3 Reasons Why Porn Addiction Doesn’t Make You A Bad Person

Porn addiction sucks. Plain and simple.

We at the Fortify Program hear first hand from countless people the toll that pornography takes on the lives of those who depend on it. Addicts often create a cocktail of mental, physical and emotional issues ranging from depression, to porn-induced erectile dysfunction, or the entire spectrum of anxieties and insecurities. Just to name a few.

We say again—porn addiction sucks. But does that make you a bad person?

Nope.

But we know that’s probably how you feel a lot of the time. We can get trapped under the crushing weight of blame and guilt. We get stuck walking circles around all the thoughts that keep us feeling so hopeless.

“If I was strong enough, I would be able to quit.”

“Every time I look at porn I feel terrible but I keep doing it anyways. Why am I so weak?”

“I’ve been trying to stop for years and can’t. Maybe I’m just broken.”

While you may feel justified in these thoughts, none of them are true. The problem is that all of these feelings are born from our addictions. They don’t motivate us to change, they just make us feel inadequate. If we don’t learn how to cut ourselves some slack, they could keep us trapped forever. The following three reasons are why you are not broken, you can change, and you will.

Understanding Shame

There are actually two kinds of shame: regular shame and toxic shame. The main difference is that regular shame lets us know we made a mistake, while toxic shame teaches us that we are a mistake.

Toxic shame is hopeless and tells us that the struggles we go through are an unchangeable part of our existence, that failure is inescapable. But with regular shame, we believe that our mistakes are fixable and that they have nothing to do with us as a person. Proper shame can motivate us to grow and learn. 

Addiction can feel like a constant oil spill of toxic shame pouring into our lives. To be truly happy and free, we need to start to clean it up. A great way to start this is called self-care. Basically you need to give yourself the space to heal. This can be as simple as reading a positive quote in the morning to start your day off right. Eventually Fortifiers should begin to build a life that sustains positivity and hope.

Feelings Are Not Truth

One Fortifier recently emailed us with a great explanation of this principle:

“One of your lessons I just finished really stood out to me in a way that none of the others have. It talks about watching your thoughts without being your thoughts, and more specifically watching your FEELINGS without being your feelings. Something that I have always had a rough battle with are my emotions. I often act out of the way I feel, and it is usually in a way more noticeable than the way most people act out on their feelings. I often become a slave to my own thoughts, I let them flow through my head every night before I go to sleep. “You are always going to be alone” or “you are not important” or “you can’t succeed.” For so long I have let these thoughts become a large part of me and have allowed my actions to be dictated by them. This really changed my perspective on my own thoughts and feelings in a way that I didn’t know was possible. Not only has this advice been really beneficial for my recovery but it has given me a new outlook on who I am and how I carry out my actions in my life.”

-Luke, Teen Fortifier

Feelings are important, but they don’t make you who you are. What you do with them does. Wanting to act out in your addiction isn’t what’s bad, it’s when you follow through with it that makes it harmful. Accept this part of the recovery process and you will be a lot happier in your journey.

Don’t Blame The Past, Get A New One

Most porn addicts report that even though they were exposed to pornography at a very young age, they still somehow knew that it was “bad for you.” They felt that it wasn’t healthy. But they did’t know how to deal with it. Think about it: McDonald’s is bad for you but if you hand a kid a Happy Meal they aren’t going to reply, “No thanks, I’m going gluten free.” Sometimes it takes age and maturity to right our wrongs.

No matter how long you have struggled, how old you are or were when porn first crept into your life, there is no way you could have been equipped to deal with it. We often use the past as evidence of our failures, a ledger that lists the reasons of how little we are worth. Just remember that hindsight is 20/20.

Looking back on the past with current experience and knowledge can make our mistakes feel so trivial and avoidable. This just leads us to blame ourselves. Instead of using the past as a hindrance to your recovery, focus on today. Todays will become yesterdays and eventually you will have a whole new past.

A Note For Partners

If you are close to someone who is struggling with a porn addiction, be careful that don’t do more harm than good by not accepting their struggle. Addiction is tough and even though you may have been left feeling betrayed and hurt by it, turning that pain back toward your loved one will only knock them down further. Just like you, they need to believe that they have the support of wholehearted, trustworthy people. Both parties need the space to heal.