Faith/Spirituality Forum: Pornography, Masturbation, and Sloth...and their effects.

Pornography, Masturbation, and Sloth...and their effects. QUESTION from Jon on December 4, 2002 Hi,
I chose this topic because I'm trying to get right to the root of my problem. Im a 20 year old male student...I'm thinking I'm not alone in my predicament either.
I've been struggling (or maybe I haven't really...I probably could be struggling a lot harder) with this for several years, but in the last three years since I started university it has escalated to the point where it is not only detrimental to my soul, but is beginning to negatively impact my life. I can feel this vise slowly closing around me. I don't want to still be this addicted to masturbation and pornography when I'm 50 or 60. I long so much to be truly free in Christ.
I'm a practicing Catholic from a devout family where the parents are both members of Opus Dei. I have two friends who are priests of Opus Dei. I know masturbation is wrong, and that pornography is wrong. I go to Mass on Sundays (but not Communion while in the state of mortal sin). I try to make frequent confession with either of the two priests, who know me well. But no matter what I do, no matter how hard I grit my teeth and say never again, I invariably fall into this tar pit of sin. I could blame the Internet I suppose, but I need it for my courses (I'm in engineering and must submit some assignments via the Web)
I've spent so much time downloading porn that my marks have plummetted.
I'm not obsessive compulsive; this is the only area of life where I have a problem this bad. I read a previous post in which you or one of the other hosts said that medicine could correct some chemical imbalance, thus reducing the cravings. I don't think this applies to me. Plus, any shrink I went to would probably feed me some liberal baloney like Oh, but masturbation is very healthy.
It seems to me that I'm slothful, as well as lazy. I mention both because not only am I physically lazy (sleeping in a lot, skipping classes to watch porn and masturbate), but I'm spiritually lazy: I don't want to take all the necessary steps to thoroughly deep-clean this wound down to the bone. Instead, it's like I just keep putting Band-Aids on and ripping them off.
How do I motivate myself to even begin to strive for purity? How do I get myself engrossed in everything else in my life (like school) so as to take my mind away from this? I want to change, but first I have to want to want to change. I don't know if that makes sense.
I just started a serious relationship with a girl that I could see myself marrying within the next few years. She's a good Catholic from a large family (like me)...really takes her faith seriously. No BS with her...never met someone who was so honest. And it's a good, healthy relationship: we both want to wait until we get maried to have sex, we don't believe in contraception...we've got good Catholic principles about sexuality, right?
Wrong, at least on my end. I feel like I'm living a double life. That's what really scares me: how can I be doing and living all these good and holy things when we're together (we both sing in the choir at our parish, we pray and discuss Catholic issues together, we're involved in the pro-life club on campus) but when I'm alone, it's like I turn into an animal with only one instinct: to satisfy its lustful imagination. How can I be such a good liar?? This girl has no idea, my parents have no idea...I've fooled them all I guess. If this girl knew about my slimy alter ego, I'm sure she'd run as far away from me as possible.
Something else is scaring me even more. By going to all these websites, I'm increasing traffic flow and by clicking on sponsors or other hotlinked porn sites, I'm ultimately helping these sites make money. Which in turn propagates the making of more pornography to fill these sites. Which directly exploits more and more unhappy women. Not to mention jeopardizes the eternal welfare of everyone involved: the actors, the director, the producer, the cameraman, the guy who gets the coffee. And me.
Now, not only am I partially responsible for the exploitation and abuse of women and the perpetuation of the societal evil of pornography, but I could be responsible for someone going to hell. Not something one wants to have on his conscience.
So that's the deal with me in a nutshell (rather a large nutshell...more like a coconut shell :) Sorry it's a bit long winded, but I am very desperate. I need to break free from these shackles.
Please give me any and all advice you can think of (if you've got he time) to help me get the motivation to do this. Could you maybe please pray for me too?
Thank you,
JS
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on December 22, 2002 Dear Jon:
Thank you for your honesty concerning this problem. I praise God that you are seeking any help you can get for this.
You need to know that you are not alone. The feelings you are having and the need to want to want to change is common. Millions of people share this problem -- both men and women.
Some of the reasons that this has become such a problem seem to be tied to your going to college from what you are saying. This is also rather common. Stress can make one vulnerable to the tempation of masturbation and pornography. Stress can also bring symptoms of sleepiness and lack of motivation. These are also signs of depression.
Regardless of the trigger what is happening to you now is addiction. This is a obessive-compulsive addiction and medication can help.
I would advise that you do to your doctor and tell him this symptoms of lack of motivation, sleeping all the time, and the addiction to masturbation and pornography. Drugs such as Zoloff are anti-depressents that also tend to have a side-effect of lowering libido.
Due to the disabilities I have Zoloff is one of the mediations I take. I noticed that when taking this drug my urges to think sexual thoughts decrease. If I see an attractive woman on TV a thought might begin to cross my mind, but it seems to fall into a pothole about mid-way.
Serotonin seems to play a role in obessive and addictive behavior. Drugs like Zoloff corrects such imbalances. This drug may also help you with your feelings of sloth and lack of motivation.
I work with people who have sexual addictions. For those who are addicted the medical aspect CANNOT be ignored.
We have a support group on our website for this problem. It is currently closed down but will be opened up again next month we hope.
In addition you need to be pro-active. Try to use the computer only in areas with other people around. Use blocking software and have a friend or your confessor set the password. There is also a reporting software that record each and every website you go to and send that report to an accountibility partner of your choice. That way you cannot sneak a peak without the accountibility partner knowing it.
If you have no one to be an accountibility partner, I can act as one if you wish.
KEEP GOING TO CONFESSION. Confession is a healing Sacrament.
Also ask your confessor or another priest to give you the Sacrament of Anointing AND also lay hands on you to pray that any spirit of lust, masturbation, pornography, etc. be removed from you.
Use the sacramentals of the Church, such as Holy Water. Bless yourself with Holy Water before using the Computer.
Also use spiritual warfare prayers asking God to cast away from you any demonic influences that may be around you.
We have a spiritual warfare catalog (still in construction). Adapt some of the prayers there for your use. You can access the Catalog at: http://www.saint-mike.org/qn/sw-prayers.html
All these things can be helpful but the bottom line is perseverance. Do not give up. This is a very difficult thing to overcome but keep trying.
You can also contact me personally at: porter@saint-mike.org
We are praying for you.
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