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Peer support workshops aim to ease the pain of porn addiction

Pornography is Moral Cancer

By Julia Medew Health Editor – The Age Newspaper 10 October 2014

Like most men, Hugh Martin’s first encounter with porn was accidental. When he was about eight, he stumbled across a “fairly extreme” magazine at a friend’s house – the possession of a man who clearly needed to find a better hiding place for his stash.

“It was incredibly confronting, but I was also enthralled by it,” he recalls.

Little did he know that one day, it would rule his life. After viewing various forms of porn on and off throughout his adolescence and adult life, Martin says he started turning to it more about 10 years ago. The change coincided with a bout of depression and more accessibility online.

“Once I discovered the ease of it, the anonymity of it and the variety, I was like a child in a lolly shop getting access to everything,” he says. ” I started to binge.”

Martin says the old adage that all addictions begin with pain and end with pain was certainly the case for him. When he was feeling low, pornography became the answer.

But his growing compulsion began to detract from his personal life and he started to feel like a different person when he was viewing it and interacting with it.

As he spent more time secretly indulging, his wife knew he was changing but did not know why. The couple would talk about the distance emerging between them, but Martin retained his secret. There was too much shame.

Then he got caught.

“She discovered history that I hadn’t deleted so I came out with it. It was completely shocking,” he says. “We still haven’t got over it. It’s been 12 months since the full and frank admission and I think trust in the relationship will probably never be fully restored.”

The 43-year-old Melbourne father is telling his story because he believes a major shift in the nature and accessibility of pornography over the past decade is ruining many men’s lives.

While most boys and men view pornography from time to time without it becoming a problem, some experts estimate one in 10 people who use it for sexual gratification, including women, become addicted, exposing them to psychological harm. Some doctors believe the reward mechanisms in addicts’ brains make them more susceptible than others.

In recent years, a growing number of psychologists and sexologists have reported addicts’ suffering from erectile dysfunction, low libido and other problems in their relationships as a result of excessive use.

It can also be extremely damaging for their partners when they find out. A leading sex therapist Heide McConkey says she has counselled many distraught partners of addicts who feel betrayed, including some who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress.

In a world where most relationships are sexually and emotionally exclusive, she says discovering your partner’s sexual investment in other women or men doing things that you do not do together can be very distressing. Women in particular start to question whether they are still attractive.

“They program themselves with it and need treatment, too,” she says.

While there is no definition of normal or a healthy level of pornography use, Ms McConkey says the most common sign of addiction is a persistent inability to stop using it when it becomes problematic. Secrecy, shame, lying and denial are also usually involved, but do not necessarily mean someone is addicted.

While people can seek help from psychologists and other counsellors who specialise in sexual difficulties, Martin has started running what he believes to be the first peer support group workshops for men who are struggling with their use of pornography.

He says there is an enormous amount of relief and hope to be gained from acknowledging the problem and talking about strategies to move on with other men who have experienced it.

Martin has recovered through identifying and addressing the sexual shame that was deepened by his pornography use. Compassion and acceptance from his wife was also crucial to breaking the pattern.

“I started to understand my pain and I stopped running from it,” he says. “Porn was keeping me away from confronting it. Now I can sit with pain and be comfortable with it.”

The men’s coach and therapist is now hoping to help other men feel less isolated and more supported through his “Man Enough” workshops. He says the first step for people struggling with their use is to admit it to themselves and seek help before the damage spirals.

Ms McConkey agrees and says the addiction can be treated if people commit to doing what is required.

“I believe the brain is plastic, the brain can re-learn and people can live a completely normal life after recovery,” she says.

Link: www.manenough.com.au

Porn Addiction breaking up relationships

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/national/peer-support-workshops-aim-to-ease-the-pain-of-porn-addiction-20141010-1148oy.html

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One comment

  1. Stella
    October 14, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Why would you post the most recent article on pornography?This has led me to unsubscribe from your site.

    Reply from modeoflife:
    October 15, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Dear Stella,

    I ask you in all humility, is this not an issue confronting our society, our community and our Church? Is it not a serious matter that Orthodox priests are dealing with in serving the pastoral needs of the Orthodox Christian faithful, as well as others who are not Orthodox but turn to them for help? Furthermore, is it not a very dangerous form of mind control that has been devised to prey upon and distort what is a natural element of the human person (that being the expression of intimate and physical love) and which God intended within the context of marriage?

    I can still recall how this “weapon of mind control” was applied within the occupied West Bank during an Israeli intervention some years ago; as the Israelis took over the various media outlets and bombarded the airwaves with porn, so that the people would be distracted by viewing things they had not seen ever before, while not noticing that their farms were being destroyed or that family members were being killed by tanks crushing them into the ground….As one of the commanders of the operation later mentioned in an interview (echoing the very thoughts of the scum that own and operate the various porn outlets around the world), that it was also intended to begin to plant the seeds of domestic discord and erode the notion of the family unit and marriage, in what was otherwise a traditional family-oriented society.

    Similar thoughts were also cited within Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post newspapers some years ago by the Jewish American owners of America’s porn industry and Hollywood film industry, whereby they bragged about waging war against the conventional family structure and erode Gentile society. Similar views were echoed by racist rabbis within Jerusalem who endorsed this “strategy” against the filthy “Amalek Goyyim scum”. But of course, and thankfully, there were voices of reason and humanity who responded by first pointing out, that creating such dangers can affect all peoples, irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality or culture, and is a poisonous threat to all. And that to endorse or promote such a thing, is a crime against humanity. And that what people did in private should remain private and not bombard the general public with such disdainful media that employs the same brainwashing techniques as tyrannical and totalitarian regimes have employed in the subjugation of peoples.

    Now, I cannot understand what is your concern or issue with us publishing such an article that deals with a very grave matter concerning us all, because it is as ever-present as drugs, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and other nasty social maladies. And every family and community is affected directly through one of their members or more.

    So I humbly ask, what approach should we adopt, and what articles should we publish on such grave matters?

    It is incumbent upon you who as a reader and subscriber of this weblog, to provide us constructive feedback and suggestions as to how should we approach topics such as these… In any case, you have the freedom to subscribe or to unsubscribe, no one is pointing a gun to your head to make a decision one way or the other.

    Therefore, I look forward to hearing a constructive response from you in the very near future, either via this weblog facility or via our email address. In the meantime, we apologise if the publication of such a simple and commonly syndicated article has caused you offence or distress. But please bear in mind, these are the problems of everyday life, and as the Gospel teaches us, we must not live in denial, but face those things that confront us so as to be reconciled and united to God. That in full, is the struggle every faithful Orthodox contends with like everyone else on this earth, and we are called to utilise the armoury of our Faith to respond in a constructive, productive, creative and loving manner that is God-pleasing and godly.

    With respects and kind regards
    VM on behalf of Mode of Life Project

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