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Addicted Anthony wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a gay and addicted to watching gay porn. I want to change.

From a Catholic point of view, on how I can do this.

Please advise me.

Anthony

  { Can you provide advice on how a gay man addicted to watching gay porn can break this habit? }

Bob replied:

Dear Anthony,

Thanks for writing in.

You will need courage to do this but you have already shown it by taking the step to ask for help.

The first thing you must understand is that God will be there for you. He loves you and He does want you free of this addiction; your soul depends on it. You must first take inventory of your life and realize how completely enslaved you are. Addiction is willful slavery. We enslave ourselves, but not without some help. There are millions of people promoting and creating the porn that ensnares people and they knowingly or unknowingly are serving the one who really wants to destroy us, satan. If you begin to see that this is a war and that the enemy is using our own weaknesses against us, you can start to get mad enough to get in the fight. You have been victimized, but you can't see yourself as merely a victim. You must become empowered to act, and that power can come from the Holy Spirit, through the grace given to us in the Sacraments.

So this is going to take work, and there will be failures along the way, but know this:

You can break free.

Even as a heterosexual married man, I have had struggles along the way, but I am happy to say that I have been living chastely by God's grace for a long time (don't think that marriage is a sexual outlet that changes all our weaknesses — that is part of our fallen nature). I too felt like a slave to my own lust, but I changed; not because I am better or different than you, we are both men, struggling to follow God, and we are often attracted to what is not in accord with God's plan for us.

On this side of Heaven it isn't easy, but it does get easier when you start to see daylight. Once you get with the program, light will start to enter in. There is a darkness and despair that overcomes us when we resign ourselves to the status quo, and that is exactly where satan would be happy to keep us. That is not a place God meant for us. He wants us to live forever with Him in Heaven, so he has given us crosses to carry, just like Jesus, so we too may become glorified, just as Jesus has been.

The stakes couldn't be higher: eternal glory or eternal shame, but as a man you know that nothing worth living or dying for is going to be easy. It sometimes means laying our bloodied bodies down on the battlefield at the bitter end of the struggle. These crosses are our personal Braveheart moments. Imagine all the men in Heaven rooting you on in your fight, ready to welcome you into the Brotherhood of the Eternal Kingdom. You are not alone, but surrounded by a cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12) who, with prayerful support, will be in it with you. I'm telling you right now as a brother I will be praying for you. I often offer up my struggles and sacrifices for those with same-sex attraction that God might help them to know that they are not alone. Your name will be on my lips before God, and you can write again if you need encouragement.

Here are ten concrete steps to take:
(Some of this may have to be post-pandemic, because access to priests is limited.)

  1. Pray the Rosary everyday. This is a weapon unparalleled in the prayer arsenal. It is literally a chain that will bind our enemies. Our Blessed Mother is just who we need on our side in this fight, and I think she has a particular soft spot for men who struggle with same-sex attraction that really implore her help. She is a mom, and we all need a good mom when we are getting kicked in the ass.

  2. Go to Confession regularly, and find a priest that you can trust to go as frequently as you can, probably even weekly to start. Then, when you start making progress, go bi-weekly.

  3. Go to Mass weekly and, if possible, even find a daily Mass to go to.

  4. Modify internet habits so as to eliminate triggers. For example, if you find yourself following patterns of social media, looking at someone attractive, then going on further and further until you're back on porn, then you must cut out social media. Jesus said that if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out, for it is better to go into Heaven with one eye than Hell with both. (Matthew 18:9) He was saying, don't make excuses about how hard change is, but man up and do it. You will have to lose some things that are pathways to evil.

  5. Fast. Jesus said some demons could only be driven out by prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:29) (He is not just talking about possession) Addiction is one of the tools of demonic oppression. You have spiritual enemies that are capable of actually stimulating the brain to trigger sexual fantasy and appetite.

    Demons can't read your mind, but they can watch your behavior and influence you in certain directions. Obsession, depression, possession are tactics that have been around forever. Realize that this war has an enemy with real weapons. You need weaponry commensurate and even greater to defeat him. That is where Christ comes in. He is greater than he that is in the world. Read St. Paul's letter to the Romans, chapter 8, especially the last verses; read all the surrounding chapters if you want to see Paul's Braveheart moment. He didn't have it easy either. Glory is costly, but you have been made to be a Son of God, a brother to the Almighty Son of David, who sits on a throne over all. Your prize will be great.

  6. Find out if there is a Courage group near you. I have a same-sex-attracted close friend that found great strength and encouragement through this group of like-minded, God-searching men. It helps to have friends.

  7. Get new hobbies and interests to fill the void. You have to create new habits because the old habits were taking up a good chunk of your time. Your mental space, as well as time, needs to be saturated with wholesome challenges that really engage your brain and soul.

  8. If you get stuck and don't start making progress, do a google search and look into porn addiction programs. There are many on the internet, but you can also search our database because I have posted some before in previous replies.

    Don't take failures along the way as total defeat, but rather as an opportunity for evaluation of what is working and what isn't. You have to be a bit corporate about it. Use metrics.

    • How have I done this day?
    • Am I keeping my interests occupied in other areas that build myself up in a healthy way rather than destructive?

    Make adjustments.

  9. Offer up your daily struggles for another brother who is struggling even worse than you. Activate your own compassion for another, even when you may find it hard to be gentle and forgiving with yourself. You can do it more easily for someone you imagine is really hurting. God can see those persons. Give your willingness to carry this cross up for their sake.

  10. Turn around and help someone else with your counsel when you make real progress and get back to a chaste way of living. God wants you to bear fruit and you must become a light to others. It isn't enough just to fix yourself. You were born for more, and God will use you in a way to do, what no one else will be able to do, but you.

God bless you, Anthony, and I'm on my Rosary today for you!

Peace,

Bob Kirby

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