Pornography Addiction and the Love of Jesus

A Letter from Bethany Swanson

Photo by Matthew Henry

Photo by Matthew Henry

(Click on the letters to enlarge)

Dear Beloved Sister,

"I believe that You love me" were the words I prayed to Jesus in adoration that changed my faith-life forever. I received these words as part of my penance in confession. The priest told me to stay in the Adoration chapel praying these words until I believed that they were true. The words the priest gave me sent me on a path of healing from addiction.

He told me that they would help with the root of my sin. I kept praying them until my soul was filled with their truth. It was then that I realized that I had never felt that I deserved Jesus's love.

If you are struggling with deep-rooted sin, know that you are not alone. Christ loves you more than you can know. He is waiting for your in the confessional and wants to pour his healing love upon you.

I had spent many, many years addicted to masturbating and felt overwhelmingly trapped by the weight of my sin. This sin started in middle-school when a friend made a joke about men masturbating. I had no clue what that was I used the internet to learn more. As you can guess, that wasn't the best place to learn, so my addiction began and grew year after year.

I often felt isolated because it was only discussed as a men's problem. I never heard it discussed at church or at conferences, and even now it's still so taboo. There were times when I struggled to go to confession. It seemed hopeless and I was tormented by the hidden life I had. I felt so alone. I kept hope because I knew that Jesus believed in me. That He gave His life so that I could have freedom. So I kept going to confession even when shame and self-hatred consumed me.

Many people today think that masturbation and pornography are no big deal, but the Church teaches a message of hope and healing and promises the grace we need to continue fighting to live a life of freedom in the confessional. I'm so glad I kept going because every time I went to confession I got a taste of that freedom and peace that I so desperately longed for. I had returned to the loving arms of Christ's mercy and I didn't want to leave.

It took years for the knots of this particular sin to be untangled. I learned that I couldn't face this sin alone but needed to have someone to keep me accountable. I found healing in the Church's teaching on the dignity of the human person. Through all of this came healing and the words, "I believe that you love me" got me through many dark nights of temptation. I learned that Christ's love is strong when I felt weak and vulnerable.

I would encourage you to seek out sisters-in-Christ to confide in and help you be accountable. Don't struggle alone like I did for so many years, but find strength in Christ and receive help from those who he put into your life. My husband was the first person I told, and his acceptance of my past was a key part of my healing.

"Don't struggle alone like I did for so many years, but find strength in Christ and receive help from those who he put into your life."

There is hope and healing waiting for you in the confessional, even if it seems hopeless now when you confess the same sin week after week. Trust that Jesus is working in you and he is setting forth a plan for your healing and ultimately freedom. You are Christ's Beloved. Seek Him in the Confessional, He's already seeking you.

In Christ, Bethany

Get to know Bethany

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hello! My name is Bethany. I’m 26 years old, I live in California with my husband William, and we are overjoyed to be expecting our first baby in May. My favorite thing right now is feeling our baby kick. It fills me heart with awe and wonder in God’s great gift to us as a married couple. We are hoping to have a home birth, and are waiting to find out if the baby is a boy/girl, so we are filled with anticipation as we take the road a little less traveled. I also like to blog about the Catholic faith and about cryptocurrency, so I have a separate blog for each.

I work as a member of the quality assurance team at a cryptocurrency wallet company. I love talking about Bitcoin, blockchain, and what this digital money means. My favorite part about work is going on breaks for tea with my husband (he’s a developer at the same company).

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