If you’ve come to this page, you may be ready to seek help and begin the healing process. Maybe you’ve tried to overcome porn use in the past and failed. There is hope! Let’s first look at what does and doesn’t work:
What Doesn’t Work:
- Trying to overcome pornography use on your own
- Believing that praying more and being more religious will take it away
- Minimizing the problem, hoping it will just go away
- Hiding the problem from your wife
- Being too embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help
What Does Work:
- Admitting to your self and at least one other person that you have a problem
- Taking responsibility for getting help
- Letting go of shame associated with pornography addiction
- Seeking the help you need
- Being accountable to others
- Walking with the Lord every day in recovery
- Being willing to do whatever it takes to recover!
Over the past ten years I have evaluated many recovery programs. I have seen what works and what doesn’t work. From them I have developed a 7-point plan for recovery that includes the best of what does work.
7-point Plan for Recovery
- Self-knowledge and Commitment: Every day admitting to yourself that you have a problem and that you are responsible for getting help. Being committed to doing whatever it takes to recover.
- Purifying Your Environment: Getting rid of all pornography and anything that reminds you of it. This includes destroying magazines, videotapes, and DVDs, blocking sexual Internet sites, avoiding certain businesses or parts of town, and even ending unhealthy relationships.
- Support and Accountability: Anyone who has been successful in recovery knows you cannot do it alone. There are no “Lone Rangers” in recovery. You need other men who can support you in recovery as well as make you accountable for your actions. 12-step groups, such as Sexaholics Anonymous, and Catholic men’s groups, like The Kings Men, are needed for support and accountability.
- Counseling: This is needed to get to the root cause of pornography use. Often issues like shame, loneliness, anger, childhood abuse and abandonment, and pure selfishness are the root causes of pornography use. These emotional conflicts need to be resolved for recovery to be lasting. Without this, any sobriety will be a “white knuckle” sobriety, and there will always be a struggle with strong temptations to use pornography. Counseling is also needed to insure that all other points of the recovery plan are in place and working properly. For married men, marital counseling is needed to heal the deep wounds to their marriage caused by porn use. Wives may also need counseling to help them recover from the trauma caused by their husband’s pornography use.
- Spiritual Plan: Anyone who has been successful in recovery also knows that a strong relationship with our Lord is necessary. This includes daily prayer, spiritual reading, the sacraments and even working with a priest in spiritual direction. A healthy spiritual life can help reduce selfishness, loneliness, anger, and fear. It can also help strengthen confidence and raise self esteem. In addition, it can help heal deep emotional wounds. Daily walking with the Lord can make recovery a lot easier.
- Education: You need to educate yourself on the dangers of pornography, its addictiveness, and what it does to relationships. You then need to share this knowledge with others. It becomes increasingly difficult to fall into using porn when you know the truth about it. In recovery, several books are recommended to educate men, and their wives, on the truth about pornography.
- Virtue: This is unique to this recovery plan. By working every day to grow in virtue, men find it easier to avoid pornography. It is said that the true measure of manhood lies in virtue. The virtuous man strives to live a life of integrity that avoids all vices, including porn. It can be very difficult to fall into using pornography when a man is striving to grow in chastity, honesty, faithfulness, charity, and courage.
I call this a seven-point plan of recovery and not a seven-step plan because each point is of equal importance. They all need to be worked on in unison. This is not difficult as the points overlap. True success comes when recovery becomes a lifestyle. When this happens, working on all points daily becomes easy.
It has been my experience that when all points of the plan are addressed daily, sobriety and recovery can be achieved. Often when a man reports he has fallen into using porn, at least one of the points was not addressed.
You can learn more about this process by ordering my booklet: Pornography Addiction: a Catholic Response. To order your copy, click here:
The first step in recovery is asking for help. This is done by finding a qualified therapist who can work with you to develop and effective recovery program. I have worked with hundreds of men to overcome pornography use and addiction. I want to invite you to contact my office to schedule an appointment and to begin the healing process. Click here to contact me.