11 Steps to Quit Viewing Pornography
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I wish I could say that this post is only for that “small group” of people addicted to pornography. Would that it were a “small group,” but no, it is not small, it is a group that over the years has become so great that today there are very few men (and women) who have not seen pornography at least once in their lives. The porn industry moves more money than any other industry in the world. Consumption has reached unimaginable rates.
Pornography is like a cancer that progresses silently and pollutes our lives subtly. It has even begun to be accepted as normal, a regular form of entertainment in the lives of men, women and children that produces no adverse effects. People even share it on Whatsapp! Overwhelming scientific evidence shows the great damage that pornography causes; damage both to the person who consumes it to all the various environments involved. It affects more than just the individual. Pornography affects those in management and production roles, the actors who become objectified without dignity, and certainly those who consume it, their families and society in general. Pornography is one of the worst evils that exist. So if you are someone who thinks: Who has to know? It is my life and I’m not hurting anyone…. Everyone does it, no big deal… Just one more time… I can stop whenever I want. DON’T BE NAIVE!
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The consumption of pornography generates addiction with the consequent harmful effects across the human condition – biological, psychological, and spiritual – generated by any addiction. It produces neurobiological changes in the nervous system on par with those produced by the consumption of addictive drugs. Overcoming any addiction is not easy; it requires much effort and personal work. But it can be done; you can break the cycle. As opposed to substance addiction, pornography addiction actually can have a faster recovery period. So if you find yourself stuck in this world, leave it as fast as you can. Begin this process by reviewing and sharing these 11 steps:
1. Accept that you have a problem and decide to leave it behind:
It is your free choice, no one will decide for you. To consciously accept that you have a problem that seriously affects your life and environment is an act of courage. Be brave and acknowledge that you have a problem that affects you and your loved ones. Make the decision to put an end to this vice.
2. Seek help:
If you know you have a problem, look for help. A Minister, a priest, and even a psychologist are the ideal people to give you support and assistance. They will understand and accompany you as you undertake this difficult path. Remember you are not alone, and you owe it to yourself to set up a support network for the best chance of success.
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3. Frequent the Sacraments and PRAY:
The greatest support will always come from the one who loves you most. Look for God. Fighting without God does not make sense. Frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation again and again; seek forgiveness and grace. Pray fervently. For this, a spiritual adviser and a priest friend will be your best allies.
4. Recognize that love is free, full, strong and fruitful:
Perhaps you started watching pornography out of curiosity, or because everyone around you was doing it. And you got stuck because you had other gaps that porn started to fill. Maybe you wanted to find love and just found a deformed pleasure. If you are looking for love, remember that love is free, full, strong and fruitful. Pornography could not be further away from this authentic love you seek. You have become its slave. Porn makes you selfish and unable to truly give of yourself. Pause and consider what is it that pornography is giving you? Answer this question frequently.
5. Make yourself useful:
Don’t stay still. As the Pope Francis told the young pilgrims from Loreto: “… that life is to walk, it is a path”. “If a person does not walk and stays still, it’s no good, he does nothing.” Leave your everyday comfort zone for a time and devote yourself to different activities. Keep your day held in activities such as school, sports, or spending time with other people. These activities will help you to create new habits and new routines so you don’t stay stuck in your addiction.
6. Strengthen your will in all areas, not only in regards to sex:
This has to do with the previous point. In all your daily activities, as well as in little, passive ways like waiting in line or your daily commute, exercising the will more intentionally is a critical opportunity to become more disciplined. Practice fasting, mortification, discipline. In this way it will also be healthy training in the realm of sexuality.
7. Help others:
The consumption of pornography has to do with isolation, selfishness, and slavery. Find activities that put you in contact with others, enabling you to open yourself to the community by giving support to others. It will open up to you a new world.
8. Help yourself:
Destroy all the acquired material, in addition to placing secure internet connections and accountability software on all your devices. As you do this, identify thoughts and behaviors that have lead you to seek out pornography. Root out these thoughts and habits and eliminate them from your repertoire. Avoid these near occasions of sin and remove them from your easy access.
9. Establish a commitment:
Make a firm commitment to your decision and the steps here. This requires a trusted friend, therapist, or priest to serve as an accountability partner in this process. Keep your promise.
Study, cultivate yourself, and learn about yourself, about your spirituality, about virtues like chastity and the right sense of sexuality. Understanding this will help you so much. There are many books you can consult; Theology of the Body of Saint John Paul II might be one.
11. Never lower your guard:
Always remain alert and keep a healthy mistrust of yourself in terms of your vices and weaknesses. Don’t be naive and think that you are immune to pornography once you overcome it temporarily. If you relapse, get up. Be ready to get up over and over again. Again, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist are fundamental in this process.
God be with you, my prayers and those of all of us at CL.