One thing you can look forward to as you recover from porn is that the journey will eventually get easier. Bill told us that after several years of attending meetings and talking with a counselor, he is now more self­assured in his ability to stay away from pornography for good. “The first six months of my recovery were the most difficult. I had to face the fact that my thinking was all wrong. All the assumptions I made about porn—that it was no big deal, that no one was getting hurt, that it was actually just harmless fun—were wrong. Now that I know these things,

I am more relaxed in my recovery. It’s not a constant struggle to keep away from porn.”

Similarly, Marie, who has spent the last five years involved in recov­ery work, says, “I feel good about what I’ve accomplished so far. I’ve come a long ways from where I was that day the youth pastor found the porn on my computer. Group work and counseling have helped me face my issues and be able to deal with my emotions when I’m under stress. At this point in time, I’m confident in my ability to choose to remain porn free.”

As time goes by, many former porn users develop an expertise in being able to keep porn out of their lives. When porn pops up unexpect­edly, they stay conscious of their commitment to avoid it and take action steps to not use it. Porn no longer throws them off course, and they are able to remain true to their values and goals. Corey proudly told us he was recently able to smoothly and effectively handle a potential relapse situation. “I was on the Internet looking for a utility for an operating system I was working with, and it directed me to this Web site that ended up being an archive for some pornography newsgroups. A little thought ran through my head: Hey, click of the mouse, it’s right there, but I didn’t act on it. I just smiled and calmly clicked my way out of there. I have enough life experience now to know that regardless of porn’s momentary allure, it doesn’t offer satisfaction.”

Recovery can also become easier with time as you gain new insights that reinforce the fact that porn is harmful to you and can no longer be considered an option. “I’ve recently accepted that pornography is something that is just not for me,” Logan said. “Some people are casual drinkers. I don’t know if a person can be a casual porn user. I do know that I cannot. Just like people say, ‘Once an alcoholic, always an alco­holic,’ I feel that way about being a porn addict. I am one. I can’t go near porn if I want to stay healthy.” When former porn users finally accept the fact that they must avoid porn for the rest of their lives, they experience a decrease in the frequency and intensity of cravings for porn. As Logan added, “I stopped compulsively thinking about using porn when I finally admitted to myself that using it again is simply out of the question.”