Four tips I learned to beat porn

Four tips I learned to beat porn

Written on 02/27/2020
Alexander Pezzutto

Written by Alexander Pezzutto

Unfortunately for us, “accountabilibuddies” don’t beat porn addictions. In an age where pornography attracts eight-year-olds and ensnares a staggering percentage of the population in some form or another, we need a better solution.

Functioning like cocaine in the brain, pornography leads to sexual dysfunction both physically and mentally, and is often a root cause of depression, social anxiety, and more. Not to mention, the sex industry is a core driver for the worst human enslavement epidemic in history, fueling sex trafficking around the world. Such mass addiction and destruction must become a thing of the past; the Church needs to bring the healing of Christ with urgency.

After learning how to overcome porn myself, I wanted to see if my method would work for others too. A friend of mine, who became addicted to pornography at eight, had never gone more than 10 days without it. Just recently, he celebrated 39 days clean for the first time in 16 years. So, I’d like to share with you what we did differently so that you can start the fight for freedom well-armed and can help others to do the same. 

To frame the following, this advice can be used to help you with most unhealthy habits. However, if your addiction is severely affecting your life, you may want to pursue additional professional help. I recommend the online service Fortify for that.

First, identify the roots.

What do you believe about pornography? If it’s harmless and recreational, why bother fighting it? If you recognize that pornography is detrimental to you personally, your current or future romantic relationships, and society as a whole, you’re off to a good start. 

But you also need to know why. Why do you want to stop? What is motivating you? What does freedom mean? Identify these reasons to aid you in battle. Is it to maintain moral integrity? To have a healthy view of the opposite gender, especially in light of a future marriage? To aid the fight against slavery? Or even to just be happier and more confident? Write these reasons down.

Many people engage in pornography habitually, meaning there is a habit-trigger. Boredom. Sadness. Hunger. Anger. Certain times, places, etc. If you can identify your triggers, you can learn to avoid them and replace your response with something else.

We are biologically hardwired for sexual intimacy and so have an appetite that must be satisfied. But, like anger, we can satisfy it in healthy or unhealthy ways. We want to choose real relationships, real love, not false intimacy that breeds poor health in us, our relationships, and the world around us.

Your response is itself an act.

You feel sad, so you look at pornography for the dopamine rush to feel good again. But what if when you were sad you went for a run or played with your dog? Both of these actions help alleviate sadness, but with healthier results. Scientifically, you cannot break a habit; it must be replaced.

This also applies to your response to failure. Do you shame and guilt yourself? That often leads to a cycle of wanting more to feel better. What if instead you recognized that Christ died already to forgive you of this and wants your freedom, so He is there lovingly ready to pick you up and say, “Good try, let’s go again.”

Our Father responds with much more grace than we often have for ourselves, recognizing the sin but taking it on Himself so you can be empowered towards freedom.

We also need rewards.

What if instead of always feeling like a failure, you felt victorious and so became a victor? Your brain craves the rewards of pornography, but you can reward it, instead, for sobriety.

Track your journey on an app like HabitBull. Reward yourself for victorious milestones. Celebrate greater levels of purity. After hitting 60 days pure, I bought myself a victory watch. After my friend hit 14 days for the first time, we went out to eat together. It was a good day.

Lastly, reflect.

When you fail, think about what triggered you. Think of how you can either prevent that trigger from coming up or how you can have a plan to respond differently next time, to replace your habit.

This is where accountability partners come in. Confess your failure, speak the truth of God’s forgiveness and grace over each other, and discuss how to act differently next time.

Without everything else, accountability is too weak on its own. It is the glue that makes the new habit stick and the fire that can lead to healing others. But alone, it is not enough. 

Identify the root, replace the response, choose a reward, and reflect with others as you grow. 

In a world of instant clicks and deliveries, overcoming pornography can feel impossible. But we didn’t build that addiction in a day, and we won’t beat it in a day. We must take ground one day at a time, gradually raise our standards as we gain victories, and, one day, after we’ve been clean for years, still carry a sword at our side for when it rears its ugly head.

We must, in the words of Paul, “Pursue righteousness…fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you have been called” (1 Timothy 6:11-12). Fight on.

Suggested resources: Fight the New Drug, Fortify, The Power of Habit, Ever Accountable, Covenant Eyes, HabitBull, EFC: How Porn Harms: What the Church Needs to Know.