WETZSTEIN: ‘Parasite’ of porn is persistent

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I recently spoke with a man who asked that I call him “Lee” from Kentucky. Lee had seen the new movie “Fireproof” and wanted to tell me his story about the “parasite” of pornography in his marriage.

Pornography and drinking had been part of Lee’s life since he was young. His divorced father had booze, magazines and videos lying around, and when Lee went there for court-ordered visits, “he’d go out partying and leave me home, and I would help myself” to the drinks and the latest hard-core images, Lee said.

College brought new experiences with porn. “College was freedom to me,” Lee said. “I could go into the dorm room, and close the door and watch whatever I wanted. There were no repercussions.”

A steady diet of pornography “warped me,” he said, because it “created illusions” about women and the world. But in 2002, at age 28, Lee married. He landed a prestigious job working with youth, went to church on Sundays and loved his wife.

But he continued to live a “double life,” with lots of drinking and lots of porn-viewing. He tried to stop but couldn’t. “On Sunday, I would say ‘No more,’ but on Monday, I would be right back at it.’”

In July 2007, “I just hit rock bottom,” Lee told me. He had sent a salacious e-mail to a teenage girl and was arrested. He went to court and, against legal advice, pleaded guilty and served two days in jail.

“I could have fought it,” Lee said, but sending the e-mail “was wrong, and I knew it.”

The arrest ripped open problems in his marriage and put him at a crossroads in life. “I knew it was time to get right with God,” he said.

Now, 15 months later, “life is greater than it’s ever been in my life,” said Lee, 34 and a father.

“Giving up alcohol was nothing,” he said. The urges to drink persisted for “about a month” and faded away.

Giving up pornography, however, has been a struggle.

“I do not have the Internet in my house anymore,” he said. He uses an “ancient” cell phone with no Internet access. He even dropped cable television for a while because erotic images kept popping up on entertainment channels like E! and VH1. He has cable today but blocks many channels.

Besides cutting porn and booze out of his life, Lee added in Promise Keepers meetings for men, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and lots of Bible studies. He meets with a man who is his “accountability partner” on porn, and Lee is the accountability partner for two other men.

He also assists in volunteer projects for the poor. “I am getting outside of myself for the first time in my life,” he said.

On the day we spoke, Lee said he had been sober “one year, two months and nine days.” “Sober” meant he hadn’t looked at any pornographic images.

A few weeks ago, Lee and his wife attended “Fireproof,” a movie about a life-and-death struggle to save a marriage. The film depicts pornography as a “parasite” in a marriage.

There is a dramatic scene in which the husband, played by Kirk Cameron, physically tackles his porn addiction. When that scene came on, “my wife reached over and squeezed my hand,” Lee said.

Lee’s advice to men struggling with pornography: “Get out now, before you hit bottom” and believe in a higher power.

“I don’t think you can beat it without God’s help,” he said.

Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at cwetzstein@washingtontimes.com.

About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.

Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...

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