I used to be addicted to pornography.
I’m not anymore.
Many people believe that once you are an addict, you will always be an addict and you must be extra careful your whole life or you’ll fall back in.
But that’s not true.
You don’t have to be an addict for even one more second.
Let me teach you how to overcome a pornography addiction easily.
“All human behavior is a result of the state we’re in.”
In other words, the way we feel in any given moment determines almost entirely how we act in that moment.
Think about the things you do and then think about how you’re feeling when you do them. When you do good things I’ll bet you are feeling pretty good emotionally. But what about when you do things that you’re not particularly proud of? How are you feeling in those moments? Ever yelled at someone you didn’t mean to yell at? Chances are you were angry or stressed or depressed when you did it.
We need to feel good emotionally in order to change. If we feel good, we naturally act in ways that promote happiness and goodness. When we feel hopeless or depressed or stressed, we tend to act in ways that are more unhealthy and destructive to us and those around us.
Realizing this was the key to overcoming pornography for me. It changed my understanding of the entire issue and started empowering me. It changed the way I approached recovery.
You see, the real cause of addiction is not chemical hooks in the brain, or temptation. We turn to addictions to escape chronic painful emotional states. Watch this video.
This means that the secret to overcoming a pornography addiction (or any addiction for that matter) is to change your emotional state. It’s to make sure you feel the right feelings.
It’s not about forcing yourself by sheer willpower to act good. It’s about feeling good and the right actions will follow.
So what are the right feelings?
“In order to succeed we must first believe that we can.”
– Nikos Kazantzakis
If you believe you can do something, you can do it. But conversely if you believe that you can’t do something, you can’t.
It’s a simple truth, but it’s very true.
The reason for this is that what we believe shapes the state we are in. If we believe we can do something, we feel hopeful. We feel confident. We feel certain. And this results in success because our emotions are supportive and empowering.
Now, when I talk about belief, I’m talking about certainty.
I’m not talking about some passive acceptance of an idea. I’m talking about this active and burning feeling deep inside of you that you WILL succeed. That you already HAVE succeeded. That it’s GUARANTEED. That there is absolutely no question and no doubt that this thing that you are seeking now is going to come to fruition. It’s done. It’s finished.
If we want to overcome a pornography addiction, we need to become certain that we can. That we WILL. That it’s GUARANTEED.
The scriptures put it a different way. They call it ‘doubting nothing’ (Mormon 9:21), or ‘nothing wavering’ (James 1:6).
Let me tell you something. The moment you are certain in your mind and heart that you are free of pornography, you are. And that just comes from a moment of decision. It doesn’t have to take a long time (It’s okay if it does, though. Don’t beat yourself up if it’s taking a while. That would create the wrong emotional state and keep you from success). Don’t stop yourself from feeling good or feeling hopeful because you don’t think you deserve it yet.
Now, if you don’t have this certainty, don’t worry! You can develop it! And you can do it quickly! It doesn’t have to be perfect, either. The more certain you become, the greater your power will be. But even just a small amount of belief will give you power and you can build on that!
“The secret to change is to focus all of your attention not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
– Dan Millman
This is the area that we get furthest off track when dealing with pornography addiction.
We know it’s bad. It’s really bad. It’s destructive. It’s perverted. It destroys love and corrupts sex.
But here’s the thing:
What we focus on shapes our belief and changes our emotional state (remember, our emotional state determines if we succeed or fail. So our focus is key!).
So if the goal really is success, rather than punishment or payment for sins, we need to stay in the emotional state that will bring success.
We need to stay certain.
Which means we need to focus ONLY on thoughts and things that will bring certainty into our minds and hearts, and eliminate thoughts and things that make us uncertain or doubtful or afraid.
Why do I bring this up? Because our current approach to pornography and addiction tends to bring fear and doubt and shame. Our current approach is to focus on how bad it is. To fight it.
The problem is that when you focus on how bad it is and how powerful it is and you talk about how it’s more addictive than heroin (untrue) and how it’s ruining our lives and destroying our society and how it will hook you and destroy you if you even look at it once, you create an emotional state of fear toward pornography and addiction.
Fear is the opposite of certainty. Fear and certainty cannot coexist in the same mind at the same time. It’s impossible.
So while we mean well, we are actually perpetuating the problem by taking certainty away. While our intentions are good and noble in fighting the new drug, we are actually making the problem much worse.
Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell made a video based on the above Ted Talk, which I quote from now:
“The war on drugs we’ve been fighting for almost a century now has made everything worse. Instead of helping people heal and getting their life together, we have cast them out from society….We put people who are not well in a situation that makes them feel worse and hate them for not recovering.”
I know this is speaking about drug addicts, but we do the same thing with pornography addicts. We may not throw them in prison, but we throw them in social prison.
They feel shame. Shame is when you believe that you are bad and unworthy of love and happiness. As opposed to guilt which is where you realize that you have done something bad.
They hear all the nasty things that people say about pornography over and over again and they can’t help but believe that they must be absolutely disgusting human beings if they would ever indulge in such filth. They feel worthless. They feel hopeless. They feel like they are unworthy of love and happiness.
And that kind of emotional state will destroy any chance of success.
In fact, addicts are addicts because they are trying to escape negative emotions. So when they feel shame, it’s creating an even more intense negative emotion that needs to be escaped. That’s why it looks uncontrollable and addicting. You feel bad, so you look at porn, then you feel worse because of all the shame, so you look at more porn.
And it just cycles like that.
We’re not healing the root cause, and in fact we are making the root cause worse.
The only thing that will really break the cycle is to change the emotional state. It’s to shift the focus from disempowering, fear-causing thoughts, to ones of empowerment and hope and healing.
That’s what Jesus does when He offers hope and peace and forgiveness. He changes our emotional state. He empowers us.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t acknowledge that pornography is a bad thing. I’m not saying that we should accept it or embrace it or say that it’s somehow okay or good. Or that we shouldn’t take precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones from it.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to rid our society of it. We absolutely should.
But I’m speaking a truth about what works and what doesn’t work in the way we try to accomplish this goal. The way to remove pornography is through changing our state. It’s through creating and cultivating a state of certainty and power over it. It’s by tuning in to a positive, healthy emotional pattern and staying there. It’s through eliminating fear and other negative emotions. It is through belief. Through believing that we are people who do not struggle with pornography. That we are people who are so worthy of love and so filled with love that we don’t need to escape to pornography.
In other words, it is only through true faith that we will be able to overcome.
Fear never changes a heart. But love — love is all we need.
Love kills porn.