A porn addict’s journey

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My name is Graham. I am a believer in Jesus Christ. And I struggle with porn addiction.

Some of you already know that as I wrote “Lonely Men Watch Porn” in the RECORD a couple of years ago, and I’ve presented on the issue in a number of churches. You may have understood from my testimony that I have had total victory over porn. This is not completely true.

This was totally unexpected and as I looked into her face, I saw the face of Jesus.

A little while ago, after I slipped and viewed pornography, I was scheduled to give my testimony. I felt like a hypocrite as I stood extolling the virtues of a Christ-centred recovery from sin when I had myself only just fallen. As I gave my testimony, God was telling me in no uncertain terms that He wanted me to tell the real story; but I couldn’t. Why? Because in the audience was the woman who saved my life and my reason for still living—my beautiful wife, Michelle. While I had shared my fall with one of the people in my accountability team, I had not told her, and I was not going to blurt it out in front of an audience, no matter how small. 

The program ended and it was the next week when a woman contacted me for help with her porn addiction. I told her that I only had these conversations with women when my wife was present and asked permission to put her on speaker. She agreed and Michelle and I worked with her to help her understand her issues. When the conversation ended, Michelle hugged me and said, “You’re my hero.” I started to cry and she asked me what was wrong. I was filled with dread as I pondered my next words. This wonderful woman had trusted me above all other men in her life and I was about to reveal something that could destroy that trust. 

She sat on my knee and asked me what was wrong. With a deep and nervous breath I found the courage to tell her that I had recently slipped back into porn.

She looked into my eyes and stroked my hair. Tears started to build in her eyes and she took a breath and said, “Oh sweetheart are you OK?” I replied that I wasn’t OK and felt like a dog. She continued to stroke my hair and dry my tears and then she asked me if it was anything she had done to cause my fall. I was stunned by her response—it was the opposite to what I had expected. She then went on to ask me if there was anything at all she could do to make me feel better.

This was totally unexpected and as I looked into her face I saw the face of Jesus. Then she said something that I will never forget: “You are more my hero now than you have ever been.” We then made a pact that I would make her my first call if I looked like stumbling again. She asked me if I had ever fallen before in the seven years we had been together. I confessed that I fell about once a year.

I want everyone to understand the magnitude of what happened:

  • God made it clear that without hearing His voice I would be lost.
  • God showed me how this fall had restricted me as a man and my ministry.
  • God created an environment that challenged me to the truth.
  • He gave Michelle the courage and the good sense to see this for what it was and give me the best support possible.
  • He wanted us to use this experience to help others.
  • He showed me an opportunity to understand where Satan had tripped me.
  • He showed us how we should respond to others who fall.

From our experience, I believe we have insight into the way God would like us to act if our partner struggles with porn addiction, and falls: 

  • First, it is not about or because of you that your partner has fallen.
  • Second, the person who has fallen already feels wretched and miserable from the fall, and the last thing he or she needs is to have the person they love most add to that feeling.
  • Third, your partner has probably been living with and trying to battle the addiction since he or she was a child.
  • Fourth, it may take a lifetime to beat the addiction. That does not mean that we throw those afflicted on the scrap heap. They need your support in ways that you might expect if it were you in their shoes. 

Michelle’s response to me was a Jesus response. In our ministry we encourage those who seek our support to understand that we are at war with evil; that there are only two sides from which to choose. We ask them which side they would like to be on and then encourage them to make that choice in their daily lives by asking what would Jesus do (WWJD)? 

Michelle’s response has made me stronger than I have ever been in my battle with porn. I have not so much as had a lustful thought since we had that conversation. Why? Because I saw Jesus in my wife and I felt comforted.

In Matthew 5 Jesus tells us in His own words: “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” We don’t have to get rid of the internet and put blocks on computers. That’s not the answer. We must allow Christ to condition us for our journey into a sin-filled world. His blood will teflon coat us and make us impervious to the stain of repetitive sin. 

I’ve been afflicted with this sin for more than four decades. As with all addictions, some people can give them up easier than others. Generally, there is no easy fix. Satan will always use your sin of choice as an entry point when you’re down and out for the count.

Forgiveness and support to those addicted to pornography is not a cakewalk for spouses. It brings home all of their insecurities and can make spouses feel worthless when their life partner reveals the truth about a failure. I know this well, as I am still coming to terms with what my addiction has cost my family. But if the man in your life is struggling with pornography addiction then know this: he is wired to be a hero and anything that makes him feel less than that only makes the situation worse. There is hope for families where a partner is struggling with pornography, and that hope begins with the kind of love that only Jesus can inspire.
 


Graham Hood and his wife, Michelle, run Mission Serenity, based on the Gold Coast, Queensland.