What are we willing to fight for?
Most of the time the things we fight over are pretty trivial. Things like who’s turn it is to pick the movie, who gets the last piece of pizza, etc. Sometimes these things can feel really important in the moment and we spend a lot of energy seeing that justice is done.
But do we spend that same amount of energy fighting for what matters? Or are we blind to the meaningful things in our lives that we can take for granted? The scary truth is that there can be things in our lives that harm and enslave us, and it’s too late before we notice. Any type of addiction has the power to worm its way into our minds and hijack our thoughts.
Freedom to think and feel.
I want to be free from my addiction. It’s starting to affect my emotions and twist my thoughts. - Male Fortifier, 15-years-old
We hear things like this everyday. Porn addiction affects people’s lives in very real ways and there is specific science behind why this happens.
The chemical oxytocin, which is released during intimacy, works as an eraser for old brain pathways, melting them away so that large-scale rewiring can happen. In a relationship, this helps by erasing old, selfish pathways and making room for new ones focused on the combined success of the couple. (Norman Doidge, The Brain that Changes Itself.) However, porn can do just the opposite - erasing old couple-centric pathways to build new ones around the self-centered and unrealistic things seen in porn.
Like any addiction, porn teaches us to focus on ourselves. It is a completely self-gratifying experience. We train ourselves to seek more and more. We condition our mind to look for bigger, better, newer, stranger experiences. We discover the shocking novelties the internet has to offer and they reward us with a rush of chemicals in the brain unlike any other.
But isn’t this freedom? Freedom to do what you want and what makes you feel good?
These chemicals that flood our brains while we consume porn literally change how we think and feel. The honest truth is that without self-control we can easily become controlled by our urges. Then the only thing we will be free to do is continue to feed more urges. Eventually, we will build a mind that can trap us in our own desires.
Gathering the troops.
Part of the word addict comes from a latin root that means “surrendered.” To be addicted means to give in to something, to be taken over. An addicted brain is territory occupied by an enemy.
Finding out that there are things in our society, our homes, and in our lives that have the potential to take our freedom hostage should motivate us. We won’t roll over and let this happen. We aren’t going to shrug and accept this for what it is. We will never, ever accept this is “normal”.
Rise up in rebellion.
But what if it’s too late? What if your life is already out of control? What if you don’t know if you can ever be free again?
To that, we say it is never too late! There is no such thing as a point of no return when it comes to addiction. You can always reclaim your freedom from addiction. The pathways that porn builds in your brain can be broken down. All you have to do is fight smart and be strong.
Be a smart Fortifier.
A smart Fortifier is diligent. They revisit their Battle Strategies, pay attention to their Battle Tracker, and use tools like STAR as much as they can. They know that Fortify is not a one-time thing and they study and learn as much as they can for as long as they need.
A smart Fortifier is patient. They see a setback as a battle lost, but not the war. They always use what they learn from defeat as well as victory. They know that change might be slow going but that their freedom is worth the fight. They won’t be caught off guard.
A smart Fortifier is humble. They know this is a personal struggle but they know they should never have to fight alone. They rely on their Accountability Partner and pledge to live honestly, even when it’s hard. They know that they are weaker when they isolate themselves with secrets. Remember: Fortifiers know they can’t fight alone.
Freedom is worth it.
There is no greater cause or noble endeavor than the pursuit of freedom. There may always be things in our lives that are unfair and unjust. Other people can make choices that harm or hinder us and we will have to cross those bridges when they come. But no one has the power to design true freedom for us. Only we control our future. With hard work and resolve, we can become the people we want to be. A person who is free to think and feel how they wish.
Freedom is a heart unhindered and a mind uncaged. If we strive to live a life where we are truly free, maybe the world will follow.