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 Just men involved? Guess again!

Pornography Addiction: Deliverance or Recovery?

In a recent survey of Today’s Christian Woman’s online newsletter, 34% of its readers admitted to intentionally accessing porn on the Internet. A more staggering statistic by Zogby International states that one out of every six women, including Christians, struggle with an addiction to porn on the Internet.

Most people think of men having trouble with this issue, not women. Therefore, there isn’t much out there in the form of helps for women, especially Christian women.

Marnie Ferree is a clinician at the Woodmont Hills Counseling Center in Nashville (one of the few centers in the country that treats female sexual addictions). She is also the author of No Stones: Women Redeemed from Sexual Shame, in which she states that, in her experience, “those who claim to have been ‘delivered’ from a sexual addition may, indeed, be technically sober (not acting out), but they’re what alcoholics term a ‘dry drunk.’ That means one or more of several things,” she continues: “They may be ‘acting in’ or ‘white knuckling.’ They often haven’t dealt with the deep roots beneath the behavior. They usually aren’t participating in healthy fellowship with others who know their whole story, and they aren’t enjoying the benefits of true serenity and intimate connection.” She goes on to say that, “When we use prayer, Bible study, or other religious acts as the only weapons against complex life problems like addiction, I believe we’re using these spiritual tools as impotent religious Band-Aids.” Her solution, as well as others in her field, offers “worldly” tools such as therapy, medications, and Twelve-Step programs.

Well, I fall, or should I say, fell, into this high percentage of women with addiction to porn on the Internet. As one who was raised in a Christian home, I knew the sexual enticements of this world were sin and knew to stay away. One day while searching the Internet for a business website, there it popped up—an adult website. I immediately closed the website and thought that was the end of that. But one day out of curiosity, I took another look, this time intentionally. I began to find myself, almost obsessively being drawn back. Within a few weeks, I found myself lying to family and friends so that I could surf the porn sites. And within a few months it totally consumed my life.

Like any addictions, and especially an addiction to porn, I soon escalated to the more hard-core sites. Soon the websites did nothing for me, I had to have more, and my attentions turned elsewhere, chat rooms, live request, and unnatural desires. Who could have thought that one could fall so fast into such filth? I had been taught different, I had been raised in the church and had received the Holy Ghost. I had received a Pentecostal experience.

Just like the prodigal son, one day I saw where I was headed, but unlike him, I did not know where to go. I was at the point of losing everything I cherished…my job, my family, my home…everything…and for what? The curiosity and so-called pleasure that lasted for a season had now turned into pain and fear. Where could I go? Who could help?

On January 28, 1999, as I was getting ready for work, I heard the sweetest sound touch my ears and heart. A church I knew of and had visited years ago was holding a revival. At the very moment I heard the announcement, my heart started pounding in my chest. If I could only make it to church, I knew I could get help. As I walked into the church, conviction gripped my heart. I slipped into the back pew hoping nobody would notice me. The pastor saw me slip in and made his way to greet me. I tried to hold my composure, but he saw right through me. He saw the pain and hurt I was in. I made my way to the altar that night, repented and God graciously re-baptized me with the Holy Ghost.

That was just the beginning of my battle. I would be victorious for a few days and would find myself right back into the porn. Service after service I would repent and fall again. After trying to overcome this sin for a month, I finally went to church on February 28. I went there with a made-up mind that God had to completely deliver me or I was not going back. But that night both my children received the Holy Ghost. So for my children’s sake, I had to keep pressing on.

The next day at work I tried with all my strength to keep my mind focused on anything but the porn. Concentration was still a big struggle. The stuff I filled my mind with constantly haunted me throughout the day. I went in search of the apostolic doctrine. I was raised in a Trinitarian Pentecostal denomination. I very quickly came upon “A Woman’s Place” ( I had to read only a few words to know that this place helped hurting women. I emailed the director, Sister Lynda Doty and cried out for help.

She had not dealt with my type of addiction and at first referred me to Marnie Ferree. She encouraged me to drown myself in God’s Holy Word, because His Word was sent to heal. “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” Psalms 107:20

After talking with Marine Ferree, I registered and attended her Workshop for Women with Sexual Addiction at the Woodmont Hills Counseling Center in Nashville. There was a group of six ladies including myself. The days were long and filled with analyzing our past and “triggers” to our behavior. I remember sitting around the table on the last day as one of the counselors read scripture text from the book of Nehemiah and told us that we were to go home, find a psychologist to go to, and join SA or AA and do the Twelve-Step Recovery Process. Where was the hope in that? I would have to live with this for the rest of my life!

Sister Doty was there for me through it all. She began to tell me how much Jesus loved me, how he died just for me, and all the suffering He went through, it was just for me. He loved me that much! I couldn’t get enough of the Word. As she began to read in Romans 5:20-6:14 and 7:18-8 how Paul struggled within his flesh, it was as if Jesus himself was talking to me.

The Word was so vital in my deliverance. I learned about strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). I learned about my weapons of warfare (Ephesians 6:10-17). I learned how to think in a godly way (Philippians 4:8-9). I learned how to keep Jesus before me throughout the day, and He gave me back my mind, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever; for the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3-4). I learned that staying in the Word brought me joy and strength (John 15:3-11)

March 28, 1999, while standing in my kitchen on a Sunday morning, I pulled every ounce of strength within me, looked my husband in his eyes and told him how much I loved him. At that moment, there was no bolt of lightening, but just a wonderful deliverance like I had never felt before. We prayed together for the very first time that morning. From that day forward, I had no more memories of pictures that I had subjected myself to. I could close my eyes and try to remember just one, but they were truly gone! God cleansed me thoroughly through His Word, gave me back my mind, and restored my marriage.

This world with all its psychology, medications, and twelve-step programs has nothing to offer—no hope, no deliverance, no peace, no joy. It is like carrying a sack of rocks upon your shoulders; you go to therapy, take out each rock, talk about it, and place it on the table. When the therapy session is over, you place the rocks back in your sack and carry them until your next therapy session. You remain in recovery for the rest of your life. I’m not recovering…I am delivered! The Word of God is the only hope this world has. It is not a spiritual band-aid. It is the balm of Gilead. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (II Peter 1:3).

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