What I learned about confession after telling my Mum I struggled with porn

Telling my Mum I had sex before marriage and had struggled with a pornography addiction was the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

At the time this happened, I had already been on a long recovery journey. I found it fairly natural to share my story with friends and strangers, in fact, I was just about to launch The Grace Spot and tell the world.

But telling the woman who birthed, nurtured and raised you about your secret sex-fest of a life is kind of terrifying. No-one enjoys talking to their parents about sex. Let alone the mess I got myself into.

This messy conversation was a sharp reminder of the bravery it takes to confess your struggle, especially for the first time.

Here are six things I learned about sharing your struggle, from this experience:

1. Don’t do this on your own. Ask God for help. Heck, don’t just ask for help, ask him to take over the whole conversation and make you a flaming beacon of courage! He has the power to bring you peace, wisdom and bravery. He can also work in the life of your chosen confidant to prepare them to hear you, and set up the perfect time for that conversation to happen. Even before you tell a human soul, you don’t have to do this alone.

2. You must decidedly choose to share. It takes resolve. There’s no point in halfhearted decisions or twisted truths. You simply cannot defeat sexual addiction alone, and you must honestly share with at least one person. No matter how long you’ve protected this secret, it needs to be unravelled.

3. Tell the right people. The person you confess to must be trusted. Seek out a close friend, family member, church leader, teacher or other mentor. You might have a close companion of the opposite sex, but for accountability and sharing purposes, it’s best to find someone of the same sex.

If you are in a relationship, your partner needs to know as well as a trusted woman on the outside. In your heart, you probably know who else needs to know. For me, it was my Mum. I lived in denial for some time, but I finally realised it was the missing piece to my healing.

4. You need a plan. This isn’t something that’s going to naturally pop up while you’re hanging out, having tea or at the beach. You must be intentional about sharing. If you wait for the ‘right moment’ to arise, you will remain silent forever.

5. It’s okay to cry. This level of vulnerability is unfamiliar, and frightening. Inviting someone into your journey and sharing the burden can be such a relief, your body doesn’t know what to do with itself. Have tissues on hand, and allow yourself to weep as long as you need. These tears are healing. You may be teary for several hours, or days, this is normal.

6. Take care of yourself. The process of sharing your struggle, from beginning to end is physically and emotionally exhausting. Nervous energy, Adrenalin, tension and stress all take a toll on the body and mind. You may find it difficult to eat, concentrate or function normally in the lead-up to speaking your confession. Acknowledge this, and be gentle with yourself following the conversation. Make sure you carve out space in the following week to mentally and physically rest. You need time to recover, and it doesn’t hurt to treat yourself to something special to commemorate your courage and care for yourself.

Telling someone you struggle with pornography or sex is a courageous task. It’s frightening to be vulnerable, but it can be the most healing thing you ever do. When I finally shared with my Mum, she responded with gentleness and understanding. It was a liberating moment in our fragile relationship, and we were actually able to say ‘I love you’ for the first time in years. If I can tell Mrs Neaves, I believe you can tell someone, too.

Now, go and be brave.

1 thought on “What I learned about confession after telling my Mum I struggled with porn

Leave a Comment