Pornography gives you a false sense of pleasure. It feels good for the moment and then it just takes you down.

—Rob

W

hat happens when a person continues to have an ongoing sexual relationship with porn in spite of the problems and dangers that come with it? For some porn users, the answer is they crash and hit bottom, experiencing a major life crisis with re­percussions that can no longer be ignored. All of the denials, rational­izations, and excuses become meaningless and ineffective, as the porn user is confronted with the undeniable reality that he has been hurting himself and others all along.

Hitting bottom can be the result of an external crisis such as getting caught using porn at work or having an intimate partner leave the rela­tionship, or it can occur internally in the form of a mental, emotional, or spiritual breakdown. Some porn crashes are predictable. For example, someone who uses porn compulsively and experiences many serious neg­ative consequences would be more likely to hit bottom than someone who just sneaks a peak at porn now and then. But other porn-induced events come about unexpectedly. A first-time porn user, for example, can inad­vertently download child porn and get busted. And an infrequent porn user’s long-forgotten X-rated video can be discovered by his wife and trigger a series of events that ultimately leads to a devastating divorce.

The truth is: no matter how much you may think you have porn use under control and contained, you cannot absolutely insure that you will not

bottom out from it. Like drinking alcohol, doing drugs, or having an affair, porn use has an inherent destructive potential that is beyond our ability to completely manage and control.

In this chapter we’ll present the stories of four people who hit bottom. You will meet Mitch, a fifty-five-year-old former teacher with a wife and three daughters; Hank, a forty-seven-year-old divorced welder; Marie, a forty-three-year-old single mother of two; and Tom, a twenty- six-year-old drugstore clerk. All four believed porn gave them the best, most exciting sex they ever had. And they felt entitled to experience that excitement, that is, until their lives crashed because of it.

We have chosen their stories because they illustrate how people can hit bottom in different ways. You’ll be able to see for yourself how porn crashes occur and what it feels like for a porn user to go through one. Although their experiences are unique, Mitch, Hank, Marie, and Tom all share one thing—porn ultimately rendered their lives unmanageable. Their desire for porn, and the immediate pleasures they received from it, tricked them into thinking they could risk continuing to use it without damaging their own lives and those of the people they loved. As you read their stories, you may notice a common theme: any time they used porn, they were only moments away from one of the worst experiences of their life.