How can I help a friend with an addiction to pornography?

(Danny Doyle ) #1

I have a friend who is married to a Christian woman for the last year and a half. He is a great guy who loves the lord and does studying his Word, he just recently opened up to me about his addiction to pornography that he can’t shake it and he hasn’t shared that with anyone else because he feels too shameful to do so.

I was just wondering how to best deal with someone who has this struggle?

(SeanO) #2

@Dannyd Thank you for your question. I have provided a link below to xxx Church, a ministry dedicated to helping people break free from pornography. I have also included a TED Talk from a non-believer who understands the destructive power of this addiction. I think one of the most important things to understand is that this type of behavior is habit forming and actually transforms our brain, which means that it requires time and self-control to overcome.

A few bits of advice I would give are:

  1. Don’t make your friend feel abnormal or heap guilt on him (which I am assuming you have not done)
  2. Educate yourself and your friend on the physical realities of the body. Sexual desire is periodic in nature, and this cycle is altered by addiction, so even if desire feels unconquerable all it requires is patience and something else to focus on. There are nonbelievers who have learned to subdue their passions through gaining a deeper understanding of their own body and discipline.
  3. Emphasize the need to flee. I once heard a Spanish Pastor preach ‘huye,huye, escapate’ - ‘Flee, Flee, Run!’ When temptation comes, like Joseph, your friend should leave the room or the house or do some work - get away from the place of temptation.
  4. Don’t just pray - flee! So, prayer is important, but in the face of powerful temptation and addiction one should flee, not simply pray.

2 Timothy 2:22 - So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Proverbs 22:3 - The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

“The psychological, behavioral, and emotional habits that form our sexual character will be based on the decisions we make,” says Struthers. “Whenever the sequence of arousal and response is activated, it forms a neurological memory that will influence future processing and response to sexual cues. As this pathway becomes activated and traveled, it becomes a preferred route—a mental journey—that is regularly trod. The consequences of this are far-reaching.”

XXX Church

TED Talk

Are those thoughts helpful? May the Lord grant you wisdom as you interact with your friend and may Christ give your friend the wisdom, self-control and power to honor the Lord with his eyes and body.

(Warner Joseph Miller) #3

Hey there, Danny! Thx for the question, man. That’s great that you have your friend’s back like that. Seriously, man. Well done.:+1:t6:

I think @SeanO hit the nail on the head about fleeing. Sometimes the “fleeing” bit is not just turning stuff off but literally RUNNING AWAY! From experience I say this.:hushed: Also, suggest to your friend that as a preventative measure, try installing some accountability and/or filtering software on his computers, smartphones and tablets. These measures don’t necessarily MAKE YOU stop watching and engaging in porn. That’s an inside, Holy Spirit yielded job. However, what those softwares do provide is accountability or “purity guardrails”, if you will, to help check you when you’re leaning too close to the danger zones. Just a thought/suggestion. Peace up! :v:t6:

(Chris MacKrill) #4

Hello from Vietnam,

Thank @SeanO this helps greatly and I would like to affirm @WarnerMiller that although we can put things in place practically that help us, it also comes through a changing of the heart from Holy Spirit.

Much love

(Danny Doyle ) #5

@SeanO thanks for those links and the advise it is very helpful.

@Warner what accountability software would you recommend?

(Warner Joseph Miller) #6

Hey man…

Well, I can only give you what I use. There are certainly others. But this is the one I’ve chosen to use. It’s called Covenant Eyes. I have it installed on all of my communication electronics. It’s worked for me and has aided me in staving off (read: running from) porn use. Hope that helps. Blessings, brother.

(Liam Bell) #7

Hello everyone! My name is Will and I’m new to the site. I absolutely love it! I like to ask the tuff questions but I feel people are judged when they do. So having a place to do so is awesome.

About that porn software; I looked into it. So if you dont have a wife or girlfriend to send the data to its pretty much useless right?

(Warner Joseph Miller) #8

Hey there, Will!!! I’m so glad you’re here and are already jumping in with questions. So, real quick…you don’t have to use a spouse as the accountability. If you have a mentor, use them. A coach or teacher at school that you trust: ask them. Essentially it should be someone who you trust and that you wouldn’t mind “pulling your card”, as it were. Someone, ideally, biblically grounded and Christ-centered that you wouldn’t mind giving some authority to ask those hard, personal questions. That’s all you need!:ok_hand:t6:

(Liam Bell) #9

Ok. Gotcha. Thanks for the quick reply.

(Nicholas Matthew Stolz) #10


My heart goes out to this brother, deeply. There is help for those who want to stop their sexually addictive thinking and acting. Please have him go to I’m very interested to hear a follow up!

God’s richest blessings,

(David Cieszynski) #11

In a Michael Ramsden YouTube he says it takes around 9 years to kick a pornography addiction, and it’s easier to kick a cocaine habit. So there will be times when we stumble, we just need to give it to God.

(SeanO) #12

@David_Cieszynski I am certain that Michael Ramsden had a reliable source of information and I agree that in the process of healing it is common to repeat the stumble, repent, stumble cycle. However, I would say that while it does take time to reprogram the brain’s neural pathways to reduce the severity of the addiction, overcoming this addiction has a great deal to do with self-understanding and self-control. Both of these attributes require a person to be intentional in taking time to study and reflect on their own struggle as they seek to walk with Christ.

Saying ‘we just need to give it to God’ makes it sound as if we are powerless. I do not believe that is the case. While only God can transform our hearts through Christ, once we are Christian we must learn to discipline our bodies. The apostle Paul always speaks of this process as something that the believer must participate in actively - not passively.

I Cor 9:27 - But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Romans 6:11-14 - In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

There is a war between the spirit and the flesh within the believer and as we mature in Christ we must learn to master the flesh.

Galatians 5:16-17 - So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.

So my advice would be this - expect to stumble as you learn to master your flesh and renew your mind, but view yourself as a warrior of Christ subduing the flesh by the power of God’s Spirit and expectantly seek victory as you offer your body as a living sacrifice

Christ is the victor! Not the flesh.

(Liam Bell) #13

9 YEARS! Nope, I’m going to ask our father 20 times a day if need be until he takes it away.

(Liam Bell) #14

Thank you. I appreciate it.

(Josué Aparicio) #15

Speaking from a past addiction myself, identifying the triggers is what is going to help get started. This will help see recurring themes and then start making sacrifices.

For me, pornography was the destination. It was never the trigger. It was things I was entertaining myself with: social media, movies, tv shows, etc. It was drastic but it was only until I built the strength to overcome it entirely. I immersed myself in to God’s Word and it wasn’t until I read Mark 9:47,

And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out.

Once I started cutting it at its source, it left more room for the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts, to give me strength and lead me to victory.

I still get tempted because triggers can be everywhere but I feel like I went through this as a way for me to identify where my real treasures were to find my heart and then give it back to Jesus.

He wants us to follow him. We can only do that if we deny ourselves and take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23)

(Liam Bell) #16

Thanks for sharing and giving advice. Yeah I’m kinda shocked about it the more I research it. I never knew that it was that addicting and how it causes issues in relationships. I was completing niave. I actually never even thought of it as something I needed to seriously pray about and seriously work on. Ive said that I should stop watching porn before but I think I only said that because I felt like I was supposed to say it but it really wasn’t regeristing. I was walking around like I’m all set and good in God’s eyes. I thought I needed a bit of work here or there but no real battles. I’m starting to see how wrong and stupid I’ve been. I’ve been a hypocrite really.

(Carson Weitnauer) #17

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(Josué Aparicio) #20

@David_Cieszynski would you mind sharing that YouTube link of Michael Ramsden? I always enjoy his talks

(Joshua Manahan) #21

What a very relevant question this is Danny. I think the root cause of many of our problems and struggles as Christians, not just porn, is we are not fully satisfied and joyful in Christ. “Fight for Joy” as John Piper puts it. The strategies mentioned here are all good and effective, and I thank you guys for your contribution. But if we don’t find Joy in Christ, our efforts will fail. The video series by John Piper in youtube WHEN I DON’T DESIRE GOD: HOW TO FIGHT FOR JOY really helped me. Hope you can check it out. Hope this helps!

(SeanO) #22

@Will May the Lord Jesus grant you wisdom, discernment and power as you fight the good fight of the faith! May He purify your heart and grant you a deeper love for His Word and Himself. A few things you may consider praying for daily:

  • to be filled with the Spirit of Christ
  • clean hands and a pure heart
  • self-understanding and self-control

2 Timothy 2:22 - So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Excited to hear of your desire to walk with Christ more closely and obey Him in this matter!