As is often the case, my waking thoughts will be the ones that are some of the most crucial I have in the processing of life. For some reason I was tasked with remembering how addiction gained its foothold, and has fought to never give up its place.
Several things immediately came to mind.
First that I was sexually abused as a child; this is the defining cog on which all other wheels turn. It was in the darkness of my bedroom that the first twinges of confusing pain and pleasure began to work their tentacles into my life. It was the place that I learned that trust was a broken wheel that would never roll again. I found my value there, for it was in what I could provide another that gained me acceptance.
Second was my initial experiences with the seedy and dirty world of pornography. The first porn I saw was a XXX magazine given to me by someone who wanted to get rid of it but found it difficult to throw away something that cost so much money. So instead of throwing it in the trash, they gave it to me. Then when I babysat a neighbors child, I found a treasure trove of porn to infect my mind. Needless to say, the confusion that was already well-engrained in me was further deepened. I was now a teenager and already addicted.
Third was the onset of the free and easy availability of internet pornography. No longer was it necessary to sneak into the party store to buy a magazine, or wait till the cover of dark to visit the adult book store, you had everything delivered right to you when you wanted it. Its continued use deadened my emotions and empathy, stole relationships and my job effectiveness; I was a shell of a man who’s only desire was to find free time to indulge in my fantasies. Nothing was safe from the greedy reach of lust.
Fourth-As I reviewed these things I thought of a contradiction that was taking place growing up. My family got up in front of the congregation in the old Baptist church and sang on a regular basis; Songs by the Gaithers were my parents favorites, and we all joined in. Even though the abuse was going on in the background, the facade was one of a wholesome mid-American Christian family. Now what is a child to take away from that, I ask you? It is well proven that the things that happen to us when we are young will many times shape our entire life. So I learned that there are two separate realities, they both have a place, they both function independently and purposefully, and that’s just the way it is.
These things, along with many others proved to be the foundation of an addictive lifestyle. There was a vacuum of self-worth who’s identity was searching for purpose and fulfillment. In a warped turn of events, pornography latched onto my soul and worked its way into my subconscious, stealing and destroying anything of real and lasting value.
Where am I now?
I am nearing 2 years since I last viewed pornography but my confidence isn’t very high. I am in counseling, I have filters and accountability software on my computers, I posses only a dumb phone. I am questioning the faith I have exclaimed for decades, I am depressed, angry, misunderstood, and abandoned by those who claimed to care for me but only wanted to use my talents. I have struggled with suicidal thoughts, and spent over a year unable to work because of a shoulder injury. Through all that, I have an amazing, loving, patient, woman by my side who loves me anyway, I know not how this is possible.
Is there hope? I do not have the answer to that question I am sorry to say. The glimmers I occasionally see aren’t lasting, and though I have been told that I am right on track, life seem’s more empty than it ever has. Maybe that is what happens as you drive away the demons, and begin to feel some things that have never had a chance to fight through the miasmic fog.
That is my story, though the ending has yet to be written…
UPDATE: It is June 3 and though much remains unchanged there is a sense of new hope rising. I am thankful for Gods abiding love.