the stigma attached to pornography addiction was humiliating.
At the age of 32, after reading “Every Man’s Battle” for about the twentieth time, I felt challenged to genuinely beat this addiction. For the first time in my life, I actually wanted to be free from this addiction. I wanted freedom from the devastation that it had caused in my life and my relationships. I realized that I had become the man that the porn industry wanted me to be, not the man that God created me to be. For the first time in my life, I sought sincere deliverance from my addiction. The road to recovery was difficult, laced with many failures, and many times of throwing in the towel. It wasn’t until I fully surrendered to God that the chains were broken; I began to experience the freedom in Christ that I had always longed for.
You see, many people dismiss pornography as “just being a guy” or “a guilty pleasure”. However, did you know that roughly 56% of divorces involve “one of the spouses being obsessed with pornography”? Did you know that there are approximately 68 million porn searches every day on the internet? Or that 47% of U.S. families report porn as a problem in their home? Let me tell you what porn is: a filthy avenue that only satisfies selfish desires and emotional instability. It is a disgusting, perverse exploitation of someone’s daughter, mother, sister, friend. It is an unrelenting bondage that shackles and shields its victim from the abundant life that God has freely given us.
Porn created a barrier between me and God that crippled my relational growth in Christ. It created a dependence on a perverse filth that was catastrophic to my obedience to God. Porn dilutes God’s standard of sexual purity. It creates an emotional fallout that distorts realities, can destroy marriages, friendships, and even more important, your credibility as a follower of Jesus.
I can tell you that the long-term effects of pornography are just as brutal.Although my desire has subsided, at the very mention of the word “porn”, my neurons begin to fire and my mind begins to recollect various images from the cycle of my addiction. The mental images and memories of porn never go away. They cannot be undone. Porn is unlike any other addiction, in that at its roots, it is purely emotional. It was an escape from reality and was disgustingly therapeutic.
The freedom from the addiction has been indescribable. In my “porn sobriety”, I have experienced a closeness with God that had always been hindered. I have experienced a joy and love in my marriage that was previously absent. I no longer feel the anxiety to satisfy my selfish desires. The weight of guilt and shame has been lifted, replaced by abundant joy and a peace that I had never experienced. My relationship with Christ is stronger and closer than ever before. My marriage is great. My friendships are stronger. I am a better husband, a better dad, a better everything. I would encourage everyone, man or woman, to seek help in overcoming a porn addiction. Don’t be ashamed, don’t be embarrassed. There are numerous resources available to assist in overcoming addiction to pornography. The links below are a great place to start…