Today’s story is from AmyChristine. Her testimony has changed a bit since it was included in Crystal’s book, but the theme remains: HOPE. There is hope in the journey towards healing and wholeness. And while recovery may happen at a slow pace or may include a couple steps back before finally moving forward, there is still encouragement to be found. It is my prayer and that of Dirty Girls Ministries that these confessions provide you with some hope, some encouragement, and even a spark of conviction that one day you might tell us your story and find freedom. – Lauren
My name is AmyChristine, I’m in recovery from addiction to pornography. I am 32 years old and my addiction to pornography has turned my life upside down. My first exposure to pornography was through a childhood friend at the age of 8 but the curiosity exploded when the Internet made its debut in the early-mid 90s.
That curiosity became addictive in nature when it became a quest to find out what was so taboo about sex. This all out quest was hidden from my parents while I used their computer to access these inappropriate sites. I was as hooked as any drug addict, becoming engrossed in searching the internet for entertainment any chance I could get. In my teens, it started with online chat rooms but also led to searching for erotic stories. In my 20’s, the search exploded as I became desperate for more. I began actively searching for pornography to fill my growing needs. What started with pictures soon led to videos, all being readily available on my parent’s unfiltered computer. Then, as if the struggle with pornography wasn’t enough, I began adding masturbation to this ongoing struggle.
Words cannot begin to convey the amount of shame I have endured while living with this addiction to pornography. Chains had their grip on me since the tender age of 8. Looking back, at the age of 15, I had believed I accepted Christ. I went down for an altar call- that was a “Hell & Brimstone” message. I went forward, but I never verbalized any acceptance to anyone. Sixteen years later, with the help of my mentor, I realized that I had never verbalized that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. The past 16 years were not in vain, I was seeking God out. I went to church, youth group, mission trips, college groups, etc. Even at 16, I went to a True Love Waits rally, committing myself to be abstinent until marriage. (I am happy to say, that at 32 I am a virgin, proud of it, and desiring to wait for my future husband). Yet over the years, my addiction to pornography WAS always a more seductive choice during my time alone.
I did not date much in my teens or 20’s. I didn’t need to since, in my world, pornography was my relationship. I didn’t need anything from anyone. Pornography was a constant friend which now I see was false intimacy. I see now, that I’ve been tortured by lies.
Pornography is a drug of the mind. I could use it and no one needed to know. Unlike street drugs, however, I never had to interact with anyone so, on the surface, I could maintain the “goodie-goodie” label. As time elapsed, the addiction became a daily routine but, as with any addiction, there were often days where I had to search out deeper and darker things to get the same “high”.
I have come to realize that the addiction to pornography was a band-aid to a deeper issue… being confused about my sexual identity. That confusion began in early adolescence and continues to the present day. Yet, since my acceptance of Christ in 2011, I feel a power I’ve never felt before to overcome both of these issues.
In late 2009 I reached the end of my rope with this crippling addiction to pornography. Living with this oppressive shame and guilt, in combination with my profession as a Flight Attendant, severely affected my health. I would spend hours at night searching out pornography, I was sleep deprived in a job that already had its own challenges of sleep depravation. My spiritual sickness was now leading to physical sickness but I still couldn’t seem to stop. In early 2010, I was desperate to make a change. I remember thinking on my 30th birthday, I didn’t want to go one more decade addicted to pornography.
The biggest jumpstart in this process of ending my addiction to porn has been accountability. I have a wonderful spiritual mom (of 5 years) who mentors me and has held me accountable. I have placed filters on my computer and even went to the radical extreme of giving up my laptop computer for 9 months. I heard it once called, “radical amputation.” Computers that are not filtered or protected are dangerous to the pornography addict much like giving an alcoholic a beer to hold and expecting him not to drink.
Aside from accountability and filtering, church involvement/fellowship has been critical in my journey. Today have been sober 22 days! Yet I just read over a journal entry from 2 years ago stating I was at 123 days.
I am now also seeing a Christian counselor who will give that tough love that I need, gives homework and demands commitment. I either want freedom or I don’t. My mentor Kim has heard me say thousands of times “This is it. I’m done this time.” I’m tired of having to say that. I really want this year, 2012 to be it. “It Is Finished!”
It’s the first time I actually have hope that I can overcome.
This addiction has consumed 24 years of my life . I lost part of my childhood, my innocence, time, energy, relationships, potential relationships, my walk with God and my health. I know that I am meant for something so much more than an addiction to pornography.
I also know that God will use me and my story in some capacity. Since 2008, I’ve been making videos to Christian worship music. So what the enemy meant for my destruction, (computers-technology), God has turned it around and is using it for His Glory. My heart is to help women get out of this addiction.
Here is my testimony, in video form that I made in Spring 2009:
(Amy = Beloved, Christine = Follower of Christ)