From @BldgCatholicMen on Twitter:
A few tips for men struggling with Pornography.
I am no expert and these are not necessarily exhaustive or systematic.
That said, this is a road i’ve traveled and a battle i’ve fought, and here are some ideas for moving forward:
1. Pause & Receive the Peace of Christ — If you are struggling with Pornography, pause right now, just for a moment and ask Christ for peace and strength.
Listen: The devil, first and foremost, wants you to despair. That is the ultimate end-game of all temptation.
If he can’t get you to despair because of your sin, he’ll try to get you to double-down on passionate, anxious, and ultimately prideful effort at self-mastery — to lean more heavily than ever on your own wit and strength, rather than on God.
In either case — despair or reactive pride — you are becoming more a man controlled by your passions.
Step one is to set aside your passions for a moment. In humility, acknowledge some simple truths:
God is the Lord.
He created and loves me.
I am weak and broken-hearted.
He is merciful and will be my strength in this fight.
2. Focus & Take Courage — In the case of pornography or other such addictions, it is easy for all of your attention to be on the negative — i.e. not doing x.
But this leaves the focus on x.
It’s like trying to tell someone to not think of a bird. (they’re going to think of a bird).
Instead, turn your focus instead to growing in courage — striving toward some costly good in your life that involve leaving your comfort zone, facing your fear, and persevering through difficulty.
Part of the reason this helps is that it is difficult to strengthen temperance directly.
Courage is a higher and more vital power of the soul than temperance.
Growing in courage unlocks both the ability to endure discomfort but also emboldens and enlarges your heart to love the good.
Growing in courage (and the other cardinal virtues) also tend to help heal whatever the wounds are that cause us to turn to pornography or other addictions.
3. Counter-Offensive — Make it your resolution now to counter every temptation not with bland, limp retreat.
Rather, whenever you are tempted to lust, certainly avert your gaze and step away from the source — but go further than this.
Turn your mind precisely to the reality of the person your were tempted to lust over or the people behind the image.
Recognize the truth of their dignity and God’s love for them.
Pray for their true good, happiness, and conversion to Jesus Christ. Love them.
Turn to Our Lady specifically and enlist her prayers for them and for you.
4. Get Accountable — Find a brother to talk to about this. Admit your weakness, ask for prayer, and come to some arrangement about checking in from time to time.
Find someone who has been through this sort of thing before, a man of prayer and discernment, who can give you hope and encouragement.
Find a man who can help you not take yourself and your sin too seriously, but who instead directs you back toward God’s love and power, to prayer, and to your work.
5. Stay Close to Jesus — Make a rule of life, a specific, realistic plan for daily prayer and regular reception of the sacraments.
Your temptations of passion — both despair and pride — will lead you to want to make a wild and unrealistic prescription.
But to do so is to give in to the temptation to lean on your own power rather than God’s.
Don’t focus on your own strength and multiplied efforts in spiritual things.
Rather, focus on coming up with the rule of life that is prudent, and make your focuses humble obedience and fidelity.
Just keep showing up and letting God work on your heart— that is ultimately where true and lasting change will come from.
Those are my thoughts! Would love to know the tips and advice from other men who have struggled or are struggling in this area.
Know of my prayers for you today, brother!