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The Repenter
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« on: August 26, 2012, 04:48:27 AM »

i am not sure if here is the suitable section where i can post my topic, but anyway i will do so because i am really in need to hear your opinions . .

i am an orthodox christian, few years ago i began to take my faith seriously ...and so i discovered over years many of things concerning my Faith that made me more committed to it than before and i am very proud of being an Orthodox Christian

yet, i have some problems that face me and cannot overcome

when i was a teenager,i used to watch porno movies and masturbate , tell now i cannot get rid of such thing, i am frustrated and feel bad. every time i watch porno or masturbate i feel like that i am a traitor,  i cannot teach others about orthodoxy and "theosis" while i myself cannot lead a christian life, i feel like i am a hypocrite.



can anyone of you help me?  

by the way, i am not married 

thanks
« Last Edit: August 26, 2012, 04:51:41 AM by The Repenter » Logged
Justin Kissel
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2012, 06:53:20 AM »

Fwiw some things that have helped me... putting an icon above my computer; praying prayers like this when I even begin to think about something along these lines;  permanently deleting bookmarks and such even if I think I'll just look stuff up again; listening to more chant/Church music.
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Problem: John finds a spider under his bed. John eats the spider. John gets sick to his stomach.

Question: Why did John get sick?
alanscott
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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2012, 09:17:31 AM »

A brother came to see Abba Poemen and said to him, "Abba, I have many thoughts and they put me in danger." The old man led him outside and said to him, "Expand your chest and do not breathe in." He said, "I cannot do that."Then the old man said to him, "If you cannot do that, no more can you prevent thoughts from arising, but you can resist them."

I am not Orthodox and too often have lips of a fool so take my words for what they are worth:

God's grace is given freely to all as I understand. Even faith in Christ our Lord is ultimately by God's grace. Is it by our own resistance or by our striving to live in Christ that we overcome our passions? Should we focus on resisting temptation or focus on loving God with all our mind, body, heart, and soul thus opening our heart to receive the gift of Spirit that would leave no room for habitual sin, guilt, self indulgence, self reproach, etc. Orthodoxy has taught me that God did not take the form of flesh and blood to change our actions, but Christ our Lord came down to change the state of our soul thus our actions will change. He came to heal us. Praise God.

Forgive me for saying so, and I realize this is a sensitive subject, but consider speaking with your Priest or elders. I believe God is serious about sin, habitual sin causes a separation from God, but I'm not sure about the guilt and self reproach you may feel. I'm not sure God See's you as you see yourself. I fear these feelings come from else where to distract and hinder us from repentance. 

As Fr. Giryus said on this forum ‘You are not your thoughts’.

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There are heathens that live with more virtue than I. The devil himself believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Neither of these things truly makes me Christian.
Seraphim98
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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2012, 01:03:12 PM »

It's good advice to seek counsel of your priest.

Pragmatically though I think you might be facing a type of addiction.  In this case I don't mean to your "activities", but to the pleasure giving endorphins released in association with those activities.  When you've gone without a fix for too long you don't feel "normal", get antsy, get irritable, the mind keeps reaching for what makes it "feel better", your conscience and sense of guilt restrain you for a bit…but that turns to be little more than a dam for deep waters that eventually overwhelm your will with desire…so you give in…feel normal in your body again…but now the guilt and shame floods in behind it.

It's a favorite game of devils…tempt you ruthlessly until you capitulate then rub your nose in your weakness. The point is to either make you despair or become apathetic to it all…to cease caring about changing because it's just too darn difficult, so why bother.

The hook however to the temptation is your own endocrine system with it's "mr. feel good" chemicals that you can no more avoid/do away with  than you can erase your image from a mirror.

Our most powerful sex organ is not our genitalia, but our brains…that is what has to be dealt with first.

What you have to do is retrain your body and mind as to what "normal" feels like. You've got to break it's dependance on dopamine surges associated with sex. Either that or you need a miracle of healing. Miracles happen. But consider St. Mary of Egypt…she really struggled against her former urges in the desert for 17 years before she found peace…the same number of years she lived wantonly.

Sometimes we need the struggle…and there is grace in that…enough not to despair. We fall and get up, fall and get up, fall and get up, again and again.

So, again, pragmatically speaking the first thing to tackle is not masturbation per se, but the sexual ideation associated with it. Cut off the fantasies (porn is a fuel for them…but your imagination can be porn enough without any internet assist). If you find yourself compromised again with a twinged conscience in the middle of an online gazing session…rather than just recoil in guilt or ignore your conscience, take a positive step. Look at the eyes of the person you are fantasizing about…you will notice at least some of them have a "dead" gaze…they are exposing themselves because they think they have too, not because the want to. Pray for them, "Lord have mercy on Thy servant" recalling that they are there because you and those like you are in your chair watching. Your sins entwine…so there is no judgement, just a recognition in that moment you both need mercy…and given your situation, asking mercy for the other person is more generous of heart. When away from the computer screen and their faces and bodies come to mind…do the same thing, Lord have mercy on Thy servant. Make them a cause for prayer in your heart. Show them love…recognize their humanity…not just their visual utility. Pray for them.

The basic idea is to stop the fantasizing…cut off outside and imagination based sexual stimulation. It will take time to get it under control, weeks, perhaps months. As for the masturbation, though it is still a sin (and do discuss any counsel you receive with your priest) don't worry about that at the outset…do what you have to do as quickly as possible to get the chemicals in your system so that it "feels normal"  Right now you are working on breaking the chain of ideation and sexual fantasy. Give yourself a fast day or two for this (say Sat. and Sun) where you agree that no matter how uncomfortable you are you keep yourself for those days…no matter how restless, how sleepless, how anything…this discomfort, this struggle is the beginning of an offering to God. Other days do as you must, just don't engage in sex fantasies/programing…and when you catch yourself in them…don't do like the devils and beat yourself up…just stop, cross yourself "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me a sinner. Holy Lady Theotokos save us." and go on to something else.

After several weeks…a month or two of breaking the ideation chain…so that not fantasizing about sex feels normal…then you can work on the chemical side of the addiction proper. Start limiting the days/amounts of this activity you permit yourself…from several times a day to once a day, then to less and less days per week, then every other week…stage by stage, increment by increment, giving your body time…a few weeks to adjust and feel normal again at each step.  If you slip…stay on the previous step longer by a week or two, then proceed.

Eventually you will come to a place where your own biological mechanisms will take care of certain things and night emissions will take over every four to six weeks.  That is the bodily place you are aiming at.  When you get there you are close to home free, though you can never allow yourself to take up sexual fantasizing again…you will slip if you do and it will take some effort to reclaim lost time and territory, but it can be done…soon enough days free turns into week free and then into months and years free from this habit.

But that not the whole battle…there is still sleep where when the bodily time for emissions approaches it will often be with terribly explicit dreams.  This is normal..the froth of the past life coming to the surface. Don't beat yourself up about them…just turn to prayer for calming and cleansing. Commit your sleep to the Theotokos, and soon enough the dreams will loose their intensity, and eventually disappear.

I've read from various monastics and Saints that eventually even the emissions disappear for those who pursue a life of prayer and who cultivate the virtues as they cut off the vices…That's real priest and monastic counsel country there.

What I just told you will help…pragmatically. If you can find some spiritual font that breaks things free in you sooner…so much the better. But if not…consider treating it like an addiction to your own body's drugs.  Get free of the dealer (sexual ideation/fantasies), then kick the habit by bringing your needed 'dose' way down until autonomic body biology steps in…and proceed fully spiritually from there.




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