People often ask me what the recovery process entails.  Especially when dealing with addiction to pornography, there is a desire to be able to recognize progress since it is such a difficult addiction.  I often describe recovery as a three-tiered process: sobriety, inner-healing, and transformation.

  • Sobriety: Being sober means no longer using the substance to which you were addicted – pornography. Many people rate their success by the number of days, weeks, months or years of sobriety.  Your sobriety date is the last day you acted out.  Having a long period of sobriety can be a great encouragement to anyone in recovery.   The first goal of recovery is to establish a solid period of sobriety, usually about six weeks.  Here a person works on developing the tools and skills to achieve and maintain healthy sobriety.  This includes eliminating all pornography and access to it, participating in a 12-step support group, and recognizing the triggers and rituals that can lead a person into pornography use. This can be used to develop the strategies to avoid pornography.  Exodus has served as an excellent way to bring about both accountability and a period of sobriety.
  • Inner Healing: This pertains to identifying and resolving the root causes of an addiction.  Ultimately the pornography use is the symptom.  You will learn there are many painful emotional issues that can lead a man to self-medicate with pornography.  Unless these issues are identified and resolved, sobriety tends to be “white-knuckle.”   This almost always leads to failure.  Through counseling a man can identify and resolve the root causes of the addiction.  This will make maintaining healthy sobriety is much easier.  This is true recovery.
  • Transformation: This is the ultimate goal of your program.  While God wants to help you with your sobriety and recovery, his ultimate goal is to transform you into a new creation.  He wants to heal you and help you become the man you were created to be.  This is what makes recovery and life exciting for most addicts.  They are able to see God actively working in their lives and are more easily able to discern His will.  They are able to claim their true identity as children of God.  Marriages are healed and relationships are restored.  Many men are even grateful that their worlds came crashing down because of their addiction.  They realized their lives and relationships were never healthy to begin with.  Now they have the opportunity create healthier lives and relationships.  Even their wives are happier because of the transformation they’ve seen in their husbands, their marriages and even in themselves.  They are finally living happy, healthy lives!

Here’s two great resources from Matt Fradd on the harmful effects of pornography: The Porn Myth and Delivered – True Stories of Men and Women Who Turned from Porn to Purity.