Now that I have your attention lets talk about it. This is a very hard topic. But I've come acrossed it too much in the past couple of years to stay silent anymore. I don't expect too many of my friends or too many folks in general to comment on this subject as it is pretty much "TABOO" which is part of the problem. No body has a desire to discuss the tough stuff. But these are things that need to be discussed.
It's very heartbreaking and disheartening when someone you love has an addiction. Addictions to porn and deviant sexual acts can be even more devastating than being addicted to drugs, alcohol and other substances you ingest. While substance abuse too, can wreck havoc on the addict and those who love them, you can obtain happy and healthy relationships from recovering and abstinence. Not so much with sexual addiction. Sex is an important part of relationships. It directly and immediately effects the lives of 2 people if you're trying to have a relationship... and the family as well. Sexual deviance and inappropriateness is everywhere:Tv, Radio, Literature, Media, and in our own homes: computer, web cams, cell phones, any communication device.
The scriptures warn/council us about unnatural love and lust. Most Christians understand this meaning to be about homosexuality. We are mistaken if we believe this to be the ONLY unnatural love/lust being talked about in the bible.
18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
I believe we are mistaken if we don't consider compulsive/impulsive of any kind to be an unnatural love disapproving of God.
The hardest part about addiction is being one who loves the addict. YOU CAN'T CHANGE THEM. They have to come to terms with it themselves. No one likes to admit they have a problem or a disorder. There's much embarrassment in admitting it and seeking the professional help needed. Most will not. They aren't strong enough. It has become a way of life.
The sad part is how it damages the lives of those around them and they don't see it or care: spouses, children, other family members. Their biggest mistake, I feel is in thinking others don't know. If it's on your computer, it's found out. If your actions and words are inconsistent on a regular basis, we know. You can't hide EVERYTHING, you've sent the wrong email, text or I/M to the wrong person. You can't remember which person you're telling which lies to. You've recorded porn over your child's favorite Disney TV show. You've left phone numbers in your pockets and some one else does your laundry. You've left evidence of your one night stands or who you're cheating with on your camera. You have no or low physical desires to be with your spouse or significant other. (No need, you're getting what you need online and through self gratification) Or you have only physical relationships with skills of how to deal with the emotional attachment.
Trust me, we know because it IS ingrained in your personality. We see it in your actions, hear it in your justifications, and we feel it every time you choose it over us.
There are definite patterns of porn and sexual addictions. Most of those who are addicted are so oblivious to the patterns they don't usually realize or see it they're in such deep denial they honestly believe they are hiding their addiction, justifying their habits and covering it up with plethora of lies and manipulations. It's so ingrained into who they are and their personalities and THEY"RE SO BLIND THEY DON'T SEE THAT WE AREN'T BUYING IT. It's normal to them. And learning how to masquerade it is a second natured attempt at desperation. In most cases the one addicted will resort to anger, abuse (physical, mental, emotional)and abandonment to protect themselves and their habit.
Their comfort mostly lies in their solitude. When they are lone they don't have to work so hard to hide their habit.
They keep their friends and family at a distance from their personal space. They enjoy time with them, however it's usually not in their own homes. They very rarely invite anyone outside of their habit or "fix" into their turf.
They prefer to communicate in a "non emotional" state or situation. Text. I/M. Email. There is very little emotional investment. They become cowards to the sound of a voice or facial expressions. It humanizes their partner and this is where they have trouble, with human emotion.
However they show great human emotion, comfort euphoria and well-being while at the screen of a computer or cell phone.
They're also lost confused and out of sorts when away from these items too long. For example... late for work because they were online or had to go back and get their cell phone cuz they left it at home.
Also they're very controlling, anxious and guarded about others using their computer and cell phones. Example: Hovering close if you ask to use their computer or you ask to use their phone and they have to dial the number for you, stand right with you and make sure it's turned off properly. They guard it with more than normal caution and control.
This anxiousness comes from what you might actually find on their gadgets: Porn, sex talk, conversations and phone numbers from the opposite gender. It's all part of hiding and protecting themselves.
Other telling signs:
Poor Hygiene. Sometimes it's person hygiene, sometimes it's living space. Are clothes worn 2 and 3 times without being washed? Their homes are are livable, but remain cluttered and messy for the most part. Their version of clean is tolerable. They blame others for THEIR inability to maintain.
There is usually a long history of job loss. They got fired because of something not truly their fault or they quite because they were being treated unfairly somehow. They've rolled through many jobs, good job, bad jobs. Their job loss was never their fault, of course.
Typically if they have a spouse, the spouse is basically the main provider for the household. They spend their time maintaining the house hold, paying the bills etc. The addict spends their money and time on themselves (maintaining the the things they need for their habit). Typically bankruptcy is involved: The addict can't keep a job and usually causes the most bills, Computer upgrades, extra phone lines in the house, newest video game or devices or literature to support the habit.
There are some of the text book patterns of addicts. The computer and other electronic devices with access to the web or any device where sexual favors and activities can be solicited and satisfied are used in obsession. Not to mention the interest and desire to use them rather then to interact with a real person. Or to use them to interact with a real person instead of cutting out the "middle man" and interacting directly.
Porn and computer gaming has been the main deal breaker in my relationships the last 5-10 years.
The computer is the biggest accomplice. There is a vast overlap between gaming addiction and porn addiction. Although porn is a socially acceptable addiction, gamers tend to feel more guilty than porn addicts because gamers don't hide their addiction and get more ridicule and criticism.
If you or someone you love can answer yes to most of these "SIGNS" then seeking professional help may be in order:
S = Sleep cycle is consistently advanced. Goes to sleep later and wakes later or is tired in the morning.
I = Irritable when not on the computer. Preoccupied thinking about the computer and their activities there (sex, gaming, browsing, tuning the system up, etc.). Can become enraged if told to stop using.
G = Guilty about his/her computer use so tries to hide evidence of 1) game/porn purchases, 2) online activities (deletes cache, uses encryption/passwords, etc.), and 3) logs on secretly, etc.; 4) defensive when confronted.
N = Nightmares. Dreams about his or her gaming/computer use.
S = Social dropouts - people who become more isolated by their computer use. This is seen when there is a consistent pattern of sacrificing real-life relationships to preserve virtual ones. Alternatively, seems to prefer living in virtual worlds more than their real one. These people become or have been NEETs: 'Not in Employment, Education, or Training.'"
IN the mean time this is what we who love the addict sees:
Them having a sense of well-being and comfort of euphoria while at the screen of computer
Spending more time at the computer
Carving long time at the computer until neglecting family, friends and relatives
Feeling meaningless, dull, empty, depressed or irritable when not at the computer.
I actually had someone tell me it's so ingrained in their personality they actually get depressed when they don't have the latest cell phone or gadget or are away from their computer (their baby) for a long time. And to them, it was not normal or unnatural.
Also they are Successful online: they've mastered level 750 of W.O.W or City Of Heroes. And when things aren't going right they can start over and over without consequences or responsibility. They are in control. They spend very little emotional investment for their stimulation and get all the glory of being successful and fulfilled. THEY ARE VICTORIOUS. Porn works the same way They are in control, very little emotional investment no once to be accountable to, they are the boss, in charge, stimulation with no emotional effort or responsibility.
They may also find themselves having to depend on family members to help them survive... having to move with relatives two or more times to help them survive.
These patterns can go on for years: An addict can function well for 2 or 3 years and then suddenly fall on hard times (or hit rock bottom) and have to rely on others to help support them while they get back on their feet. It's a life cycle of an addict.
Those who want to stop and think they are strong enough to do it on their own, you are mistaken or you would have done it years ago. I don't believe any man or woman of God who is caught up really wants to be. I think they go through spurts of trying to be clean and resist but the physical desire and emotional detachment has become a thinking disorder. some where down the line they have forgotten when we are truly in balance: body, mind and spirit, WE control our urges they do not control us.
To those who have been abandoned or left because of this problem please know the following:
1.It is NOT you that has the problem.
2.You respected yourself enough to be intolerant of a situation that was unloving and disrespectful to you.
3. You were smart enough to not fall for the manipulations and lies. The had no other choice but to go to support your habit.
4. You were strong enough to leave and preserve your own life.
5. The emotional & and mental well being of you and your family will be healthier.
6. You cannot help them unless they have a desire to help themselves.
7. Make sure they understand you cannot live with the addiction or consequences of it but you care deeply for them.
8. Although confronting them may have proven to be disastrous, you loved and cared for them enough to let them know you have great concern for them because of this.
9. Some times walking away is the best thing you can do for them and yourself.
10. Always be supportive in their efforts to overcome addiction, but don't allow their problems to rule your life.
*If we are made in his Image...lets begin to act like it.*