Pornography is the worst kind of perversion because Satan takes God’s most beautiful creations and twists them. Satan cannot create anything–he can only distort those good things which God has already made.
Most men know that pornography and lust are evil. Even if they have convinced themselves that these evils are okay to do, deep in their hearts they know it is shameful and wrong. Nonetheless, the addiction to pornography can be incredibly strong and hard to break. I don’t pretend to have the magical recipe for breaking the addiction, but I have some ideas about it from my own struggle against pornography addiction.
Some ideas to put into practice
- First, don’t ever give up in your fight to be pure.
- The key to overcoming this addiction is perseverance.
- God will help you to persevere and help you all the more when you persevere.
- “God won’t forgive me–I’ve fallen to this sin countless times and don’t think I can stop.”
- This lie is Satan’s favorite. God will certainly forgive you if you repent and ask him to. Don’t believe the lies. His mercy is greater than this lustful sin, period.
- “It’s not that bad. Other men do far worse things than this.”
- Wrong. It IS that bad. You are degrading God’s beautiful daughters and the gift of sexuality he gave you. And when you face God in your judgment, he won’t ask you if you did less worse things than your next door neighbor. He will only ask what you have done, and you will have to answer for it.
- The same Satan who delights in torture, kidnapping, brutality, abortion, and abuse, delights in men lusting after women in pornography.
- “I can handle watching TV when I want, and even if I see some women in immodest dress or in sexual situations, it doesn’t really affect me.”
- Oh really? If you’re like me, this just ain’t true.
- These images stick like glue in your mind and accrue, and inevitably those images will return to your mind and the seeds of temptation will be planted. You are not as strong as you think you are. The slightest temptation would overcome you if God did not help you, but he also requires we do our utmost to avoid these temptations. Turn off the TV except for movies you know are clean or special programs you want to watch, and only with someone you trust close by.
- Pray everyday.
- Are you tempted in the morning while lying in bed? Get up! Immediately when you wake up, ask the Virgin Mary to pray to God for you for the grace to protect and respect all of His daughters.
- Renew your resolutions to be pure throughout the day, and ask for the Holy Spirit to give strength to your resolutions.
- Thank God for giving you the grace to be pure at night.
- Make good friends who share in your beliefs and struggle against this manifestation of evil and spend time with them and your family.
- When the first tempting thoughts come into your mind, pray immediately for God to protect you and set your mind on another matter.
- If they persist, pray even more and keep trying to steer your mind to other things.
- Avoid idleness!
- If you feel a strong temptation, pray even more for help and grace, confess your weakness and nothingness to God, and your desire to be pure.
- If you are alone, go somewhere and meet up with friends or family, or go do something where you interact with people.
- Quickly go over in your mind why pornography and lust are evil, and why you do not want them.
- Make yourself accountable with a brother in Christ who also is striving to be pure.
- Pray with him, pray for him, everyday, and keep each other accountable for your actions.
- Within good judgment, tell him of your struggles and victories, and if you fall to temptation, let him know and ask for even more prayers.
- All of this is in addition to praying, receiving the Sacraments (if Catholic) and striving after God in your daily life.
Finally, pray for hope in overcoming this addiction. God CAN do it. He can do anything and regularly works miracles in peoples’ lives who call upon him for help. He has worked wonders in my life to overcome this addiction, and if he can do it in me, he can do it in you. Satan wants you to despair, for when you despair, his work is made much easier, but our Lord never wants us to despair.
When I say I have “overcome this addiction”, that doesn’t mean that I am not tempted still. I am tempted almost everyday, and every minute and every hour of every day, I am vigilant over my heart and mind and eyes to protect my soul from impurity. I am always on guard against it and ready to fight it. As Jesus said, if the man knew at what time of night the thief would come to rob him, he would stay awake and be ready for him. We must do the same in this matter!.
I encourage you to learn more about the Theology of the Body. Learn about how beautifully God created sex and marriage, and how good it is to enjoy it as God intended it. God’s Truth is the antidote for Satan’s lies. We hear the lies 24/7 on the TV, the newspapers, and in the confused thoughts of people who have been duped by the world’s perversion of God’s greatest gifts.
Finally, if you’re a single man, pray for your future wife everyday! Imagine the joy of getting to give yourself to her in purity, as a real man. Imagine the joy she will feel in being joined to a husband who has fought so hard to be pure–not perfect, but striving to be perfect. Imagine the goodness of being a man of purity for your children, teaching your daughters what to look for in a man, and being a model of true manhood for your sons.
Imagine looking deep into your holy and beautiful wife’s eyes and telling her with passion, “My love, I’ve been so pure, for you.”
You can read a more recent reflection I wrote on the joy of victory in overcoming this sin here.
St. Joseph, pray for us! And may our Lord bless you with is grace to be pure.