“What’s the one piece of advice you would give
to someone struggling with porn addiction?”
Connect with Carl:
Stephen: Hey guys! This is Stephen Kuhn with Belt of Truth Ministries. I’ve got Carl Thomas on the line. Carl is the Outreach Pastor and Network Director for X3groups. Carl, I just wanted to ask your real quick, what’s the one piece of advice you would give to somebody struggling with pornography addiction?
Carl: There’s so many different things out there, so I wouldn’t say this is like the most important thing because I don’t know if there is one single important thing, but u would say that the one thing I would highly recommend is community, which is just a churchy term for having a group, having a team, having a tribe. I think that’s super important. Pornography addiction is one of those things that’s tremendously isolating. I know when I dealt with it; it was not something you want to share with people. Obviously it could get a little awkward at times. Pornography traps you into this belief that you’re all by yourself and you’re not. We run a small group recovery program online through XXXChurch. I’ve led these groups for like 2 years. Not only do I run the program but I lead a group. The change I’ve seen in some of the guys in these groups has been amazing, and I honestly think for some of those guys, that was like the missing component in their life. They had the individual accountability. They had filtering. They had all these different things. They have read the books. They’ve done the workshops. But one thing they never did was open up to a group. They just kept it all bottled up inside and maybe only shared it with like 1 or 2 really close friends. It’s something really freeing in being able to have a group or a tribe that supports you. There’s a ton of benefits a community. There’s group accountability for one versus individual accountability. It’s kind of like “I’m not just doing this for me. I’m doing it for my team,” which is not something we tell people. We don’t say “hey may, when you join our group, don’t you look at porn because you’re going to let us down.” We don’t tell them that, but it’s one of these things where people just naturally, like I’ve had guys come on and say “this week I struggled a little bit” but then what happen they develop this team mentality. The encouragement’s huge because let’s be honest – porn is one of those really shame-ridden addictions. We are always kicking all our own asses all the time. Can I say that?
Stephen: Oh yeah.
Carl: Okay. But I mean we’re always getting our teeth kicked in, whether it’s by sometimes our spouse or whatever. But honestly, some of the people that are hardest on us are ourselves. We don’t give ourselves any grace. It’s good to hear from somebody else other than your buddy who you say “you’re my buddy. What else are you going to say?” That “hey man, this doesn’t define you. You’re still a good person. You’re still okay.” This is something we got to get rid off but it doesn’t lessen who you are. That’s not your identity. And also obviously the support is huge because there’s going to be those times where you really need it. You can learn from your peers. Sometimes you’ll see guys in group, they’ll hear from somebody else like “I never really thought of that” something simple like in Twitter because they see an image and then someone else in the group says “I just got rid of Twitter and it’s been better” and they go “oh I never really thought of that.” Like really stupid, simple things, but you’d be surprise. Some people need to hear it from somebody else where they say again. You’re decompressing these things. You get a chance to just kind of be you. One of the things about porn is like, at least what we tell people, is a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’re trying to be something we’re not and we’re trying to meet people’s expectations so we get all stressed out and that drives us to use porn sometimes because we’re trying to release the stress from trying to be somebody who we’re not. But in these groups, you can just be you. In my pastor’s group, when I get a new guy come in, I tell him. I say “hey man, I know this is a group for pastors, but please do me a favor – forget you’re a freaking pastor. I don’t want to hear any pastor-y talk. I don’t want to hear any church lingo. If your day was crap…” I actually would say if your day was shit, well whatever. I said “don’t put the pastor’s spin on it. Just be real. We’re not going to judge you.” For these guys, especially pastors, that’s huge. They’re like “wow! This is the only place I know where I can just be me.
I think community is super important for all those reasons and more. It’s biblical too. Ecclesiastes 4 it says, this is a really awful paraphrase. This is not like seminary-approved by any stretch of the imagination, but it basically says the guys who falls by himself, he’s in bad shape. But the guy that has a brother has someone to pick him up. That’s huge. It’s like I’m not in this by myself, so when I have a bad day, I got brothers I can fall back on who are going to help me out of this. I’m not stranded. For me that’s huge and I think that’s something that is honestly missing for a lot of people and a lot of people’s lives because it’s like that last thing. They get the accountability, but the hardest thing for a lot of guys to do is just step out and get into a community and just say “hey man, here it is. This is who I am. This is where I am and this is where I want to be.
Stephen: That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing that, Carl. Tell people where they can find you online.
Carl: X3groups is actually a part of XXXChurch Ministry, so best thing to do is go to XXXChurch.com. We have plenty of resources on there for men, women, spouses, parents, couples, everything from not only just to help with porn addiction or porn addiction recovery, but also like parenting, keeping the kids off porn, better marriages. We just released the course called Best Sex Life Now, which just help married couples find out what really great sex is supposed to look like. But X3groups, like I said that’s our small group recovery program. It’s a monthly thing. You meet every week though via video chat, kind of like right there at x3groups.com. That’s the website for that to sign up.
Stephen: Awesome. Thanks again, Carl. I appreciate your time and love what you’re doing. Keep up the good work.
Carl: Thanks man, appreciate it.
Stephen: Alright, see you later.
Carl: See you.