Alcoholism first became widely known as a disorder just as the popularity of television hit the scene in the 1940’s. Interestingly, porn addiction is coming into focus just as the other most significant communication medium in history is taking shape—the Internet.
Are the addictions really that different? In the scientific sense of raw chemical reactions, no they’re not. Be it alcohol, drugs, cutting, or porn, the brain is reacting much the same way. The difference is in the perception.
For example, see what happens when you tell a group of people at your church that you are a recovering alcoholic. You will be embraced, prayed over, patted on the back and assured that you are loved.
One the other hand, try telling that same group of people that you are a recovering porn addict. An awkward silence instantly engulfs the room. You may as well have just admitted that you are single-handedly responsible for the entire sex trafficking industry. Everyone goes home thinking about how much of a pervert you must be (while in denial of their own issues). You can forget ever working in the nursery at church again.
No wonder we read stories about pastors who fake having cancer to hide their addiction to porn. They know that if their secret gets out they will be ruined forever. And that’s a pastor. Think about the person sitting in the pew when it’s announced the porn pastor was just extricated from the church. You think that guy is ever going to come forward and get help? No way!
And the cycle of silence continues.
So, what will porn addiction look like in 30 years? My hope is that through the work of Freedom Begins Here and the work of others, we will begin to talk openly about the problem. Whatever our vice (and don’t lie, we all have them), I pray the Church will begin to welcome us with open arms into a place of safety and recovery.