It has been encouraging to receive some great feedback from readers over the past few weeks since my last blog. If the concepts in these blogs have been helpful to you, please don’t keep them to yourself; share them with others!
I have decided to actually separate this final blog into another two, so that I can adequately answer the most important aspect to this topic: “How do I actually break free?” These final two blogs will focus on 10 things that will help break free from addiction to masturbation.
- Have a Humble Attitude: I will say from the outset that I have a healthy respect for the strength of the temptation towards masturbation. By no means am I “beyond” this sin. In fact, it is that prideful attitude that lays the foundation for a very hard fall. It does not matter how many days I have been free from masturbation, I continue tothis day to have the attitude that, “I am a masturbation addict.” Not because Iam still falling into this sin everyday, but because I am one weak moment away from landing right back where I used to be. I like to begin my day with a simple prayer, “Lord, just help me to remain pure today.” Not for a week or amonth, but just for today. I often finish with a favourite of mine, “St Joseph Terror of Demons, please protect my purity!”
- Remove the Stimulus: I am yet to meet someone who masturbates while thinking about what they are going to have for dinner. During masturbation we create or recreate erotic, sexual scenes in our imagination, or use pornography in order to trigger arousal. For me, the relationship between masturbation and pornography was very strong, the moment I removed the pornography stimulus, masturbation followed.
- Get informed: In the moment of temptation, it’s very difficult to remember the reasons why you don’t want to masturbate or look at pornography. The adrenaline rush kicks in, and its as though your mind has blinkers on for that quick fix to your sexual itch. Getting informed about the beauty of sexuality and marriage really helped me in overcoming my addiction, but my formation wasn’t picking up a Jason Evert book to distract me from a temptation. It was setting aside 30-60 minutes per day to really dive into the beauty of God’s plan for sex and love. God’s plan for sex and love needs to flow from your heart and mind, we need to live it, think it and breathe it! If you haven’t already, please take up some good reading material on chastity and the Theology of the Body. Speakers and authors Christopher West (corproject.com) and Jason Evert (chastityproject.com) are giants in this field,so start with them. If I may, I would recommend my talks, Finding the Love That Satisfies and Sexual Desire: A Call to Love to help with formation in this area also.
- Affirm Desire: I say this all the time, but it’s because this really was the kicker for me! I grew up believing that sexual desire was inherently sinful and sex was evil. I repressed my desires from the youngest years thinking that if I killed my desire I would be holy. However, God is the author of your desires, and they are a reminder to you (perhaps multiple times a day) that you yearn, hunger and thirst for love, intimacy, relationship, communion and ecstasy. These are all good desires; in fact God put them there because He is the ultimate fulfillment of all of them! We must remember this important distinction, our sexual desires are not inherently sinful or evil, but all of us are in great need of “redemption of our desires.” That is to say, that all of us experience disordered desire to some degree, and we must – with humility – ask our Lord in adoration to take the disordered desires of our hearts, and transform them into the way they were intended from the beginning. Remember, Adam and Eve experienced desire before The Fall, but they experienced it as a desire to love, not to use.
- Accountability: Finally, I can’t stress enough how important accountability is in this area. I would strongly encourage you, if you haven’t already, to download Internet filtering and accountability software on all your technological devices. I use and promote covenanteyes.com– which promotes integrity online. It is the best one that I have ever used. Use the promo code FREE to receive a discount from your membership.
Covenanteyes.com has an accountability function which means that in order to sign up you need to put in the email address of your partner, who will receive a weekly report of your internet activity. I would encourage having a “same sex” accountability partner. Do not choose the person you are romatically involved with, since this can cause serious harm to the relationship. It needs to be someone who loves you and wont take this lightly. They must understand the severity of the addiction and be willing to pray for you, fast for you and talk regularly with you about how you can achieve freedom. It is important that an accountability partner helps you to identify the times, locations, moods you are in and reasons why you fall. Having a trusted friend to bounce these ideas off is incredibly helpful!