Becoming more aware of how significantly porn use harmed their lives— often from an early age—leads many former porn users to want to do something to help and protect others from experiencing the same prob­lems with porn that they encountered. Once their own recovery feels secure, they often become involved in educating others about the dan­gers of pornography and in providing direct support to people who are in the early stages of their healing journeys.

After completing five years of his own healing work in Sex Addicts Anonymous, Victor began giving inspirational presentations to groups of men who are also in recovery. “I remember how helpful it was for me to work though the first step with my sponsor and identify very specifi­cally how I was powerless over my addiction and how it rendered my life unmanageable. Now, it’s rewarding to focus my active imagination and energy on projects that not only restore my spirit but also pro­duce something that is worthwhile in the world and beneficial to other people’s lives.”

Although it’s been more than seven years since Nick stopped using pornography and over six years since he had a relapse, he remains active in attending faith-based recovery group meetings through his church. He said, “I have compassion for the men in our group who are caught in the grip of porn. Now that I’ve become healthier, I’m able to offer them ideas and information on how to fight it. I help them by sharing my experiences—how I stand up against porn’s temptations and how I’m no longer ashamed of my sexual behavior. Participating in this way gives me a feeling of being needed, useful, accepted, and complete.”

Tom hasn’t forgotten how alone and powerless he felt when he was trapped in a porn addiction. Now he makes a conscious effort to be alert to signs that someone else might be suffering in a similar way and reach out to him. “I’m not shy about talking with my friends about sexual issues in general,” he said. “If a friend of mine is depressed or isolating, I’ll ask him if he is struggling with pornography and compulsive mas­turbation. I go out of my way to try to break the cycle of sexual shame and addiction and give somebody the kind of help I needed when I was caught in it.”

Some former porn users channel their desire to help others by get­ting actively involved in supporting organizations that provide services to people with sexual addictions and other pornography-related prob­lems. They donate money or volunteer their time to help administer and run resources such as toll-free hotlines, informational Web sites, national treatment provider associations, faith-based services, and local twelve – step recovery programs (see “Organizations, Programs, and Web Sites” in the Resources section). Their behind-the-scenes contributions are building a critically important network of services for men and women seeking to overcome problems caused by pornography.

Another avenue that former porn users take to help others is through getting involved in work that helps to prevent pornography problems. They take seriously the old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Corey, for instance, told us that he feels motivated to work with other people to get public service announcements in the media and on Web sites informing people about the dangers of pornog­raphy use. He explained, “Think about how helpful it would be if all porn sites, like cigarette packs and medicines, had to post warning labels about the possible negative side effects of using porn. The problem with pornography is not just an individual problem. It’s a social and cultural problem. We need more awareness and open social discussion about its impact. We need to remove the shame and start talking about what’s wrong with Internet pornography—how it can make a train wreck out of your life. In my whole life, I spent less than ten dollars on porn and ended up in jail. I want to spare others this kind of pain.”

Ed speaks to local service groups and classrooms in his commu­nity about the hazards of becoming hooked on porn. “My involvement with porn was harmful to myself and others. I’m active in educating the public, because it helps overcome our society’s denial and makes me feel good. Talking with others reminds me to continue in my commitment to abstain from porn, and it serves as a way for me to make amends to those I’ve hurt as a result of my porn use in the past.”

Laura feels strongly motivated to break the silence that exists about the serious problems females are encountering with porn. “Now that I have found healing and help from the harm pornography has done in my life, I am reaching out and educating other women,” she said. “My advice to young women who are getting involved with porn is a strong DON’T DO IT! Using porn is progressive. It’s easy to become addicted. You can think you are only experimenting with it, and then suddenly find yourself sliding into behaviors that compromise your physical, spiri­tual, and emotional health.”