Hope and Happiness without Porn
Pornography not only leads to feelings of shame and depression, it also stunts your emotional development. Porn is a great temporary pain killer and a quick fix to negative emotions. Instead of learning to process your emotions, you bury them with porn. When you quit porn, you disempower the shame and reconnect with your emotional intelligence. Finding freedom from porn brings you back to true happiness and fulfillment.
Porn Brings Toxic Shame
Shame and guilt are common emotions that most porn users report. Shame is the most toxic. Shame is different from guilt. Guilt says “I’ve done bad” but shame says “I am bad”. There is self-loathing and a sense of worthlessness at the core of shame. Shame declares some version of “I am not enough”; “There is something wrong with me”, “I am bad”; or “I don’t matter.
Shame researcher Brene Brown says “Shame is an intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.”
When you violate your own moral standards to watch porn, shame finds you. When your porn use breaks promises you’ve made to God, your spouse and yourself, the shame multiplies. This shame also takes the form of negative self-talk which feeds other negative emotions – emotions you then feel the need to medicate with porn, further reinforcing the vicious cycle..
Porn Can Lead to Depression
Porn artificially raises the baseline level of dopamine, which means someone needs more dopamine to feel normal. This is why many porn users feel depressed, unmotivated and antisocial more frequently than non-users. Having artificially elevated dopamine levels means normal levels leave a person down and depressed. The addict’s brain has adapted to need unnatural stimulation. People in this situation can’t enjoy the simple pleasures of life like before. They become bored and disengaged with things they used to enjoy. For some, these side effects of porn use are mild. For others, they’re significant.
Learning to Process Emotion – Together
When you make a habit of medicating your emotional pain, you limit your emotional growth. You don’t learn how to process your emotions and self-regulate to stay healthy. If you don’t increase your emotional intelligence (EQ), when you break free from porn, you’ll be seduced by a new addiction. People with lower emotional intelligence suppress their emotions, become more depressed, and have less successful relationships. On the flip side, EQ is known to be an even better predictor of overall success than IQ (Intelligence Quotient).
Growing your EQ is an essential step towards outgrowing porn. Those who learn to process their emotions gain many benefits. They are:
- Better listeners
- More empathetic
- Better relationship partners
- More successful
When you’re feeling a deep sense of shame, it’s tempting to avoid people. This is why a small recovery group is so important. Revealing yourself to others and finding their love and support is an important part of the healing process. Those who’ve participated in our program develop their EQ while doing daily check-ins. When they’ve built up these skills, they are able to identify and communicate their emotions to others like never before. This one skill adds a significant level of relational depth and harmony to relationships and especially to a marriage. Emotional health leads to relationship health.
There are six key ways to disempower and overcome shame:
Take responsibility and own your addiction but don’t let it own you. It is a sin to turn from but it must not define you. You are not your addiction. One weakness should never define a person.
Shame thrives in secrecy; community is key to dealing with shame. When you can share our whole story and still are accepted, you experience safety. The safety of a group translates over time into love, acceptance, and a strong sense of belonging. This is the opposite of what shame tells us.
In the fantasy world of porn you are always somebody who is loved and wanted. Of course, after you use porn the guilt and shame come rushing back in to continue the cycle. The lie of finding relief from shame through porn always results in more shame. Don’t fall for the trap.
Shame quickly can turn to blame. You blame yourself for your actions, but you use this as an excuse to continue the habit. Avoid deflecting responsibility with statements like, “Of course I do bad things because I’m a bad person, I can’t help it. It’s not my fault. This is who I am and I can never change.”
Negative self talk reinforces the shame messages you’re already feeling. It makes you believe these lies as truths. Shame feeds the negative emotions that often trigger the porn user to act out. Until the shame is uncovered and dealt with this cycle will continue. It can be helpful to write down the negative messages you repeat to yourself for a week. People are usually surprised by how much negative self talk they have that reinforces a shame identity.
Once you have identified the lies, you can replace those lies with truth.For example, instead of the lie of being worthless you are in fact deeply loved by God (Romans 5:8).
Instead of a lie that God is done with you, you remind yourself that nothing can separate you from His love (Romans 8:32-39). When you replace the lies you think with truth, you experience what Jesus promised in John 8:32 saying, “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”.
Freedom from porn is possible but it requires growing in your emotional awareness. Our program makes it easy to develop this essential skill. It also applies key Bible verses for easy consumption that remind us of the truth that will contradict and replace our shame.
The Freedom Fight is a completely-free-to-use, proven program for men and women who want to stop using porn. You will:
- Understand how porn affects your life
- Learn to identify your individual triggers
- Practice using tools to help you overcome your triggers
- Choose a system for confidential accountability and support
- Find a community of men and women free from porn
Porn has defined sexuality for many young people, especially those who had access to it during their teen years. Porn is fake sex. It offers feelings of fake intimacy. It distorts our view of and ability to enjoy the real thing. But with time and the right plan and support, your mind can heal.