Declare a Fast
A Lenten guide to overcoming porn
Bad habits run deep into the brain and the soul. Repeated bad actions can release pleasure chemicals in the brain and burn new neurological pathways, so that temptation is harder to resist. Left unchallenged by the will, bad behavior can become an addiction.
We usually talk about drug and alcohol addiction, and know the destruction these can wreak on individuals and their families. Yet these days, we must also think of other potential addictive behaviors having to do with iPhones and related social media and technology. Research shows that people can become addicted to the sense of immediate connection and feedback that comes with today’s technology, and that looking habitually at digital screens can release brain chemicals associated with pleasure.
The ultimate online danger for addictive behavior is pornography. The multibillion dollar porn industry is designed to lure and entrap men (and also women) in a fantasy world of seemingly hidden and harmless pleasure. Yet research indicates that a person viewing online porn can develop an addiction akin to someone on crack cocaine. The release of feel-good hormones, the drive for ever-increasing highs, the deadening of the senses, the reckless behavior that jeopardizes marriage, family and employment, and the mapping of new neurological pathways that bypass the control centers of the brain are marks of both drug and porn addictions.
Yes, it’s that serious.
But as with any addiction, there is a way out, with God’s grace and human free will. It may take time and hard work, but it is worth the effort to wrest a life from the brink of disaster. To help you or someone you know who struggles with porn, a Catholic group called Integrity Restored has recorded a podcast that offers tips on how to use the season of Lent to engage in a fast from pornography.
Visit the Integrity Restored website and listen to the podcast. Freedom is waiting.