We Do Hard Things: A Look at Life With Fortify

Right now, there are over 20,000 people from around the world signed up for The Fortify Program. Each and every one of these individuals has their own set of struggles and stories. One thing we know that they all have in common is that that they are trying their hardest to become the person they want to be and they are determined not to let porn stand in the way.

We wanted to find out what some of these people’s lives were like before and after starting Fortify so we asked a couple Fortifiers to tell us about their journey. That is when we heard from Andrew* (real person, fake name). His story proves that even though the solution isn’t a quick fix or miracle pill, recovery matters and every little victory makes a difference.

Take a look at Andrew’s experience with Fortify:

Hi, I’m Andrew and I am currently a junior in high school.

I guess I’ll just dive right in. I first saw pornography when I was in middle school at the age of 13. At the time I had no clue or idea about the harmful effects of pornography. No one had specifically warned me about porn.  It only took about a week for the habit to form, even though it started sparsely.

On top of my addiction I was bullied throughout middle school and into the beginning of high school. As a result of pornography and being bullied I quickly became depressed and I started viewing others as objects and not as real people. After adult interference the boy mostly responsible for the bullying apologized to me. Even after the bullying had stopped I would still get really bad depression. Before the porn had been a coping mechanism but now I more or less used it just because of habit. I hated it and I couldn’t stop. Now I had no one to blame for my depression, I had no reason to be watching porn, no excuse. That is when I realized that it had become an addiction and that I could not break free.

So I decided to try, by myself. I wanted (And I still do) to become a father and have my own family and I knew porn would get in way of that, or damage those relationships. But no matter how hard I tried by myself, I would end up just getting back into the cycle of porn, regret, shame and depression. At this time in my life I was pretty isolated. I had few friends and I felt really alone.  I made a choice: I decided to kill myself.  Obviously, and very luckily, I’m still here.  

After my suicide attempt I became weak. I gave into my addiction. Even though I tried hard to space out when I viewed porn it started becoming more frequent.

That’s when I found the fortify program. It has helped give me tools to fight this addiction. I’ve also opened up to my parents about my struggles and they have helped get me therapy for my depression. I reached out to my parents after starting Fortify, though at the time I didn’t know about accountability partners. To be honest I have yet to confront them about being an accountability partner through the Fortify website, but it is something I want to do soon for sure. That way I have more power and support to stop this addiction. I’m getting more practice with the use of tools from the program like STAR (Read more here). I am now proud to say that I have beat my depression. At least for now. And though I am still fighting this addiction, and my anxiety hasn’t gone away, I know that I will be free of it.

When I was enveloped in porn every single day, it made it so tiring to get in to my passions. I love to play the violin, but it felt tiring to do it since I was so hollow emotionally. But my anxiety pushed me to be perfect in my playing because I was afraid someone would notice. The combination of the depression and anxiety was honestly exhausting. Now that I am in recovery I have gained so much joy and fulfillment in my hobbies and especially practicing my music. And every time an urge hits I can turn to my passions and it will go away. They are part of what helps me to be happy now, instead of dragging me down like everything seemed to do before.

My advice to all Fighters is to don’t be ashamed. Feeling guilt and being shameful are two different things. Shame is where you are embarrassed, or afraid and therefore hide something. Guilt is where you feel bad for what you did and will do anything to not do it again. Have the courage to feel guilt and fight!  I see that more and more I’m becoming the person I want to be because I am trying.  Even if you fail, don’t forget to never stop fighting! Also, if you’re struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, then get help! Tell your parents, or call the suicide hotline. They’re there to listen! Always remember what side you’re on!  

Join with me and we can fight together!

–Andrew