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Though I became and ordained minister, pornography was still an issue

Though I grew up in a Christian home I lacked sexual and relational guidance from my otherwise supportive parents. Feeling isolated, I went to my friends with my questions about sexuality. I became hooked by pornography early, and isolated further. This led to a dichotomy: I would show one part of myself to some, but lacked vulnerability to do with others.

In adolescence, I masturbated daily to fantasy drawn from pornography. Fantasy became my escape from reality. I began objectifying women, entering into shallow sexual relationships. Though I abstained from intercourse, I did everything else, seeing myself better than “non-virgins” without realizing my own sins. I used Internet pornography while engaging in brief relationships, never finding emotional connectedness.

When I fell in love with my wife I steered clear of pornography for a short time. Fantasy and objectification vengefully returned, however. I continued looking at online pornography, even after marriage. I felt ashamed, but always returned to it. There were times of white-knuckled abstinence, but never long-term sobriety.

Though I became and ordained minister, pornography was still an issue. I shamefully felt like a fraud. Rather than stop, I gave in totally and began purchasing it online. My wife discovered a receipt, which I denied was from me, nearly destroying our marriage.

Seeing the pain I had caused my wife made me realize something had to be done. I was scared into seeking help by the threat of a failed marriage and the fact I had begun to embrace my decent into darkness. When I heard about other people’s struggles with addiction I realized I was not alone. Hearing other’s success told me the battle was worth fighting and could be won.

Since joining a group, I have met other men who have gone through the same struggles or even worse, yet who found healing. I’ve learned to talk about my behavior honestly with others. I’ve learned how to have real relationships with people, not based on what I want them to think of me, but about who I really am. I’ve learned that healing is slow, not instantaneous, but that anything worth having is wroth struggling for.

I take inventory almost daily. I’ve learned about my triggers and what to do differently to prevent a downward spiral. Though there is still a lot to do in regards to healing my marriage, we are working on it together. There are still times that I get scared, or want to isolate, but now I have a safe place to bring my fees and anxiety, rather than isolating.


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