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Posted by on Jan 27, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

The True Cost of Porn Addiction

blog-costof[pornDuring my sophomore year of college, I wrote a short, creative essay about what I called “Mind-Grabbers”: the thoughts that came to me as a result of looking at the cost of porn addiction. Here are a couple excerpts:

They’re like Oompa-Loompas.

They’re little thoughts, with annoying songs. They prey on your weak moments, your selfish moments of self-pity.

They began invading my mind my freshman year of high school. My parents had bought DirecTV, which came with a three-month free subscription to movie channels.

Whoops…

Between that time and the spring of my senior year of high school, I dated a couple girls and the desire for porn went away. Then, back to the fire…

Since then, it’s been hell.

Since then, I have known of severe pleasure, excitement and “good feelings” that come from stimulating those certain senses. Those moments of jubilation.

My members were pleased.

But they’re followed by hell. Pure hellaciousness in the form of the guilt that destroys my heart, soul, and emotions as soon as they come to me.

Those mind-grabbers. They won’t let you go.

You’re sitting in class, simply trying to learn how to spell in Italian, and the image comes. The sexual fulfillment you found for those brief seconds? Your body wants it. It wants it so much that it’s not waiting for you to be alone, you just feel it.

This was the best way I could describe it then, and though I might write about it differently now, nothing has changed about those thoughts, those temptations, those desires. The worst parts of it were what I called “hellaciousness” (not actually a real word), which eventually turned into depression and anxiety, then into frustration with myself, technology, and God.

No joy. It was gone. Disappeared.

Most of my college experience went that way. And it was awful.

Any addiction has its costs. Addiction to food can lead to obesity and heart disease. Addiction to drugs can lead to legal trouble, terrible mental side effects, and family devastation. Addiction to the approval of others can lead to crushing depression when that praise is not there.

Pornography is just like food, drugs, and approval of others in that addiction to it has drastic costs. It could be a career—I lost a job opportunity in ministry because of my struggle. It could be your marriage. It could be friendships. It could even be, in some cases, the loss of your legal freedom.

But perhaps the most scathing cost of this kind of addiction is emotional.

Addiction to pornography starts off innocently enough. You may stumble upon it accidentally, or seek it out when curiosity gets the better of you. And then it overtakes you. It comes into your mind at any time—during class, at work, while you’re with friends, or at dinner with your family. It takes so much from you. But it takes one thing away more than anything else.

The true cost of porn addiction is the loss of joy.

Joy is a state of pleased contentment. Yes, it can include happiness and pleasure, but joy is something deeper than that. It’s not easily shaken by the circumstances of our lives, as happiness and pleasure are. Joy has greater staying power.

But addiction to pornography sucked joy away from me. It took meaning away from activities that previously made me happy. It even removed the excitement of my favorite meals. All I wanted was that next fix, and I wasn’t “satisfied” until I got it.

What addiction didn’t tell me was that getting that fix didn’t really satisfy me, either. It might have for a minute or two, but once I came down from the rush, all that remained was pain, remorse, and guilt—three things that stand opposed to joy.

That’s the true cost of porn addiction, and I’ve paid it again and again in my life. I’ve chosen that path over and over and over. But by the grace of God, progress has been made, change has taken place.

Still, those mind-grabbers still lurk around every corner, seeking to make me pay that price again. What I must remember is that, to find that joy again, I’ve got to go to the source over and over again.

Joy comes from God. Joy comes from pursuing the things of God – reading His Word, talking about Him with friends, praying to Him, obeying His commands. Those things may not be joyful at first, but a consistent pursuit of them has brought me joy. Why? Because I’ve done things the right way.

Now, when I get confused or anxious, I think on this question:

“Is this helpful?”

Is watching pornography helpful in the pursuit of joy? No.

Are reading scripture, praying, pursuing obedience, or spending time with friends helpful in the pursuit of joy? Yes.

I’ve gotta keep chasing after Him, running back to His truth, His words, remembering His promises and His love for me. And remember what’s truly helpful in that pursuit. Porn is not.

I don’t want to pay that price, the loss of joy, ever again. And I hope and pray you don’t either.


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