I grew up in a pastor's home. I had loving parents a 2 sisters who grew to love me. I remember when I was five I prayed with my mom to accept Jesus in to my heart. I really don't remember anything at that point. Looking back at my childhood it looked pretty good except when I was outside my parents influence. I would have friends at the age of 8 who would try to get me to smoke (that one I resisted) and play rather racy games of true and dare. I gave into a lot of it and would even try to hide it from my parents.
Around the age of 12 I remember computers were just starting to become a little bit more interesting to me and I discovered pornography. Now I know that people probably look at Men and boys today and probably don't think that men are capable of not looking at pornography. It has probably become what is expected and even encouraged in some circles in order to help men feel better about themselves. Only now research is starting to show that Pornography can have worse effects and addictive behavior than even cocaine or Heroin. Whatever the case may be I remember little by little being so entrenched in it that I would try to sneak away to places where I could get the Internet (yeah no smart phones at that time). I would avoid homework and studying at the expense of grades. Every night I would stay up till 3 in the morning watching TV. Pornography was all I could think about and thinking back, I don't know that I was a very nice person to be around at the time.
While this was all happening, I was still pretending to be the good church kid. I would help with Kids church. I would put overheads up for worship songs, I would try to do everything people expected of me. This gets to be very heavy after a while. You feel like you have to be the perfect church kid while wanting to live a different life. I did this for 3 years. At the age of 15 I was invited to go to a youth conference in Kirksville, MO. I remember going to this feeling like I had to get rid of this addiction. I couldn't bring myself to tell my dad, even though looking back I am pretty sure he knew.
The first night of the conference, I don't remember what the preacher was talking about, but I do remember what happened at the end of his message. He yelled out, "If you have ever been addicted to pornography then you need to run up here right now!" I don't know what I was thinking. I know that I wanted so badly not to be living a lie anymore. I knew that what I was doing was hurting me. I couldn't even help it. I ran up to the front of the room without hesitation.
For the next 45 minutes, I don't remember doing anything but crying. I remember begging God to set me free from this addiction. For those of you thinking that I had an emotional experience, I completely quit watching pornography of any kind after this moment. Addictions that involve brain chemistry such as this one are not so easy to break. Some would look at this and say, good job, you made a strong effort and succeeded. The only problem is that I had been trying to do this for at least 2 years without success. This was Jesus who set me free. I went home and told my church and my dad about my freedom.
Though it took a little bit of time for me to catch on, I started spending time in prayer and reading the bible. I wasn't doing this because I was told to. You couldn't keep me away from it. Years past. I had different times where I doubted and other times where there was no doubt in my mind.
Now that I am married, 28 years old with a family of my own having been through college, had the opportunity to reject God if I wanted to, He has become my best friend. Its not ethereal. Its not because a religion dictates what I believe. Its because Jesus changed who I am and actually created a future for me where my wife and daughter can trust me. Along with that I am in a position to help people like me who don't know how to escape addictions like pornography.
Since then I have prayed for a completely blind man and his site came back to him. I have seen a man who was clinically dead come back to life. I have seen my wife who was raised in an abusive family come to know Jesus and quit drugs completely overnight. Yes I have seen a lot of things that are unmistakably supernatural and happened because there was someone (sometimes me, sometimes someone else) who prayed for God to do something. But I will never give up my faith because, Jesus is my personal friend. We talk on a regular basis.