Written by: Gabriel Ong
Article source: thir.st

With a huge jump in pornography consumption since coronavirus lockdowns first began across the world, statistics tell us that we’ve never been more vulnerable to temptation.

Cooped up in the privacy of our homes all day, coupled with the idleness the circuit breaker may afford, the danger of stumbling into pornographic content is real and present at every corner.

Quitting pornography was difficult enough before COVID-19, and it’s gotten a lot more difficult in these days.

Still, if there’s anything porn-fighting veterans will tell you, it’s to not mope around in the doom and gloom. So, let’s talk about the hope and help that’s available, from a fellow fighter who’s had some God-given success.

Now, in an article that’s all about tips, I’ll have to start with a bonus one: Don’t count the days.

There’s a unique sense of accomplishment (pride) that comes from knowing you’ve made it through a long period clean. This, I assume, is common to all addictions: that dangerous sense of security you feel from the knowledge that you’ve been clean, whether it’s 30 days or 30 years.

Having said that, I don’t know how long it has been for me exactly, but I do know that at this time of writing, it’s been roughly a really long time now since I’ve given in to pornography.

I’ve rewritten that previous sentence a number of times, and I’m not sure if there’s a way to phrase it in words without sounding like I’m tooting my own trumpet.

If you heard it from me in person, you’d probably hear a lot more relief and gratitude in the words. I mean it when I say God’s grace is the number one thing that helps me through this journey of purity (and I will need it for the rest of my earthly life!).

But if I were to talk about game-changers, here’s what worked for me.

Practise Accountability
For a long time, I used to think that accountability was just ‘fessing up to your messing up. But I’ve come to see that it’s also a little more than that.

If I were to define accountability, I’d say it’s at least two friends partnering up to keep each other from falling into temptation and sin, and helping each other up when the worst does happen.

The biggest thing I’ve learnt is that accountability really must work two ways. Accountability should first be looked at as a preventive measure, rather than an after-action review remediating the consequences of falling into sin.

Maybe a picture might help us expand our paradigms on accountability: Think of accountability as two brothers holding two ends of a rope up. If one feels the rope getting slack, he pulls on it a bit. What that means in real life is that he might ask questions. He could check in regularly on his brother. He could check in randomly. Then the rope is taut again!

When you are someone’s accountability partner, you are his keeper. You don’t wait for problems to happen or confessions to come. You assume temptation will happen every hour, and do everything in your power to ensure your brother makes it through each day.

And when you find someone who will do the same for you, that’s effective accountability.

I have experienced certain side effects since I’ve come off the ruinous drugs of pornography and masturbation – but these side effects are welcome ones.

You see, at the start, I just wanted to come off my addictions. But I’ve come out of it, with brothers. In practising constant accountability to two of my friends in church, I’ve found reliable friends who stick closer to me than any brother I’ve known.

Before, we had very little in common – we didn’t even attend the same service in church. But becoming each others’ keepers with the common goal of sexual purity, these friendships have been growing into something more.

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

Now some of us even mentor one another. We read manga (clean) together. We talk about football, relationships, church. Any topic is fine when you have already talked about the worst things.

And as a person who finds it hard to make friends, I can tell you that what we’ve built thus far is solely due to the grace of God. I like to call what we have The Fellowship of the (purity) Ring – and how I enjoy it!

Programmes
Whether it’s Accountable2UCovenantEyes or Net Nanny, there’s a whole range of programmes out there that can help you quit porn.

Some of them are pretty exciting in terms of how advanced they are. I know of one that takes screenshots of any questionable material you’re looking at, mosaics it for your friends and sends it to them, along with a URL and threat level. This is like, James Bond tier.

Funny story while we’re on this topic: I was on Lazada one time and (really) didn’t search it up, but had scrolled past a listing for some kind of diabolical sex toy. Immediately, my former pastor tagged me in our group chat and asked me to explain why I was in the market for a “penis sleeve”.

Purity always outweighs the opportunity cost.

Inconveniences like this might attract certain complaints like “oh I don’t like the hassle some of these apps bring” or (ironically), “I don’t think it’s secure to have such safeguards that have such deep access to my personal devices”.

And maybe such concerns are valid. But what’s the alternative to these inconveniences? It’s sin!

Besides, there are workarounds. My buddy faces an annoying problem logging into his university portal because Accountable2U monitors his phone. But he doesn’t quit the group and return to porn just because of a few bugs.

We always find a workaround: He texts everyone in the group to say he’ll be off the app from this time to that time, and makes sure at least one of us will check in on him periodically – and we do.

Find something that works for you. Getting the apps to work with users on different platforms like Android or Apple can be finicky, but it’s worth it when it works.

Purity always outweighs the opportunity cost.

Promises
Finally, in my experience, making promises has been super effective.

My wife and I sometimes do this thing: I tell her, to tell me to make a promise to her, that I will be good when it comes to using my devices, etc. And I love Cheryl enough that I really can’t bear to break a promise given to her.

And so whenever we’ve made a promise like that for the day, I’ve so far – thanks to God and may it last all my life – made it through okay.

It helps involve her in my fight as well, and it also grows our own intimacy. In a way, it’s me telling her that I choose her over pornography. I choose what is real over what isn’t. I choose the eternal thing – over the cheap, dirty and ephemeral.

As I give thanks for reaching a milestone and breakthrough, my main thoughts are that I should remain on guard.

Until Christ returns or I go to be with Him after I die, I believe I’m still only one wrong step away from falling back into the same snare.

So I choose never to live under the illusion that I’ve “arrived”, or am past this problem. I’m going to stay humble, stay open, and stay rooted in God and in meaningful community.

Pray for me as I do so!


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