The Perfect Storm of Porn Addiction - The Crucible Project

 

The calm before the storm. That was the half-hour after supper on most weekdays in the home in which I grew up. Despite my mother’s daily pleas as my father left for work in the morning, Dad did not come straight home after work to have supper with his family. Instead, more often than not, he opted to meet up with his buddies at one of his favorite watering holes. Invariably, he would stay at least one or two beers too long.

 

Mom and I were left to eat supper alone. There was very little conversation. Even when the elephant wasn’t in the room, we wouldn’t talk about it. I would eat, then retreat to my room to quickly do my homework while it was quiet enough to concentrate. Before long, Dad would come stumbling in the back door and the fireworks would begin. Yelling. Cursing. Blaming. Shaming. Outrageous accusations aimed at Mom and me. Explosions inherent in living with a raging alcoholic.

 

In my early teens, when I was old enough to be out after dark, I discovered the perfect escape from the hell that was my home life. Four blocks from our house was a drive-in theater. When Dad came home drunk I would leave the house, walk over to the theater, climb the back fence and watch movies. It didn’t matter that there was no sound. Most of the movies that played there were low-budget flicks with no real plot line to follow. But there was nudity. Lots of nudity.

 

I soon found myself at the drive-in, peering over the fence, even on those rare occasions that Dad came home sober. I began checking my watch when an especially titillating scene came on. (Sorry, but that’s the most appropriate adjective.) I knew that if those girls on the screen were in the shower at 8:17 on Friday night they would be there Saturday night, Sunday night, Monday night, and every night until new movies appeared.

 

That was the beginning of my porn addiction.

 

Strengthening its hold on me was the story I told myself that I deserved a little pleasure in my life. With all the anger, sadness, and loneliness inherent in living in an alcoholic environment I convinced myself that I deserved a break from the chaos. So even though I knew in my heart that what I was doing was wrong, I gave myself a pass. Surely God would understand. And if He didn’t, well … it was His fault anyway for giving me a dad who was a drunk.

 

Seeing up close and personal the ravaging effects of alcohol, I told myself over and over that I would never be like my dad. I determined at an early age that I would never drink. To this day, I toast newlyweds with my glass of water. But in my adult life, as my own addiction progressed, I came to realize that I was very much like my father. We both had an escape. We both withdrew there when life became difficult. We both justified doing what we did. We just had different addictions.

 

I’ve done a lot of introspection and study as I’ve continued to wrestle with this demon in my adult life. It both comforts and saddens me that I am not alone in my struggle. In my Finding Father’s Love ministry I’ve been privy to countless stories from men with the same struggle. Many experts in the field of psychology have concluded that, in our culture, porn addiction has reached epidemic proportions.

 

It is said that 70 percent of men in our country have admitted to looking at online porn. That is a very telling statistic. It tells me that 30 percent of men are liars. We can’t escape it. We no longer have to look for it, it’s looking for us.

 

But as alluring as it can be, I contend that, for most men — me included — the driving force behind porn is not an obsession or even a fascination with sex. It’s fear.

 

There are three fears in particular that more of us men experience than we would like to admit. Fears that often lurk so deep that we can’t even see them. Yet fears that are often so powerful they propel us to seek escape. The unholy trinity of fears?

  • fear of rejection,
  • the fear of failure, and
  • the fear of intimacy.

 

While each of those fears on their own can cause enough damage to us and our relationships, the three of them together can prove devastating. And those three fears, when we hide, deny, and repress them, create the perfect storm when it comes to porn addiction. Porn, at least temporarily, relieves each of these fears.

 

  • You see, we don’t need to fear rejection from women on a website. The women in porn will never reject us. They will always say yes. They will always be ready for us. And they’re only a click away.
  • We don’t need to fear failure in fantasy world of porn. We will never have to worry about not measuring up. The women of porn will be happy with whatever we give them. They are always eager to please and be pleased.
  • And we certainly don’t have to be fearful of intimacy when we’re interacting with images on a computer screen. In the world of porn there are absolutely no emotional strings attached — we can experience the pleasures of sex without having to deal with any uncomfortable feelings, beliefs, or attitudes.

 

Win. Win. Win. Porn offers pleasure, warmth, a feeling of connection, a sense of security, a salve for our fears. Porn becomes the perfect escape. But the reality is the words porn and perfect couldn’t be more opposite. Truth is, porn is nothing but our enemy’s cheap substitute for what our God longs for us to experience in our relationships — pleasure that honors Him, true intimacy, oneness, complete safety, and the absence of fear.

 

The first step in overcoming porn addiction is to own our fears. And the best place to turn for help is the Bible — the Heavenly Father’s love letter to His kids.

 

Dealing with fear is a common theme in Scripture. When Jesus walked this earth He encouraged believers time and time again with words like: do not be anxious,  fear not, don’t be afraid, be of good cheer, take heart, be strong and courageous. Some 125 times Jesus gave commands like this. Just to put that in perspective, the second most common command from Jesus in Scripture, which is to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves, was given eight times.

 

Could it be that the Bible speaks so much about fear because God knew what a struggle it would be for us? So over and over again our loving Father gently reminds us that living with fear is not a part of His plan for our lives. In fact, fear will prevent us from having the kinds of relationships with Him and others that God desires us to have. So in His Word, He gives us the antidote to fear–the one thing that drives fear out of our lives. It’s found in a quote from Jesus Himself: There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… (I Jn. 4:18, NIV)

 

Perfect love. That’s something our human minds can’t even comprehend. It’s a foreign concept. We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. Yet perfect love is what God longs for His children to experience. It is described in 1st Corinthians 13:

  • It is love that is slow to lose patience.
  • It looks for ways to be constructive.
  • It is not possessive.
  • It is not anxious to impress.
  • It doesn’t pursue selfish advantage.
  • It is not touchy.
  • It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs.
  • It endures, no matter what.
  • It is trusting.
  • It always has hope.
  • It continues to stand when all else has fallen.

 

That is how our Heavenly Father loves us. He is a Father who genuinely enjoys spending time with us. A Father who picks us up when we fall down. A Father whose greatest desire is to have a loving, intimate relationship with His kids.

 

But to find true healing for our souls we must also experience closeness and intimacy in our relationships with others.

 

In my recovery journey I found that it was relatively easy to be vulnerable with a God who loves perfectly. My fears took center stage when I opened myself up to imperfect humans. On those occasions when I risked being vulnerable with family members, friends, or fellow church members, the end result was always the same–judgment, minimization, disengagement, and the deepening of my fears of rejection, failure, and intimacy.

 

And then, in October of 2009, my Heavenly Father took me by the hand and led me to my initial Crucible weekend. And for the first time in my life, I experienced genuine, authentic love in community — a rather sad commentary from someone who grew up in the church. But on that weekend in Texas, I was loved by other men with 1st Corinthians 13 love. They were patient. Selfless. Hope-filled. They saw me and accepted me just as I was. They were God’s perfect love personified.

 

Perfect love drives out fear. Find it. Immerse yourself in it. Stop seeking what is counterfeit and seek what is real and you will find freedom from your fears and healing from your father wounds. There is no room for fear in a heart that God has filled with His love.

 

By Dan Kuiper

Dan completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2009. He is an author and speaker and leads a ministry called, Finding Father’s Love which helps wounded souls find love, healing, and grace in relationship with the Heavenly Father. Dan’s first book, When Father is a Bad Word, illustrates the parallels between our relationship with our earthly father and our perception of our Heavenly Father. Dan leads Finding Father’s Love Seminars across the country, offering hope and healing to those who have experienced brokenness from dysfunctional family relationships. More information can be found on Dan’s website: www.dankuiper.com 

 

Photo Credit: Provided by Dan Kuiper.