Cancer

medical-wasteSo I just deleted some hundred gigabytes of porn (probably that much — I didn’t count).

At least, what counts as porn for me. What I use as porn. In fact, photos of “models,” who blur the lines between “porn” and “art.”

But the important thing is that it’s gone.

It had been growing like a cancer for the past six or seven months. Even when I quit, I couldn’t bring myself to excise it. And it was always there, malignantly, ready to welcome me back the moment I slipped.

But it’s gone now. Lord, have mercy.

I feel a release. But I still have something I need to get rid of. Something not inherently bad, but nonetheless pathological: quite a stash of photos of pretty girls from Facebook. I am embarrassed to say how many or how much. It serves me no good purpose. It is sick to have it — how could I explain, as a man of God, having such a hoard? It is a constant temptation to fashion evil dolls — which, in fact, is the only real end it has ever served.

It is masturbatory. And even when it’s not, it fulfills the same need the porn does: to feel a sense of intimacy with someone, a connection, even if a false one. And the reason why I can’t delete them is because I do feel connected. I have grown attached to these girls. They are my “friends.”

I managed, after falling two too many times, to extricate myself from the “friendship” of my models. May this release be permanent and forever. May I find release from the rest of this, too, and when I return to this computer again, put an end to these “friendships,” too.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.

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The breaking point

breaking pointDay Zero?

I have probably said it before at some time in my life; I’m pretty sure I have, in fact. But I think I’m at the breaking point: at which either I have to change radically, or be utterly destroyed.

It has been a particularly violent week or two of struggle, and it’s growing ever more intense. I’m rising higher, having realizations and revelations, and then falling harder than I’ve ever fallen before. My new Lent has once again been dashed and thrashed against the rocks, again and again and again. Monday, after a particularly intimate Mass on Sunday and a resolute declaration to do better, to pray and fast and stand my ground — I was assaulted by one of the most orchestrated attacks I’ve ever seen. Computers crashing, programs not working properly, telephone ringing off the hook with telemarketers, weather alert radios going off incessantly, followed by fierce storms — my anxiety level through the roof. I fell in the face of it all too easily.

And the force of that fall. I lost all of Monday and all of Tuesday, literally every waking minute devoured by lust. I feel completely out of control. I brought to life another evil doll — my cannibalistic creation that, in pretending to be a girl on the Internet, preys on the longings for intimacy of other lonely men like myself. And it has been the most excruciating episode ever — to know the pain I am inflicting on others and mockery of love I am making.

And tonight I am crying myself to sleep. Not in so many years has the agony been this intense and this raw. Today I downloaded several talks by Matt Fradd and Jason Evert from Catholic Answers on pornography and chastity. And I weep. I heard a quote today, attributed online to Bishop Patrick O’Boyle, that “no one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary. Either he will give up the sin or he will give up the Rosary.” Lord, may this be true. Tonight I most truly offer my tears up to Heaven. I cast all my burdens upon the Lord, and offer my breaking heart to Him.

Our Lady of Purity, please pray for me. Saint Joseph, Protector of Virgins, please pray for me. Saint Agnes, my patroness, please pray for me.

When I am weak

jesus-heals-the-blind-manDay zero?

I am not doing well. I’ve been falling all over the place for the past week; entirely unable — or unwilling? — to stand. I did fall rather terribly not long after my last post. And I think nearly every day since. I went to Confession and to Mass on Sunday. That should have given me some strength. I lasted most of the day Monday, but rather intentionally led myself into temptation that night; I don’t have any excuse or anyone else to blame. I missed my toys and didn’t want to leave them alone.

There is often that feeling that I’m leaving them “alone” — that if I don’t spend time with them, they will be lonely, or else they’ll be going to waste. I have poured so much time and effort into them. The one project in particular — my collection of “models” — calls to me constantly as something unfinished that I have to finish. There are some two-thousand models that I’ve “collected” that have to be rated and filed.

I fell back into another project this week that I had abandoned for some months: a “collection” of “real” girls on Facebook that I had found and liked. This originally had the seedier purpose of finding “faces” for my “evil dolls” — girls I would animate and pretend to be online for my self-gratification. I’ve managed to stave off that temptation for the most part lately; just the “possessing” has been occupying my attention. The evil dolls always hurt someone else in their deception; and I do still have a heart.

I used to get up every morning and pray and read my Bible and have my devotions. The devil’s latest trick — and I do think this is the devil, or at least one of his lieutenants — is to pounce on me with temptation as soon as I roll out of bed, to distract me from having that time, my only source and strength and hope. This morning the dark one almost led me into much deeper and darker things than I’ve been involved with for a very long time — this was his plan — but thanks be to God, I was sidetracked by something in the end rather benign and blessed: celebrity crushes, on a pair of intoxicatingly beautiful and decent young actresses. It’s refreshing sometimes to remember that I’m not so deviant and lost as to be unaffected by the common attractions that affect young males all around the world.

I’m afraid I’m too weak to pull myself up today. The right thing to do, I know, is to drop what I’m doing and to put on sackcloth and ashes and to throw myself on the mercy of God; but I just don’t think I’m going to be able to do that today. These barbs are in me and pulling me along. Tomorrow — tomorrow I will go back. Tomorrow I have to go back. Because I’m obligated to go back. One strength of being Catholic — one reason I know I am where I’m supposed to be — is that I can never run very far. I’m always obligated to go back. I’ve heard some critics say that the weekly obligation of attending Mass on Sundays is an onerous and legalistic requirement; but it’s there for our own protection. The ability of some Protestants to say they’re not going to church one week because they “don’t feel like it” or “have other things to do” seems to me more a vulnerability and a curse than a blessing; more a sign of negligence and uncaring on the part of the church than it is a freedom. Tomorrow I will be back. I will go to Confession, and receive the Holy Eucharist, and my loving and merciful Jesus will forgive me for my sins, and pick me up and put me on my feet again. And if I only lean on His strength, I won’t be weak again.