Learning to Surrender Addiction
My addiction to pornography began when I was eight-years-old.
It was something I’d heard about and seen in my household, so naturally as a little girl I was curious. Curiosity quickly turned into habit. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I realized that what was holding me back from a relationship with Jesus was that for the past nine years I had justified my addiction to pornography.
I wasn’t actually having sex, which I knew the Bible said was wrong, so I was okay, right?
Nonetheless, deep down I knew I was addicted and I had a problem. My addiction became one that, at this time in my life, I knew I could never share with anyone, because no one would ever understand. Not my parents, not my pastors, and surely not the girls in my small group. The girls who lived perfect lives and didn’t struggle with anything, much less sexual sin.
I thought I was alone; a lie Satan exacerbated every time I fell into a moment of weakness. Let me tell you this: you are not alone in your struggle. God created you to be an overcomer. He does not want to see you struggle, and He especially does not want to see you struggle alone. But, the hardest and easiest thing to do is to surrender all the hurt and pain and emptiness of addiction up to Him.
In my recovery from addiction, I have learned a few things:
- Pornography and masturbation addiction are not just men’s struggles, but the fact that women do struggle with it as well does not justify the sin.
- Having a female accountability partner (or several female partners, really) is extremely important to recovery. I have found a few Christian women, many of them older than me, that I am able to talk to openly about my struggle and who, without judgment, encourage me constantly.
- Addiction is not something that just ends. The recovery process gets easier, but the temptation may always be there. That was all the more reason to trust and rely on God, because He’s the only one that could ever truly help you heal.
So you’re struggling with addiction to pornography or maybe even another sin that you’ve kept in the dark. Where do you go from here? How do you begin to recover?
Pray, confess, and repent. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned through all this, it is that God is able to make beauty from ashes. He wants to cover you in His grace, but first you have to ask for it.
"...To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." -Isaiah 61:3
This will require you to face your addiction head on - name the sin, the problem, the weakness. Say it aloud - whether it's romance novels or a TV show with sex scenes, pornography (and every other addiction!) comes in all shapes and forms.
Surrender it to God. I tried too many times to rely on my own strength to overcome addiction, and it wasn’t until I stepped back and told God that I could not do it on my own, that He stepped forward and told me that I didn’t have to.
Memorize His truths. In the first few weeks that I decided to surrender my addiction to God, Satan attacked me constantly. I never knew much about spiritual warfare until I was in the middle of the battle for my purity. Amidst the lies that Satan was constantly putting in my mind, I had to ground my faith in what I knew to be true: God’s unfailing love.
I started memorizing scripture, starting with 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Galatians 5:16, using the Word as the ultimate weapon against any attack headed my way.
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” -1 Corinthians 10:13
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” -Galatians 5:16
Overcoming addiction has been a decision to surrender my struggle to God....daily. It has been a decision to use my experience as a way to pay back the devil for letting me think I wasn’t good enough or that I was the only one struggling. It has been a decision to trust God in intense moments of temptation; a decision to let Him heal the pain and emptiness I’ve felt for the past 11 years.
Now, a little over three months free from the bondage of addiction, I am so thankful for God’s grace and mercy, His faithfulness, my friends and mentors that constantly pray for me and lift me up, and the chance to encourage others with the comfort that the God of all Comfort has given me.
This article is part of the Redeemed series about the journey of recovering from various forms of self-harm. So far, we've covered recovering from eating disorders and cutting. Regardless of what you are struggling with, we are here for you - praying and sending so much love your way!
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