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Don’t Fight Porn Alone

Something in your story made pornography enticing. You didn’t just stumble on it.

Have you ever wondered what was happening in your life that made porn seem like a safe place to run?

Decades of work in healing from unwanted sexual behaviors lead us to this episode.

You are meant to do this work alone and here’s why.

Highlights

5 Reasons You Think You CAN Heal on Your Own:

  1. Fear asks, “What happens if I get found out? What will I lose? What will people think?”
  2. Shame says, “If people know the real truth, they’ll reject me.”
  3. Pride believes, “I’m not that bad. I can stop on my own.”
  4. Ignorance moves unaware of how addiction has affected you neuro-biologically, spiritually, emotionally.
  5. Not Ready because maybe “You don’t want to give it up.”

Romans 7

Some people have to lose a lot before they realize the addiction was more destructive.

Proverbs 6:27-28

One Reason You CANNOT Heal on Your Own:

  1. In order to overcome relational issues, you need to do the work in the context of relationship. 

The root of your sexual sin problem is relational. Something relational happened in your life that you responded to by moving into unwanted sexual behavior.

Relational wounds cannot be healed in isolation.

Your brain needs to experience relationships in a loving, healthy, attuned way in order to heal.

Help the show

This Episode’s Transcription

Josh 0:02
Man oh man, don’t we wish that we could overcome our sexual sin, or pornography or unwanted sexual behaviors on our own. If you are listening today, and you have been wrestling with some type of habitual sexual sin in your life, and you’re hoping, wishing trying to overcome it on your own, this podcast is for you. Or if you know someone who is or maybe you’re on the journey, and you’ve got some allies in your life who are helping you, but it’s still hard for you to open up with them, this podcast is for you. I remember struggling with my own unwanted sexual behavior, and reaching the point where I was beginning to feel challenged that I needed some help. And I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to hear it. Not that anybody else was telling me but I did not want to admit it to myself. I want it to be able to overcome this on my own. And I’ve met over the years over the 20 plus years, I’ve been doing ministry in this area. So many people begin from that place, I want to overcome this on my own. Many of you come to our website, and you click around, but you never reach out for coaching, or you never reach out to get plugged into one of our groups, because you want to do it on your own. So I want to offer five different reasons that people think they can do it on their own. And see if you identify with any of these, and I share all these with compassion, all these with grace, I have been there, these describe my journey, and the journey of so many other men and women whom I love and respect. Number one is fear. Right? Let’s just name it outright. Man, I’ve been struggling with this on my own. And I’ve kept it to myself, because I’m afraid of what’s going to happen. If I get found out, I’ll lose respect, I’ll lose my position at my church or my job, I might lose my marriage or other important relationships to me, I’m afraid of what people will think of me. That’s number one, connects right up with number two, which is shame. If people really know the truth about this part of my life, they’re going to reject me, they’re never going to look at me the same, they’re never going to see me the same when they look at me, they’re just going to see images of the stuff that I’ve done. And they’re, they’re never gonna be able to respect me or love me in the way that I need. So shame is the second one. The third is pride. And unlike what most people think I’m not having a healthy pride here. But But pride in this sense is really just the flip side of fear and insecurity. Pride says, I’m not that bad. I’m not really addicted. I can stop my own. I can stop anytime I want. I remember having a conversation with a guy came to my office. And he he convinced he was convinced and tried to convince me that he was not addicted to porn, even though he had never stopped and he’s in my office asking for help and saying I’m not really addicted. I know what addiction is. And this is an addiction. I was like, Well, you know, have you tried to stop? Yep. Have you been able to? Nope. Okay, we don’t need to really mince words about what this is or isn’t you’ve got a problem that you can’t quit. So let’s get after it. But pride says I’m going to do it by myself. I’m going to do it myself. And even even some of you listening, you’re going like, well, Josh’s hand can’t do it myself. But I can he just he doesn’t know me. Alright, fair enough. I don’t know you. But could it be good, it’d be that that’s actually pride speaking. Fourth reason that people try to do on their own is ignorance. And I don’t mean that any disrespect. I don’t mean that to put anybody down but, but just a lack of knowledge about the reality of how addictive pornography and other unwanted sexual behaviors are, what they do neurobiologically they, they, in their own way, rewire a person’s brain and create new neural networks that actually run on their own now without, without help. People don’t really realize the reality of what’s happened to them. neurobiologically psychologically relationally, and spiritually. And so they think they could do it on their own, because they don’t recognize how entangled this stuff is in their lives. I know for me, there were it was just like my eyes were open. When I started getting help to be in recognizing how deep the rabbit hole went. I thought this was just kind of like a surface level problem. Let’s just, you know, pull up the dandelion pull up the the weeds growing up on the surface, I had no idea how deep the roots went in so many different areas of my life.

The fifth reason, see if this might be used, that you’re not ready, you’re not ready. You’re still holding on. You actually don’t want to give your sexual sin up. You’re not convinced that it’s bad enough, you’re not convinced that it’s bringing about enough destruction in your life. And frankly, you’re not sure you want to live without it. The benefits on some level seemed like they outweigh the negatives. And even though you hear it’s sinful what you’re doing, really it’s it’s kind of, you know, paying off for years. See seems to so far. I’m not talking about ambivalence like all of us encounter some ambivalence. We’re trying to give up something that we both love and hate. That’s just the definition of ambivalence, right? Like I, Paul’s, Paul describes the ambivalence in Romans seven, he’s like, I do the very thing I don’t want to do. Why do I do it? That’s ambivalent. So I’m not talking about us feeling ambivalence. You can move into recovery, you can move getting there getting help, and still feel like yeah, there’s part of me doesn’t wanna give it up. That’s part of why you need help, because parties want to give it up. But I’m talking specifically about folks who are kind of like, you know, what, other people are telling me that this is wrong. But in for me, myself, I’m not sure that I want to, and if that’s you, that’s reality. I’m not saying that’s a good place to be, it’s actually a little bit of a frightening place to be, but, but that may be you. And unfortunately, some people have to lose a lot before they recognize actually, this was more destructive than I thought, as the proverb says, you know, can a man scoop fire into his lap and not be burned. And, unfortunately, a lot of people who continue to insist that, you know, it’s keeping me warm, it’s keeping me warm, I, it’s not so bad. So those are the five reasons maybe of your own. But shame, fear, pride, ignorance, and maybe you’re not ready to give it up. Those are five reasons I’ve seen over the years, even as people have begun to work on this stuff with help, they have to face those five things actually do the kind of work that’s required. So let’s let me talk about that’s why people think they can do it on their own. Let me talk about why you can’t do it on your own. Let’s talk about just kind of matter of factly why pornography, why other unwanted sexual sins are not things that you can actually overcome. On your own, you can’t find freedom from them on your own. The first really goes into the the the reality of what sex is. Sex is something that God is designed to be relational. It is always relational. Any type of sexual activity is a relational activity, even masturbation, which is otherwise sometimes called solo sex. It none, when you’re sitting by yourself watching pornography and masturbating, it might seem like you are by yourself. But nonetheless, you are participating in a relational activity, say you’re by yourself fantasizing in your own brain about something sexual, and you’re, and you’re masturbating, that is nonetheless a relational activity, which you are engaging in, is relational. Now, that’s one of the sad ironies of it, because there is no one else in the room. And I know, I’ve talked to people over the years who that some of their experience, it doesn’t feel like they’re alone until they’re done. And they’re like, Oh, I’m just here by myself, it felt like there was a party in the room. And then, after a sexual climax, I’m realizing that I’m just here by myself.

That’s when the the illusion comes crashing down. But I’m just want to suggest to you that whatever it seems to you, your body, your spirit, your heart, your mind, if you’re engaging in even sexual activity by yourself, all the parts of you are still on some level, moving towards what you’re doing, because it’s relational. And you and relational problems cannot be worked out on their own outside of the context of relationship. In order to overcome relational issues, you need to do it in the context of relationship, you need somebody else in the picture in order to overcome relational issues. On a practical note, let me let me just kind of spin off that and say this, there are things about ourselves that we cannot recognize that we will never be able to see on our own. Because what’s normal for us does not is not always good. And so there, there are things that were that are just kind of humming in the background of our minds humming in the background of our experience, relational dynamics that we’ve always lived with. And we’ll come back to that in a minute. And we don’t even recognize that they’re happening. We don’t recognize that’s the route we’re going we don’t recognize that they’re problematic until somebody else has access till somebody else moves into that relational space and says, Hold on. What did you just say? An example for me, I remember sitting in one of my early support groups, sharing something about my family of origin and, and the guy who led my group stopped me said, Hey, Josh, can I ask you a question? How come you’re smiling? As you share that story? It’s a really painful story. But you were smiling when you said it. I did not know that I was smiling. I did not recognize that was happening on my face. He was pointing out that there was a lack of integration between what I was experiencing emotionally and what I was describing. In other words, he was inviting me to begin paying attention to part of myself that I was cut off from, that was a problem and it was contributing to this problem, the larger problem of my sexual sin. relational issues cannot be worked out outside of the context of relationships. You need other people who can reflect back to you. If you’re married. You know this Is it true that you were you know, you might have been a knight in shining armor, you might have been a pristine princess, and then you got married. And it just took a little bit of time face to face up close and personal with your spouse before you recognize like, oh, man, like they see the truth. There’s a lot of garbage here. Welcome to humanity. We need other people. Related to that. Related to that, and there’s not time to get into all of this. But I’ve alluded to it in what I’ve said already. The genesis of your sexual sin problem is relational. Something relational are some things relational are happening in your life, that that you responded to reacted to by moving into unwanted sexual behavior. That is just the story of every single person that I’ve worked with over the last 20 years. We don’t realize it on the on the surface, we think, Well, I just discovered some pornography. And it was really attractive to me. And so I started looking at it and started watching it and started enjoying it. But trust me friends, like there’s something going on in your story that made that pornography so enticing. Why is it? Why is it that when you were exposed to pornography, that it hooked you the way that it did? What was happening relationally in your life at that point, that made pornography seem like a safe haven to go into, or a desirable place to run to?

What was going on in your life at that point? You might also ask this question, how were you exposed to pornography? How is it that you were exposed? Whose device were you on? And how did you have free access to it at that point in your life? Whose stash of pornography Did you find? And how did you have access to it what was happening in your life? The answers to those questions are most likely relational. In my experience, again, I’ve never met a person whose when they start digging into the roots of why they are struggling habitually with their unwanted sexual behavior, did not find that there was some relational Genesis, something deeper down some brokenness in the area of relationships, a broken home, a broken marriage, a broken set of relationships with peers, something happening presently in their marriage, something happening in the past, in relation with their father and mother. And so if there’s a relational Genesis to this, if that contributes, if there’s something relational in your life has contributed to it, then those relational wounds need to be healed and relational wounds cannot be healed in isolation. You cannot heal a relational wound in isolation, you can only be healed in the context of healthy loving relationships. Your neuro biologically, your brain needs to experience something in that same realm. But but in a different way, in a loving way, in an attuned way, in a caring way, in a comforting way, in order for you to heal. You need relationships, you need relationships, so much more I could say there. I didn’t even mention, you know, just the kind of practicality of like, you know, who you’re going to confess to Who are you going to help with accountability stuff, who’s going to help you make decisions, just practical things you can do to avoid tempting situations like those are just practical things? So much more we could say. But listen, friends, I don’t share any of this to point a finger at you. I don’t share this. You don’t need to come to regeneration. But we are certainly here for you. But find someone somewhere who can walk with you. I know it’s scary. We have been there. We’ve been there. We’ve been there. I know it can feel shameful. We have been there. I know. I know. I know. But brothers and sisters, it is worth it. It is worth it to find someone to walk on this journey with Please trust me. Jesus, would you lead each person listening who needs an ally, a guide a friend on this journey to someone who is trustworthy, whom they will make the choice to trust and pray in Your name Jesus, amen.


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