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When we spend a lot of time viewing pornography, we often rationalize why we can’t afford to stop. We say, “It calms and soothes me”, or “It helps me deal with my problems better”. We think that a life without porn would be unmanageable, overly stressful, or emotionally exhausting.

But is that really true? Let’s take a closer look at what porn actually gives us in the moment. When we try to avoid our stress or negative feelings through pornography, those feelings are multiplied and worsened. And when we try to cope with feelings of shame or loneliness, porn further isolates us from the people we love the most.

‘But wait,’ others might say — ‘this really does feel good in the moment. No matter what happens later, we turn to it because of what we get in the moment’.

Let’s talk about that for a minute - because it’s true that in the moment, there is an immediate relief that can come as the craving is ‘satisfied.’ Like a smoker puffing a cigarette, they take a deep breath…”ahh. I can relax.”

And some would argue that it’s that very moment of relief that can drive both a smoker and a porn user to keep using for years: ‘Hey, this is how I relax. This is doing something for me.’

Allen Carr, a key figure in the Stop Smoking world, tells people who smoke, “There is nothing legitimate that a cigarette is doing for you at all. The apparent ‘relief’ is only a masking of feelings— pushing them away in a way that complicates them. You are walking away from nothing valuable”.

Could this same insight help us kick the porn habit for good? What if the “relief” and “stimulation” we often see porn providing was only really distracting us from other things happening — like a mirage covering up the fact that it is making your life harder.

There is a lot more going on in the moment than just “relief”. Beneath the stimulation happening in the body, we are wreaking literal havoc in our mind, body, and relationships — deadening the heart, numbing the body, and alienating relationships.

Pornography is doing absolutely nothing fundamental or real for us. The only thing it brings into life is heartache, pain, and grief. When we rid our lives of its influences, there is room for real, meaningful happiness to take its place.

This point is powerfully illustrated in the experiences of one of our Fortifiers:

For the 10 years of my addiction, I didn’t pursue my dreams. I didn’t discover my hobbies. For 10 years I played video games, watched tv, and watched porn. That was pretty much my life. Yes, I went out with friends and did social things, but when no one was around, that’s all I did. Now that porn is out of my life, I can pursue my dreams again. Before porn, I used to love writing. I abandoned writing for the high that pornography provided. With my extra time, I’m beginning to write again. I’m reading a lot too. Reading helps me grow and develop into a better a person. Reading and writing are helping me live the life I want to live.

For years I was only attracted to women physically. I don’t consider that to be true attraction. Now that porn is out of my life, I’m starting to be truly attracted to women again. Not just attracted to them physically, but also attracted to them emotionally and intellectually. I can finally be attracted to woman because of who she is, not just because of what she looks like.

Porn no longer has any control over me. Porn no longer has any place in my life. For 10 years I was addicted. Those 10 years of my life were wasted. Those 10 years of my life vanished before my eyes. I thought I’d never get out, but [now], I’m free. I’m finally free from porn. And I’m NEVER going back. -B.

Contrary to what we often tell ourselves, we can’t afford not to quit watching porn. In reality, the harmful effects of porn far outweigh any momentary relief that only makes things worse.

So next time that voices to your head saying, “What else makes you feel this good?!” You can answer, “Peace. Freedom. Relationships. True intimacy.” Life really is better without porn.