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Guest post: Porn - You're Not the Only One

This is a guest post from author Angus Nelson about a topic many fathers struggle with, but few talk about.

Can you imagine sitting across from your children telling them you’d failed them and mommy because of the fantasies you’d concocted while getting carpal tunnel in front of the blue glow of a computer monitor?

These are the things no man would ever wish to endure... yet, that doesn’t stop us from contributing to a $13 billion dollar enterprise called porn.

It’s everywhere isn’t it? No matter where you go, you’re susceptible to viewing images that stimulate a very real and human nature. Worse yet, we’re designed to respond to it. How are we supposed to resist something so very... normal? Well, that’s the problem. There are people in the world that thrive on manipulating you to fill their wallet.

If you’re addicted to porn, here’s what I know about you: You don’t like yourself. You struggle with relationships. You have issues with stress, shame, and/or false expectations placed upon yourself or by others.

I’m here to tell you, “YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY ONE.”

Porn cost me everything. I lost my marriage, my business, my passion, and drive due to this corrosive habit. I know what it’s like to struggle and fail... time and time again. Porn is a crappy habit to kick.

But here's the deal - the real question is not, "How do I stop?" The gut level question is, "What am I willing to do to stop?"

How you answer that question will determine how successful you'll be at quitting.

Here are some steps to consider for recovery:

1. TALK about it with someone you trust
The more you can talk about it, the more you can heal. Just like a mold, if it’s left in the dark it will grow. Get this poison out into the light and address your need for accountability, confession, and forgiveness of self. Whether it's a friend, mentor, Pastor, or addiction group, find what you're comfortable with.

2. Cut it off/Stop the bleeding
You can get as extreme as trashing your TV or computer. You can install software that filters web surfing or blocks images completely. You can dump your cable. Only you know what’s going to work for you... but you HAVE TO BE REALLY HONEST WITH YOURSELF. Stop procrastinating and turn it off.

3. Pound your brain with good stuff
So many times, our self-worth is turned to mush in the abuses of porn. We feel bad, do bad, then feel worse only to do worse... a never-ending cycle. This is an opportunity for you to dive in headlong into reading self-help type books. Exclude the entertainment that only serves to aggravate you: news, talk radio, or horror flicks - KEEP POSITIVE STUFF ON THE BRAIN.

4. Search out your spiritual center
For me, my Christian faith helped me understand what God says about me, and I let that marinate in my brain. Since God loves me, I should love myself. Find the spiritual discipline that will help you understand your worth.

Keep it easy and achievable until you’re ready for the next level. Once you’re ready for that, there are resources you can explore - the internet is filled with help you can access.

You can start here with my story: http://angusnelson.com/2010/08/18/porn-recovery-my-part/

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of National Fatherhood Initiative.

Your Princess and Kissing Those Darn Frogs

I just finished reading a book called “A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue” by Wendy Shalit. Although the book was written in 1999, its wisdom is timeless. Indeed, it is quite remarkable to watch Shalit skillfully illustrate the troubling cultural messages being communicated to girls and young women about their bodies, sexuality and femininity. This book is still a must-read.

In any case, the book has caused me to think quite a bit about the role that fathers should play in protecting the innocence of their daughters and in helping them develop a healthy, resilient and positive self-image--a tall order indeed in a culture that increasingly seeks to sexualize our little girls. (We now have retailers that are making thong underwear for 11 year-olds and skinny jeans for toddlers.) My view has always been that a father’s role is to help his princess find her “prince” (i.e. her self worth) without “kissing all the frogs.” For sure, today the frogs are more plentiful and aggressive in their call…And the stakes are higher than ever and the consequences of poor decisions can be long lasting and quite dire.

A case in point is the recent situation that actor Lawrence Fishburne (Mystic River, The Matrix) faced with his 19 year-old daughter, Montana. She agreed to star in a pornographic video to help her become famous. She stated, "I view making this movie as an important first step in my career. I've watched how successful Kim Kardashian became and I think a lot of it was due to the release of her sex tape. I'm hoping the same magic will work for me.”

Clearly, Fishburne was not happy with this situation but Montana wouldn’t listen to him. In fact, to block the release of the video, Fishburne’s friends even offered the film producer what he apparently considered too “modest a sum” -- $1M for all of the copies. The producer distributed the film and it reportedly sold so well that he offered Montana a multi-picture deal.

Granted, Fishburne’s situation is somewhat unique but you have to wonder why a daughter whose dad is an accomplished actor would choose this route to fame. But, the script of Montana’s life is a familiar screenplay with a predictable narrative. It’s worth noting that Fishburne and his daughter’s mother divorced when Montana was very young. You have to wonder if he was "on location" when Montana was a little girl making the critical decision whether to embrace or reject the immodest “Kardashian type” messages and values celebrated daily in our culture. All dads should be mindful that if you “exit stage right” from your daughter’s life, you are bound to miss important “cues.”

Ironically, frogs can be quite alluring and very deceptive. But, outside of fairy tales, there is no “magic” in them. And, that’s why our daughters need involved fathers who have built strong enough relationships with them so that they will listen when he says “be careful what you wish and what you kiss.”

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