Figures reveal that nearly 90 percent of boys aged 8 to 16 who have access to the internet have viewed pornographic sites while doing their homework. I was a part of that 90 percent. I was 11 years old. I often went to our elementary school computer lab when the school day would finish to work on any homework I had from that day while I waited on my dad, who was the assistant principal at the time, to finish his work. It was in that computer lab where an internet pop-up exposed me to pornography for the first time.
First, it was a pop-up ad. Then, a google search. And before I knew it, everyday was an exploration of what I could find. I kept it a secret. I had to. I knew that if I told anyone, it would bring whiplash for myself and my family, considering my dad was the assistant principal. Well, the secret didn't last very long. The county education system had access to the sites visited from each computer, in each room, in each school. Of course, I was disciplined and told why what I had been looking at was bad for me. I was no longer allowed access to the computer lab after school and my parents kept a closer eye on me when I was on the internet. But the images remained in me. They seemed burned into my brain no matter how hard I tried to remove them.
For some reason, I continued to struggle with these pictures in my brain, these images that would never go away. And I felt like I just needed more of them. So I found ways to get more of them. I struggled all through middle school and high school with an addiction to pornography. And boy was I good at keeping it a secret. I played three sports, was involved in musical theater, I was making straight A's, a part of multiple school academic clubs, and I was involved in my youth group at church. It seemed to everyone else's eye that I had my life together. To me, I felt as though I was living a lie. "If they only knew. If they only saw what I actually struggle with." I thought to myself each day. I labeled myself as a hypocrite as I searched and searched for my identity.
I always waited and waited for a breakthrough moment. A moment where change would come. Where maybe God would intervene and take away the addiction. It never came. There was never that moment. And as I began to realize, there was not going to be a moment. I saw the effects that it had on me mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. It was slowly ripping me apart piece by piece. I wanted to stop and would tell myself over and over again, "Never again. I can't keep doing this." But the struggle remained strong and my will power remained weak. It felt as if it was just going to be something I would always have to live with.
For me, social media was my weak spot. All it took was one ad or photo on Facebook or Twitter to pull me back into the temptations of pornography. It would happen in times of isolation, typically at night. When I was alone in my room, or lying in my bed at night was were I would fall most often. In the darkest and the loneliest of places was the most opportune time for the enemy to tempt me with pornography. After struggling with pornography for almost 10 years, I can now proudly and boldly say that I am completely free from it.
After discovering that I am very strategically minded and love context, I decided to research the effects of pornography for myself. As I searched, I found some baffling statistics and facts. Like this one from fightthenewdrug.org: "In a study of 854 women in prostitution across nine countries, 49% said that porn had been made of them while they were in prostitution, and 47% said they had been harmed by men who had either forced or tried to force their victims to do things the men had seen in porn." My eyes began to be opened to the reality of how harmful pornography was, not only to me, but to the world; that when I would submit myself to pornography it was actually an act of me supporting prostitution and the sex trade. Wow. That's heavy stuff.
In John 8.32 it says, "Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." Once I was exposed to the truth about pornography and that it was filling me with lies and death, I was able to step into complete freedom. Pornography is a giver of death and Jesus is the giver of life. In John 10:10 Jesus clearly says, "I have come that they may have life and have it to the fullest." Jesus, who is the giver of truth and life, is the one who led me into the freedom from pornography that I so eagerly sought. I began to realize that this selfish act, in which I tried so hard to keep hidden yet receive freedom from, was no longer about just me but about the freedom of hundreds of other people. The enemy was executing his plan to the tee. He knew that if he could keep my mouth shut, not only would I remain in bondage, but women in the sex trade, men and women in the pornography industry, and other men and women addicted to pornography would also.
Today I take a stand and shout as loud as I can from the rooftops that THERE IS FREEDOM FROM PORNOGRAPHY! I am choosing to stand up and declare that I was in bondage and slavery to pornography but now I am free from it and it has no hold on me. There is freedom from pornography if you need it. I don't have all the answers but I can do everything I can to help you find freedom and step into it fully! Feel free to comment below, send me a personal email, or message me on Facebook if you are seeking freedom and need someone to talk to. Also, check out www.fightthenewdrug.org, follow @fightthenewdrug on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for more information about the harmful effects of pornography and what it does to your brain, your heart and to the world. Thanks so much. God Bless You.
Originally Published on Jacob Carters Journey.