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How to Stay Off Porn Once You’re Free

The vice grip of a porn addiction is a difficult thing to loosen.

Many of us have thankfully gotten to a place of freedom from pornography, and we want to keep it that way. We want to stay off porn permanently. Unfortunately, relapsing with porn can be a common thing.

So how can we prevent this? Is it possible? If so, then how?

Here are three strategies for staying off porn once you’re free from the addictive patterns:

1. Continue to Embrace Accountability Structures 

It is just human nature.

We achieve success in some given area, whether it be weight loss, fitness goals, sales targets, or freedom from an addiction. And I think you will identify with this: we think we now have everything under control. It is so easy for us to congratulate ourselves on our success and become complacent.

That feeling of invincibility can easily creep in because we are so easily self-deceived.

Friends and Confidants

Staying off porn by embracing your accountability structures sounds like a boring, rote ideal. But quite frankly, it is one of the surest ways to stay off porn. Staying connected to a friend and/or confidant who knows the truth about your struggles and has your best interests at heart is a big piece to this puzzle.

Accountability Help 

You’ve seen us recommend Covenant Eyes to help with this. Once you have achieved victories over porn, don’t assume the “Ws” will continue to pile up. Be intentional about making it happen. If you have not subscribed to Covenant Eyes, we highly recommend that you do so. And if you have already subscribed, keep your subscription. 

Need help stopping? Here are the best porn blocking services for 2023.

Covenant Eyes Software and NordLayer DNS Filtering: Covenant Eyes provides accountability software that covers URLs and images, as well as blocking options, and lots of resources for helping you quit porn.

NordLayer allows you to implement network-wide filtering, and is a much more comprehensive blocking option, with added security measures and more extensive configuration options. It's effective for both homes and businesses.

Accountability to help you stay off porn is a vital aspect of your journey. If you are unfamiliar with Covenant Eyes, its basic premise is to allow an “ally” (most normally a trusted friend) to view your web habits, searches, and tendencies.

For me personally, this is a constant reminder that there is always another set of eyes looking at my phone or laptop with mine. Not only do I not want to relapse, but my “ally” wants me to stay off of porn as well. I don’t want the disappointment of a relapse, and I also don’t want to disappoint my “ally.”

Embrace accountability and own your need for an “ally.”

2. Identify Your Triggers

Truth is that most of us slipped in gradually to a porn habit by way of consistent triggers.

What were you doing or experiencing when you would instinctively turn to watching porn? For many, it was an interaction with another person that caused stress, and we sought a bad outlet for relieving that stress. For others, it was situational in the sense of being alone late at night when our spouse was already in bed.

We believed that lie that we were all alone and no one would find out if we just took a peek.

Controlling emotions 

So what was your trigger? If it was relational then let’s put together a game plan for how you can react in a healthy way to the stressors that come your way.

There’s a saying that I have used when dealing with my children when they have crazy emotions and aren’t processing things well: “Motion changes emotion.”

Get out and take a walk. Go to the gym and workout. Go for a run. Hop on the elliptical machine or the tread mill. Get your body moving, and you’ll notice your emotional responses to the stressors in your life will improve.

Practical Solutions for Situational Triggers

If your trigger was situational, as in being alone late at night, then be intentional about your time and be honest about your situation. Since my wife and I were married, almost 19 years ago, my biggest time of temptation to view material that is inappropriate, whether it be porn or soft porn, has always been late at night.

My solution? We got to bed at the same time almost every night.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? It is. Men, go to bed when your wife goes to bed. Women, do the same. Identify your triggers and make a plan to keep winning this fight.

3. Seek Out Honest Community

Lastly, we would recommend that in your fight to stay off porn you seek out honest community with like-minded people. As we’ve written about here at ShieldRaised, porn separates you from real people. It decreases our desire to be in meaningful friend communities, and therefore shuts us off from one of the cures for our addiction.

This is just one of the insidious side effects of porn: it promises one thing and delivers the exact opposite.

Sticking by close friends and in community is a huge part of staying free.

Sticking by close friends and in community is a huge part of staying free.

For both Adam and myself, this looks like close, intentional involvement in our church and the small groups ministry that comes from it. Being in the company of other men where we can openly and honestly share our struggles, pray for each other, and be consistently challenged and encouraged has been a life-giving experience.

This may take time for you to find if you don’t already have it. But it is worth your time and effort to seek it out.

Conclusion

Staying off porn once we have achieved freedom is a lifelong fight.

Let’s be honest with ourselves: We need help to keep winning this fight. By embracing your accountability structures, recognizing your triggers, and seeking out honest community you can press on in this fight and keep racking up the victories. 

Raise your shields, friends. Let’s win this.

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Author

  • Matthew Hall

    Matthew is a youth football coach, copywriter, and dad of four. He has also lead worship in the PCA for over a decade.

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