Porn addiction has become a relatively common problem in our generation. Many claim it’s the fastest growing addiction.
Porn addiction involves compulsive viewing of pornography, obsessive thoughts and, almost always, also compulsive musterbation.
It is important to clarify from the start that Porn Anonymous is not a faith-based fellowship that takes a moral or religious stand against pornography or any other sexual behaviors. There are members in our fellowship with conservative or orthodox personal religious convictions, and there are others who espouse to liberal and progressive ideals. As a fellowship, we take no stand on religion, morality or politics. Our only goal is to help men and women who suffer from porn addiction.
It is also important to note that our program is intended for those who suffer from addiction. It is not a program for those who watch pornography occasionally and would like to eradicate this minor habit from their lives for whatever reasons, personal, religious or other.
What distinguishes porn-use from porn-addiction is the compulsive aspect of the behavior, which in some significant way interferes with leading a normal, balanced life.
Porn addicts, before they join our program, have usually already tried, with little success, many other ways to quit porn and break free.
Non-addicts who want to control or reduce their porn-habit will find many other helpful ways to do so. But those who join our program found, through personal experience, that the usual methods and advice for changing habits and strengthening their willpower don’t work for them. They have tried to mobilize all their willpower, but cannot stop.
The addict is a person who has very real reasons to stop, but just can’t. The behavior pattern of the addiction is stronger than their willpower, and the usual tools that might help other people, are not enough for an addict.
Addicts know what helplessness feels like. The addict suffers from an obsession with porn that eats at them, and they cannot stop their compulsive behavior. They can spend hours surfing and watching porn, even when they have important things to do, during work hours, or at the expense of family time. This may take its toll on their marriage, and certainly on their self-image and emotional well-being. They have tried to stop but never succeeded, which creates a cycle of frustration and helplessness.
Most addicts are unhappy with who they are and may have lost faith in their own goodness and worthiness. Many addicts suffer from self-loathing and feel like a failure. They feel stuck, weak, and defeated.
They feel like they are leading a double life. On the outside, their life might seem normal, but on the inside, they are consumed with emptiness, self-loathing and hopelessness. They are filled with guilt, shame and a tremendous loneliness. They live in fear of being caught, and simply cannot go on living like this.
The addict might have already tried every possible solution that the experts have to offer, but they continue to use porn compulsively against their better judgment. After every use, they promise themselves that this is the last time, but can never keep that promise. Addicts are not just attracted to watching porn, they have an uncontrollable thirst for porn.
How can you know if you are an addict, or if you just need the normal tools for kicking the habit? There is no fool-proof test or a single answer that can make a black and white distinction. However, there are a few helpful questions:
Do you feel that this attraction is stronger than you, and do you get carried away against your will?
Do you feel that even though you really want to stop, you can’t, and every time you feel the urge you succumb to it?
Have you really tried hard to stop but without success?
Does your frequency of use increase? Is the type of porn you use getting more extreme as time goes on?
Do you repeatedly promise yourself that “this is the last time”, but cannot keep your promise?
Do you feel hopeless about your chances of having a porn-free life again?
If these are somehow not enough, you can ask yourself a few more questions:
Do you feel that porn has become an obsession for you? Do you feel that sometimes your judgment just disappears? Do you feel a desperate need and sense of euphoria before watching porn, but a feeling of emptiness, sadness or depression after?
To know if we have an addiction we also need to be honest with ourselves about how our porn use affects all the areas of our lives including: our self-image, our emotional well-being, our relationship with our partners and other relationships.
Don’t make up your mind without giving it serious thought. If you’re not sure whether you suffer from addiction, take some time for self-reflection. Ask yourself the hard questions so you can reach a clearer conclusion.
Sometimes self-examination doesn’t give us a clear enough answer, so you might consider consulting with an experienced person. You can contact us at Porn Anonymous by email to schedule a phone consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to offer our help. You can also consult a mental health professional who specializes in addictions.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to let time teach us what we haven’t managed to clarify ourselves yet. You can try this experiment: focus all your efforts on stopping, or at least reducing your porn use for one month or more. This trial period might help you conclude that you actually do have the ability to make the changes you want. However, if you don’t see any progress, it might bring you to the realization that you are facing an addiction, and that on your own, you are powerless to change. For an addict, the chances of making a significant change using willpower alone are pretty low.
It has been our experience that where other methods failed, the 12-Step program has been able to help us, the porn addicts. The original program was created in the 1930’s by recovering alcoholics, and it since has been successfully adapted to almost all other known addictions. There are hundreds of thousands of addicts in 12-Step programs worldwide, and new members are continuously joining, recovering successfully and receiving the gift of a life free from compulsion and obsession.
If you have come to the conclusion that you suffer from porn addiction, our program is for you. We invite you to join us. If, on the other hand, you decide that you are not actually addicted, we wish you success in finding the help that is right for you.
We wish you every success in any path you choose.