A common misconception is that a compulsion to view pornography will disappear following marriage. While marriage may temporarily halt the use of pornography by disrupting the pattern of the addiction, the compulsion generally resurfaces and escalates. Pornography is often used as a way to deal with negative emotions and to cope with life’s problems, just as alcohol or illicit drugs might be abused. Although pornography use is not as common among women, the number of women viewing pornography is increasing rapidly.
Recovery from pornography addiction is difficult, but definitely attainable. Those who are completely committed to doing what it takes to find and maintain recovery will be successful. Recovery involves:
- Desiring to recover and honestly admitting to others the magnitude of the problem
- Becoming educated about the nature of pornography addiction and the recovery process
- Creating a safe environment where triggers and temptations are less likely to occur
- Continued participation in a 12-Step recovery program
- Seeking professional counseling. This will usually include a mixture of individual counseling, couples therapy, and group counseling (at least eighteen months is typically required)
- Seeking spiritual help by counseling with an ecclesiastical leader as well as seeking inspiration directly from Heavenly Father and applying the power of the Atonement
Abstinence is not the same as recovery. Abstinence involves going a period of time without viewing pornography. Recovery requires a life-style change and involves relearning healthy sexuality, resetting unhealthy expectations and establishing positive patterns of interaction with others. Additionally, recovering individuals must learn to manage emotions, stress, relationships, and other factors that underlie their addictive behaviors. They must learn to differentiate between lust and healthy love.
Just as an alcoholic can never consider himself to be cured, those who are addicted to pornography are always susceptible to relapse and should take proactive measures to stay in recovery for the rest of their lives. With time, remaining in recovery becomes easier.