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The Fortify Program is about recovery and recovery is about connection. This puts Fortifiers on a quest to learn how to love, and love for real. Like we always say: it’s not always easy but it’s always worth it.

This was completely true for Erin. She proved that even through the ups and downs you can come out on top. Check out what she has to say:

Hey, my name is Erin and Fortify helped me find recovery from my addiction. This is my story.

“You are so innocent, if only you were a little bit less moral,” he said to me. The time had come, I finally had to tell him that I have my own skeletons and I had to share my struggle with him. It is time to tell him that the reason I have such high morals when it comes to sex is because I know from personal experience how dangerous pornography can be. It is my hope that sharing my story with him, will make him realize why porn kills love. Yet every time I have this conversation, I can never find the right words. I think that is because you can’t make it sound pretty, you can’t put words in just the right order to make it sound better than it was. Because porn isn’t pretty at all, it’s disturbing, addictive, and kills love.   

I started watching pornography when I was in early middle school. It started out as simple curiosity, nothing more than pictures. Then I found videos and that only fueled my curiosity. Before I knew it, I was a middle school girl who was addicted to pornography. I was raised in a religious home and knew that it was wrong, but I was in so deep at that point I didn’t know how to stop. I felt all alone, and lived in fear of anyone finding out for years

Despite my efforts of quitting pornography cold turkey, I failed over and over again. I never had success at quitting until my sophomore year of college using the Fortify Program. (Serious, if you have an addiction to porn and you want recovery, check out Fortify. It can’t hurt). 

So besides being addicted, how did pornography affect me? Are you ready for this? I am a 21 year old and have never been in a relationship. Yep, you heard me right. 

Now before you start pointing fingers and telling me that it isn’t solely because of pornography I understand that, and I get that plenty of people don’t date until they’re older. But let me tell you the role that pornography does played in that for me.

Once I was addicted to pornography, as disturbing as this is, I desired that over an actual relationship. I would notice cute boys in the hallway, but it ended there. I never wanted to pursue that. Looking back, I can see how porn changed the ways I looked at guys. I started thinking that all guys wanted was sex, and I wasn’t willing to do that - being addicted to porn was already hard enough and there was no way I was ready for that kind of relationship. Every time I looked at porn, I was choosing a fake idea of love that left me feeling empty, hopeless, and unworthy of real love. Once I started making progress in recovering, I desired to pursue real relationships. Relationships that show there is so much more to a person than just their body. 

Real love is a beautiful thing. One of the hardest parts of recovery is telling an accountability partner. I was terrified of telling my best friend because I was afraid that she would judge me, think I was gross, think there was something wrong with me, and most of all not love me anymore. But I was wrong, she listened and loves me still because I chose to be vulnerable with her. 

So here I am, still trying to find the right words to tell a friend what I struggle with. The conversation does get easier, but it is never easy. When we chose to love, that is when we are vulnerable with other people. I am choosing real love.