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How to Quit Porn

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MP4 Video - 720p (458.92 MB)
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Having invaded hearts and homes, the evil of pornography has become a prolific crisis. But people can break free! Discover how.

Transcript

[Steve Myers] Pornography is no longer someone else’s problem. It’s invaded the hearts and homes of your family, your friends—even your church. Odds are, you know someone who has a secret sex addiction. Perhaps it’s you.

Porn has always been around, but now it’s become a widespread crisis. Most counselors warn that this addiction has become an epidemic that is just a click away.

On this special edition of Beyond Today , we’ll examine the affliction of indecency that surrounds all of us, how it impacts you and your family, and the prospect of dealing with “How to Quit Porn.”

[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 for those sensitive to this issue. In just a moment, we’re going to interview a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor on the effects of pornography on our society and you.

Now even though this can be an uncomfortable topic that we as Christians don’t address as much as we should, I strongly advise you to stay tuned. There is no doubt that the plague of pornography impacts the lives of so many people—and not just those looking at porn.

Porn users come from all walks of life: Blue collar workers and white collar executives. Young teens and senior citizens. Singles, married. Men and women. Atheists, Christians. Users are of any and every race and creed. When it comes to porn, there is no discrimination.

Pornography is everywhere and on everything. Apps and smart phones; computer tablets, cable, and satellite channels, they’re devoted to porn and of course, the Internet.

New technologies are exploding and along with it, easy access that has brought porn to your door.

Now if you or someone you know has been taken in by this epidemic, please realize—it doesn’t have to overwhelm you—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 Hamilton, Ohio County Justice Center and has a private practice as a Christian counselor.

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 got 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 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 just thought it was normal actions. Oh, I’m a man. And this is just, this is just the kind of thing that guys do. This is, you know, 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 so high. Pornography doesn’t affect only the user. Porn touches everyone: emotionally, financially, socially and what many overlook, spiritually.

I know that some of you are struggling to break free of pornography. If you’re not, you probably know someone who is battling this curse.

Porn itself is a huge problem, and it also leads to other serious issues. Like so many sins, it compounds to more and more complications.

Sins multiply and grow. Add up the lies. Count in the distrust. Compute the damage to relationships. The total? A distorted perspective.

[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, it’s that romance that you see on television and in 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] The grip of pornography holds on and will not let go. It’s not satisfied with just a sliver of your life. It wants more—a bigger part of your thinking—causing it to become more and more important to you. When it has a strangle hold on you, it becomes your most crucial relationship.

[Steve] Do you think it’s fair to say that 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 effect 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’s 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’s 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.

[Steve] Now that’s a critical point. There is no form of viewing pornography, which is okay. It is not a harmless fantasy. Don’t minimize or downplay it in your life. It violates just about every one of God’s commandments. Think about that. Putting porn before the true God, coveting, lust, the violation of loyalty, stealing, and that’s just to name a few.

It’s a reminder of what the Bible tells us: there is an evil force behind porn. “We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world” (Ephesians 6:12 Ephesians 6:12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
American King James Version×
).

We cannot afford to forget where the real battle lies so that we truly understand the fight.

[Dr. Fouch] 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’s 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] There is no doubt that viewing porn is traveling down a dangerous path—and it’s not just a bad habit or a poor life choice—face it! It is sin. Unacceptable to God. So if you find yourself in this state of mind, don’t just ignore it. Don’t lessen the significance of what you’re doing.

[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’ll 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] 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?

Step 1 : Admint the Problem

[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 with 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?

[Steve] If we are to conquer any habit, any addiction, any sin in our life—we must have an action plan. A strategy to overcome. It has to begin with first, acknowledging that we have a problem and that we need help. Once we recognize the problem then we’ve got to go to the critical second step in the process.

Step 2: Seek God

[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?

Step 3: Seek Wise Counsel

[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.

If you want help in your own life or if you’d like to help a loved one—be sure to turn to the One who says “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 Hebrews 13:5Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
American King James Version×
). He has made a promise to be our strength against sin and addiction. We have His assurance that He is “our shelter and [our] strength, always ready to help in times of trouble” (Psalms 41:1 Psalms 41:1Blessed is he that considers the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.
American King James Version×
, GNT).

I pray that you will begin to pursue purity in your life. It’s time to quit pornography. Remember the straightforward points to begin to change your life.

Step 1: Admit the problem
Step 2: Seek God
Step 3: Seek wise counsel

As you or your loved one strives to overcome pornography, I’d like to give you additional encouragement and support. On every Beyond Today program we offer a free Bible study aid to help you with the challenges that life brings, and to guide you to the hope that’s found in Scripture.

Today I’d like to offer you our informative guide, Overcoming Pornography Addiction . You can have this booklet sent to your home discretely, and at no cost by calling us at 1-888-886-8632. Or, go to BeyondToday.tv where you can read it or download it immediately.

You’ll find valuable articles, including several from our guest, Dr. Roy Fouch, and there’s helpful information with biblical guidance. Isn’t it time to put the embarrassment and the guilt behind?

Overcoming Pornography Addiction will guide you to a deeper study and a deeper understanding of how God can help you break free from addiction. Even if you don’t feel you have an addiction, it will help you root out the problem.

Now when you request our study aid, we’ll also send you a free subscription to Beyond Today magazine. Gain insight into the Bible with educational and inspirational articles in every issue.

For your free subscription call us: 1-888-886-8632 or go online at BeyondToday.tv or write to us today at the address on your screen [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].

Is there any doubt that porn brings dangerous consequences? Don’t buy into its lies. Don’t learn to practice lust. And don’t deceive yourself with 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. Take a realistic look at your situation. Begin by recognizing that porn is a problem, admit it and seek the way out. I pray that you will turn to God, who promises to be “a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm” (Isaiah 25:4 Isaiah 25:4For you have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
American King James Version×
).

Remember, the United Church of God has pastors around the world that can help. Please contact us. Let us know how we can support you.

Here at Beyond Today , we pray for all those who suffer from any addiction. May God bless you with success in breaking free—and that you 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 !