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5 Steps to Breaking Free from Porn (Joe Dallas)

STEP 3

5 STEPS TO BREAKING FREE FROM PORN by Joe Dallas.001.png

STEP 3 - awareness

Know Yourself - Your Patterns, Wounds, and Weaknesses
With Quotes from Joe Dallas’ 5 Steps

YOUR PATTERNS

Human history, experience, and common sense tells us that when a pleasurable experience is discovered and then repeated, it forges a "chain of behavior" that many a man never breaks. Now science has chimed in with some fascinating conclusions about the human brain and the way it stores memories of intense pleasures for future reference. That is, when you repeat the pleasurable experience associated with porn, you actually train your brain's circuitry to register porn as a necessity, a need, a requirement, although it clearly isn't. This, in turn, prompts your brain and body to send stronger craving signals, making you feel that your desire for porn is a physical need. You just gotta have it. And this is when the struggle between flesh and spirit get ferocious. By developing the porn habit, you trained your brain to expect the chemical rush it experiences when you anticipate and then use unclean material. The man with a porn habit is a man who's trained his system to expect regular doses of the chemical rush porn brings.
 
In general, not only does the porn habit cause the brain to crave a repetition of the pleasure, it darkens the mind as well. At the very least, you've done some "mind damage" by developing this pattern of vulnerability to (and possibly dependency on) erotic images.

A huge component of the Conquer Series is the role the brain plays in both our addiction and freedom from porn. As Dr. Ted likes to say, the largest sexual organ in our body is ... the BRAIN! What role does it play in our addiction? What role does it have to play in our eventual freedom? If you can train your brain toward bondage, can you train your brain toward freedom? What are you doing to train your brain toward freedom? What are your next steps in renewing your mind (Romans 12:2)?

YOUR WOUNDS

Compounding the problem of giving up porn can be the emotional pain we may feel that, in turn, makes us vulnerable to relapses as we seek to self-medicate the pain. Realistically, no one is exempt from emotional pain, whether pains from childhood or the present. But sometimes the combination of deep hurts that have never been properly dealt with plus the habit of medicating the hurt with the pleasure of porn use, creates a pretty sturdy bondage.
 
Wounds crave remedy. Old rejections, early abuse, broken relationships, and a sense of personal failure can all contribute to what I call “emotional wounding.” This type of pain leaves men defensive, depressed, isolated, and/or enraged. Often, instead of dealing directly with the source of the pain, we learn to medicate rather than address its roots, creating psychological and spiritual trauma as the emotional hurt finds solace through sinful and spiritually destructive acts.

Once again, Dr. Ted repeatedly talked about how we use porn to medicate our pain, the pain caused by our wounds. One way – maybe the best way – to deal with and heal a personal wound is to forgive the person who have wounded us. Here is some Biblical teaching on forgiveness. 

Luke 23:34
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 
Romans 12:19
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

What forgiveness is and is not

  • Forgiveness isn’t a feeling; it’s a choice of obedience
  • Forgiveness isn’t necessarily a bilateral negotiation; it’s a unilateral action - Luke 23:34
  • Forgiveness doesn’t make the other person right; it makes you free
Holding a grudge is like letting someone live rent free in your head.
Nelson Mandela - Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemy.
  • Forgiveness let’s others off your hook, but not off God’s - Romans 12:19 - Forgiveness is giving up your right to revenge to the Lord. Otherwise, you stay hooked.
  • Forgiveness isn’t reconciliation, but can lead to it
  • Forgiveness isn’t automatically trusting the person, but can lead to a second chance
  • Forgiveness doesn’t remove the consequences of the sin nor the need for accountability
  • Forgiveness isn’t forgetting, but it leads to healing (relational, emotional, spiritual and physical)
  • Forgiveness isn’t just for small sins; it’s for all sins
  • Forgiveness isn’t always humanly possible, but with God all things are possible
  1. God forgave you! Forgiven people forgive people
  2. The greater the sin to forgive, the greater the grace to forgive it

Whom do you need to forgive? This prayer can help. 

My Decision To Forgive

Lord Jesus, I choose to forgive (person’s name) for (what they did to hurt me). I choose not to hold on to my resentment. I relinquish my right to seek revenge and ask You to heal me. Thank you for setting me free from the bondage of my bitterness. I now ask You to bless (person’s name). In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Adapted from Neil Anderson’s 7 Steps to Freedom in Christ

YOUR WEAKNESSES

Character problems aren’t emotional wounds; they’re just weaknesses common to the human race. They’re symptomatic of the sin nature, and they vary from person to person. I have mine; you have yours. No big deal—except when those character weaknesses become doors that porn (or other ongoing sin) use to get into your life. Then your personal weakness isn’t just a weakness; it’s a chink in your armor as well.

Joe then mentions a few character weaknesses ...

  • Selfishness - feeling entitled to satisfy oneself
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • What other character weaknesses may there be?

Which of these character weaknesses do you struggle with? What kind of steps can you take to overcome these weaknesses? How can you group encourage you in this and hold you accountable? 

ACCOUNTABILTY

Dr. Ted talked about discovering our triggers or our arousal templates. In other words, we need to be aware of the conditions under which we are most susceptible to temptation. So share with your group the internal and external conditions that make you must susceptible. Be as specific as possible! Answer these questions: 

  1. When these external conditions are in place I’m susceptible?
  2. When these internal conditions are in place I’m susceptible?
  3. What does this teach me about how to apply God's resources to withstand temptation?

We know that relapses are going to happen. We will relapse and so will our accountability partners. How then can we help each other fall forward when we do? Ask the above these 3 questions. When your partner alerts you to their fall, help them stand up and start walking again using these 3 questions. Awareness wakes us up and shakes us out of autopilot into a life of intentional and godly choices.
 

Karl House