Utah couple learned recovery from porn addiction is possible

Published: Friday, Sept. 24 2010 9:00 a.m. MDT

Today, 47 percent of families in the United States report that pornography is a problem in their home, according to the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families, an Ohio-based nonprofit organization working to promote Christian values.

It is no surprise considering the breadth and reach of pornography. According to Enough is Enough — a Virginia-based nonprofit organization formed in 1994 to make the Internet safer for children and families — worldwide pornography revenue is estimated to be more than $97 billion dollars, with $13 billion of that spent in the United States. The porn industry in the U.S. rakes in more money than ABC, NBC and CBS combined. Every second, 28,258 viewers are looking at pornography and 372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines. Every 39 minutes, a new pornographic video is made in the United States, according to Enough is Enough.

Todd Olson, a licensed clinical social worker and program director of the LifeSTAR network, said despite the gloomy statistics, there is great reason to hope.

"Recovery is possible if the person works hard, is transparent — which includes honesty — and they keep battling," Olson said.

Didn't speak about it

Steven Croshaw was about 6 years old when he first found a pornographic magazine in his brother's chest of drawers. "I remember very distinctly, when I found it I knew that it wasn't right, but I looked at it. It was something so different from anything I had ever experienced before."

Steven took the magazine to his mother. He told her where he found it. "She thanked me, I guess for giving it to her, but we didn't talk about it. It was something we never talked about, in fact."

After that he stumbled across other magazines. "I would look at them. That was the last time I ever gave them to my mother."

As he grew, Steven became more involved in pornography. "I occasionally spoke about it with friends who participated in the behavior. But I didn't speak about it with church leaders. I didn't speak about it with my teachers at school. It was just something I did privately."

Steven said the more he viewed pornography privately, the more he withdrew publicly.

Ultimately, he left college, found a job and moved to Montana.

That is where he met Rhyll.

"I brought into the marriage this behavior and I didn't tell my wife about it," he said.

A new reality

Donald L. Hilton, a medical doctor specializing in neurological surgery in San Antonio, Texas, is author of the book, "He Restoreth My Soul," a blend of scientific and spiritual advice for overcoming a pornography addiction.

"Can a person completely heal?" says Hilton, speaking of individuals devastated by pornography use. "The answer is unequivocally yes."

He calls pornography as addictive as any drug. "Is it destructive?" he said. "Absolutely."

Recent science, he added, has vindicated those who, for years, have noted that natural addictions, such as compulsive pornography use and drug addictions, behave the same. "Now we know that functionally and physically they are very much the same," he said.

"In the past we'd look at sexual addiction and say, 'Well, it's a behavioral thing we should just stop.' Why don't they stop? Why don't they think about it a little bit, change their behavior, pray harder and quit? Some are able to do that. But a majority find that, like a yo-yo, the forsaking part is very hard to accomplish and they go back."

That's because overcoming compulsive pornography often requires professional help, he said.

"Unfortunately, many who struggle with pornography and sexual addiction will go to multiple leaders and seek spiritual help and that's important but, with an addiction, it's not enough," he said.

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