Most people who look at pornography have a reflex to hide what they’re doing. That’s because pornography, while highly intoxicating to the brain and body, creates a disconnect from oneself, from God, and from others. This disconnect produces a conflict of values and a negative view of self, which ultimately produces deep shame and self-loathing. The universal reaction to shame is to hide.
The disconnect from self happens first before the disconnect from others. In order to slide down the slope toward pornography consumption, an individual must start disconnecting from his feelings. Every individual I’ve worked with on their pornography addiction admits that they had to ignore or disconnect from their feelings in order to move forward with their behavior. Anytime we disconnect and do something we don’t consciously agree with, we have to hide from ourselves. Otherwise, it’s too painful to have it in front of us. If we hide from ourselves, we most certainly hide from others.
Dan Gray, a licensed clinical social worker, has stated, “Secrecy is the lifeblood of addiction”. Hiding drives addiction and makes it impossible for an individual to heal. I have great respect and admiration for the men and women who come forward to loved ones, church leaders, and attend groups and counseling in an effort to end the secrecy and open themselves up to healing and light.
Many individuals try and heal themselves first without telling anyone, thinking that they will then tell their loved ones once they’re “healed”. The only way out is through the path of disclosure and humbly admitting that there is a problem to those individuals who have been betrayed.
Although coming out of hiding is a difficult and scary first step, it is always followed with relief. Regardless of how the spouse, church leader, or loved one reacts, the relief will come knowing that the stress of hiding is over. Now the real recovery work can begin.