/ By Brandon McDonald

I can’t tell you how many times in my own experience with pornography addiction I’ve felt trapped. Stuck. Hopeless. I spent 26 years spinning my wheels in my addiction. Investing that much time and energy into anything will make you believe that it is a permanent part of yourself. When it’s something you don’t want, like an addiction that could tear your life, career or family apart at any moment, it’s easy to lose any sense of hope. In the early years, I constantly asked myself, “Is there hope for me to overcome pornography addiction?” Then as time went on, I just stopped asking that question because I had convinced myself that there was no hope.

I got to the point where my addictive behaviors became increasingly more self-destructive. That’s just the nature of addiction. I was disconnected from my wife, kids, friends, myself, and especially my Higher Power. I mean, if God couldn’t help me out of my addiction, who could? I had asked God so many times to take away my addiction that I just stopped asking and gave up on Him.


What I’ve since come to realize is that there are people who find the humility to come to God on their own, and there are those who need to be humbled to find Him. In my case, it was the threat of losing everything important to me in this life that brought me back to Him. What I know now, that I didn’t know then, was that God works miracles through other people. And I had never reached out to get help from someone else. I was too ashamed, too prideful, too scared to ask for help.


How I Finally Found Help


It’s no exaggeration to say that the most important three words I ever uttered were, “I need help.” I was finally fed up with the double life I had been living, trying to hide my addiction from my wife, pretending to be someone I wasn’t. Pornography addiction is a cancer that undermines ones ability to have integrity, to be honest, or to feel any form of self-love. 


When I realized that I couldn’t overcome it on my own and I needed to get real professional help, it was the most freeing sensation. The problem was, I didn’t know there were actually professionals out there who specialized in treating pornography addiction. I had seen several therapists for anxiety and depression who didn’t believe that my pornography usage was a problem. I wish one of them had directed me to a porn addiction rehab, or even just a CSAT trained therapist (CSAT stands for certified sexual addiction therapist). Having multiple therapists tell me that my pornography usage wasn’t a problem was very invalidating because it felt like a very real problem to me.


Eventually my wife and I both found Desert Solace, separately, on the same day. She was on the phone with Jerri Jorgensen (who co-founded Desert Solace with her husband, Mark, after they went through their own experience with recovery from pornography addiction), when I sent her a text message with a link to Desert Solace’s website and told her that we should look into the program.


Everything about Desert Solace seemed like a good fit for us. The clinical director, Courtney Lyman, specializes in treating men with sexual and pornography addictions and is a CSAT. The owners both seemed to care about us as people when the other sexual addiction treatment centers we called treated us like just another number. That made the choice to go to Desert Solace pretty easy.


Feeling Hope for the First Time in Decades


I was super scared during the few days leading up to entering treatment at Desert Solace. I had no idea what to expect. Would I be digging holes in the desert during my free time? Would electroshock therapy be involved? How were they supposed to cure me of something that I had struggled with on my own for 26 years? What if it didn’t work?


As I walked through the front doors of Desert Solace all of those fears fell away. I can’t describe the feeling of hope that overcame me. I knew in my heart that if I was going to find freedom from my pornography addiction, it would be at Desert Solace, and I was willing to do whatever those people told me to do.


Hope in Recovery from Pornography Addiction


It’s been almost four years since I stepped foot in Desert Solace for the first time. I now spend my days trying to help other men find the same freedom from pornography that I have found. I’ve had my ups and downs over the past few years in recovery, but I can say without a doubt that finding Desert Solace saved my marriage and my family, which are the only things that really matter to me.


If you’re reading this post, chances are you are feeling as hopeless as I felt and you’re wondering if there’s any hope out there for you. I can tell you that there is. I’m not a special case. If I can find freedom from addiction then you can too. But that comes with a catch. You just have to find a little bit of courage to say three words that will change your life forever: “I need help.”