So you’ve started your journey on breaking free from your addiction? Now what though? The desires are still there right? Well I know exactly what you are feeling like, and it sucks! We cannot deny that our desires are screaming louder than our best intentions in our minds. That is the thing though, it all has to do with the chemical balances (and imbalances) of the brain, what is happening in our minds.
One of the greatest helps in my breakthrough from porn was knowing how God created me to operate. Off the bat let me clear the air and say I am all for sex, but only as God intends it, in marriage, with a single partner of the opposite sex. He created us to desire sex and there is nothing wrong with this, but everything has boundaries and a time for use, as well as an intended use. Just like there is nothing wrong with using a knife in a kitchen, it has its boundaries. There is definitely something wrong if we are using a knife to cut ourselves or go kill someone, this is not what a knife was designed for, and not what God intended it for. It is the same with sex, God intends it for marriage, as a means of building intimacy with one’s partner. Now you may or may not, depending on your lifestyle, say that I am not having sex, so this doesn’t entirely apply to me. The scary thing is, it applies to everyone.
Neurologists have recently found what have been called mirror neurons. Let me explain. A monkey’s brain was observed as it reached for food to see which part of the brain was being used in getting pleasure. This was the same part every time, nothing extraordinary, until a neurologist decided to clean his lab. In reaching for the food which was for the monkey, the monkey’s brain reacted in the same way as if it, the monkey, was reaching for the food. A lot of experiments later, and it is said that we have mirror neurons in our brains. What these basically are, are motor neurons, yet they are different. Motor neurons are the things in our brains that make our bodies do things, make us do what we think, they connect our thoughts. Now mirror neurons are different in the sense that, what we see our brain does. I will put it bluntly, if you watch porn, watch someone have sex, your brain basically acts as if it is the person having sex. Your brain mirrors the experience you see. This brings a whole new light to Matthew 5:28 which say:
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
So when we lust whilst looking at porn, neurologist and physiologists are now saying we are in essence committing adultery in our brains, even though we may not be having sex with that person physically, our brain is.
Now I hope you are still with me after that, but it is key to understanding why masturbation is a sin, and why viewing porn is a sin! (As I mentioned in my earlier post)
So what else can we learn about our bodies that will help us say no to porn. Let me just reiterate at this point, that I believe that only Christ can truly set us free, yet we must not be ignorant, we must take action in find that freedom. One such way we can take action is by having a plan. When temptation comes knocking on your brain, when the chemicals that were running high (or low), that your body was used to are no longer there what will you do?
Well here is my plan. Adopt it, adapt it, create your own, you are going to need a plan.
1) Know your triggers
– Know what tempts you and when you are normally tempted.
2) Run from your triggers
– Flee from the possibility of being tempted (1 Cor. 6:18), for me, this meant not being alone late at night by a computer. It also meant never watching another movie rated 16 or above for nudity or sex. Be practical here.
3) If you come across a trigger by accident (such as, maybe you get a pop-up on your computer)
– Immediately close your eyes! Immediately! If you can get rid of it without opening your eyes, do so. If not and someone is around, go and ask for their help, it is better for you to seek help and remain free than to try be strong and possibly fail. With regards to this, I pray for God’s protection from getting into such tempting situations, and so far God has protected me. Remember, 1 Cor. 10:13.
4) Don’t beat yourself up
– It has been shown by physiologists that we are most likely to relapse if we feel guilty, this is why the percentage of those addicted to porn is higher among christians than non-christians. So if you do stubble upon an image that triggers some thought. Firstly stop the thought, but then don’t beat yourself up, say to yourself “I saw that by mistake, and I quickly looked away. I’ve been clean for (enter number of days) and I’m going to stay that way.” (From link below) The devil will try make you feel guilty so that you run back to what pleases your brain, more porn, but then you feel guilty again, it is a vicious cycle that must be stopped and can be stopped by knowing that Christ has forgiven us and that with his death, he took all our guilt off us, so that we no longer have to feel guilty.
5) Learn from your past experiences
– Adapt your plan and learn from your mistakes. Don’t fall into the same trap twice.
So that’s my plan, I am sure it will help you or confirm aspects of your plan that you may already have. I probably should have started with this, but why do we need a plan is a good question, and even better question is when will we most likely need it?
Well from my experience, I can tell you that the hardest days for me of coming clean were the 3rd, 7th, 10th and 14th day. In doing some research I found that there is actually a scientific reason for this. Research shows that if you can get through the first 14 day period, where your brain is adjusting the chemical levels to what it no longer has, things will get easier, think of it as a detox period. The next big change comes after 30 days, where we begin to become confident and focused in new-found habits. The power of knowing this, is that on those days, we can get around friends who will help us, and make sure that we strengthen our relationship with Christ and are extra aware.
So I know that was a lot to take in, but it helped me immensely to know this stuff and I hope it helps you to. If you want to read up more about this kind of stuff and know where I got some of my information you can click on the links below:
Part 1 – THE POWER OF MY BREAKTHROUGH FROM PORN
Part 2 – THE POWER OF GLORIFYING GOD
Part 3 – THE POWER OF INTIMACY
This is part 4
Part 5 – THE POWER OF TELLING MY SECRET
Part 6 – THE POWER OF HOLDING A TRIGGER
Part 7 – THE POWER OF TURNING A BACK ON PORN
Part 8 – THE POWERLESSNESS OF MY STRUGGLE WITH PORN
Part 9 – A REMINDER THAT GOD LOVES YOU
Part 10 – ACCEPTING JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOUR (This should actually be step one!)