Porn Addiction, Part Four: I’m Ready To Cut It Off


Most Recent Edit: May, 2017
– My book on quitting porn addiction is in paperback for only $7.99 and e-book for 3.49 on Amazon! It’s been officially endorsed by Craig Gross of X3Church. It has been updated and expanded in 2017. It contains this entire series of posts plus brand new info, fully updated with research, with specific steps to quit.


So you’re ready to quit porn. You’re tired of the bleary-eyed, bloodshot, guilt-choked, late-night excursions, tired of the excuses and rationalizations and filthy mental loops, tired of feeling disgusted with yourself at church and with your mom and after a retreat and anywhere near children. You’re done.

Let’s ask: How serious are you about this?

Do you really understand that running back to porn to solve your angst or fill your boredom or release your tension is no longer a viable option? That you must absolutely, unequivocally, once-and-for-all never look back to porn? That’s scary for some people. Like cutting off a limb or moving halfway around the world. But if you’re ready to quit, there can be no room for thinking it’s optional. As of quitting, you are dead to porn and alive to Christ.

This is where addicts get stuck. In the back of every self-deceived mind, buried deep under religious behavior and emotional promises, is still the root of the problem: self-worship. We desperately wrestle for control over our options. We maintain a tenuous connection to what destroys us because we cannot — will not — imagine life without it. We hate enduring the pain of withdrawal. We love too much the ten second pleasure of a visual buffet even if it costs our sanity.

Short-term thinking, however, always short-circuits the human life. When you cannot let go of what controls you, you have become less human, not more.

If you’re not serious about this, don’t waste time finding out how to quit porn. I’ve wasted a lot of other peoples’ time in the same way. I knew all the right methods, techniques, reasons, and theology to quit porn in my own strength. They didn’t work. I had to make a final, final, final decision. Long-lasting change did not happen until I grew serious about my true identity in Jesus Christ. If you don’t care about that, there’s no point in quitting anyway.

So first get serious about quitting before you find out how to quit. And know that you can’t merely quit from porn, but move to and by the grace of God.

You must also know, as I’ve said many times, that effort is not legalism. The journey of grace in Christ will require some sandpaper sculpting, crazy chiseling, painful spiritual surgery, and yanking out every fiber of deeply rooted filth through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s not easy, and you can’t just pray it away or “think harder” about the Gospel. You wouldn’t do less than that, but it’s concurrent with your striving. The Gospel says it is finished, but do everything to stand. Know God’s promise, but make every effort for holiness. Know the Kingdom of God has already come for you, but make every effort to enter through the narrow door. Apostle Paul already had the prize of Christ, but says, “I beat my body to make it my slave.” Of course we rest in what Jesus has done, but a truth faith is a faith that works.

If you’re serious, let’s get started. This will be quite long so please read it in spurts or when you’re in that right mood.



1) A Friend Who Will Rebuke And Restore You

Don’t even think about trying this alone. Find your close friend and confess everything. Everything? Everything. Make sure he or she is a solid friend that has been through this before or is a spiritual veteran. If no one comes to mind, get your pastor. If it turns out your friend or even your pastor are struggling with the same thing, you might even be helping them. But it’s better to get the level-headed one.

Confess it all, because without confession there’s no healing. And like James says, The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

I still remember the night I sat down my roommate, who I’ve known for six years now, and exploded the news to him. He didn’t judge me, didn’t spiritualize it, didn’t even talk much. He listened. At some point I was bawling. We prayed together holding hands tight enough to hurt, and we both wept in prayer at the top of our lungs. It felt like my chest had tore open: I remember saying over and over, Lord help me, please help. My friend saw the worst of me. And to this day continues to love on me.

That was only the first of many days of confession. It’s a continual process, exposing the ugliness of yourself to be as transparent and teachable as possible. It’s difficult, of course, but there’s almost a reckless freedom to be so open. I was so tired of hiding and the double-life and that shameful hypocrisy which underscored everything else I did. To be out with it was to come up from the water for the first wonderful breath of sun-drenched air.

The danger here is that confessing can be addictive in itself. You can end up widening the circle a bit too far to people who will not help you or who shouldn’t know. Talking about specific details can also tempt the other person or tempt you right back into a binge. I asked my friends to read Galatians 6:1-2 for constant vigilance over the discipline of confession.


2) Give Up Authority

No matter how you feel about Alcoholics Anonymous, they have at least one of the Twelve Steps right:

We admitted we were powerless over our addiction — that our lives had become unmanageable.

And the third step says:

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.

I’m not a fan of “as we understood God” (which is not part of the original steps), but you see where we are going. If you still want a modicum of control over sexuality in your life, you won’t win. You’ve already been defeated many times over because of that very same thinking.

If you really want to quit, then you no longer belong to you. This is no time for macho pride or “I-can-do-this-myself” bravado. I don’t mean this in just a Christian way either: yes, we belong to Jesus Christ because he purchased our lives with his blood. But you’ll also have to give up your authority to good people around you.

Once I had confessed to my friend, I began seeing two counselors to walk through the mess of my addiction. Sometimes it would just be to hang out, and other times we got into the deep waters of past trauma and ugly desires. Each person was different in how they helped but there was one similarity: they needed to make sure I was withheld former liberties because it was those same liberties that were imprisoning me.

I installed X3watch so my friend always knew what websites I was visiting. I was able to call my friend any time I had an urge, no matter the time. I soon needed several friends for this so I wouldn’t wear them out. I left my door open at all times, even my bathroom door when I showered, so my roommate knew I wasn’t hiding anything. And it only becomes more drastic from here.

3) Cut Off Access And Be Accessible

Your stuff doesn’t belong to you, either.

I began leaving my laptop at church, I cut off wi-fi access at my house, and disabled my browser on my smartphone. Anyone at any time could look through my computer, phone, or room. At least one person had full disclosure to anything I was doing and any place I was going.

Exercise will be your best friend. When the urge hits, be ready to run out of the house. Take a walk, drive around, call a friend, but don’t stay. There’s always a point with addiction when you simply can’t go back, and the earlier you cut that spiral, the better off you’ll be. Think of it like a chokehold: the faster you get out of it, the less likely you are to let the arm sink in and cut off your oxygen.

I no longer like to use my computer in a closed area: I tend to do my computer work at Starbucks. Since I live on the street next to a bar (life of a pastor), I like to open all the curtains. Now I can’t imagine using my computer any other way.

But all the programs and prying eyes will only do so much if we’re not willing to let go. You can still find ways around accountability software and you can still hide from even the most incisive person. Honesty hurts almost every single time, but it heals too. Dishonesty hurts every time and never heals, and it only covers the wound.


4) A Schedule of Sobriety

Each day is a narrative. You write your story while in submission to God, and even though He always gets the glory, He’ll either do it through you or past you. When He uses me because I submitted instead of using me in spite of me, there’s way more peace in that.

We have the best deal in the universe: trade in your sin for Eternal Glory and Endless Joy and the Creator of the Universe. Trade in your sorrow for rejoicing. Trade in your hurts for healing. Trade in a spirit of rebellion for a Spirit of fruitfulness. Trade in death for life. Trade in idols for Jesus. That’s a pretty good deal, you know.

I’m frustrated when people (or myself) can only see the next five seconds like it’s so much bigger than God. Nothing is bigger than God, or else we’re not talking about God. But I get why we’re addicted to sightbecause vision is so much harder, sometimes elusive and ethereal, like a poet’s misty dream. Vision takes work.

This is why writing out your narrative with the lens of Christ will not only be a huge help, but will ground you in the working power of God. Call it a journal, a checklist, a diary, a Ten Year Plan, a to-do list, a blog, a list of grievances: just write something and express it somehow. Organize those thoughts or you’ll go on autopilot before temptation knocks you off your feet again.

There are all sorts of conflicting cliches about living in the past, learning from it, looking forward to better things, or living in the present. With all these inspirational slogans, it’s hard to tell exactly how each time period should be treated. The Bible gives us a much grittier, plainer truth: that of course, all seasons teach us something and they’re all worthy of attention.

We tend to go in two extremes: either we live a minute at a time and never take personal rest to reflect with God, or we so intensely plan every single detail that we miss the moment and push God to the fringes. Either case is a course for disaster. In the moment we must plan, and in our plans we must live in the moment.

When we look back at things we’ve written, it can be discouraging how immature we used to be, but that’s also encouraging because it means we’ve made progress. That’s how it will be for the rest of our lives. When you were ten years old, you probably wanted some really stupid things. At fifty, the percentage of those dumb things might have reduced but they’re no less stupid. Charting out our daily course before God in a realistic assessment shows how much He’s working in us, and always must work further still.

Don’t feel like you must write everyday. That can be stressful. And reading your own writing can quickly become an idolatrous obsession. But really there isn’t much better personal time with God than you and your Bible and a fresh white page waiting for the pen to refine you.


5) Pray Like Crazy

This is obvious, though most of us will relegate this to the bottom of the drawer. Don’t. As much as friends and methods and behavioral changes can help, we were created to be in union with God. Good habits are important but not sufficient. Prayer and Scripture are ultimately the only food for our souls.

I’ll leave you with a prayer of spiritual warfare, what some call the Warrior’s Prayer, to keep you close to Him. Say it out loud, point out the pieces on your body, post it in your mirror, memorize it, write it in the front of the your Bible, and trust Him in it.



Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
— Ephesians 6:10-18


Next Installment:

Quitting Isn’t Enough: Moving Forward To Something Better

Plus: What To Do When I Fail Again


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