Timothy Schlich

Steubenville, USA

Freedom from Addiction

After trying for years to be free of my addiction to pornagraphy and masturbation, I had just about given up.

I grew up in a large, catholic, homeschooled family. We attended mass weekly, prayed together, and did all the other normal catholic rituals. But when I was around 10 years old, I accidentally stumbed upon pornagraphy.

At first, I didn't realize what I had found, or even that it was wrong. By the time I began to realize what I was doing, it was already too late, and I was hooked. I looked at porn and masturbated several times a day for years.

At first, I told no one about this. Finally, when I was about 15 years old, I mustered together the strength to confess my sins to a priest. Even waiting in line for Confession, as I came to terms with the fact that I was finally going to confess 5 years worth of sin, I started to break down in tears. I entered the confessional, layed it all down, and gave the best confession I had ever given. Exiting the confessional, I felt like a new man, freed of my sins, and ready to conquer any temptations that came my way. Two weeks later, I was looking at porn again.

This cycle continued for another two years, of going to confession, swearing I would remove this poison from my life, then several days later falling right back into my old habits because I was too weak.

The winter I turned 17, everything changed. I developed a very close friendship with a girl, and as we became closer, it became more and more apparent to me how porn was changing not only my perception of women, but my intire mental thought process. I realized how much damage this addiction was damaging myself, and also my relationships  with others. I could never truly serve my friend while I still had this filth in my life, so I stopped looking at porn.

It wasn't like I had never had enough cause before then to stop masturbating and looking at porn; it was preventing any sort of pray life from developing and destroying my relationship with God, and I knew that was unacceptable. But when God put this close friend of mine in my life, He was giving my a very clear and tangible reason for freeing myself of my addiction.

Since then, I've developed a consistent, personal relationship with Jesus. I've seen tremendous growth in all my relationships, but especially with women. Though the images I saw will never leave my mind, they have become much less present as time goes on. While it never became easy, God gave me the strength to rid  myself of this poison that was eating away at me, and replace it with a personal relationship with God.

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