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Journey to Wholeness: Understanding 3 Stages of Porn Addiction Recovery

Updated: Jul 3

I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Vern Tompke, a Canadian pastor and coach for men struggling with porn behaviors. Our conversation was enlightening, and I'm eager to share the insights and practical advice we discussed about the journey of porn addiction recovery.



Welcoming Vern Tompke


It's always a joy to welcome Vern back to the program. His wisdom and experience, both as a pastor and as someone who has personally navigated the challenges of porn addiction, are invaluable. Vern's work, including his podcasts Finding Traction and Pastors on Porn, focuses on moving beyond the struggle with porn to embrace the life and relationships we all dream of.


The Three Stages of Porn Addiction Recovery


Our discussion centered on the three critical stages of recovery from porn addiction: breaking the habit, dealing with underlying issues, and recalibrating one's sexuality. Let's dive into each stage and explore the resources that can support you through this process.


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Stage One: Breaking the Habit



The first stage is all about stopping the destructive behaviors. It's about recognizing the problem and taking practical steps to break the cycle. This involves setting boundaries, using tools like Covenant Eyes for accountability, and re-engineering your environment to disrupt old habits and build new ones.


Recommended reads for this stage include Willpower Doesn't Work by Benjamin Hardy and Atomic Habits by James Clear.


Stage Two: Dealing with Underlying Issues


Once the habit is addressed, it's crucial to look deeper. Porn often serves as a solution to underlying issues such as pain, wounds, attachment issues, losses, trauma, and unmet needs. Recovery involves confronting these issues and leaning into healing. It's a continuous journey, but we're not alone. The Holy Spirit, along with a supportive community, can guide us through this healing process.


For further reading, consider The Thing Beneath the Thing by Steve Carter.


Stage Three: Recalibrating Sexuality


The final stage is about more than just abstaining from porn; it's about recalibrating how we view and engage with beauty and sexuality. It's about humanizing and dignifying others, moving beyond objectification, and fostering healthy interactions, especially within marriage. This stage is about living in the light, engaging in community, and maturing into a better reflection of God's image.


"This is all about rebuilding our sexuality, not built on pontification, but on seeing both men and women as made in the image of God."

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Embracing the Full Scope of Recovery


Vern and I discussed the importance of reframing our relationships with women and our approach to beauty. Recovery is not just about avoiding porn; it's about building real relationships, healthy social skills, and coping mechanisms. It's about stepping into the light of humanity and connecting in community, particularly within the body of Christ.


A Message of Hope and Encouragement


To all the men out there at various stages of recovery, know that there is hope. Seek God's guidance, be open to His gentle prodding, and embrace the restoration of confidence, clarity, peace, and joy in your relationships. Remember, we're here to support you in taking your next best step toward wholeness in Christ.


Resources and Support


For those looking for additional support, Vern's website and podcasts are fantastic resources. And, of course, I'm committed to helping you through Pure Sex Radio. Together, we can navigate the stages of recovery and move toward a life of freedom and fulfillment.


In closing, I want to remind you that recovery is a journey, not a destination. It's about continuous growth, healing, and transformation. So, let's walk this path together, supporting one another as we strive to live the lives we were meant to live—free from addiction and full of purpose.


Thank you for joining me on this journey, and I look forward to sharing more insights and encouragement with you in future episodes and blog posts. Stay strong, stay connected, and keep pressing on!


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