Many people contact Fight the New Drug to share their personal stories about how porn has affected their life or the life of a loved one. We consider these personal accounts very valuable because, while the science and research is powerful within its own right, personal accounts from real people seem to really hit home about the damage that pornography does to real lives.

We recently received a story that shows just how damaging shame can be to an addict's journey to recovery. Some stories, like this one, illustrate how love and understanding are huge tools in breaking the hurtful cycle within a user that porn can cause.


Hey FTND,

I wanted to share this story with y’all, because I see a distinct lack of empathy often times towards pornography addicts all around me, even followers of this very movement. I want people to see this. I want people to know how serious this is.

I am 18, and a few months ago I broke free from a 6 year addiction to pornography. I was simply a naive kid who didn’t even understand sexual feelings yet, and got hooked simply from a happenstance encounter with a book that depicted an inappropriate image.

Related: So You’ve Struggled With Porn? That’s Okay, Here’s Why

I spent the last 6 years hating myself, considering myself a monster, a disgrace to society and a poor excuse for a human being. Worst of all, worse even than the belief that I was complete trash and deserved to rot, I thought I had to go through it alone—and in a way, I did. If I didn’t have parents that were so supportive, out of sheer shame and a painfully keen understanding of the judgmental and apathetic nature of people towards pornography addicts I never would have gotten better. Because I hated myself for it so much.

I share this because I see so many people who, instead of supporting those who come out as addicts, they will attack them and call porn users everything they already believe themselves to be. They’ll say things like, “Monster… Trash… Family-destroyer… You deserve to rot in prison… You should be ashamed to show your face in public.”

What Got Me Through

There were only 3 things that got me through my addiction. First was my parents. They supported me like I know so many parents out there wouldn’t have. They made sure I knew they weren’t angry with me, they told me the extreme dangers of pornography, and that they would be there to help me at any time no matter what. Had they been like the parents of so many others, some of which I know, they would have yelled at me, publicly humiliated me, punished me harshly, maybe even beaten me for looking at degrading videos like that. But they knew that I was already punishing myself more than they ever could.

Related: The Links Between Anxiety, Depression, and Porn Consumption

Second, was my desire to be a good person. As good a person I could be. Again, had I come out publicly with my addiction, I feared I would be rejected by my friends and loved ones, that they would have told me exactly what I told myself every day for the whole of my adolescence. In this circumstance, I’m almost glad that I didn’t share my problem because I was able to focus on how I needed to change for myself and become the man I always dreamed to be. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I pulled myself out through my own power, but more than that, I did it for myself before I did it for anyone else.

Third, and most important, the driving focus that pushed me to improve in literally every aspect of my life was that I wanted to be worthy of the woman I would someday marry. Marriage and kids have always been my ultimate goal before all else. I want to be a father my children can be proud of, a husband my wife will want to love with all her heart as much as I will love her with all of mine, and a friend who will lift the burden of those who suffer as I have suffered. I knew that I couldn’t bring myself to even steadily date a girl and go home to degrade others through the computer, let alone ask one whom I loved more than anything else to marry me. I would feel like our wedding vows were a sentence to a life of misery and regret. I had to move on.

Porn Is Everywhere

Let me tell you why pornography is the most dangerous addictive substance. It’s extremely addictive, shoved down our throats, all but encouraged by society while ironically shunned by it. The porn consumers who have had their perception of healthy sexuality twisted are so often treated as the enemy, so much that they fear coming out and finding help. Heck, you can’t even go to the store or watch TV without seeing triggering images all over magazines, commercials, and TV programs.

Related: The Problem With Saying “I’ll Never Date Someone Who Has Struggled With Porn”

It’s so bad that I genuinely applaud anyone who can go all the way through to the age of 20 without once dipping his or her toe in the raging sea of pornography. It’s a sea that so often rips people from the shore and pulls them out to a wide, empty ocean of depression and addiction with no land in sight.

If that weren’t bad enough, it seems like half the people on the shore would sooner shackle some dead-weights to your ankles than toss you a rope. Now that I’ve pulled myself free I don’t just get upset when I see or hear these shaming people, I get very angry. If it weren’t for them, I may have been cured of my addiction within mere months, but instead it overshadowed all of both middle school and high school.

The Real Enemy

Let me make one thing abundantly clear: PORN ADDICTS ARE NOT THE ENEMY. THE PORN INDUSTRY IS. For as long as people refuse to accept that as a fact, change will be slowed. Families will still be torn apart. People will cut off ties with friends and loved ones and sink into depression. The porn industry will continue to boom.

Related: 10 Things To Avoid Saying To Someone Struggling To Give Up Porn

I want everyone out there who shuns porn addicts to know that they are part of this big problem. When they shun porn addicts, they’re helping to turn experimenters into users, users into addicts, and addicts into clinically depressed people. If you never had a pornography addiction or knew someone who was very close and very open with you about their addiction, you don’t know what it’s like.

Don’t ever tell someone who is trying to give up porn for themselves already they are a monster, deserving of torture, and that they will never be free from pornography. They already tell themselves that every day.

T.

Why This Matters

Shame is part of the porn problem.

So many who watch porn feel an enormous amount of shame brought on by others or themselves which 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. And we realize this is a complex issue, since remorse can be a healthy part of finding freedom and healing wounds, but don’t forget that remorse is different from shame. Too often, shame is used as a beating stick that weakens and demoralizes.

Related: Why Being Anti-Porn & Anti-Shame Go Hand In Hand

By choosing love and understanding, instead of shame, we are helping to promote true change in this porn-saturated society. Continue to spread the word that pornography is harmful to individuals, relationships, and society in a way that will inspire and motivate others to choose love, too.

Let's_choose_Love

What YOU Can Do

Love alone is worth fighting for. SHARE this article to raise awareness that shame is part of the porn problem.

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