Good Morning Friends,
I just got back from a wonderful weekend speaking at the American Association of Christian Counselors Convention in Orlando, Florida. Thanks for all your prayers.
Today I am scurrying to finish my taxes. This is one of the chores I always leave to the last minute. I never intend to, but it always happens. Every year I think to myself next year I’m going to be more on top of this, and each year the same thing happens. At the last minute I’m scrambling to find and enter all of my receipts so that we can file on time. This is one of the downsides of owning a business. It makes taxes that much more complicated.
This week’s question: I am a single female, 47 years old. I am not currently nor have I ever been in a relationship. At the age of 6 I was sexually molested for the first time. Not long after that I started looking at my dad's playboy magazines and have struggled with porn ever since. In the past 5 years I have tried to get help but have not had lasting success.
First, why is porn wrong for a single adult not involved in any relationship? Also, it has been very frustrating struggling with this because whenever it's talked about it is always a man's addiction. I know that I can't be the only female out there who struggles with porn. I wish there was more help out there for women, other than just for the spouses of porn addicts. Where can I find help?
Answer: First let me commend you for your courage in facing your struggle with this problem. It is not easy to recognize that you are caught in a serious addiction. You ask what’s wrong with adults viewing porn, but I think you have your answer in how stuck and helpless you feel right now.
You are not alone in questioning whether viewing pornography is an acceptable outlet for expressing one’s sexuality. In a recent study reported in USA Today, 816 students in six colleges were asked about viewing pornography in the last year. Of women respondents, 31 percent reported viewing porn, with only 3 percent viewing at least weekly. Yet, nearly half of the young women interviewed said they didn’t see anything wrong with it. (www.usatoday.com, December 12, 2007)
Women as well as men battle pornography addiction. In a recent poll, 34% of female readers of Today’s Christian Woman’s online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn, and 1 out of every 6 woman, including Christians, struggle with an addiction to pornography (Today’s Christian Woman, Fall, 2003).
That said, understand that you are not alone and there are resources out there to help you. However, you now have to decide that, although pornography once felt like the answer to your loneliness, sexual frustration or confusion from your earlier molestation, it has enslaved you. It is not giving you life, but death (2 Peter 2:19).
There are three basic steps in breaking an addiction, and none of these can be done alone. You need a group of people who will walk with you through this and help you.
1. Confession. This is important because you need to experience the healing balm of grace and mercy when you confess your helplessness, powerlessness and brokenness in front of a loving group of people. The shame and secrecy are mitigated when darkness comes into the light.
2. Accountability. This problem is too big to handle alone. Those in addiction ministries know the value of a group to help you when you feel weak and unable to help yourself. We are all to encourage one another, lest any one of us become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13)
3. Plan of action. What are you going to do when you are tempted? Who can you call for help? What safeguards do you need to put on your computer? Again, groups can be very helpful in developing a specific strategy to break your particular pattern.
You mention that you have never been in a relationship. I hope you have some good girlfriends. The internet is no substitute for real people. I would highly encourage you to find a local recovery group to join. It may not specifically have to do with sexual addiction, but I believe you need to be among people. Get involved with a church, a woman’s bible study, Celebrate Recovery group or find some other places where you will meet people and hopefully make some friends.
Here are some additional resources for sexual addition you may find helpful:
Woodmont Hills Counseling Ministry offers workshops and a private counseling center that works specifically with addicted women. 866-464-HEAL (toll free) www.bethesdaworkshops.org
Pure Life Ministries is aimed mostly at helping men, but some women have found help through their programs directed at breaking free from sexual sin. www.purelifeministries.org
Setting Captives Free offers online programs to help believers break free from addictive sins, including pornography. www.settingcaptivesfree.com
BOOKS for women struggling with sexual sin and addiction:
Every Woman’s Battle by Shannon Ethridge (WaterBrook)
No Stones: Women Redeemed from Sexual Shame by Marnie Ferree (Xulon)
I know this can be a tough battle to face and beat. You’re not alone. Blog friends, can you share some advice with this dear woman to encourage her along her journey?
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Lyrics from a song come to mind:
"You knit her together
Your cherished creation
Made her body a temple for the soul…Heaven's own precious child
A person full of worth and dignity"
The three steps you laid out are exactly what is needed. As well as deep healing in knowing she is God's child, created with dignity and value, even in the midst of this addiction, and especially as an innocent child who was violated.
I pray that healing from the deep place of brokenness begins to happen. Bringing these things into the light is the first step towards finding freedom. It's a process,but it is possible!
The resources you provided are wonderful and I hope that more resources for women become available, as this is not just a man's problem anymore.
To the woman who wrote in as she is struggling to find freedom from early abuse, and the gripping pornography addiction that grew from that root…… There is a truly wonderful website called http://www.beggarsdaughter.com. I hope you find your way there, and let the Holy Spirit lead and speak to you through the truthful care and writings found there. May you find mercy, peace and joy in the Lord.
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