August 2, 2017 v4 p30
There were a lot of things I was looking forward to when I returned to my faith. Coming face-to-face with my worst faults wasn’t one of them.
I began looking for more content about my faith a couple of years ago. I came across a bunch of different speakers on YouTube. Fr. Mike posts all of his podcasts there so I put his name into the search bar. It returned a bunch results that weren’t his weekly podcasts. It seem that he is a speaker in high demand around the country at Catholic Conferences. I started listening to his talks at some of these conferences while I do my inventory control work, where I’m out in the warehouse away from the rest of my team. It is something I look forward to every morning. My wife and I started watching them together after the kids go to bed and they turn control of the TV back over to us. There are a lot of the other speakers from those events who have their talks posted as well. They are all great, and very insightful to me. There are two besides Fr. Mike that I listen to regularly.
After a few months I started to notice something in common among most of the male speakers I listen to. Almost all of them have admitted to having an addiction to pornography earlier in their lives. That really hit home, because one of those faults I wasn’t looking forward to meeting was what I’ve now come to realize was my own addiction to porn. This has been a significant thing for me to come to grips with. I’ve listened to the speakers describe how the women are usually drunk when performing, forced into performing, and generally treated as a slave. It help me put together that by watching porn I not only backed the people enslaving the performers, but I was more or less treating all women the same. It really made me think about how I treated sex in my own marriage. I’ve apologized to my wife for the way I approached out sex life. It’s allowed me to take my faith to a whole new level.
There are some pretty astonishing facts about the porn industry that actually shocked me. The porn industry in the United States makes more sales than all four professional sports leagues. The average adolescent boy has seen a pornographic image by the age of 11. I was way ahead of the curve on that one, thanks neighborhood high schoolers. So it’s out there, everywhere. It’s never been as easy to access it as it is right now. There was a report done on the local news on how a teenager could access porn in less than 10 seconds on their mobile devices a few weeks ago. It showed how simple it is to find it on search engines. We do image searches to see what kind of parts we’re looking for at work. The joke used to be how far you would have to scroll down on the results before you came across a result that was NSFW.
It’s starting to make its way into mainstream media as well. As people become desensitized to what they see in private, it takes more for something to grab your eye in public. That has caused marketing teams to gravitate towards more immodest advertising. Clothing industries start making their clothes smaller. Sports media groups start publishing magazine article with athletes posing nude. It’s hard to go on the internet and see articles that show how little a celebrity wore to the beach. Which famous person is in the latest sex scandal. These images are the biggest struggle I have with my addiction right now. I struggle to not click on the articles or scroll through the slideshow in the magazine article. To help combat that I don’t do much surfing on the web. I spend more time on the internet than most people because of my job, and that help’s too. I honestly can’t remember the last time I watched what most people would consider pornography. Unfortunately I have many images stuck in my head that I have to struggle against for the rest of my life.
I gain the strength to fight this addiction from my faith life. The speakers I listen to. My deepened love for my wife, our marriage, and our Covenant with God. My daily prayer life is centered on asking for forgiveness. I have been to confession for this, and it was at that point when I began to feel the His forgiveness. It also lead me to more introspection about myself. Through that I have been able to be more of the man my wife needs me to be so that I can fulfill my Covenant by making sure she makes it to heaven. I have come to realize that is what I am here for. Through all of our past I always felt that it was still meant to be. We took a tough road to get here, but I hope my wife can see how I have changed and trusts that I will do everything I can for her. I can never say I’m sorry enough for the pain I put our family through due to my addiction.
They say addicts are never really fully cured. I guess for now you can say that I’m “on the wagon.”