"It is finished"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Well, this is it. This is a post ten years in the making. I am finally ready to come out and publicly confess what has been a secret in my life. The following post is a long and deep discussion, so I would recommend that you take 30 minutes and read this by yourself when you can concentrate and not be distracted. I should also point out that this is an "adult" post, so Drew, cover your eyes.

I have wrestled with telling this story. To my knowledge, no one knows about this (some people might have a few hints). At first, I thought about telling only one or two close people, but the time never felt right. Then I thought about blogging about it. At first, I rejected the idea, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. Here are a few benefits of making it public:
This keeps me from having to tell this long involved story 25 times!
This keeps me from having to keep it a secret between a few people. From now on, I can openly talk to everyone about this (more on this later).
To a certain level, this works as a public confessional for me. From now on, I have no more secrets. I hope to keep this a theme in my life.
This can act as a testimony for others that have gone though what I have. I hope that others can benefit from my story (Denton Bible Church has an "AA" style meeting about this addiction, but I learned about it too late and never attended).

So, I have done a lot of thinking about it, and while some people may not agree with a public confessional like this, I feel like it is the best solution.

By now, you must be thinking the worst about me, and I can say that you are probably wrong. Now that I look back, it is a very common struggle. And, the name of my problem is...

*drum roll*

*pause*

... going to be made public right after this announcement from our sponsor.

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OK, now we are back. To make such a big deal about this now seams almost laughable, but it has been the darkest secret that I have ever kept. I used to be addicted to pornography. There, I said it. Happy now?

No, really. I was addicted to the worst of the worst. I am not talking about your average "XXX Video Store" stuff here, I am talking about the lowest smut that you can find on the internet (for free, of course).

Now, I have to stop and make two caveats:
While I have been addicted to lust, I have not done anything physical that I regret. I have always kept it in my mind and have never crossed that line. I am a virgin, and plan on being that way until my wedding night.
I have always considered myself straight. While most of my viewing pleasure revolved around other things, I have always thought and planned (in "real life") on having a wife and kids (this subject will have to be expanded on in another post).

OK, back to the story. As I said, I was addicted to some bad smut. It included images, videos, text, and while not at my computer, thoughts and ideas. It followed me everywhere. I always knew it was wrong; I never talked myself out of that. I would always feel guilty afterward, I would ask God to forgive me, and ask him to never let me do it again. And I was honest in these feelings: I didn't want to do it again... until the next night.

While I felt bad about it, I never promised that I would stop. Sure, I would feel bad enough to stop for a few days, a few weeks, a month or two. But then I would slowly drop back in. The reason that I never made a promise to stop is that I knew that if I did, then I would slowly drop back in, thus breaking a promise to God: something that I did NOT want to do.

Then one night, something inside of me clicked (this was about two years ago). I don't know what it was, but I gave up for the last time. I promised God that I would never lust again. And while I consider that I have not broken this promise, I have come close.

This has been the hardest fight of my life. Immediately after I made the promise, it was easy to stop (I had done it before). But in the months following, it has gotten harder and harder. Sometimes, I will just be sitting there, and an explosion of images and thoughts flood my mind. In these cases, it is less of a temptation and more of a flashback. The thoughts shoot into my brain at the most inopportune times (at church, for example). Other times, there are temptations. On TV, ads on the internet, junk mail, people walking down the street. It is so easy for these things to trigger lustful temptations.

It is like a heavyset person that lost 100 pounds. They still have to drive down the road and see a Mc. Donald's on every other street corner. Every time they see the Arches, that old grumbly in the tumbly comes back; their mouth waters, and they can taste the Big Mac and fries. But they know that just one trip will ruin their life again. It is the same way for me. I am constantly bombarded with outside images that I must control.

I have said that this has been the hardest fight of my life, and I mean that. For the last few months, my temptations have gotten worse and worse. I find myself visiting sites that aren't sexual in nature, but are perverse in their own way (as an "excuse" to look at something). I spend longer looking at some things than I ought. And the thoughts in my head are getting harder and harder to ignore.

I believe that this is why I feel led to post this right now. I have been praying that the demons get off of me, but it just isn't working. I think that this is a cry out for help; a cry for external prayer and support. I once thought that this would be easy for the rest of my life, but right now, I struggle with it daily.

There is much more to this discussion, and I know that you probably have many questions. I have opened posts at both Ludus and the Kelling Forums on this topic. Feel free to post there, or reply to this post here.

OK, this has gone on way too long. I planned on saying a lot more, but it will have to wait. I hope that this pushes a new openness for me and others around me.

Matthew

PS: It has been five days since I first wrote this (I wanted some time to think and make sure it was the right thing to do). The two things that keep bouncing around in my head are:
1. How am I so different? In America, it is accepted to be addicted to porn; it is "normal" to boast about this type of stuff. Why have I kept it a secret for so long?
2. Because it is "normal" to do these things, I have come to see that there is no need for me to be ashamed about my past; in fact, I should be proud of the accomplishments I have made. This is one more reason that I should put under the "reasons why I am making this post public."

Also, since writing it, I can say that I have felt less tempted. I have noticed a change. I don't know if the reason is personal (I have grown stronger) or spiritual (by writing it down it shows the demons that I am serious). I hope that this will be a change for the better.

6 comments:

spartacus976 said...

we will all be prayin for you bud. And yes, it does help for it to be public, part of Satan's power is in secrecy.

I think, like you said, another key thing is accountability... find someone in your life group to hold you accountable. it makes all the difference in the world!
http://xxxchurch.com/gethelp/x3watch.php
thats a program that will record what you do and email it to your accountability partner

and *drum roll plese* IT WORKS ON MACS!!! AND ITS FREE!!!

*CHEERS FROM POOR COLLEGE STUDENTS EVERYWHERE!!!*

so yah, its a hard struggle man! but God is bigger (than the boogie man)

you can get through this :)

(Go! Kat! Go! Ra! Ra! Ra!)

spartacus976 said...

on a serious note... I'm proud of you bud for getting it out... it will make it much easier to battle now

on a more fun note... at least you dont have a Malaysian wife who you have decided to move back home with... or worse yet.. .you've decided to become Canadian...Ehh

see ya later Eh....

Swing said...

Thanks for being brave and letting us know what's going on with you.

There's definitely power in bringing your temptations out into the light. They don't look so scary or have quite so many teeth as they do in the dark.

You know you have our full support and we'll be here for you no matter what.

We love you and will be praying for you!!

Anonymous said...

In the same way that baptism as a public profession of faith garners support and commitment with the community, your decision to make known your struggles strengthens you and brings your friends closer, and that is the key to maturity. You are well on the road of becoming a master of self-discipline and self-control, which is an almost unequivocal advantage in life. The ability to change is a talent that most adults in our society have lost hope of long ago; but you have already succeeded, and will continue to succeed, and we will not let you fail.

gg kat.

Anonymous said...

About a month ago, my boyfriend felt extremely convicted about his struggle with pornography and keeping it a secret, and told me about his ongoing struggle - since his early years of high school. I was incredibly impressed that he told me, and almost loved him more because he had the courage to do that. Saying that, I'm not suggesting that it's easy. Sometimes I still get down about it, but reading your post helped (I cam here from stuffchristianslike), and it helps me to see that you can do it, and gives me hope that he can do it as well. He's installed accountability software on his computer and has his roommate and best friend keep him accountable, as well as another close friend of his from back home, and if you aren't already, I would encourage you to do the same, though it sounds like you're doing great right now. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I often wondered about this issue myself. My church says that if you want to stop an addiction, or change your ways for the better, don't ever make a promise to god that you will stop, simply ask him to help you turn from it. They say, don't try to do anything different, simply let God make the difference in your life. It seems fine, yet when i pray that God help me through, and help me avoid such temptations, i feel no different. I don't feel different when i try to ask God for help, yet when i try to stop on my own, i simply can only stay away for a week or 2 before going back to it. I don't know if i can stop on my own, I'd like to have God help me through it, as I'm told he would love to do.
I try not to promise God that I'll do it, I just ask for his help, and it really doesn't feel like he cares to try and guide me through it.