“The one thing I didn’t have when I was addicted to pornography was hope.”

My husband recently spoke these words to a group of supporters of TrueNorth. God set Greg free from his bondage to pornography in a powerful way in the fall of 2013. I learned of his addiction a few months after God rescued him from it, and his journey toward restoration and wholeness became our journey of transparency, healing, and hope.

Casual porn use can escalate into repeated porn use, affairs, purchasing sex, and abuse. Addiction is multi-layered and different for everyone. Porn addicts are not on a quest to find the perfect body. They are seeking to repeat pleasurable feelings in the brain that viewing porn generates. These feelings are a result of a chemical called dopamine which is released into the brain.

Dopamine plays a healthy role in everyone’s brain. Chocolate can give us a sweet reward, no pun intended. Joyful experiences like a wedding, or birth of a child, can send dopamine levels sky high. But watching moving porn can release up to ten times the amount of a normal, healthy dopamine spike. The brain literally gets high on it, higher than the brain was designed for. Similar to the neurological response to cocaine, the brain remembers the feeling and initiates a desire to feel that way again.  Tolerance for the good feeling can develop, and more hardcore porn may be needed, or riskier behavior, to achieve the same chemical levels. This can lead to addiction.

God designed our brains to respond to sexual sights and experiences, and even children can get aroused by them. Learning to talk about those feelings and to channel them as God intended is important, whether we are young or old. God-honoring sex within marriage also produces dopamine along with other chemicals that bond us to our mate. Sex outside of marriage, or variations of it such as viewing porn, creates unhealthy bonds that can leave us empty, isolated, and alone in our shame. This is where TrueNorth can help.

We’re working to bring information from science and God’s Word to help people understand the truth about sex and porn use. While God designed us as sexual beings, His Word gives direction for living within a sexualized culture and for raising children in this environment. Since we cannot fully shield kids from this overly sexualized culture, we must prepare them for it.

This Christmas the message of hope is spread around the world. Some may not hear it because they are bound by sin and shame. Some may believe it’s too late for them, or that God doesn’t hear their cries for freedom. Others may be wounded by another’s sexual sin and feel hopeless themselves.

My husband found a living hope in Jesus. Beginning January 5, Greg will share how God is transforming his heart and life. I hope you’ll join us for a few weeks, because whether you struggle with sexual sin or someone you love struggles with it, Greg’s story will give you hope.

Christ, our living hope, frees us from our shame, gives us courage to step into the light of truth and grace, and invites us to go deeper with Him as we face the temptations and challenges of living in a sexualized culture.

TrueNorth is funded by generous individuals who want to provide tools for navigating a sex-saturated culture. Your gifts are so appreciated, tax-deductible, and will be used to bring hope and freedom to many. To donate, click here, or mail a check to TrueNorth, PO Box 724946, Atlanta, GA 31139. To subscribe to our newsletter and blog, click here.

God bless you and your loved ones, and have a wonderful, hope-filled, Christmas!

Anne Kerr

Founder and CEO of TrueNorth Freedom Project in Atlanta, Georgia

Photo credit: Unsplash.org