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Here’s Why Those Who Struggle With Porn Aren’t Bad People

By June 29, 2017 March 25th, 2019 No Comments
The following post comes from an article originally posted on Fortify’s website. Visit their site for more articles geared toward recovery.

At Fight the New Drug, we talk a lot about the doom and gloom of struggling with porn. How it will affect our brains, ruin our relationships, etc. That information can be important and help us create better strategies for our recovery but let’s be honest, it can also be really depressing. So let’s look at the other side of the equation. While the effects of porn are bad, struggling with it doesn’t make you a bad person. We get a lot of stories from people who are not only going through obsession with porn, but they have recovered from it. Regardless of how long you’ve struggled, recovery is more than possible.

Struggling with porn sucks. Plain and simple.

Fortify hears first-hand the toll that pornography takes on the lives of those who depend on it. Addicts and compulsive viewers often create a cocktail of mental, physical and emotional issues ranging from depression and porn-induced erectile dysfunction, to the entire spectrum of anxieties and insecurities. And these are just to name a few.

We say again—struggling with porn sucks. But does that make those who struggle bad people?

Nope.

But we know that’s probably how compulsive viewers feel a lot of the time. They feel out of control of their actions. Then, they can get trapped under the crushing weight of blame and guilt, and they get stuck walking circles around all the thoughts that keep them feeling so hopeless.

“If I were strong enough, I would be able to quit.”

“Every time I look at porn I feel terrible but I keep doing it anyways. Why am I so weak?”

“I’ve been trying to stop for years and can’t. Maybe I’m just broken.”

While struggling porn viewers may feel justified in these thoughts, none of them are true. The problem is that all of these feelings are born from their inability to stop watching immediately. They don’t motivate them to change, they just make them feel inadequate. If compulsive viewers and addicts don’t learn how to cut themselves some slack, they could become trapped in their thoughts. The following three reasons are why those who struggle are not broken, and they can change.

Understanding Shame

Here’s the issue: so many who watch porn feel an enormous amount of shame brought on by others or themselves, which pretty much always makes the issue worse. Many feel like they’re a bad person, worthless, or permanently broken. Not only is this untrue, but these feelings of shame can also cripple people’s self-esteem and stunt their progress into recovery. And we realize this is a complex issue, since remorse can be a healthy part of finding freedom and healing wounds. But too often shame is used as a beating stick that weakens and demoralizes.

RelatedHow Shame Made My Struggle With Porn Worse, Not Better

Truth is, a lot of people watch porn. That shouldn’t surprise you. Do you realize though, how many thousands upon thousands of Fighters are still struggling with porn and yet stand with us to declare to others that porn kills love and to fight for love? This doesn’t make them hypocrites at all. They speak boldly and openly because they know the true cost of pornography. They want others to have the opportunity to avoid those challenges in their lives. These Fighters are among the most passionate and we love them for it.

Just because you haven’t been able to completely distance yourself from porn yet doesn’t mean you can’t be an activist for real love and want to help people (including yourself) avoid love’s most harmful counterfeits. Remember that, because it’s the truth.

Feelings Are Not Truth

One Fortifier recently emailed us with a great explanation of this principle:

“One of your lessons I just finished really stood out to me in a way that none of the others have. It talks about watching your thoughts without being your thoughts, and more specifically watching your FEELINGS without being your feelings. Something that I have always had a rough battle with are my emotions. I often act out of the way I feel, and it is usually in a way more noticeable than the way most people act out on their feelings. I often become a slave to my own thoughts, I let them flow through my head every night before I go to sleep. “You are always going to be alone” or “you are not important” or “you can’t succeed.” For so long I have let these thoughts become a large part of me and have allowed my actions to be dictated by them. This really changed my perspective on my own thoughts and feelings in a way that I didn’t know was possible. Not only has this advice been really beneficial for my recovery but it has given me a new outlook on who I am and how I carry out my actions in my life.”

-Luke, Teen Fortifier

Feelings are important, but they don’t make anyone who they really are. What you do with them does. A struggling viewer wanting to act out in their fight against porn isn’t what’s bad, it’s when they follow through with it that makes it harmful. Accept this part of the healing process, and anyone who struggles will be a lot happier in their journey towards recovery.

Don’t Blame The Past, Develop A New One

Most compulsive porn viewers and porn addicts report that even though they were exposed to pornography at a very young age, they still somehow knew that it was “bad for you.” They felt that it wasn’t healthy. But they did’t know how to deal with it. Think about it: McDonald’s is bad for you but if you hand a kid a Happy Meal they aren’t going to reply, “No thanks, I’m cutting carbs for the month.” Sometimes it takes age and maturity to right our wrongs and gain healthy perspective.

RelatedHow The Porn Industry Gains Teen Viewers And Turns Them Into Lifelong Clients

No matter how long someone has struggled with porn, how old they were when porn first crept into their life, there is no way they could have been equipped to deal with it. Viewers fighting to quit watching often use the past as evidence of their failures, a ledger that lists the reasons of how little they’re worth. Just remember that hindsight is 20/20.

Looking back on the past with current experience and knowledge can make anyone who struggles feel as though their mistakes are so trivial and avoidable. This just leads compulsive users and addicts to blame themselves. Instead of using the past as a hindrance to recovery, focus on today. Todays will become yesterdays and eventually, every Fighter will have a whole new past to be proud of and work from.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your compulsive behavior, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

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