Why Porn Addiction Is Hard To Quit Even With Recovery Groups

Why does porn use continue, even after groups, books, and studies?

We see clients all the time who tell us they’ve had a porn addiction for many years. They’ve gone to their pastors, they’ve attended groups, and they still can’t break this habit. Why is it so hard? Why do folks find it so hard to break an addiction to pornography?

People who have been members of Christian recovery groups, who’ve gone through book studies, or who attended men’s groups may still struggle with an addiction to porn. Those kinds of things are absolutely crucial. However, what often is missing in those solutions is the stuff that’s really unique to their own hearts.

People addicted to pornography need to consider where they are broken in unique ways that may not respond to simple steps.

One key question to consider is what are some of the needs I’m trying to meet as an adult through porn? These needs may have a basis in some legitimate God-given drives that I’m totally confusing. If that’s the case, then if I just stop the porn the need is not going to go away.

Maybe the core need they’re trying to fulfill through porn is actually the need for nurturing and acceptance. Maybe they’re craving somebody who will love them and care for them and want to spend time with them and they’ve gotten that all mixed up with pornography.

In Proverbs 20:5 we read that “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” There’s stuff inside of our hearts that God wants to draw out of us and show us. He wants to help us see that what motivates and drives certain behaviors is not just the sin issue. There is sin in the heart, no question this is a sin issue, but that’s not all it is.

It’s not just about the sin of the heart, it’s also about pain in the heart. If an individual was abused, neglected, or brutalized growing up, that person at 30 or 40 years old will probably still carry that deficit inside. That void doesn’t just go away in adulthood. Each person must fill that need in Christ. However, they may not know that’s necessary until they get in touch with the deficit itself. That’s where counseling can be hugely beneficial.

Sexual addiction is an intimacy or relational disorder.

People who are addicted to sex, drugs, codependency, or workaholism don’t know how to be truly relational. Instead, they’re trading in accomplishing things for being relational. They’re trading in the high of getting a job done, getting accolades, or even the high of an orgasm in place of true relational connection.

All addiction is the anti-relationship, even those addictions that masquerade as relational. A real relationship means being completely honest, vulnerable, and exposed in a relationship with someone I can trust and who is also returning the favor. That doesn’t happen with porn. That doesn’t happen with a bottle of Jack Daniels. It doesn’t happen with vaping or gambling. Those are what people run to because they’re not experiencing an honest and healthy relationship. That is the cure not only for other addictions but for sex addiction in particular.

Sexuality interacts with that relational part of us in a way that nothing else does. Scripture bears that out. What we need for this relational disorder and brokenness is to find a relational solution.

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