Every Monday night, for an hour and a half, I meet with a group of guys. And the one thing we have in common is the thing that most guys are terrified to discuss openly.
We work through and discuss material created by an organization called Pure Desire, and the main purpose is to help and encourage each other on the journey towards sexual health and integrity.
If you haven't noticed, there is an unspeakably large weight of shame which surrounds this issue of porn addiction.
Shame is a fear of disapproval, of feeling looked down upon, of feeling rejected. It's the fear of others thinking or saying, "That guy's weird. What's wrong with him?"
It's a powerful feeling. It's highly effective, and it keeps countless men and women hiding their entire lives.
It is the mental block that prevents you from saying, "Yeah, I struggle with that too."
Does this describe you? Have you kept your struggle with porn completely to yourself? Is there anyone else in this world that knows about your struggle? Has shame kept you seeking freedom on your own?
That was me for many years, struggling with porn in secret throughout junior high and high school.
I first spoke openly about it when I was in my late teens with a few close friends. And I wasn't even the one with the courage to bring it up first. One of my closest friends, who was much braver than me, had the courage to bring it up to me and another good friend. He shared that he struggled with it.
When he said that, I almost felt a sense of relief, even elation. I smiled and almost shouted, "Me too!"
There's a little bit of healing that comes simply from knowing that you're not alone. It's been said that shame is reduced by half every time you talk about it.
How many people know about your struggle? Have you told anyone about it? A trusted friend, your spouse, a family member, a mentor?
Sometimes when we are brave and we share something difficult with someone, the response we receive is not what we were hoping for.
It is a risk. It takes courage.
But what's the alternative? To stay in darkness? To try and go it alone?
I know what it's like to go it alone, and I know what it's like to journey with others. I never want to go back to going it alone. And I don't want you to do that either.
The ironic thing is that whether you go it alone or not, the truth is you're not alone.
The stats are crystal clear. Statistically over half of the men that you come in contact with view porn as well. And the vast majority of them are probably struggling with the same shame, fear, and guilt. Am I the only one that thinks this is completely ridiculous?
So instead of continuing to allow the shame to keep us in the darkness, let's rally around the shame.
Instead of avoiding the thing that is bringing the shame, let's gather around that thing. Let's make that taboo topic the flag that brings us together. The thing that caused shame and isolation can be the magnet that draws us together so we don't have to do this journey alone.
This is not pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. This is what I've actually experienced for over three years.
There's nothing like being part of a community where the thing that draws you together is the thing that causes shame in most everyone else. To talk openly about the thing that almost no one else will talk about.
Just to be clear, community is not a silver bullet. It's just so much better than doing it alone.
Here's what I want you to walk away with. If you don't have anyone in your life that knows your struggle and is supporting you in your journey, is there one person that you could share it with that you believe would support you?
I'll also throw out to you, consider joining a Pure Desire group. There are many across the country that meet locally, and they also offer groups online.
Their website is puredesire.org.
Remember, don't go it alone. Because you're not alone.