2,200. That’s roughly how many times I failed over the course of a 12-year addiction to pornography. It’s critical to note the problem wasn’t porn but the pain I was using it to numb. This article summarizes the principles I use to not only disconnect from self-destructive attitudes and habits but to reconnect with my true self and my divine purpose.
Step 1: Embrace Your Pain
Society has conditioned us to believe pain is a bad thing to be avoided at all costs. It’s no wonder we use alcohol, drugs, food and sex to escape our painful emotions. I’ve learned the road to divine purpose is called pain, so that to refuse to endure it is to refuse your destiny. I used to believe my “destiny,’ was some arbitrary and boring task assigned to me by an equally arbitrary and boring overlord called “God.” However, pleasure, fun, and passion are all emotions created by God who also created us with our innate preferences and personalities. In short, God knows what’s going to make you the happiest. Each of us was assigned a purpose tailored specifically for us to feel the heights of pleasure while serving God, others and ourselves.
The Connection Blocker
In order to reach your purpose one must endure the pain of self–confrontation or the intense emotional suffering that originates from the destructive beliefs we create from our traumatic experiences. This pain is like a submerged bath toy, it wants to come to the surface but most of us use our compulsive behaviors to submerge our pain and falsely believe the behavior is the problem. For years I thought my addictive porn use was the issue never suspecting that the reason why I needed to look at it was the real source of my pain. To identify your “why,” you must become aware of your flaws, fears and resentments because when we ignore them our focus shifts externally on the wrongs of others and prevents us from discovering our true selves. I used these worksheets (borrowed from an AA 12-step program) to begin the process.
The Healing Process
What if I told you I wanted a master’s degree BUT I refused to go back to school? That would probably sound a little ridiculous because we all know the outcome (the degree) is irrevocably tied to the process (going back to school). Healing works the same way, you can’t be healed without committing to the process. That journey is composed of a drastic shift in your attitudes and your habits.
Step 2: Clarify Your Vision
In school most students want to know what they’re being tested on so they can study specific topics. If a professor simply told you the exam would be on “math” and gave no further clarification you’d be a bit frustrated, right? Likewise attempting to overcome a mountain of pain to reach an undefined “dream” is sure to result in failure because the internal motivation isn’t strong enough. Your vision must be passionate, precise and vividly descriptive. Start with your passions; if you could be anything in the world who would you be? If what you come up with doesn’t seem unrealistic or scare you…you’re thinking to small! Through this process I was able to channel my love of travel, the outdoors and innovative emergency equipment into my company Komodo Pera LLC.
Where Passion Meets Pain
Once you have identified your pain and your passion, search for the connecting theme between them. For example, I discovered the pain inducing belief in my life was, “connecting to people will always end in suffering, therefore I will disconnect from people and only trust myself.” Our self-destructive behaviors (porn in my case) block us from seeing our faulty belief(s) by deluding us to think the behavior itself is the problem versus the belief the behavior is covering up. Because I am passionate about reading, writing, speaking, traveling and meeting new people, the area that I thought was the most painful turned out to be the exact area that God was calling me to.
Seek and You Shall Find
Logically, a creation would need to ask the creator to know what it was created for. After you’ve done the work above, I encourage you to ask the God of your understanding what your purpose is. Personally, I found it most helpful to simply ask for His will for my life with an attitude of openness to how, when and what He told me.
Step 3: Do or Die there is no “Try”
Enduring the path to your purpose requires a powerful and motivating “why.” Porn, like most coping behaviors provides an intense pain-numbing pleasure so don’t expect to “want,” to give them up. Personally, I simply came to a point where the pain of habitually violating my own morals outweighed the pleasure of pornography. That pain prompted me to begin this amazing journey of recovery. Once I began to gain some ground against my porn addiction, my purpose began to slowly present itself followed by fear of failure, feelings of inadequacy and not knowing where to start. The belief that these feelings should dissipate before you take action is probably the number one reason why so many people never reach their full potential. But I encourage you to start walking today in spite of fear and I promise you, you’ll find everything and everyone you need along the way.
Till Death Do Us Part
If you stick to the journey that is overcoming your pain and living your dreams you will reach a point where you can go no further until you commit to your vision 100%. No plan B but absolute commitment to the manifestation of your vision or death in its pursuit.
Worthiness has NO Prerequisites
There has been countless times where I felt I was the lowest piece of “crap” on earth because of my addiction…that no God could possibly love or forgive me…that I was unworthy of success or the greatness that I dreamed of. But I’ve learned my worthiness is not dependent on my actions but my identity. I’m a child of God, prince and heir to a heavenly throne. Therefore, recovery is a process of matching my attitudes and habits with my identity. Most of us were not broken overnight; becoming the best versions of ourselves isn’t an overnight job either. I’m still actively in this recovery process but I’ve glimpsed the Promised Land and I truly believe it’s worth living for.
Julius Q. Holmes IV is the Senior Managing Director & Founder of Komodo Pera LLC an aspiring motivational speaker, author and humanitarian.
For practical tips to freedom in your life follow me on Twitter: Julius@TheShujaa