Bad Habits - Way to Stop?

edited December 1969 in Personal Issues
Hi members,
First I would like to say hi to you all! I have been on this forum before, but have never really posted. I hope that this would be a source of blessing for me! So I am not really new, since I have been observing for a while.

So my issue here is, I have recently realised that I have a really bad habit! I am sort of addicted to pornography. I have been in that position for the past few years, about 3, but it is not until recently that I have actually established that fact to myself! I WANT A WAY OUT! This sin has been following me, no matter what I do! I am in a situation of complete loss of hope, and real doubt in God! I was wondering if anybody who has experienced what I am going through or understands because he/she was around people with the same issue who overcame it, could give me practical help! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!! HELP ME OUT!!!


  • Hi FirstChurch,

    God be with you in your struggle.

    As with any struggle, only through God's grace can you overcome pornography or any other sin. You thus, first and foremost need constant prayer and focus in God. Given prayer and focus in God, I have no doubt you would overcome the sin.

    Most evidently, the devil is smart and knows how to make you lose focus. At that point the Jesus prayer is necessary. In case you are not aware of the Jesus Prayer, consist of repeating the name of Jesus in a constant and meditative manner. 'O Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me a sinner'.

    There are a few things that can be done to minimize the temptation of pornography. First and foremost, cut away your possibilities. If you constantly watch it on TV. Make sure no TV is in your room and only watch TV in a public area. If internet, password protect the sites. Many anti-viruses have the option to block these sites for you. Have someone choose your password, or if need be make the password yourself but with a promise you CANNOT break.
    If magazines, do something to your budget. In any case, you can ask your Father of Confession.

    Another useful tip is to make a calendar, and keep track of when you fall in lustful thoughts and lustful actions. You can maybe find a trend. Know that it will not take a day to overcome, and you will most likely fall again. Just remember, that the moment you've fallen, you actually aren't in the pit yet. The possibility to rise is still there. You've fallen rise. Every fall is an opportunity to rise. Here's an inspirational story:

    ---there is a story of a monk. One of his weaknesses was his sexual desires. He would fall in this regularly but he used to rise up and say "God I know I'm bad and I don't deserve to stand in the front of you, but if you help the righteous people, this is because they deserve your help, please accept me again and help me overcoming this sin". The young monk continued falling and rising and falling and rising and every time he fell he used to rise up and say exactly the same words. One day he fell and rose up and said the same words, the devil went really mad and appeared to him and told him "Don't you get ashamed of your sins to talk to God with your filthy mouth?" the monk said "Well you hit me with sin and I hit you with the love of God and lets see who is going to win", from that time the devil left him alone and did not fight him with the sin because he did not want him to get more CROWNS for his hope and faith in God.---

    Nonetheess, there are many blogues on this topic with great advice, I strongly recommend you go through them.

    God bless and pray for me.
  • Keep praying and never lose faith. Show God that you are imploring for His strength. Stay close to God and walk with Him in all you do. Always regard Him in some way no matter what you do. Sing praises or spiritual songs, do anything to regard Him in whatever you are doing; the closer to Him, the harder it will be for the devil to tempt you.

    Also, check out this website.

    It takes quite a while to install, be wary of the fact that during installation you cannot access your computer. But its free from viruses, and its certainly worth it.

  • @ ShareTheLord :
    Thanks for the advice! Its mainly on the computer!
    @ThyWillBeDone :
    The problem, is that I am a youth, and each member of my family has their own computer. Also, I am unfortunatly the one with the most knowledge in regards to technology, so I am afraid that I would download that web protection, then uninstall it in times of temptation, then commit my sin, then re-install it. Also there are 'In-Private' browsing sessions and stuff.

    In regards to the spiritual aspect, Thank You ShareTheLord, for the advice, and guidance. In regards to the practical aspect, I still think I would need some help! Please also keep in mind that this pornography sin has been with me for probably over 3 years!
    Please keep helping with the advice, it really helps
  • I also found a messing in my Inbox, but I assume the person wanted to remain anonymous so I will share it, without mention of the person in question

    Dear 'FirstChurch':

    Welcome to the forum. It is a great blessing to have you.

    I read your question on masturbation/watching pornography.

    I will confess to you that I share in your struggle, as do many other youth. Do not feel alone.

    That said, it is a terrible and despicable sin, worthy of all condemnation.

    You must learn to hate this sin to stop it. This is not an easy thing to do. As it is, you love this sin. . .

    First of all, this sin must be destroyed at its source. You masturbate and have feelings of lust because impure thoughts have been allowed into your mind. These thoughts chip at you all day and lead you to a point of no return.

    You must be faithful in what is least to be able to overcome the great things.

    So, do not look at the attractive girl walking in the street. Do not flirt with the cute girl in your class. Do not watch TV shows/movies in which sexual acts or provocative women are displayed.

    Get rid of the desire slowly by doing these things.

    Pray about it and ask God to strengthen you.

    Fast diligently. For when you can control what goes into your mouth and discipline your body, you will be able to control your other urges as well.

    Participate in the sacraments.

    Read the bible and sayings of the fathers.

    Keep struggling and eventually God will reward you and remove this burden from your back. You will be free because you were faithful in the fight against this sin.

    God be with you and pray for my weakness.

    Thank you Mr. Anonymous! Keep in the great advice please!

  • You have an addiction. It is hard to be obediant as you are a slave to something else. This is not love.
  • I KNOW! I STONGLY AGREE WITH JOSHUAA! I have just fallen again...PLEASE LORD! HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SERVANT!!!!!!!! PLEASE GUYS ADVICE PLEASE! I am planning to confess with my Father Of Confession this week, any advice??? God bless you guys, and please always remember me in your prayers!
  • Well as for me, I was in this sin also. I went to my father of confession and just told him this: I have been going on the internet doing really bad things. Looking at really evil pics and videos, and even more. When I told him "even more", he understood right away. The problem is, right after confession, you may start to lead a way to godly life, but one thing is needed to continue that way: WILL. Actually, many things: will, prayer, spiritual reading, fasting, bible. Bible is needed for the renewal and cleansing of mind. Fasting, is to control yourself from the bad habits you have. Spiritual reading, is to relate the bible and teachings with your life. Prayer, is to connect with God, the one that cares the most. The roots of the sin comes from the heart and thoughts. You have to hate the sin, you have to forget about it.

    Also, you say that if you put the protection up with a password, you know you are going to cancel it and continue bad stuff, right? Is that an excuse? No. Try your best to get rid of it. Put up the protection. Force yourself to do activities to stay away from the computer as much as you can.

    God bless brother.

  • I think it is a matter of direction. To love you have a need of been intimate. Our church Fathers were monks and so were alone with God. In this intimacy they got their wisdom of truely knowing him. If your learning a skill or simply school you are learning something and end up knowing it. This is intimacy. It is a battle with your conscience. What does your conscience tell you?It should say I don't know any of the women I am looking at and I am disrepecting them. What is more maybe feel sorry for them as they have disrespected them selves. If you have every been angry with yourself then when you look at them call yourself a fool  as they need God and you are following them.
  • A great way to make you kill the sin is to not think about it and don’t let bad thoughts overcome your mind. Also if you see an attractive girl in the street/ school or anywhere then look away and avoid them also say the arrow prayer. “My Lord Jesus Christ help me. My Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me. I praise you my Lord Jesus Christ.” Constantly read the psalm in the Agbeya and read the Bible. When you memorize the psalm you will occupy your self from the sin. But I understand that it’s not easy as I’m suffering from the same sin also! “Because narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.” We all know that overcoming sin is difficult. So you must do your best.

    Also another way to take your mind of woman as you see them keep a rubber band on your wrist right when you find your self about to fall into temptation pull the rubber band and let it hurt you. You will also be distracted with the pain. I think we all agree that a little pain like this is better then the agonizing pain in Hell.  Work hard. GBU

    “The spirit is willing but the body is weak.” This quote relates to this situation.  :D
  • Hi First Church,
    I once read in a book (Father Arseny) how to develop a relationship with a spiritual father and how to do confession properly. Once you have chosen a spiritual father the first confession is the most important one. Pray a lot before it! Make a complete list of what you want to say, write it down and destroy it later. Tell your father confession your whole life story and all the sins you have committed from a young age. Don’t leave anything! Don’t say this one is a small sin – if your remember it confess it! If you have unconfessed sins these can be source of more evil. 
                  This first confession can take 1-2 hours. If you haven’t done this yet make an appointment with your father confession and do this long confession. If you remember more things about this session go back and tell your FOC.
    After this you just need to update your FOC with the latest.
    Such an approach will help you not only with your particular struggle but with your whole life. God be with you and He will help you to overcome.

    In Christ
  • Hi FirstChurch,

    I came to this forum because of the same thing. I'm struggling with my addiction for quite some years. Since I became a teenager, I sinned many times, especially with porn, and I was only a Christian of words. My actions were far from acting like a Christian. A few years ago I got into a huge crisis (my father divorced my mother and put us on the street) and this gave me a wake-up call. This caused me to involve myself into Christianity once again.

    However, I quickly discovered that it isn't easy to change a life of sin. For 2 years I wanted to quit watching pornography on my own. I didn't involve anybody and I didn't tell anybody of my addiction because of my shame. I started praying to God to give me strength to overcome my addiction, but my weakness brought me back to sin every time. After sinning I became ashamed and felt filthy so I couldn't bring myself to pray. I promised myself everytime; This is the last time I did this sin! But I kept doing it. I was too weak to resist the temptation.

    A few weeks ago I thought about exploiting my 'lucid' moments, the moments that I don't desire porn, to block my possibilities to watch it when I do desire it. I used software to block porn, thinking it would stop me. It worked for a few days, but after that the temptation became too big and I uninstalled it, and sinned again.

    This made me depressed and also made me realize that my problem is too big for myself to handle. I installed software that blocks porn and that needs a password to uninstall. In my case I used Blue Coat's K9 (it's free). I told my girlfriend about my addiction and gave her the password written on a note. This way I can't watch porn, because I don't have the password. this happened two or three days ago, and I haven't sinned since then, I still feel tempted sometimes but it doesn't cause me to sin. I feel much better now. My resolve and the software make sure that I can't sin anymore. I hope that in a few months (or even years) I totally lose desire for pornography.

    The morale of my story is that you shouldn't fight alone. It is already a step forward that you're seeking help, but the most effective help for me came from the people closest to me. You need to involve whoever you trust most; Family; Friends or your FoC. I would suggest using the same method as me but that's your choice to make. Knowing that someone knows about my addiction strangely strengthens my resolve to stop it.

    I also advise to act upon other suggestions in this forum; they're pretty good! I wish I posted my problem too.

    I hope I was of help, and that the story of my struggle helped you too! If you have more questions you can post here or e-mail (I won't be able to contact the next couple of days though).

    Good luck, I'll pray for you!

    P.S. Try to limit the time you're on the computer and step into bed early; it helps. (and pray a lot!)
    P.P.S. Sorry for any grammar mistakes; I'm Dutch.
  • the battle doesnt end with one victory (eg confessing/ abstaining for long periods) or one defeat... you'll be struggling with temptation for a long time.

    the only thing i can tell you is once you confess, take communion every week and ready the Bible daily. and if you do fall, pretend it didnt happen and continue with your spiritual life. the danger is feeling like youre unworthy in returning to God even right after sinning, which can lead you even further away from God. failing to repent is worse than failing to "not sin" keep that in mind.
  • Q: Pray for me, my Father, I am very much disturbed by thoughts of sexual sin, despondency, and fear; and a thought says to me that I should converse with a brother to whom I feel attracted when I see him, lest by my silence I give him occasion for suspicion. I feel likewise that the demons are somehow pressing me, and I fall into fear.
    A: Brother! You are not yet instructed in warfare with the enemy, which is why there come to you thoughts of fear, despondency, and sexual sin. Stand against them with a firm heart, for combatants, unless they labor, are not crowned, and warriors, unless they show the King their skill in battles, do not become worthy of honors. Remember what David was like. Do you not also sing: "Test me, O Lord, and try me, kindle my inwards parts and my heart" (Psalms 25:2). And again: "If a regiment arm itself against me, I will hope in Him" (Psalms 26:3). Likewise, concerning fear: "For if I should go in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me" (Psalms 22:4). And concerning despondency: "If the spirit of the powerful one should come upon thee, do not leave thy place" (Ecclesiastes 10:4).

    Do you not wish to be skilled? But a man who is not tested by temptations is not skilled. It is battles that make a man skilled. The work of a monk consists of enduring battles and opposing them with manfulness of heart. But since you do not know the cunning traps of the enemy, he brings thoughts of fear and weakens your heart. You must know that God will not allow against you battles and temptations above your strength; the Apostle also teaches this, saying: "Faithful is the Lord, Who will not leave you to be tempted more than you can bear" (I Corinthians 10:13).

    Brother! I also in my youth was many times and powerfully tempted by the demon of sexual sin, and I labored against such thoughts, contradicting them and not agreeing with them, but presenting before my own eyes eternal tortures. For five years I acted thus every day, and God relieved me of these thoughts. This warfare is abolished by unceasing prayer with weeping.

    And the fact that the demons are pressing you proceeds from their envy; if they could, they would chase you out of your cell also; but God does not allow them to take possession of you, for they do not have authority for this. God could swiftly relive you, but then you would not begin to oppose another passion (when it comes). May the demons not weaken you so as to turn your attention to a brother (to whom you are attracted), or to converse with him; but If you should happen unexpectedly to come together with him, against your desire, restrain your glance with fear and decency and do not listen attentively to his voice. And if this brother, out of ignorance, should himself begin to speak with you or sit next to you, then skillfully avoid him, but not suddenly, rather with decorum. Say to your thought: "Remember the terrible Judgment of God and the shame which will then overtake those who are attracted by these shameful passions." Compel your thought, and you will receive help, by the prayers of the Saints, and God will have mercy on you. Do not be a child in mind, "but a child in malice" (I Corinthians 14:20); in mind, O brother, be perfect. Pay heed to yourself, as to how you will meet God. Amen. "Saints Barsanuphius and John: Guidance Toward Spiritual Life," trans. by Fr. Seraphim Rose, (Platina, California: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1990)
  • God bless FirstChurch and all those struggling with this sin!

    I'll try to offer what advice I have, as I am still  very weak in this.

    I think the main problem is a heart issue. As you mentioned, even if I install some web protection or make it difficult to access certain sites, I find that in my moments of weakness, I always end up just finding a loop hole through. You have to realize why this sin is wrong and whom you are hurting when you commit this sin:

    1. Your future spouse and family - Can you imagine confessing this sin to your real love in the future, or being actively involved in it while you are married to her. Can you imagine how much that would hurt her and pain it could cause her to see the one she loves seeking satisfaction from other women online? If you truly want to love your future spouse, it has to start now, that you honor her even before you may have possibly met her.

    2. The women that are lusted after - These are all people with souls, and when we lust after them, we turn them into objects to fulfill our desires. This is particularly bad for people we know in the real world because we ignore everything about their personality and soul and instead take the image of their bodies for our own gratification. And the women on the sites, above all they need prayer, which is not what we think about when we lust after them.

    3. God - You are disrespecting the temple he has made in you for His Holy Spirit, the blessings He has given to use your body for the betterment of mankind and are instead seeking sensual fulfillment for your own pleasure.

    4. Yourself - You know this sin does not satisfy you. You know this sin only leaves you wanting for more. You know that this never makes you happy. Then why do you do it? Why are you ruining your own life, with something that gives only a temporary carnal pleasure only to leave you in a wretched state.

    What to do about it:

    Like everyone said it will be a struggle and you must never give up. This is a battle that many men have fought and are still fighting. The temptations may never go away, but it will get easier with more experience and fight, and you must remember that is ultimately God who will have mercy and save you from the fight. Some practical tips:

    1. Get involved in a community and keep yourself busy - An idle mind is the devils playing ground. Getting involved in a community like a church group or service group will keep you distracted and provide a community support to fulfill  the need to belong. It will also give you the chance to interact with women and treat them as people and not just bodily objects.

    2. Write a note to yourself or have a prayer that you have prewritten when you feel tempted. These can help us snap our of our moments of weakness and see the bigger picture.

    3. Grow closer and closer to God. You will find God fulfills every need and you will find that He is your true love. Get active in prayer, church, and service.

    4. Lastly, never give up. This will be a long struggle. We are all here fighting along side you and we will fall, but we need to get up again.

    God bless, man. Writing this has convicted me of my own sin. We are all in it together. Maybe what we can do is have a Coptic guys chat room so that whenever any of us feels tempted we can chat, have fun, talk tasbeha, and play online games to help get our minds away from this sin.
  • What I like to do is before I commit the act, I think of all the regret that I feel after it's done. The sense of regret will overcome the temptation.

    Pray for me.
  • Hey Guys, thank you all for your great advice! Unfortunately, I have fallen again! Please pray for me! It has been almost a full week since my last actual visit to a porn page, but that is probably it. Seven days and I have fallen! Please guys keep me in your prayers. Hopefully when I confess and start getting organised with my time, I will be more busy, and wont have time for this sin! I am quite engaged with my church, and that is the problem! I seem like an amazing guy, following the church, attending the services and everything, holy in all, then I return to my home, and I fall! PLEASE PLASE PLEASE, remember me the weak and sinful in your prayers!
  • God is with you and He will never leave you.
    When you feel temptation coming, stop yourself for just 1 second and THINK. Think if it's really worth it. Think about how you will feel afterwards. Think about the Holy Spirit whom we are grieving when we sin.
    Put the computer in a public area, like in the living room or dining room. Never go on your computer unless someone else is in the room. This way you will never commit the sin.
    AND ALWAYS PRAY! We are praying for you, but you must also pray for yourself.

    A brother said to Abba Anthony, "Pray for me." The old man said to him, "I will have no mercy upon you, nor will God have any, if you yourself do not make an effort and if you do not pray to God."

    please pray for me
  • [quote author=FirstChurch link=topic=13421.msg157128#msg157128 date=1340745887]
    Hey Guys, thank you all for your great advice! Unfortunately, I have fallen again! Please pray for me! It has been almost a full week since my last actual visit to a porn page, but that is probably it. Seven days and I have fallen! Please guys keep me in your prayers. Hopefully when I confess and start getting organised with my time, I will be more busy, and wont have time for this sin! I am quite engaged with my church, and that is the problem! I seem like an amazing guy, following the church, attending the services and everything, holy in all, then I return to my home, and I fall! PLEASE PLASE PLEASE, remember me the weak and sinful in your prayers!

    Do not worry that you're creating a false image of yourself toward others which is better than who you actually are. That's not true, because your heart is in the right place. Staying busy is key.

    This sin is quite a struggle, and you might find yourself falling again. It looks like you're not falling into despair after having fallen, which I hope is the case, and your effort in the struggle is commendable. Remember that when you repent, that's it- it's done with, and you move on. But also be careful not to think of this when the thought of doing it creeps into your mind. When it does, get off the computer (immediately) and go watch SportsCenter.

    Please pray for my struggle as well.
  • Dear friend!
    DON'T BE UPSET! Alot of people went through  it,but  now hate all sexual  things!
  • Oh this is the case with you. Don't worry it happens to many of them at this certain point of time. See it all depends on you if you mind is diverting towards pornography it's upon you how to divert your attention. If you even start thinking start taking the name of God and you will find that god has spread his grace on you. So whenever you feel that some evil is going inside your mind take the name of God.
  • [quote author=Smirser link=topic=13421.msg157437#msg157437 date=1341699770]

    "3. Punishing yourself:
    Sometimes in our do-it-yourself spirituality, we punish ourselves for the sins we commit. So, if you fall into a certain sin you increase your fasts, metanoias, or prayers and you think that you have dealt with the problem. Soon enough this will lead to:

    4. Absolving yourself:
    For example, you are on a trip and the food served on the plane is non-fasting, so you allow yourself to indulge and justify it to yourself by the fact that you fast a lot and it is your right to have a break. What you don’t realize is that the devil has made you take to yourself the power of binding and loosing which belongs to the priest. In reality, it is the devil that is binding and loosing you. He made you lose your spiritual director and he became your spiritual adviser! Again the Bible tells us something about this, “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.” (Luk 11:33) The Fathers of the desert tell us that what this means is, hide not your ascetic deeds from your spiritual adviser, do not practice ascetism secretly from your Father in confession." - Practical Spirituality according to the Desert Fathers By Fr. Athanasius Iskander

    The Fathers of the Church warn us not to punish ourself. We should leave it to our confession Father to help us in the way suitable for us.
  • Hi man, how's it going?
  • Well, i am also grateful to all the people who have presented their great advice to avoid the bad habits, as I am also suffering from the same problem and now wish I will get rid of all these stuffs.
  • Hey Guys,
    Thanks all for the great advice. It's been tought but I am still trying.
    My FOC told me not to go on much media for 21 days and told me which is easyier,
    no media for 21 days or no communion for 21 days. Which DID very much scare me!
    Thank the Lord, I pray that this addiction will be overcome by me, and by all you
    others who suffer from it!
    Thanks, FirstChurch
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