I can eat hummus with chips or dip or straight from the tub. I love it. I feel like I’m willingly taking on a master whenever we buy hummus.
Hummus is my weakness. I can’t resist it. I could eat it all in one sitting.
While I’m thankful that my addiction isn’t to sugary sweets or tobacco or something more destructive, any addiction is a risky thing.
I’ve been experimenting with putting barriers in front of things that are too easy to enjoy. As a result, I have to work harder to get that entertainment. For example, I recently deleted Instagram from my phone. So, if I want to browse Instagram, I have to spend 60 extra seconds downloading the app, logging in, and loading it up again. I really need to want it to spend those precious seconds waiting.
This simple action has reduced my time on Instagram time by more than 99% last month. That’s a lot of time I get back to spend on other things.
However, the other things filling the space aren’t all great. For example, my YouTube usage rose last month. However, it’s hard to get rid of it since I still spend some valuable time learning in addition to mindless enjoyment.
Maybe YouTube will be next to go. Hummus can stay another day…
I needed to reset. Pornography had slowly taken control of my life. In January 2018, I finally decided to fight back.
Initially, my relationship with pornography was exciting. It energized me to get up in the morning. It empowered me to tap into deep desires. It distracted me from pain and worry. It relieved my stress. And it taught me things about myself and the world.
As I grew up, my old habits stayed the same. My relationship with porn habituated. We kept secrets to ourselves. I longed for it whenever I had a few minutes. Fantasies of blue-lit screens stung me and swarmed my attention. I planned my days around when we could spend time together.
But it was hindering me from the rest of my life. I often regretted surrendering control so willingly. I was fiending for a release instead of tapping into my desires. I was prioritizing porn over loved ones and ambitions. The spark of excitement had gone out.
The World is our Audience
When I would decide to watch porn, there was usually one point of “no return,” during which I decided to go all-in. At that point, I would ask myself:
"Do I want to be the person who did what I'm about to do?"
I thought that I only answered for myself. So, each time I answered, “sure, it’s fine.” If I chose it and approved of it, then my actions were good. I wasn’t hurting anyone. No one else was watching.
But my friends, the world is our audience. The habits, thoughts, and desires that we cultivate in private are those that emerge in public. Our private and public lives take place in the same story. No one else might know what I did in private, but they would soon interact with the person who did. They did not participate in the act, but they would see the direct effects on my mind, body, and soul.
If I crave lustfully in private, I am likely to crave lustfully in public. This is not the person I wanted to be.
I had two options: Whine about the world and pity myself as a victim. Or, change my behavior.
"You reap what you sow." -Galatians (paraphrased)
Deciding to Stop
I decided to stop watching porn for six months. Six months turned into 14 months, to this day. The fight is not over, and I must stay vigilant. But I have regained control of my addiction.
I also did not masturbate for those 6 months. From January until July 2018, I reset my brain. I ripped apart its reliance on these habits so I could rebuild from the ground up.
My friends, removing pornography from my life was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
I accomplished my goal and more. I am no longer a person who watches porn. And I was able to reestablish a healthy relationship with masturbation that does not rely on porn.
This was one of the hardest things that I’ve done. I faced severe cravings and flashbacks, especially in the first month. I doubted and second-guessed and lied to myself and struggled with moving forward. But after that first intense month, things started to balance out. The intensity of cravings and the frequency of flashbacks steadily decreased.
After six months, my body and mind stopped relying on pornography as a release. I completely transformed. Chemical imbalances evened out. I increased testosterone, energy, ambition, focus, sex drive, and stamina. God opened up to me spiritually, and my heart was ready to listen.
That inner voice now speaks clearly: “Do I want to be the person who did what I’m about to do?” I now answer, “No.”
I think porn is dangerous and addicting. Some people can handle it. But for many people who struggle with addiction, the first step is admitting that it’s a problem.
Need help? Send me a note and we can chat about my experience.
"You should be able to do things that you wouldn't do." -Jordan Peterson