Question: Trying To Quit Porn and Keep Failing


Anonymous asked:

Hi, Pastor Park. I’ve messaged you before but first I want to say thank you so, so much for all of your posts. They have really helped me to grow and I thank God for you even though you’re on the other side of the country.

I’m sorry to switch tones so drastically, but I feel despair right now. I haven’t been able to quit porn and masturbation for years now. In fact, I can’t even go for a few days without masturbating. And when I do try to abstain, the memories start flooding my mind and it comes to the point where I think “I can’t handle this anymore, I might as well give in.” I try to repeat Scripture that I memorized to counteract this but it feels like it’s only a matter of time before I give in. I feel like this is who I am in the end: a porn addict. I know I’m defined by what Christ did, but I sure don’t feel like it. I feel like I’m just a slave and will be a slave forever. Please help.


Hey my friend, I’m very sorry you’re going through this.  I recently wrote a post about why I stopped helping porn addicts, and I graciously want to ask that you read through this when you can.  You can also check out my compilation of posts and podcasts on quitting porn here.

If you didn’t know: What you’re experiencing is a common phenomenon called withdrawal, in which your body is so accustomed to a certain intake that it literally begins to scream for it.

Like eating ice cream or hugging or watching a good movie: using porn hits up the dopamines in your brain and gives you pleasure, except porn lights up your dopamines to the ridiculous level of heroin addiction.  Your brain is all screwed up right now, to where even some research says that certain areas of your gray matter are most definitely destroyed.  You can look up the science for yourself.

Most people who try to quit porn are not at all prepared for the eventual withdrawal, so they get overwhelmed and go right back.  In the first week, you should expect: the shakes, sweating, reduced concentration, foggy thinking, a sudden flood of sexual images, insomnia, and an “itchy” anxiety.  For some of us, it’ll take even a month or so until all those symptoms calm down.  I would know, because I went through all these things too.

My first week off porn, I knew how bad it would get: so I stayed the night at my friend’s place and slept on the floor in his room.  My roommate let me call him day or night, no matter what time, and talk through what was happening.  When I got the urge, I would run out the house and jog until I couldn’t feel my legs anymore.  I left my laptop at church.  I disabled my iPhone browser and apps.  I even used the bathroom with the door open, just in case.

Your first week off porn, you will need to go absolutely drastic.  Don’t even let anyone tell you this is “legalism” or “self-punishment.”  This is simply the way your body works, and the first week up to thirty days will be the most brutal.  If you can’t get through this, you won’t succeed.  But you can.  It won’t be easy, but my friend, it is NOT impossible.  I was addicted for fifteen years, and by the grace of God I’ve been free for a few years now.  If I can, then you can.  So really it depends on how bad you want to be free.

You’ll also have an extra 15-30 hours per week.  So then, quitting porn is not about quitting porn.  You’ll need to find something else.  Most Christians think the Christian life is about running from sin, when really it’s about running to Him.  So I hope you find a way to serve and fulfill your God-given mission with all your extra time.



Giving up porn is like an amputation.  It’ll feel like you’re cutting off your leg or giving up your baby.  Imagine the horror: I can never look at porn again, ever.  Most guys can’t even imagine a life like that because they’ve been so used to getting what they want and acting on impulse and basically being an over-privileged child. I mean think of the last time you wanted Taco Bell at 3 a.m. or a giant bag of Cheetos and told yourself no.  No one does.  Everyone gets what they want, all the time, and that’s only a symptom of our control-ish need for porn.

Until you’re ready to step into a disciplined maturity, it won’t work.  But when you do: you won’t ever want to go back again.  The freedom is too good.  When you’ve been off it for thirty days and your brain is starting to recalibrate — that first worship service on Sunday will be the best church experience you’ve ever had.  Totally guiltless, all grace.

I hope you get there, my friend.  Please persevere.  Trust God that He will be enough for you through this, and I really mean that, with zero hint of cliche.  He is way more than enough.

— J.S.


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2 thoughts on “Question: Trying To Quit Porn and Keep Failing

  1. Joon, I loved this quote, “You’ll also have an extra 15-30 hours per week. So then, quitting porn is not about quitting porn. You’ll need to find something else. Most Christians think the Christian life is about running from sin, when really it’s about running to Him. So I hope you find a way to serve and fulfill your God-given mission with all your extra time.”

    We all have a hole in our soul from sin and it needs to be filled with Christ. If it is not filled with him, it will be filled with other things…like porn. Great post.

    Like

    1. Thank you my friend. I know everyone hates talking about this topic and it’s been pretty much accepted as the norm, though all the research shows how damaging it is. And yes, quitting does open up a lot of time for better things. 🙂

      Like

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