How to Stop a Porn Addiction

Having invaded hearts and homes, pornography has become a prolific crisis. But people can break free! Discover how.


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[Steve] Pornography has always been around, but now it's a widespread crisis. Counselors warn that this addiction has become an epidemic. 

Why? Pornography is just a click away.

This is no longer someone else's problem. Pornography has invaded the hearts and homes of your family, your friends--even your church. Odds are you know someone who has a secret sex addiction. Maybe it's you?

On this special edition of Beyond Today , we'll talk with a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and discuss: "How to Stop a Porn Addiction."

[Announcer] Join our host, Steve Myers and his guests, as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today !

[Steve] Today's program is about sexual purity. Because we're speaking candidly about how pornography affects people's hearts and minds, it may be inappropriate for younger viewers and those sensitive to this issue.

However, I encourage you to stay tuned. This can be an uncomfortable topic that we Christians don't address as much as we should, but it does affect so many people--and not just the lives of those looking at porn.

Pornography addicts come from all walks of life. They're blue collar workers and white collar executives. They're teens and they're old. They're single. They're married. Men and women. They're Christian and atheist. There's no discrimination. Porn addicts are of any and every race.

Why so many? There's an increase in pornography use because it's available everywhere!

Pornography is on everything: apps for smart phones; computer tablets and don't forget Internet television. A recent University of Sydney study verifies an upsurge in porn use because new technologies are exploding access.

If you or someone you know has been taken in by this plague, please realize--it doesn't have to be this way--there is hope. I spoke with a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor who has a PhD. in Psychology--Dr. Roy Fouch. He is also Director of Mental Health at the Hamilton, Ohio County Justice Center and has a private practice as a Christian counselor. And I also talked with two individuals who are breaking free of their porn addiction and have found hope.

I began by asking Dr. Fouch about the effect of pornography.

[Steve] Does pornography really impact our brain?

[Dr. Fouch] Oh it does, in tremendous ways, in much the same way that a drug does. We have this area of the brain called the limbic system which is responsible for pleasure and reward. What happens is these chemicals called neurotransmitters that are in the brain, are activated by drugs, by love, by sexual stimulation.

And so, those chemicals called neurotransmitters, one of them is dopamine, and there is serotonin and norepinephrine, these chemicals work together to allow that person to experience pleasure, and then they use that to deal with some of these negative emotions that they may have. Even things like loneliness or low self-esteem, anger, depression, anxiety. All these things become less when the brain is activated in that way.

And so therefore the brain keeps wanting more and more, and it needs more and more, because these receptor sites where these neurotransmitters operate, they increase in numbers. That's why when people do certain drugs, they have to keep doing more and more of the same drug. Well, it's the same thing with pornography or any kind of sexual stimulation, the brain begins to need more and more of it, in order to get the same affect.

> It gave me a false sense of reality. It was like I couldn't take the pornography off of my mind. I couldn't wait to get off work, to go try to put a DVD in, or get on the internet to look at pornography.

[Dr. Fouch] That's one aspect, but then you have other chemicals in the brain that may have more to do with the thought process. So now you start coupling the cognitive part with the other, which is chemically driven too, and all of a sudden the mind, and the thought process, and the addictive process, get coupled together. And so, it becomes a very powerful process.

> At the end, once it was finished, I would feel bad then go back and watch more.

[Dr. Fouch] You build up almost like a tolerance to it. So, what it was doing for you before, it's no longer doing. So now you have to go to something a little bit more powerful, and then that process can continue until people start acting out.

Then, of course, what happens too, you couple this with masturbation, orgasm and things like that, and that is a powerful reinforcer to any behavior. And then it becomes very, very difficult to stop that.

>> There was nothing. There was that moment of pleasure that would come from that; that left me more empty than when I even started. I would feel better for that millisecond and then I would feel more empty than I had when the process had begun.

[Dr. Fouch] Acting out, of course the masturbation is a form of acting out, but also using phone lines where you can get phone sex, or escorts, or call girls or prostitutes. We can go down that road as well.

> At the moment it was, is when I was caught up in my selfishness, cause I would watch pornography, masturbate to the pornography, and would not have sex with my wife. That was sickening. You know it was a sickness.

[Dr. Fouch] Yeah, it becomes obsessive and compulsive. It becomes almost like an obsessive compulsive disorder. You obsess about it. You have a compulsive behavior. You do it under certain circumstances, and it provides you with relief pleasure, or what have you, and then you continue to do that

There have been some studies that have shown that most sexual addicts, 90% of men started off by viewing pornography, 70% of the women started off by viewing pornography. So it becomes almost like a, what we talk about a gateway drug. It's very similar.

Some people become so obsessed with it, that they might even start viewing some sites at work. You know, using work computers, and that sort of thing.

[Steve] People have a tendency to minimize the idea, that porn is really that big of a problem. I've heard men, even some women say, well, it's not that big a deal; everybody does it; and it's not as serious as some would say. How would you answer someone that would say, you know, porn really isn't that big of an issue?

[Dr. Fouch] Well, I would answer by saying, it is a big issue.

>> Just bypass and thought it was normal actions. Oh, I'm a man. And this is just what guys; this is just the kind of thing that guys do. This is who we are. This is how God made us. You know, that's really not what we were made to do, what we were made to be.

[Steve] That's right, it's not what you're made to do. This is a big issue and the stakes are high. Pornography doesn't affect only the user. Porn affects everyone: financially, socially and what many overlook, spiritually.

We know that some of you are struggling to break free from pornography.

On every Beyond Today program we offer a free Bible study aid to help you with the challenges that life brings, and guide you to the hope that is found in your Bible.

This time, I'd like to offer you something brand new -- Overcoming Pornography Addiction . Go to BeyondToday.tv where you can read it or download it immediately.

If you or someone you know wrestles with this problem, this free study guide is a good place to begin.

We've never offered this study aid before, and only have a limited number of printed copies. So once we run out, Overcoming Pornography Addiction will only be available as an electronic download. But if you request it today, you can have this booklet sent to your home in a discrete envelope, at no cost at all, by calling: 1-888-886-8632.

You'll find valuable articles, including several from our guest, Dr. Roy Fouch, and helpful information with biblical guidance. It's time to put the embarrassment and the guilt behind.

Overcoming Pornography Addiction will guide you to a deeper study and understanding of how God can help you break free from addiction.

Get your free copy now online at BeyondToday.tv , or by calling: 1-888-886-8632.

[Steve] We've been having a frank discussion on sexual purity with Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Dr. Roy Fouch, as well as with two individuals who are breaking free from pornography addiction.

Because we're speaking openly and candidly about how pornography affects people's hearts and minds, it may be inappropriate for our younger viewers and those sensitive to this issue.

Even though it's an uncomfortable topic, we're addressing it because it is so widespread and affects so many Christians.

Let's pick up my conversation with Dr. Fouch.

[Steve] Now how does that impact the way that people begin to look at life then, in general?

[Dr. Fouch] Many people get into a process of lying and deception. And that, in some cases, becomes more painful to a spouse than the actual event itself, because it breaks trust. And when you break trust in a marital relationship, all of a sudden you start eroding one of the key foundations to a healthy relationship.

You know, the spouse begins to feel that this is more important to you than the relationship. And there is a lot of pain and suffering that goes in a marital relationship, as a result of that. And I've heard many, many women say it feels the same as if he would go out and actually have an affair with someone.

> That was something my wife and I talked about. To her, I was having an affair on her, is what I was doing.

[Dr. Fouch] So there's multiple reasons why this is such a devastating thing to be doing, not only to oneself, but also to the people that love you. And it gives you such a false sense of what healthy sexuality really is, and sexuality is something that should be reserved for a marital relationship, and there only.

> Actually marriage will not take the porn addiction away, it only hinders your marriage. It pushes people away that really love you. You miss out on opportunities of what true love is.

>> I would approach sex as a different person. It wasn't; there was no attachment meant for it, towards it, any of that. At the same time, inside I was dying, craving that love, that affection that, you know, its romance you see on television and on the movies. But I just never had that. That's what I wanted.

> It gave me a false sense of what love was. Cause the real love that was offered to me, I pushed it away and I gravitated towards porn. That was, it was an idol to me. Porn was my idol. That was like, the only relationship that I had at the time.

[Steve] You think it's fair to say you can be your own worst enemy?

[Dr. Fouch] Oh absolutely, because our minds contrive and develop reasons to maintain the addictive process. I sometimes refer to this as the lies we tell ourselves. These are the justifications, the well formulated reasons that we give ourselves permission to do what we do.

In Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, they sometimes refer to these things as stinking thinking. They're irrational thoughts that reinforce irrational behavior. The behavior that's irrational is something that's self-destructive to self and to others. But yet, we find ways to give ourselves excuses for doing that.

[Steve] Now as a Christian counselor, how do you feel porn affects someone spiritually?

[Dr. Fouch] Well because it's sin, and we know that sin has an adverse affect upon the individual, it gives Satan inroads into our spiritual life as long as we're.... It's kind of like, we can't serve two masters and the master of pornography is Satan. Because it is a violation of God's law.

It goes contrary to what God teaches us in His word, because it is a form of lust. And Christ told us very specifically what we do in our minds, and this goes beyond just doing it in your minds. This is not just a fantasy, it is acting out a fantasy, it's using props to stimulate that fantasy. And, so there is no form of viewing pornography which is okay in my mind.

So, the world is out there. Satan is out there, who by the way, as we know, is the father of lies. Very smart, and so he works with the world's systems and tries to develop ways of thinking about things that more are in line with what he is trying to accomplish, which is to destroy us individually, our marriages, our nation.

Now some people will say, "Well me and my wife, or my wife and I, we look at pornography to kind of spice up our sex life." And, I don't think that is okay either.

So you're going down a dangerous path if you think that any form of viewing pornography is correct. We could ask Jesus Christ that question and I'm sure He would say absolutely not, and I would agree.

[Steve] I'm sure some of our viewers wonder, "Do I need to change now, is it important?" 

[Dr. Fouch] I would tell them that today is an important time to change, because the quality of your life will change. You'll have a better life. You'll have a more fulfilling life. You'll have a closer relationship with God. You'll have a better relationship with your spouse, if you happen to be married. And you will have a better perspective on relationships with women, if you're single; or men, if you're single. It won't be based on sexuality, it will be based on relationships.

[Steve] Have you seen people overcome?

[Dr. Fouch] I've seen lots of people overcome, and overcoming is a process. Overcoming doesn't mean that the day you decide to stop looking at pornography, you'll never look at it again. But yes, with the right determination, with God's help in particular, like Scripture says, all things are possible through Christ who strengthens me. So with Christ's help, and the Father's help, there definitely is hope. And I've seen many people recover completely and have been away from it for years, and years, and years.

[Steve] It is possible to overcome. I'd like to help you or your loved one start that process by sending you a copy of Overcoming Pornography Addiction . There's only a limited number available in print. So request your free copy of Overcoming Pornography Addiction by calling us, toll free: 1-888-886-8632.

You can also go online to BeyondToday.tv and read or download Overcoming Pornography Addiction . This free study aid will guide you to a deeper study and understanding of how you can break free from addiction.

And when you order this study guide, we will also send you a free subscription to The Good News magazine. The Good News will help you make sense of today's crazy world in light of the Bible. Every edition contains articles that will help you walk the Christian lifestyle that Jesus and His disciples' walked. Even the call is free, so call us: 1-888-886-8632. Everyone needs some good news. So get your free subscription to The Good News magazine. It will help you put your life and our changing world into perspective.

Is there any doubt that sexual purity is being erased from our society today? That's why we are speaking openly about pornography and its damaging effect on people. Even though this is an uncomfortable topic and maybe inappropriate for younger viewers and those sensitive to this issue, I hope you will stay tuned as we discuss the fact that there is hope! This can be overcome. You can stop a porn addiction.

I interviewed Christian counselor, Dr. Roy Fouch, who has a PhD. in Psychology and is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, as well as two individuals who have found hope and are breaking free from pornography addiction.

What do you think is the most important perspective to begin overcoming, to get some hope back? What is that first step that someone should take?

[Dr. Fouch] Well, one of the first steps is admitting that you have a problem. Denial, or minimization of the problem, which is a form of denial. Once you are able to come to grips with the fact that this is a problem, then that's a good first step.

>> You know, I never thought of this sexual addiction as a problem, as much as it truly had become in my life. There was that denial. There was that true disconnect from it, like minimizing the situation and things along that nature.

> As a man, I always think I can do it myself. I didn't need any help even when it came down to asking for directions. I never wanted to admit when I was lost. But when I finally admitted that I was lost, and that I couldn't do it on my own, is when I was really redeemed. 

[Dr. Fouch] Admitting that you need help is not a bad thing. It doesn't make you weak. It's actually a strength. And one of the first steps is admitting that you are powerless over this particular addiction.

> Thirteen years… So, I struggled and fought and ran, and hid and lied for 13 years before I finally came clean with myself.

[Steve] If you had to look at the aspect of trying to help someone you love, can a loved one do anything to help?

[Dr. Fouch] Well, I think the loved one needs to encourage the person who they have identified as having a problem, whether it be a spouse or whether it be a friend, to get help. You know, and to talk to somebody.

>> It is ok. You're not alone. That you're not the only person that these things have happened to. And because they've happened, it doesn't mean that you're any different. You're no different. You are loved. And there are people that are around you that will embrace you, that will accept you for those things.

[Dr. Fouch] So, encouraging them to seek help, just to talk to somebody and to be open and honest about what's going on. I think would be one way of helping somebody--getting them to someone. Or just to be able to identify that it's a problem.

[Steve] So, it's really not fair to say to someone, "just have more self-control," or "just get a hold of yourself." There really needs to be a strategy to overcome.

[Dr. Fouch] Yes.

[Steve] Do you think that's fair to say?

[Dr. Fouch] Oh, it's very fair to say. Yeah, there has to be a plan, an action plan.

>>I've said, I've got this; I can do this. You know what--I don't got this. I don't have any control over any of this. And I just started throwing that along with other problems that had risen into a category and just gave it to God one day. Just like ok, here it is. I truly, what is it that I can do?

[Dr. Fouch] The second step, very much like it, is that you have to acknowledge that you need a higher power. And in a Christian's case, that would be God the Father and Jesus Christ. So, by bringing them on board, then you have begun a healing process, as well as a recovery process. They become the central part of your recovery. And as long as your relationship with them continues to grow and is strengthened, then the addiction and Satan's pull or influence over you becomes less and less. The farther away you get away from the addictive material, then the brain chemistry actually starts to change and it has a less of a powerful affect on you.

> And once I learned His Word and learned His ways, it replaced everything in my life that I had been searching for.

>> I would spend so much time crying out, yelling out, asking questions, arguing, fussing, and never sitting back to listen for the answer.

[Dr. Fouch] One individual I worked with a number of years ago, the thing that worked for him the most, and it, and he had tried all kinds of things, was he had to pray in the morning, and he had to be in God's Word in the morning. And when he did that, he felt he had connected with God, and he was more able to resist any kind of temptation throughout the day. So, for him that worked. Very important that when you are seeking help that God, again, is at the center of it.

>> At the end of the day when I look back, wow, you know. These are the things I thought about. I didn't think about these old habits, these old ways, which don't always occur, that, I mean, those are still struggles. And when they do happen now, I'm aware of them. And that's when I capture those thoughts and make them obedient to Christ.

[Dr. Fouch] You know it's amazing the healing that can take place when people begin to resolve some of the things that have happened in their lives that they've held on to.

[Steve] And so to have a strategy in place to deal with those things, is that where a counselor can really come into play?

[Dr. Fouch] I think so. I think the counselor can identify, help the person identify those things more clearly, maybe. And also, can begin to take a look at some options for that individual to address that particular issue.

Today, there are a lot of groups that many churches are putting together where people can come together, and begin to work as a group to help each other overcome the problem.

So yeah, all of those things are good. Pastors, accountability partners, someone who has some understanding of the spiritual and psychological aspects of this disorder.

>> If anybody's got a problem with this, or thinks they do, to be able to find that person to talk to is, that one… do it! Face that fear. Jump out and talk to somebody about it. You know I held onto these things and there were so many times that if I would have just been able to turn to a family member, a friend and let it go, you know, I don't know if I'd be where I'm at today.

[Dr. Fouch] So, that's where I think counseling comes into play. It's being able to talk with somebody that can guide you through that process. It's the idea that you do not have to do this on your own. That you have God the Father, you have Jesus Christ. You have, hopefully, a supportive wife, friends, a pastor; that you have a support system who will help you and that nobody expects you to be perfect all at once.

But if you want help for yourself, and to heal your marriage, or to give you a proper perspective on relationships, then you need to rely on God, and get whatever other help you need. That you need a support system, a sober support system, to help you manage this problem, and to encourage you, and support you as you go through this.

[Steve] I'd like to give encouragement and support as you or your loved one strive to overcome pornography. I hope you'll take advantage of the free offers we have today. So order your free Bible study aid, Overcoming Pornography Addiction . It will give you help and hope.

And when you request it, we'll also send you a free subscription to The Good News magazine. Gain insight into the Bible, and learn to use Scripture as a guide to the challenging issues you face every day.

Call us: 1-888-886-8632 or go online at BeyondToday.tv or write us today, for the free study aid, Overcoming Pornography Addiction and our magazine, The Good News .

On Beyond Today we provide all our materials absolutely free of charge, thanks to the generous support of members of the United Church of God and from viewers like you. We welcome you to partner with us to help reach more people with God's truth. Go online at BeyondToday.tv where you'll also find a list of United Church of God congregations in cities around the world. We welcome you to visit with us.

Is there any doubt that porn brings serious consequences? Don't buy into its lies. Don't learn to practice lust. Don't try to live in that evil fantasy world. It will only lead you down a destructive, perverse path.

There is a better way. You can find hope to overcome. We've just scratched the surface with our program today, but we want to assist you in getting the help that you need. The United Church of God has pastors around the world that can help. Please contact us, and let us know how we can support you.

Here at Beyond Today , we regularly pray for all those who suffer from any addiction. We pray that God will bless you with success in breaking free--and that you will remain free and filled with the joy that comes from living a good and godly life.

For Beyond Today , I'm Steve Myers. Thanks for watching.

[Announcer] For the free literature offered on today's program, go online to BeyondToday.tv . Please join us again next week on Beyond Today !


Rtslocum

Rtslocum's picture

I appreciate your willingness to address this subject, it is very real and can have a terrible grip on men of all ages. Being a father of young men, I know the battle that we all fight each day to remain pure before God and the women we love. I want to encourage all men (fathers, husbands) of God to turn on the light in this dark place. The darkness of fear, embarrassment and run away lust can only be changed by shining the light of transparency, accountability and God's truth on the subject. We are in this fight together and it can be won if we strengthen and challenge each other to be Godly. Thank you BT staff for continuing to be bold!




DEB1953

DEB1953's picture

Thank for addressing this subject... As a wife this has been a long road to forgiveness. I'm still struggling and I became aware of the problem 2 years ago when my husband confessed. He had already stopped and I truly believe him. But the harm it has done to my heart is more than I thought I could bear. I always saw myself as not only a good wife, but a great wife and he always had access to having his needs met. So when this happened it was more than just what he was doing, it was a insult to our covenant. He is doing everything possible to make me feel secure and loved but the enemy is having a field day with me. A good program to have would be help for the wives that are struggling to get their lives back. We celebrated our 40th anniversary right after his confession. And what should have been joy was tears and confusion. Counselors did not help, and my best friend in the whole world, the person I always run to to pray with and brain storm was the perpetrator..... We are doing better now but I am still shell shocked. He hadn't been in it long because he hadn't had Internet access but for a short time. He had always been a man with great integrity.




jonesey65244

jonesey65244's picture

This was NOT an enjoyable video. In fact, it quite stung me. For that, I thank you.

Among the more impressive points for me was to actually hear a DOCTOR speak of the importance and need of Christ in our healing.

I appreciate the work you do in giving us these videos. May the LORD bless you all.




Sherri Kish

Sherri Kish's picture

I believe that we must realize that this is not just coming from the world but as a leaven that lays on the church. I believe this leaven becomes a open portal to the gates of hell and "they are prevailing against the church!" I'm not sure of how we should deal with this now, but do believe that Paul gives God's requirement guide lines in 1Cor.5. Sexual sin has a defiling effect on the community and requires a corporate response. I see that Paul is using the "keys of the kingdom" to judge this sin. I believe this judicial action closes the portals of the demonic and keeps the fear of God in the congregation. This sin is often kept secret. We see the effects of this in the plague of "sleep paralysis." You can see this on utube..it plagues the nations and in Russia is called "the penalty for adultery." Judgment has a redeeming & cleansing effect. The church was called to carry out justice in the Old & New testament. We have lost the courts of the Lord and the use of the "KEYS." It must be done in love!



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