But I also knew that it wasn't just my story to tell. It is God's story, and it is also the Other Nut's story. While I was dealing with the aftermath of the landmine of pornography, as well as other things in my life, the Other Nut was also dealing with his own issues surrounding the "whys" and the "how not to fall into pornography" again. Even though I felt like I had been blown to pieces and was left to pick up each little piece I found, trying to put myself back together again, the Other Nut was also putting himself back together again. Honestly, he was just as hurt as I was.
I never wanted this blog just to be my heart experience with pornography. I also desired that he would eventually share his heart. I wanted his voice to be heard, and our story to be told from the perspective of the one who fell into the trap of pornography-and became free from it's snares. I am so proud of him. I know this wasn't easy for him to do, but he did it, because he believes so strongly in talking about the dangers of pornography and how damaging it is.
I will be posting a series of small posts that he has written, and I hope to have him write more. I do hope that his part of our story to restoration blesses you.
Sowing the Wind
It may surprise you to know that pornography is a $14 billion business in the US. That was based on data from back in 2004. It’s probably double that now. It may also surprise you that 67% of men in their 20’s and 30’s regularly look at pornography – see the stats here. I have heard that those numbers are similar inside the church and that at least 30% of pastors have looked at pornography in the past year. This means that odds are, if you are a guy reading this, then you are probably looking at pornography. If you aren’t, then look around next time you go to church and say – he looks, he looks, he doesn’t. He looks, he looks, he doesn’t. What a staggering thought. I was one of those guys. This is my story. Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.
My exposure to pornography started when I was about 10 years old. My friend and I found a magazine stashed in an old tire in the vacant lot-turned bike track in our neighborhood – most likely hidden by one of the older kids who constructed the makeshift race track from dirt and old tires. The images from 30 years ago are still there. Someone once told me that traumatic events are stored in a different part of your brain. This is why some things are easy to recall and other things are just fuzzy. Pornography gets stored in this place. I hate that. I knew looking was wrong. I became a Christian at 7. But it was interesting and what was the harm? I had no wife. I had no kids. I was 10.
I had various other exposures to pornography throughout my pre-teen and teen years. Bits of R-rated movies. Times that I was alone with cable tv. The time a friend stole his dad’s magazines and we looked at them in the homemade war trench we dug in an empty field. I distinctly remember knowing those times were wrong as well, but what was the harm? I had no wife. I had no kids. I was 16.
College and early 20’s brought more exposure. However, unlike earlier ages, I now had money, freedom, and aloneness to stir the mind. While connected to many other Christian brothers, this part of my life remained a secret. “You’re the only one who struggles with this” were the satanic lies I bought into. A deep secret shame imbedded itself into my life. There was harm, but it was only me that was hurting, right? I had no wife. I had no kids. I was 21.
My working life after college was my first major reaping of consequences. I now had money and lived in an apartment by myself. Unknown to anyone I visited pornographic stores, massage parlors, and nearly got involved with escort services. It was a dark time. The especially hypocritical thing about this time in my life was that I also hooked up with friends and we started an accountability group. We were pretty blunt with each other about temptation -- but accountability is only as good as your ability to be honest. And while I let those guys into some parts, the darkest parts remained hidden from them. I had no wife. I had no kids. I was 24
I met my future wife in my mid-20’s. Once we moved past friendship and into dating we were very open with each other about our past. We had a tell-all evening where I told her about all the stuff I had seen and done including what I hadn’t told my accountability partners. We cried and fell more in love than ever through that. We had been totally honest. We loved each other. What else did we need? Looking back, we were so naïve. We should have dealt with it then. Unfortunately, we thought we had. Our marriage counselor didn’t bring up that issue, and we both bought into a lie, “once you are married, all this temptation will go away.” We thought that our cathartic experience that night sort-of washed all that bad stuff away. And that getting married would kill that part of my life. We got married. I now had a wife. I had no kids. I was 26 and clouds started building on the horizon while all was sunny overhead.
Married life brought 3 kids into our life and a ton of new stresses I was not ready for. Bills, budgeting, mortgage, and maintaining our relationship with 3 kids. My career starting taking off. I was getting lots of positive press at work, being asked to represent the company at events, even being talked about for higher levels of management. All the while my relationship with God was decaying. I let “life” get between me and the Life. I let life get between me and solid male relationships. Despite all that, my relationship with Ima was great. We talked, dealt with issues, loved each other deeply. And she trusted every word I spoke. But I was living a lie and didn’t know it. I was corroding from the inside out. My walls were broken down. The weakness to pornography from all those years was exposed and I was oblivious, deluded into thinking that I could coast through life enjoying my wife, kids, and creature comforts. I had a wife. I had 3 kids. I was 36. And the storm clouds were advancing.