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Overcoming Addictions - Help for Christians

Christians and non-Christian alike battle with addictions and other behaviors that they find themselves struggling to leave behind. Through faith in Jesus Christ and placing emotional and spiritual health as attainable goals, we can all be overcomers.

This blog, produced by Certified Recovery Specialist Beth Livingston, is for people to exchange struggles and victories of breaking free from addictions and other hurtful behaviors.

Profile of a Porn Addict

man looking at computer

by Beth Livingston
Certified Recovery Specialist

So many families and lives are being tossed upside-down because of the impact of pornography. I asked Dr. Paul Hardy, founding director of Recovery for the City for some feedback about this problem. Here is our interview:

This is Dr. Paul's profile of a porn addict: He is 12-years-old and began experimenting with looking through search engines. Sex and sexual terms are most searched for in the internet! By the time he is 30, he has years of uncontrollable lust. He may have never acted out illegally, but the pressure is on. The family has discovered the secret and it’s time to change!

Question: At what point should a person seek help who's dealing with this problem?

Dr. Paul: As with ANY addictive issue, an individual has to become convinced themselves that their behavior has become an issue. NO ONE can convince you that you have an addiction.  A few important questions for someone who is struggling with any addictive behavior are:

  • “Do I do this all alone, is it secretive? Do I ‘hide’ the behavior?”
  • “Do I require more and more of it to get the same sensation, as if I were building up a tolerance?”
  • “Do I become dependent on the substance/behavior, in order to alter my mood?”
  • “Has it become an issue in my functionality in life, i.e. produced dysfunction in my roles?
  • “Has it eroded any of my relationships?” (spouse, children, etc)
  • “What long term effects would this have on my physical, emotional and spiritual well being?”
  • “Can I envision the Lord Jesus doing this?”

For fun, replace the word “porn” with ice cream or shopping or anything that may be an issue!

The second part of the need for help is when the family pressures the person to get help. This may require a professional intervention. A person may think that looking at naked bodies only affects them because they continue to be high functioning.  When a broken-hearted spouse decides that this is no longer acceptable and that accountability is required lasting change can begin.

Question: Who should they go to?

Dr. Paul: Half of the pastors in our country struggle with looking at porn. They are still a viable resource of help. Men’s groups at church are best because they can provide an accountability system that works. A trusted friend who will hold a person to their commitment long term can be the best resource. Christian counselors can provide professional structure as well.

Question: How can a person who's trying to avoid the porn that they used to look at, have time online that's not risky for them?

Dr. Paul: We have men who have lost jobs, family, security clearances and are homeless because of pornography addictions and lust. There are numerous options for you and your family’s protection:

  • Download xxxchurch.com. This free service will load onto your computer and ask you for two email addresses. Then, those two people will receive systematic reports on any objectionable websites that have been visited on your computer.
  • Another, which is not free, is Covenanteyes.com. Their Filter Service blocks objectionable websites from your computer.
  • Another positive solution is to put a login with password that only one person can type in.
  • A free software logmein.com will allow you remote access to you computer from anywhere at any time. You can let the family know you will be checking in on the computer at any time. Good deterrent.
  • The most obvious solution is to put the computer in a family safe place and use it together as often as possible. Educate the family about the dangers out there. Talk about misuses as a prevention method.
  • Be aware that someone who is addicted to porn will go to any lengths to get to the emotional high they experience. No amount of filters or policing will stop them until the heart issues are dealt with.

Question: What are the most common problems that people encounter when trying to stop looking at porn?

Dr. Paul: Porn addiction has similarities to all addictions and some uniqueness as well. The similarity is the mental, emotional and physical dependence the constant looking at sexual acts creates. This is spiritual warfare!

There are generally three phases:

  • The withdrawal phase: the person must go through a period of total abstinence or a fast from sexual input. This may mean a time period with no media, television, entertainment, etc. This produces a type of reset. (example from previous ice cream addiction, a month with no dairy products)
  • The accountability phase: is a lifelong quest to be sober and vigilant. It never goes away. One must become re-sensitized to the world around us and avoid sexually explicit situations (movies, commercials, etc.)
  • The re-integration phase. We use the Biblical 12 Steps to help people re-think their relationships and reinstate their emotional and spiritual health. This requires a bonding with the spouse involved if that is possible.

Pastor Paul Hardy quoted 1 Peter 5:8-9 - 1 Peter 5:8-9 - Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

What do you think of Dr. Paul's point of view on this problem? Are you seeking help with porn addiction? What steps have you taken to deal with this problem? If you haven't taken any steps, but have found that you are getting deeper and deeper into it; do you want to stop now? Why or why not? Please leave your comments and let's pray for each other and help rid our lives of what seeks to destroy us.

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 11:23 AM

Comments on this post

# RE: Profile of a Porn Addict

I have have for the last 3 years been going to a CR group (Celebrate Recovery). WE NOW have just started a purity men's section dealing with sexualy issues like internet porn, etc. This purity group meets every Monday apart after the CR group has the opening greeting of all who are attending.
Because I have had SSA same sex attractions for most of my life, I was not sure I would fit in. But more and more people realize, sin is sin, be it gay or straight sin, God heals all.
One of the dvd's shown at our CR group was "Somebody's daughter" a very good healing dvd for anyone with gay or straight problems. a web site helping me is www.peoplecanchange.com
All of us men must be "iron sharping iron" I believe God will direct and make our Recovery groups a success when we trust and we follow HIS council.
Left by david spooner on Oct 31, 2009 4:09 AM

# RE: Profile of a Porn Addict

porn addiction can be insanely difficult to deal with, I think the trick is the longer you abstain from it, the easier it is to resist. But it's so difficult to break the habit, and it can ruin all your relationships.
Left by brainzy on Nov 10, 2009 2:45 AM

# RE: Profile of a Porn Addict

Pornography is extremely destructive. I was exposed to pornography at a very young age. A friend's father had material lying around in his home that we had access to. I struggled with porn for years thereafter. It can affect each relationship you have with women. You view them as objects of pleasure rather than the beautiful creatures that God created them to be. Our sisters in Christ. If you are struggling with this issue, so are millions of others. Talk to a trusted loved one re: this and seek the help needed. You are not alone in this battle. God Bless.
Left by BDA on Nov 16, 2010 6:52 AM

# RE: Profile of a Porn Addict

My husband is addicted to porn websites and any other porn and I am at my wits end and my marriage is falling apart. I want to walk out the door and never look back but what is the Christian wifely thing to do? I am also a mental health therapist and I believe I know what I need to do but is it the right thing to do in God's eyes?
Left by Martha on Nov 09, 2013 7:04 PM

# RE: Profile of a Porn Addict

@Martha, there are so many things about what is the right thing to do in God's eyes. In my opinion and from what I went through, I felt like I had been cheated on and that my husband was an adulterer (albeit a virtual adulterer). I left, no saying divorce, but separation. We went through months of pastoral counseling while we were separated. It took a lot for him to see the adulterous aspect and for me to be able to forgive. Our marriage is now restored and we are stronger for going through it. I felt I had the Lord's permission to get a divorce on grounds of adultery, but when I searched God's word, I found that Jesus mentioned that God allowed divorce on grounds of adultery because of the "hardness of their hearts." I didn't want a hardened heart AND I didn't want to stay in a relationship with that vulgar betrayal going on. I'm glad we separated and I'm glad we have been restored. I have no idea if this will help you, but my experience is all I've got.
Left by blivingston on Nov 17, 2013 10:46 PM