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Breaking Free From the Struggle With Porn by Understanding Your Past

By Kayla Sullivan

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Have you ever struggled with something, and you just couldn’t manage to get free? It could be something dark, such as pornography, anger, jealousy, food addiction, a gambling problem, or excessive drinking. In your mind, you can imagine what people will say when they find out about this secret. All of those fears drive you to remain in silence.

Life doesn’t have to be that way! Instead, we need to quit elevating our problem to an unacceptable standard. We need to realize that we’re all broken, but our brokenness may look different than our neighbor’s. The things we struggle with are merely symptoms of something so much deeper.

For some, they lack the ability to believe that their behavior is causing harm to themselves and those around them. Quite honestly, they’re in denial. They can hear what others have to say, but take it as a vicious attack. Often, they will argue and justify their behavior. Some will quickly resort to the “I won’t do it again!” response that will hopefully bring silence to the chaos in front of them.

While they may have the best intentions, they will likely fall continually back into the struggle unless they are willing to honestly assess the situation.  The addicted brain has a way of making very bad decisions seem sensible.  Be prepared to get into a Biblical recovery process as part of a group.  You’ll need the help of others who are strong in their faith and recovery to help you make better decisions. You cannot find freedom if you have no idea what is holding you back.

So what drives us in the decisions that we make?

Understanding the Past

Understanding where we are in the present often first requires us to evaluate the past. Some shrug their shoulders, choosing to accept the things carried over from their childhood.

For many, we would prefer to leave the past in the past. It seems safer that way. Many take on an attitude that it cannot be changed, so why bother with it. But we have to if we want to fully begin to understand our current behavior.  Remember, God is bigger than our own will.  Where we say, “I can go no further,” He says, “If you’ll let me, I’ll carry you.”

Lately, I have been reading a lot of marriage related books. Many of them share the same similarity – the story of a husband and wife who end up hitting rock bottom because of sexual infidelity. As time passes, the marriage goes from being lukewarm to ice cold. Communication drops off, and they merely find themselves donning a mask to go into public so no one suspects their unhappiness.

Eventually, they reach a plateau where they must decide the direction they are going to take. Obviously, because the books are in regards to marriage, they choose to make things work and often start counseling for the very first time.

During these sessions, the one who had been unfaithful often admits to abuse of some kind from their childhood. This confession can be difficult for the spouse to hear, but often makes them realize that the problem is so much more than a one-night stand. That elephant remains in the room, but the focus must shift to working through the dormant pain that has been running rampant. It becomes vital to look at the whole situation instead of focusing merely on the symptoms.

For the hurting spouse, they will also need to take a look at their past. Has their response to this situation been contributed to by something they endured at a younger age? And what boundaries can they put in place to guard themselves against future pain, while also navigating their personal healing process?

The Present Impact of a Painful Past

Though we try to outrun the pain of our past, it carries into our present.

Neglected children tend to grow into adults who feel unwanted, unloved, or inadequate. Those adults will seek to find a place where they belong, even if it comes with negative consequences.

Abused kids often grow into adults who carry around feelings of worthlessness. Once you believe something for long enough, it has the power to become your identity. You learn to respond out of that identity and involve yourself with others who seem to mirror the same beliefs.

Adults also tend to exhibit the traits and characteristics that they learned from their parents. For someone struggling with pornography, they may have found their parent’s stash. Because their parents sought after it, this can lead an individual to believe that there is nothing wrong with what they are viewing.

If they were raised in an angry and hostile environment, they may also have those character traits.

Though it may have seemed normal in the environment that you were raised in, that does not make it okay. It’s really important to review the past, looking for things that have spilled over into the mindset that you have today. Review them against the character of God, and seek Him to reveal things to you that you may need to work on to find wholeness.

A Real Life Example

My husband battled a pornography addiction for a significant portion of our marriage. He’s been porn-free for years now, but only recently have I been given the chance to glimpse into the mindset he had during those addicted years.

We were having a conversation with some friends who asked him why he used to seek after pornography. His response startled me, so I decided to have a more detailed conversation with him about it. For this article, he provided this quote.

“Often, I hit bottom. Most of the time, I was driven by the knowledge of all that I lacked financially. I had an obligation to provide for my family, and was failing miserably. And why was I failing? Because I had accepted that I would never be good enough, that I would never amount to anything. People said I was too dumb to succeed, and so I didn’t. When you’re at the bottom of the barrel, you tend to seek company with those who must be going through the same thoughts, feelings, and emotions that you are.”

He continued, “ For me, it wasn’t about beautiful women — as I honestly found that nothing compares to you. Instead it was about being in the presence of others who must not have good self-esteem. I believed that they would not be making themselves available in the ways that they were if they honestly found value in themselves. They could relate to me — or at least I convinced myself that they could. It was an escape, even if it was to a darker place than my reality.”

“Looking back now, I realize that nothing could be further from the truth. Many in the porn industry are not choosing that lifestyle, but instead are being forced into it.”

The Effect of Painful Words

Time stood still in the moments following that conversation. Until then, I personally had not given a significant amount of thought to how words could have such a deeply negative impact on one’s life. Sure, I could identify times in my life where I wish that someone would not have said the things that they did. But most of the time, I was guilty of shrugging them off.

One of the most powerful things that a person can do is to take an honest look at the things that were spoken over them in life.

“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.”  -Proverbs 18:21 (The Message)

If they were told that they were smart, funny, and could accomplish anything that they set their mind to, chances are that is how they carry themselves.

But what about the negative things?

If you want to be able to find the truth, you must first expose the lies. It may be hard to identify them at first. Through the use of the Conquer Series, individuals will first work through their most painful moments.

The Conquer Series is a 12-disc DVD study for those seeking freedom from a life of sexual sin.  It explains why trying harder doesn’t work, how the brain is changed through the viewing of porn, the strongholds deployed by the enemy to keep men in bondage, and how to fight back using the weapons provided by God.

It’s important to discover the identity that God has for you, while abandoning the lies placed on you by the world.

As Dr. Doug Weiss states in the Conquer Series,

“When you believe you’re bad, you’ll push love and help away. You won’t feel worthy of the blessings of God, then you’ll act like you’re worthless; and worthless people make different decisions than people who believe their worth because of what Christ did.”

A Resource to Help

Paul Cole shares in the Conquer Series, “A man without a future will always go back to his past.”

I recently heard a pastor who reminded his audience that God doesn’t speak to us from the past. Instead, He speaks to us from the future. His voice is beckoning us from the pit of darkness into the light that is full of all that He knows we’re capable of. We just can’t see it yet. But if we allow God to work in our lives, even in the places that are seemingly more comfortable in the dark, we will be amazed.

If today is the day that you decide that your exhaustion level has exceeded your tolerance, there is hope for you. You do not have to carry around the weight of the burden any longer, but can instead begin walking forward into the life that God desires for you.

Begin by either purchasing the Conquer Series for yourself or joining a local Conquer Group. Be sure to pick up a copy of the Study Guides and Journal, which will lead you through exercises that will bring healing to your past. You’ll discover the promises of God for your life, and can use those as a mighty weapon to wage war against the enemy.

The first step is always the most difficult, but can lead you in the direction of a totally different life. A life restored.

Order the Conquer Series today!


The Conquer Series is a powerful cinematic 12-disc DVD series which is helping over 1 million men conquer porn and walk in freedom.


Get started, and order the Conquer Series today.


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