The age of electronics has brought with it several new advances, privileges, and opportunities never seen before in the history of Mankind. At the click of a button we can view faraway places we may not otherwise ever get to see, balance our checkbooks (in fact, who needs checks?!), or buy something from a company based out of Hong Kong and have it arrive on our doorstep within a week! We can converse face to face with someone 4 time zones away, send instant letters, and now we can even meat people we subsequently date or even marry because of technology. There is so much exciting information that we can instantly access, and there are so many good things we can do with technology today.
But along with those advances there are some dangerous inherent risks. For our purposes today, I’m not just talking about identity theft or bank fraud. There is a very real, lurking threat on the internet that is literally a trap set and poised to snap on any unsuspecting, curious individual careless enough to get caught in it. That threat is pornography.
Over the years that I’ve been in private practice, roughly half to 2/3 of my clientele at any given time are coming in for help of one kind or another with pornography addiction. It is an insidious and highly addicting vice that rapidly imprisons both men and women, often while they are still in their youth. Once ensnared, it is a very difficult habit to break out of. But being stuck in an addictive habit is not the only problem associated with this addiction.
The majority of individuals who have come in for help breaking the pornography habit stumbled on it or went looking for it during those critical and formative adolescent years, before there is a fully developed and correct sense of the male/female relationship. As a result, an individual’s view of what intimacy really means and what men and women really want in a healthy relationship becomes very skewed.
Treatment for this addiction, therefore, must look at a minimum of two pervasive aspects of the problem: one, helping the individual break addictive cycles and learn tools for remaining clean and sober; and, two, working with the individual on connection and the correct interpretation and development of a healthy, intimate relationship. It is my belief that, without the latter, an addict will not be completely successful at healing and freeing him/herself from the addiction.
The main purpose in writing this today is to inspire hope for anyone who may truly be struggling with their addiction in this area. Pornography addiction is highly treatable. Some may grapple with it more intensely than others or have a harder time wrestling free from its clutches, but the battle is winnable. With treatment, individuals do recover, and relationships do heal and improve. People are able to forgive and move forward into much greener pastures, fully connected with each other and addiction-free.