Part 1 | Part 2
For those of us trying to break the habit of pornography usage, isolation is something we are well acquainted with. In part 1 of this article, we saw that the reason we isolate ourselves from others is founded in the fear of those around us finding out about our habits. We try so hard to break pornography’s hold on us, but after failing so many times, we begin to invest a large amount of energy into keeping our private activities private. This eventually drives a rift between us and those close to us, and makes it harder for us to break free from porn.
As we mentioned in part 1, the way to break out of this lonesome cycle is, despite our inhibitions, to involve someone trustworthy in our healing. The fact is that continued use of our drug of choice has deluded us into thinking we are in control of our situation. Involving someone close to us gives us accountability, and an outsider’s perspective can offer us insight into just how bad our situation has become. Additionally, the journey of healing is not one that can be undergone alone, and enlisting a support system can provide a source of healing that just isn’t present when struggling on your own.
To illustrate the process better, I’ve detailed my story of breaking isolation below, highlighting the points I’ve taken away as lessons based on good and bad decisions.
How my story began
When I began my healing journey and first registered for Purify Your Gaze in 2011 and then recommitted in 2013, the only one who knew of my habits was myself. I would constantly clear my history after visiting Purify Your Gaze’s site to delete any traces that I had been there. I kept my membership a secret and got nervous when I thought people I knew in my everyday life may be members as well. I thought I was the only one suffering with unwanted sexual behaviors and when I realized there was an entire community of people with the same problem, I still thought that my situation was specific and unique to me.
What I learned from this was that breaking isolation happens in waves, first with a community or program of like-minded people who are going through the same struggle. It’s a huge step because it was the first time other people knew about my private struggle and the first time I admitted to the habits having control over my life.
Usually this step happens as a response to the deep isolation one is feeling. I was convinced that no one else understood what I was going through, but I took a chance anyway because at that point, things had gotten so bad that I had nothing to lose.
Communities like Purify Your Gaze and support groups often have policies of trust and confidentiality to protect you. The people in them will never breach that trust because they know how valuable it is and what could happen if they were exposed. That was a powerful assurance that helped me feel at ease. Thus, such an avenue is usually the best place to start one’s journey.
Support from the Purify Your Gaze Community
After some time in the Purify Your Gaze community, I began to gain some confidence. Specifically, I started to get over the shame of being there, and I realized that self-improvement and working towards my Lord was something admirable. Everyone, whether lust and temptation is your test or not, is tasked with something during their life. The fact that I was doing what was necessary to improve became a way to be grateful to my Lord and a source of pride. I opened up in discussions and was paired with accountability buddies that I could rely on. My circle of trust began to widen. I was okay with talking with more people about what I was going through, and I engaged in honest discussion because I knew sincerity was the only way I would get results.
What I learned here was that others in the Purify Your Gaze community were able to empathize with me. My peers at Purify Your Gaze were able to reassure me that I was not alone and that hundreds of others have felt the exact same thing. The shame and barriers to telling others began to subside because of the confidence I got from the Purify Your Gaze community. Having people accept me despite my flaws gave me that confidence because I had never gotten that acceptance before.
In this stage, start to consider a trustworthy person in your everyday life who would be supportive and who could help you in your healing from unwanted sexual behaviors. It’s important to understand that breaking isolation isn’t about confessing your sins to someone to dump your guilt, or to seem like the troubled soul who has weathered the storm in order to gain pity or admiration from others. Breaking isolation is to help you in the next level of your healing, so that should be your main focus.
Support from those closest to me
Eventually, because of the virtual nature of Purify Your Gaze, I craved a real life relationship that was based on trust, like the ones I experienced online. I wanted acceptance for who I was, faults and all, from someone who was significant in my life. I ended up choosing my sister.
What I learned here was that reaching out to someone in my everyday life was necessary to narrow the gap between my two selves: the one working on healing from pornography, and the one everyone I had grown up with knew. Throughout your journey of healing from unwanted sexual behaviors, having a person in your life who knows the real you that you can interact with serves as a grounding and a catalyst for growth. The relationship with this person often becomes the strongest in your life, and you will rely on it for years to come.
My sister was a logical choice because she was the person I trusted and knew the most in my life. She also understood the context of my upbringing better than my parents and knew of pornography being rampant in society. If she didn’t accept me after knowing the truth, I’d have a hard time finding someone else who did.
I told my sister the truth one evening when we were alone sitting at the dining table after we had been talking for a few hours; however, there is no ideal time or physical place to break isolation. Because breaking isolation is a big step, this should be thought out carefully, particularly with regards to the person we choose to help us on our healing journey. Having trust in the person you choose is paramount, and they need to be someone who possesses honesty and sincerity to advance you in your healing. Your healing should be as important to them as it is to yourself. There is no sense in rushing such a formidable step in your healing because the person you choose will be a companion to rely on for the rest of your life. Choosing the right person and then building a relationship of honesty with them can make all the difference in your journey of healing and growth.