Hey, I’m Alice.
I’m a theology student from Wollongong, Australia. I'm twenty four years old, a floral-fanatic and lift heavy weights for fun. My favorite colour is turquoise and I'm a recovering porn addict.
It all began when I was just twelve years old. My family didn’t talk about sex or porn, at all. It was the ultimate no-go zone. So when I stumbled upon soft core porn one day (on good old dial-up internet), it started to fill in the blanks. I was intrigued. I spent the next few years hiding and feeding this secret habit. I knew it was something I probably shouldn’t be doing, but I didn’t have the words to know what I was doing. And it felt good.
Eventually, I became distracted by high school and real boys and left the habit behind to do regular teenage life.
...It didn't turn out to be the most regular teenage life, though.
By the time I was eighteen, I was deeply broken. Suffering PTSD and deep shame, I was a mess. And the perfect, vulnerable victim for an unhealthy, oppressive relationship.
He didn’t respect me. Or cherish me. He pressured me into having sex.
I could never live up to his porn fueled expectations. He made me well aware. I was humiliated and forced to change. I was never good enough. He made me feel incompetent, unworthy and useless. He confirmed the deepest fears I had about myself: I was not enough. I was unlovable. Not even good enough to have mindless sex with.
By the grace of God, we broke up.
But then, I had to seek answers.
Why was sex so terrible? What was wrong with me? What did I do wrong?! And what was an orgasm, for that matter?
I quickly rediscovered pornography in my seeking.
It taught me ‘what men wanted’ and what I ‘should’ look like and do. It showed me the full extent of my inadequacy, and I hoped I could use it to change myself.
More than this, it became a means of escape from the deep sense of shame and self-hatred that festered within me. The rush of dopamine made me feel alive for a few moments. It allowed me to feel in control when I felt lost and vulnerable. There was no risk of rejection or being told "Hey, you suck at this!"
My life became consumed with a combination of increasingly graphic porn, and a shame that covered every fiber of my being. I tried to stop. I couldn’t. I had become chemically and emotionally dependent. The shame grew heavier. And I ‘couldn’t’ tell anybody. Because, porn is a guy’s issue, right? I truly thought I was the only woman watching it, and struggling to stop. So I kept it my secret.
Until God gave me the opportunity to break free.
One unsuspecting night, in a hall of five hundred people, a preacher told a story about his childhood. He used to love catching frogs. He would tie a string around their leg and let them swim to freedom…or so they thought! He would yank them back into shore, and repeat this for hours and hours at a time. And that, is what began my journey to freedom and self-love. A little boy in a muddy frog pond in Africa!
From the pulpit, he looked directly at me and said “If Satan has a grip on your like this, if he keeps yanking you back into sin and shame when you think you’re free- come and receive prayer!”. I felt like I was struck by lightning and fell on the ground in unstoppable tears. I knew God knew my struggle, and I knew He wanted to heal me! And in a room of so many people, who would come and pray for me, but a woman I didn’t know, who didn't know my story, who had walked through porn addiction herself?
She encouraged me to confess and get accountable at all costs. I told a friend, and she surprised me by saying "me too! I thought I was alone!". So the long and arduous road to recovery began. And I had a friend to walk with me.
Getting free from porn hurt like hell. It took years of relapse and painful confessions. It took counselling, prayer, rigorous accountability, filtering software, bribery, tears and hard work. I had to deal with my PTSD and every wound that fed the intimacy disorder I had developed.
Throughout the mess, Jesus loved me. He never stopped showing me kindness, even at my darkest. His Holy Spirit showed me gentle and persistent love in unique and undeniable ways. He told me that He knew it all and still cherished me! He taught me that my struggle didn't hinder my femininity or worth. And as I received this love, my shame began to seep away. My intimacy with both God, and those around me was restored. This healing paved the way for me to use the tools I had to truly seek freedom.
It wasn't easy. Having God on your side doesn't instantly solve every problem. But it does mean you know grace. It does mean you are accepted and loved unconditionally, even in your most 'shameful' hour.
Today I am over one year free from porn.
And I finally know that I am actually so worth loving. I am valuable. I am known. I am cherished.
I am no longer a slave to shame. I have been restored.
Recovery is possible.
You are not alone.