You are responsible for you
If you are saying to your spouse, “you don’t take care of my needs” then I have some news for you, you need to change your mind.
Do you use this as an excuse to watch pornography?
Have you ever said this to your significant other after they have caught you indulging in your addictive behavior?
If the answer you answered yes, you aren’t alone.
Your brain wants to be right about the behaviors you’re throwing out into the world.
The problem is, Satan didn’t make you do it, Jesus didn’t make you do it, and your spouse surely didn’t make you do it.
You did it.
That isn’t an accusation. It just is.
If you aren’t ok with what you did, then that is a good place to start by taking responsibility for what you have done and seek the change you need to make in your own mind.
If you are ok with what you did, then you probably just need to take responsibility for your actions and stop justifying yourself to others.
When we find ourselves doing what is right, we very rarely care about what others think, worry about how it will reflect on us or seek to justify what we have done.
A client of mine who has struggled with pornography for many years with no improvement told me of one of his episodes recently.
After indulging he went to his wife and told her what he had done.
They went about the rest of their day.
Then in the middle of the night, he got back into the groove and started a binge session that lasted 3 hours.
His response to his wife when he told her about it the next day was, “you weren’t ok, even though you told me I was ok, you weren’t ok”
He justified his use, offloading his responsibility for his actions to his wife on his thought that she wasn’t really “ok” after his last bout.
What this client was really dealing with was the fact that he was not ok with his own use of pornography, but was unwilling to accept responsibility for his own actions.
His blindness to his responsibility is holding him back from making real progress.
His insistence that his wife forgive him each time he views pornography so that HE will be ok is putting her in a position of being responsible for his feelings.
Both of these situations are not only commonplace, they are toxic to our own healing.
When we seek to offload our actions to another person, we are not just trying to avoid responsibility for what we have done, but we are halting progress in our quest to remove pornography from our lives.
Your agency is yours.
That means, when it comes to your pornography use, you must take full responsibility for every action you take.
No one is making you do it.
Moreover, no one can make you feel better about your use.
True progress in overcoming pornography use is not easy to gain for someone with an entrenched habit, but it is pretty simple. (download my Top 5 things you can do to stop looking at pornography)
It will take practice and it will take a clear-headed approach to your own responsibility in the process of rerouting your brains automatic thoughts.
Here are three steps you can take today to begin removing pornography from your life.
1- Observation – Begin watching your brain, how it gets to using pornography, with curiosity and without judgement. Removing shame from the equation and replacing that with a healthy, genuine interest in what is going on in your thoughts will move mountains as your understanding grows.
2- Phone – Making it harder to access pornography is a simple key to taking your usage from daily to weekly to monthly to yearly to never. Phones account for seventy six percent of pornography use. Work with your spouse or a trusted friend to help you remove access points to pornography. Sites that seem like they wouldn’t have pornography often do in places that a user looking for a hit will eventually be able to find. Many apps have web browsers built into their product as well. These apps should be removed if at all possible. I often talk to my kids about a phone being a tool for communication more than anything. Ninety percent of the apps on our phones can be removed and we would still be able to get full usage out of them. They just wouldn’t be set up to entertain us.
3- Friends – This is often the hardest part for pornography users but discussing your addictive behavior with a trusted friend, parent, family member and spouse will yield some of the greatest benefits to overcoming your behavior. More often than not, you will likely find someone who has experienced addictive behavior in their life. More often than not, they will begin to pray for you, seek you out to know how you are doing and show love for you that you did not know was in their hearts. When I was deep in the struggle my wife confided in our close friends that I had an issue. Our friends were more than understanding. Their attitude was one of wanting me to have all the resources I could have to get past this issue. They asked me often how I was doing. They asked the bishop what they could do to help. They viewed my problem as their problem and did everything they could to make me feel the love that they had for me and my family. It was a point that made my struggle more bearable and it was a clear demarcation to me that people will not treat me like a leaper. In fact, the opposite was true.
You are responsible for you.
You have to be the one leading out and taking care of you.
No one else is going to do that for you and it isn’t anyone else’s job.
If you aren’t sure how, find a coach that can get you there.
Work with someone who has walked the path you are trying to find and get their help in making your journey successful.
You can do this.