It’s not free!

A page from my experience with porn…

“Every morning that I wake up, it feels the same.  Empty…  I’m sad and lonely and hurting.  I don’t know what to do about it.  I spend moments laying in bed thinking about things that I might do to be happier, to be more “normal”, to have a more fulfilled life.  But, inevitably ideas are fleeting.  I can’t seem to find the answers.  I’m always left with only the questions.  That is the pain.  Questions without answers.  For me, porn produces some kind of stimulus in my emptiness.  I can’t explain why it does or how, but only that it does.  Do I want it to?  No!  I hate it with all of my being.  I absolutely hate porn for ruining my life!  It is my enemy.  But, the irony is that I am in love with my enemy.  It is, in fact, my only love.  When I push her away, she is loyal to me.  She always stands ready to take me back.  Her door is always open and when I just can’t take the separation any longer I step back into the arms of familiarity–porn’s loving arms.  It’s sick, warped, desperate, mind-boggling.  But, it’s truth.

It all started when I was just a little boy.  I had no idea what I was getting into.  My dad had some Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogs in his drawer.  I would take them into the woods and just look at them and wonder.  This was new to me and pretty exciting.  I would trace over the page with a piece of paper and pencil–leaving off the clothing lines so that my finished picture would be naked.  I would add anatomical parts.  This was the only porn I had access to and I was hooked.  I can’t understand what it was that was creeping into my life at such a young age and would forever change my direction.  Here I am, thirty years later, struggling against the beast that was awakened way back then.  I’m locked in its grips.  That was not my intention.  It’s an embrace that is dirty and strong and it won’t let go no matter how hard I struggle.  Of course, the beast has changed over the years.  It’s a much darker and enriched beast than the initial innocent curiosity.  I moved on to Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler magazines as I would find them a few years later.  Stashed in a box under my dad’s bed, stashed in a box in my uncle’s closet, stashed in a box at my friend’s house.  They were always stashed in boxes as if trying to warn me of what I was to become.  I find myself stashed in a box–tucked away in this life and forgotten.  If it wasn’t for my wife and children, I think I would not exist.  I don’t know if I have the capacity to take my own life, but I’m quite sure I would live far away from the world–if not in location at least in mental form.  I have separated from the world as far as possible.  I have grown to pretty much hate being around people in the real world.  The only world that is comfortable to me is the cyber world of porn.  It is my little box that I’ve stashed myself into.  I’m still a little boy in a big, scary world.  I’m afraid of bills, responsibilities, careers, commitments, and the future.  I’ve even grown afraid of myself.  I’ve lost control of myself in this area.  I feel like I no longer have the control to choose.  My mind wants to stop and get over it.  But, my mind is not the master here.  I always indulge myself.

So, why porn?  At the same age, I also experimented with smoking cigarettes.  They were new and exciting too.  But, I don’t smoke today!  Why not?  Why am I not just as addicted to cigarettes as I am to porn?  I can’t answer that question.  Sometimes, it just seems that porn was the drug of choice assigned to me.  Here’s another paradox–I’m a Christian (at least I think I am).  I have come to understand my need of a Savior probably much more than most Christians.  I need a Savior every day.  I believe Jesus is my Savior.  So, why hasn’t He saved me?  That’s a question I sometimes struggle with.  My porn addiction has introduced all kinds of doubt at times.  But, that doesn’t remove the fact that I still need a Savior.  Jesus has offered to be that for me and I have taken Him up on His offer.

Here’s where things are going to get kind of gritty.  I’m just going to lay it out straight.  I believe that the Bible teaches that when you give yourself to Christ, you are freed from the power of sin that up to that point held you bound.  I truly believe that is the greatest news of the gospel.  I have given myself to Christ.  I have been an extremely disciplined Christian.  I am very active in my church.  I have been a leader in my church, even serving as a Pastor for several years.  I read the Bible every day.  I pray.  I serve.  These were all the things I thought the Bible required to be set free.  But, I am not set free!  Why not!  I have been a Christian now for 15 years and I am not set free from this one thing that binds me.  I am still stashed away in the same box.

When I first became a Christian, I overcame my problem.  I was free of it for three years in the beginning.  But, one day a pop-up showed up on my computer screen and I lingered.  This was the first time I had ever seen internet porn.  It was so bright and colorful.  It was so vivid and clear.  It was no longer just lifeless pages in magazines.  Now it was unlimited access to anything and everything–it even moved and made sound!  It swept me up from that point on.  I began exploring the endless depths of FREE content online.  What other addiction is free?  Not many!  This is a tough one for that very reason.  It is so accessible and it’s free.  At least it seemed to be free  until I have now found out it costs everything.  I’m lucky to still have what I have.  I have a supportive wife and children, a home, a job.  But, I believe that is only by the mercy of God!  I definitely don’t deserve what I have.  I also have mounds of guilt, shame, sadness, depression, loneliness, rage, helplessness and all of that.  That’s not free!”

UPDATE: God is delivering me from the expressed feelings of depression, loneliness, rage, helplessness, etc.  But, at the time I wrote this, I was buried deep in it!

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