The second step I want to suggest is for you to become accountable.
(If you haven't read the first approach, read this first!)
Accountability means allowing another person to remind you of who you are and who you desire to be. It means being transparent with a trusted friend or mentor about your struggles so that he can offer encouragement and support. It’s an ongoing reminder that no sin is private; that even our hidden choices can have disastrous consequences.
I have never met anyone who was able to break free from porn without accountability. No recovering porn user can be an island! We need each other. If you’re a Catholic then one obvious and necessary way to be accountable is to find a good confessor and stick to him. Don’t “priest hop” because you’re ashamed of confessing the sin again so soon. The priest is not there to judge you but to absolve you. Confessing to the same priest will be an opportunity to humble yourself while honestly facing the severity of your problem.
One very practical—and in my opinion essential—tool for online accountability is accountability software called Covenant Eyes. It’s quite simply the best accountability software available.
Instead of just blocking certain websites (although it has that function also), it monitors all the sites that you visit and then sends a report to your accountability partner (it even monitors the websites behind the advertisements on the site you’re visiting). Online accountability changes your web-surfing mentality: Rather than wondering how you could get around a filter to visit some forbidden-fruit website, you will know that you could visit the website, but that you will be held accountable for it.
When you think about it, isn’t this how the heavenly Father acts towards us? He could “block” us from turning our backs on him and from the pain our sins bring, but he does not. Rather he teaches us right from wrong, and implores us to do what’s right (while giving us the grace necessary to do it). He does not censor our every thought and action because he desires us to grow up to be responsible moral agents: sons and daughters who freely choose what is good.
Covenant Eyes seems to have thought of all the loopholes porn users will think of ahead of time. For example, if you delete your account, view porn and then reinstall your account, your accountability partner will be notified. If the temptation to view porn at any moment threatens to overwhelm you, there is also a “panic button” you can click. Your Internet will be completely disabled; the only way to get it back is to contact the folks at Covenant Eyes.
In my next article we will take a look at the potential need some porn users have for professional counseling. In the mean time, if you’re serious about recovery, take a look at the following checklist and follow through with my advice:
1. “For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: ‘Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.’” Since masturbation and pornography constitute grave matter, if you have committed either of these sins freely with full knowledge of their sinful character, then stop reading this blog post and figure out when and how you will get to the sacrament of confession.
2. Think of a trusted friend who could serve as an accountability partner. Make sure this person is of the same sex as you, and is someone who will make the effort to pray for you and check in with you from time to time.
3. Sign up to Covenant Eyes today! Type in the promocode pureinheart for a free 30 day trial. After that it costs $8 a month. As a subscriber I can testify to the fact that it’s worth every penny! Not sure if you can afford it? Let me be frank, if you’re not willing to spend $8 a month ($2 a week) on accountability software, then quit wasting your time reading articles such as this. Recovery from porn is not possible for people who aren’t serious about recovering.
Read Step 3 Now!