The Face of Addiction
By Jaron J. Rice
My name is Jaron Jeffrey Rice and I’m a recovering porn addict. That’s a weird thing to read isn’t it? I’ve got to tell you, it’s a weird thing to type.
Though science have proven time and time again that porn addiction is in fact a real addiction, there are still many people who don’t believe it and truly don’t understand. I get it, truly I do. Addiction is a disease, so when you say that someone is addicted to pornography or sex there is a tendency to want to take all of the personal responsibility away from their actions, the way that you would for someone who’s addicted to heroin or crystal meth.
“Johnny’s not a bad guy who would normally steal from his grandmother, but he’s a heroin addict, and like most addicts he’ll do whatever it takes to get his fix.”
“Jane isn’t a bad girl who would normally trade sexual favors for cash, but there she is on the corner selling her body so she can score some meth.”
While their actions are a direct result of their addiction, ultimately they are still responsible for them; and the same concept applies to porn addicts.
I live a stone’s throw away from Baltimore City, so you can take a short drive in your car to see firsthand what drug addiction looks like. After midnight, parts of the city look like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video — minus all the sweet dance moves. But what does porn addiction look like, and how does one know that they’re “addicted” to porn?
I’ve been an accountability partner for men struggling with porn addiction for years and I also lead a small group at my church called Project Purity, so I’ve seen it in many shapes and sizes. My favorite is when a guy says, “I’m not addicted to porn. I can stop whenever I want to…I just don’t want to.” It’s hilariously cliché, but I hear that all the time. All. The. Time.
Personally, I don’t think that a person can use porn recreationally the same way that one can drink socially without becoming an alcoholic. Keep in mind, this is my opinion and I’m a recovering addict, so I probably have a bias. Having said that, I’ve found, in my experience, that people who tend to think they’re not addicted to porn are those who don’t use it every waking moment. I get it. Not everyone is like how I was. I easily watched porn and masturbated 2-3 times a day, at least. But just because someone might not be there yet, doesn’t mean they’re not an addict that’s not heading in that direction.
For me, I found that watching porn was a crime of opportunity. Availability and opportunity are generally going to determine how much and how often. If you’re married or live with a significant other and you have a full-time job, your opportunities to sit around and watch porn may be severely limited. But, if you take the time to indulge and watch whenever you have some alone time, then you’re definitely an addict, even if that only happens to be once or twice a week.
Does that make sense?
One of the things that can make recovering from this kind of addiction difficult is our pornified culture. Even if you’re not watching porn, your eyes are constantly being assaulted with sensuality on TV, in the movies, at the gym, at the grocery store, virtually everywhere. These sensual images can and will trigger that desire to seek out more graphic material and eventually act out on it through masturbation or sexual encounters with other people.
How difficult would it be for an alcoholic to recover if he worked at a bar or a restaurant that sold alcohol? Pretty difficult, right? Some would say it’s impossible. Well, that’s what recovering from a porn/sex addiction is like.
The things on TV, the things on the internet, the way some women choose to dress; they’re all fighting for your visual attention, and when you give in and indulge you’re taking steps backwards and getting closer and closer to relapse.
I wrote a book called Something Greater: The Blueprint for Overcoming Sexual Addictions. You can get it in paperback or for Kindle. The book chronicles my story of addiction and recovery, and I think it will be a helpful tool for anyone struggling with a sexual addiction or compulsion. Porn is dangerous, and once you’re willing to acknowledge and accept that, you’ll be taking your first step towards doing something about it.