Porn: Three Ways to Keep that “Gift” in it’s Box!!

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This time of year – the Thanksgiving through mid-January holiday season (because the college bowl season has become its own holiday) –  is a particularly vibrant season for many of us.

Extended holiday seasons provide space to celebrate life and the loved ones with whom we live.  They are dotted with parties, engagements, gift – giving, year-end bonuses, festive feasts, etc.

Christmas VacationWhile Holidays can offer joy and celebration, they also produce emotions ranging from anxiety and anger to stress and depression.  Many of these negative emotions are kept at bay for much of the year.  The holiday season, though, knows no limits when it comes to exposing and exploiting that which we pretend doesn’t exist.  I am not sure why this is so, but it’s clearly the case.

Just grab a local law enforcement official.  They will tell you the crime rate skyrockets during this time of year.  A psychiatrist may likely tell you that depression and anxiety are notably felt and compounded during this festive season of celebration.  I bet our doctors, pharmacists and morticians – yes morticians – notice a frenetic increase in business during this time of year as well.

This reality – that our holidays, though meaningful – expose and exploit the worst and most fear filled parts of our soul – poses a problem for porn (or any) addicts.

Maybe, you say, “I’m not an addict.”  Okay, lets float in the realm of fantasy for a moment and say instead, those who struggle with pornography but aren’t necessarily addicted to porn.  If such phraseology encourages you to keep reading, then I will use it.  At some point, however, you must deal with reality.  If you shade this a certain way, then you secure your own servitude.  There are those who will help you deal with reality and walk with you into a new found freedom.

Porn's Gift To Our World

Indeed, if you struggle with porn, you are likely more tempted than ever to click that link, visit that parlor or call that number.  Perhaps you have been clean for days, weeks or months.  Yet now – here at what should be a festive time of year – your find yourself full of anxiety and temptation.

Perhaps it’s the fact that you’re simply too busy.

Maybe it’s the ever increasing charges on that high interest credit card.

It may be the year end push at work.

Maybe you don’t know how to relate to your family (which is likely connected to the feeding of your addiction . . . Errrr struggle).  A week of forced (and feigned) family time is causing great angst.

When one or more of these anxiety laden moments merge, then you become susceptible to porn’s beguiling lure.

You need to escape.

You need to find some peace.

You need – you fool yourself into believing –  a babe by your side to whom you are unaccountable and able to exploit in every imaginable way.

So you click in your cubicle.

You drive to a park during lunch break and have a fantasy filled feast while moms and toddlers stroll in the crisp air.

You tell yourself you need a massage but you go to a masseuse who offers more – a refuge proffering pleasure.

Finally you wake up exhausted sometime next week – perhaps Christmas morning – to the reality that the only gift you offer is the unraveling of yourself.  The only self you bring to your family is the one tormented by the inner cry of a soul in shame and a heavy heart-ed longing. A heavy heart-ed longing to love and be loved, to laugh and share laughter, to receive and give lasting joy.

Alas, you just sit there unable to connect and engage in any meaningful, lasting way. You sit: battling the demons of your own design; the beasts you’ve been feeding.  They tell you that if anyone knew what you really were – they wouldn’t stick around.

So, you slumber zombie like through the rest of the day.  You pray that your spouse doesn’t notice how distracted you are.  You hope – desperately so – that the kids get along and the relatives play nice.  You pray and hope these things because you are barely holding on.

Yeah, you’ve been there.  So have I!  You are not alone.  The statistics on the number of folks who run to porn and the percentage of the internet industry porn inhabits is staggering!

This last week before all the Christmas cheer gets spread too thin, I am going to suggest three simple steps – ones I find meaningful – to help you walk the walk you know you can, you know you must!

I hope that the gift you give next Friday morning will be the gift of your fullest self in its fullest sense, enjoying the fullest moments the morning provides – moments that may live a life time and even give you strength to carry on.

Three Steps Toward a Porn Free Holiday

  1. Be Aware of Your Triggers.  Porn addicts – or those who struggle with porn consumption – tend to be Pavlovian.  When a particular bell rings, we run to feed the beast.  It’s always important to be aware of the sound your bells make – but it’s crucial during the high season of holiday celebration.  What’s your bell – your trigger?  It may be a television program, movie, commercial, radio station, local haunt, computer, being home alone?  We all have them.  They aren’t all the same.  Be aware of them.  Write them down -the top three or four – and share them with someone you trust.
  2. Disable Your Apps.  Most of us don’t really need those social media apps on our phone. Quite frankly, I don’t care what you get for Christmas so don’t bother posting some picture while you could be enjoying the gift of the present moment with your loved ones.  I often disable and uninstall the social apps on my phone for weeks – even months – at a time.  I already have accountability software on my phones and computers.   This is an extra step that provides tremendous freedom and enjoyment of the life around me.  Just uninstall them today – you know the ones I am talking about – and spend the last two weeks of 2015 connected to those nearest to you rather than striving to connect with those farthest away from you.  When you think about it the whole concept is somewhat convoluted anyhow.  Social media apps speak more to the excessive levels of self absorption in our culture than they do to our desire to connect and communicate with others.  The former is the truth, the latter is just a false tale we tell ourselves because the soul – when escaping or medicating pain – always needs convincing!
  3. Participate in Community.  I know, I know; the community opportunities around the holidays can be taxing to say the least.  The only option for the addict – or the person struggling with porn – is to fully lean into and enjoy the experience of community! Leaning into community means that you mus begin with those closest to you: your spouse, children, friends, family, neighbors, church, synagogue, school, etc.  As you lean into community, the desires which lurk just beneath may very well begin to taunt and haunt the chambers of your heart.  You have, after all, been feeding them.  It’s natural that they remind you of their hunger.  In these moments, go back to step one: be aware of and identify the trigger.  Then share that with someone who loves you, knows you and accepts you in the midst of your struggle and can encourage you to move forward in healthy, affirming and life giving ways!

Hoping for a happy and porn free holiday season for you and those you love.

If you have success, please comment below.  If you don’t find success, reach out to me or one of the many resources I have providing (via links) in the text of this post.

Disrupting to Renew!

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About Bizgainey

Learning to hear the gentle whisper of God loosed in the rushing waters of life
This entry was posted in Advent, Brokenness, Christmas, Community, Desire, Formation, Habits, Pornography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Porn: Three Ways to Keep that “Gift” in it’s Box!!

  1. Don Jette' says:

    Always great advise Biz….the main trigger I felt while reading this piece is ” feeding the beast “. If people will think of that phrase each time temptation occurs ….it will help a lot. Do you want to feed the beast or feel the glory of God.

    • Bizgainey says:

      Thank, Don. I believe you are right about that. So often we don’t think of temptation as an invitation to ‘feed the beast.’ Doing so helps us see the power behind giving in and the pain it causes. While I believe – especially in this porn saturated culture – that we will always face temptation, it is possible to find freedom. I know – for me – finding freedom has brought about an entirely new experience.

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