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Model Student Overcomes Pornography Addiction

Jessica says she felt like, “I didn't matter.  That it didn’t matter that it was hurting, that it didn’t matter that I was struggling.  What mattered was the product, in a way.  What mattered was the performance.”

Jessica spent her childhood trying to live up to others’ expectations, especially her parents.    

She explains, “If I failed, if I didn’t accomplish the goal or reach the standard, it was a lot of disappointment: ‘So next time you need to try harder.  This is unacceptable.’”

At church, she got the same impression about God.

Jessica says, “I always felt like God just had these expectations for me.  And that the Bible was a list of rules.  And God was just a list of rules.  And that is how you earned His love and that is how you earned His favor.  And if you mess up, you lose it.  That’s kind of how I loved people.  How can I make you proud of me, how do I make God happy? How do I make my family happy?  How do I make my dad happy?”

When Jessica was 7, her father walked out with no warning.

Jessica remembers, “I really felt like it was something that I had done.  I had made him upset, I had disappointed him and he doesn’t love me.  My family was kind of like, let’s just move on, pretend that never happened.  And then I’m just frustrated living up to all these expectations and feeling like I’m not good enough and wondering why I’m not good enough.  Just a very, very bitter and just angry, angry child and teenager.  Just kind of bottled it all in and just felt empty and like I didn't matter.  And it led to a very empty and kind of joyless life for me.”

At 13, while she was online doing research for school, an illicit video popped up.  When she tried to close it, it took her to a porn website.  She couldn’t look away.

She says, “I think I watched the video because it’s a bit like watching a train wreck.  As much as you might not want to watch it, at the same time, what happens next?  What is this?  I don’t understand.  So there’s an intrigue part of it.”  

Then, something else piqued her curiosity.  It was a chat room, and she signed in.  

She explains, “I went in there thinking, oh, I’ll just talk to these people and just see what this is all about.  It turned into men asking me to perform different things for them, just via chat.  And I began cybering, which is having chat room sexual relations with people.  Then I have no clue what they’re talking about so I’d have to go and research what that was using search engines and things and it just drew me further and further into that-into their world of pornography.”

At first it was the attention and adoration of those strangers that drew Jessica back again and again.  Here, she was always wanted.

She says, “There is an escape.  I can go on there and pretend that none of my life is actually happening.  I can go on there and pretend that my life is perfect, that I’m perfect, that I have it all together, and get acceptance and validation.”

Then it became more.

Jessica says, “Eventually I was just so, like, physically drawn to pornography.  Forget the chat rooms.  I’ll just watch pornography myself.  It was kind of a release for me.”

By her senior year she was spending up to 6 hours a day online - all the while, still going to church and being the model student.   

She says, “Now it’s taken over my life.  Now it’s threatening to ruin my grades.  It’s threatening to ruin my dreams.  And I’m more ashamed of the fact that I let it get this far.”

Deep down she knew she needed help.  But to her, it wasn’t an option.

She says, “I’m so busy in school and church at home making sure everyone knows that I’m perfect and making sure that I meet all the rules, who am I going to tell?  Because whoever I tell, all of that perfection is going to come crashing down and they’re going to know.  I’m going to be the freak who watches porn.  There’s no one safe to tell.  I have to do this myself.”

She tried to limit her time online, but couldn’t.  It only made her feel like more of a failure.  

She says, “I would begin to just beat myself up.  I would take my head and bang it against the side of the bathtub because I thought if I can make this hurt, I’ll stop.”

But nothing worked.  She became valedictorian, but at her graduation, she realized how meaningless her life had become.

She remembers, “I had this revelation of, my whole life is pornography.  And that terrified me.  And I thought no, no, no, no, no, no, no.  There has to be something else.”

After Jessica began college, she attended the funeral of a girl she knew from school.   She was moved by the eulogy that spoke of her friend’s love for Christ.

Jessica says, “I remember sitting there thinking that’s what I want.  I have given everything to try to make people happy and to try to impress people.  And I could feel that if I died, you know, no one would care.  And I thought that’s not what I want.  Like I want my life to matter.  I want it to make a difference.  And if all it takes is loving Jesus, I can do that.”

Afterwards, Jessica knelt at the altar and prayed.  

She said to God, “If You can make something out of this mess, You can do something with this. It’s Yours.  Like, You can rewrite it from here.”

Still, she struggled with porn.  Then, at a college women’s bible study, Jessica and the others were encouraged to write down any sin they needed help overcoming.

Jessica says, “And it was like God said, ‘Listen, you’ve been waiting for a safe place to confess.  And all you have to do is write in your name and that you struggle with pornography.’  So I wrote it out.  And I remember thinking that was the biggest mistake of my life.  Like, I walked away feeling so defeated.  Because I had just torn down that wall of perfection.”

But it didn’t end the way Jessica feared.  A woman from the bible study reached out and supported her.  Through prayer and several months of counseling, Jessica overcame her addiction.  Today she’s an author and speaker, helping other women find their true worth in Christ.  

Jessica says, “With God it was just like there was hope that my life had value and worth in and of itself.  Not based on what I could do, or based on my brain or based on my body.  But just because He had given it.”

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