1. Sacrament of Reconciliation
“As for you, your sins are forgiven.” ~Luke 5:20
Never be afraid to approach a priest for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Sincerely repent of the sin of pornography, confessing the approximate number of times or frequency this sin was committed. Make the Sacrament of Reconciliation a weekly or monthly habit. Do not be ashamed of frequently returning to Confession. As Pope Francis reminds us, “The Lord never tires of forgiving us.”
2. Pray or be Prey
“Be sober and vigilant. The devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith.” ~1 Peter 5:8-9a
It is necessary to strengthen your prayer life, as it is impossible to overcome a struggle by our own power. Set aside specific times throughout the day for prayer. Read the Scriptures daily. Learn prayers such as The Holy Rosary, Come Holy Spirit, The Memorare, Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, & Guardian Angel Prayer. Speak to God from your heart, inviting Him to transform your life.
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” ~Matthew 16:24
We are a union of body and soul, so we must train our body to not always give in to instant gratification. You may choose to fast from a snack, a dessert, or a meal. You may also choose to fast from electronic devices. Fasting increases our desire for God and gratitude for the many gifts that He bestows upon us, and is a powerful weapon in the struggle against pornography.
4. Service to Others
“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” ~ Matthew 25:40
To overcome the “self-centered” nature of pornography, it is important to undertake activities that are “other-centered.” This could be as simple a writing a note to or calling a family member or friend, visiting someone who is lonely, or surprising others with kind gestures. Look through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy and strive to become a “doer of the Word.” You will find true and lasting joy through service, which will help overcome the temporary self-gratification of pornography.
“When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:11
Understanding the truth and beauty about God’s plan for human sexuality helps to form our minds to view other persons with great dignity and respect. Read books or attend courses and talks on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Contact My House or the Diocesan Marriage and Family Life Office at 614-241-2560 for recommended books and courses.
6. Filtering and Accountability Software
“Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them” ~Ephesians 5:11
Install software on your computer and smart phone. Appoint an accountability partner who will receive a report of all websites that you visit. This greatly reduces the temptation to visit inappropriate sites, and holds you accountable to a trusted friend.
7. Support, Counseling, or Fellowship Groups.
“Encourage one another and build one another up.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Join a fellowship group at your parish such as That Man Is You. Take part in bible studies or faith sharing groups. You may contact My House for a listing of local groups specifically geared for those struggling with addiction to pornography.
8. Background Music, Hobbies, and Other Distractions
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” ~ Philippians 4:8
When faced with immediate temptations, in addition to prayer, another helpful response is to simply distract ourselves. Listen to music, take up a hobby, shoot a basketball, or go for a walk. Distraction is far more effective than trying to convince ourselves not to think about a temptation. Exercise can relieve some of the physical tension and stress that adds to temptations of the flesh.
9. Sign a Contract
“Against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.” ~Hebrews 12:4
Using the form below, write up a contract for yourself. Keep the contract with you in your wallet, pledging to give alms each time you view pornography. Choose an amount of money that may sting a little and encourage you to kick the habit more quickly.