Thursday, September 21, 2023
HomeEditorialsAn Ounce of Accountability Is Worth A Pound of Willpower

An Ounce of Accountability Is Worth A Pound of Willpower

A man struggling to lift a heavy weight.
Efforts to break a pornography habit or addiction based solely on willpower typically fail.

Breaking a bad habit or starting a good one involves a change in thinking. We will only say “no” to something that is easy and “yes” to something that is difficult when the benefits add up. A lot of people suffer serious consequences for their actions — or lack thereof — before they arrive at this conviction.

However, change is not just a function of the way we think (internal processes), but also a function of our environment (external processes). A lot of us have failed to change in an area because we focused too much attention on thinking differently and mustering extraordinary amounts of willpower, and not enough time on creating environments naturally conducive to success.

When scientists analyze people who appear to have tremendous self-control, it turns out those individuals aren’t all that different from those who are struggling. Instead, “disciplined” people are better at structuring their lives in a way that does not require heroic willpower and self-control. In other words, they spend less time in tempting situations.

James Clear in Atomic Habits

Establishing Accountability to Break a Pornography Habit or Addiction

Given the easy accessibility of pornography on the internet, a passive approach to breaking a pornography habit or addiction is destined to fail.

Porn is a silent vice. Unlike smoking, drinking, gambling, or doing drugs, porn often involves no paper trail, brokerage, supply chain, or social relationships. This makes porn particularly insidious.

Cultural Quote #184: The Silent Vice

An active approach, on the other hand, requires establishing proactive accountability with a trusted person or persons, not merely to confess relapses after the fact, but to check in regularly during the week and to reach out for support during moments of temptation.

I have been a part of churches where solid accountability was a given. In other contexts, I had to get creative. It may take effort to find an ideal accountability partner(s), but it’s a worthy priority since the success of everything else we do depends on it.

Porn Filters and Accountability Software to Break a Pornography Habit or Addiction

An active approach requires eliminating access to problematic content and increasing transparency. Software like Covenant Eyes (blocks explicit content), Accountable2You (sends detailed reports of internet usage to an accountability partner), and Lion (a free accountability browser with a reporting function), are designed with these goals in mind. Research the different services (Google “Best accountability software 2023”); find an arrangement that works for you; and invest a few dollars every month to radically increase your probability for success.

The best way to use porn filters is part of a comprehensive approach to ending your behavior with porn and masturbation. They aren’t a waste of time, when you know that they’re not the true solution to your problem. They are simply a deterrence—a short-term deterrence.

J.K. Emezi in Are Porn Filters a Waste of Time?

The goal of reboot/recovery is to become the kind of person who doesn’t need pornography and would make the right decision in any environment. However, human nature and the ongoing pitfalls of technology make accountability and internet filtering/reporting a universal necessity.

Obviously, as I continued to go along and get further into freedom, a level of clarity came to my mind. It was like I was seeing with new eyes. It was really because I had that accountability in place that I was able to get to that point of wanting to keep the freedom and never wanting to go back.

Brandon’s Battle Through The Firestorm of Porn

A lot of people, like Brandon, failed to achieve freedom in the area of sexual integrity until they established accountability. I can testify that the times where I had robust accountability in place were my most successful, and the times where I had flimsy accountability — or none, at all — were where I relapsed and spiraled the most.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17

Given the special challenges of modern life, the ancient wisdom of accountability is a first essential.

An intellectually curious millennial passionate about seeing people make healthy, informed choices about the moral direction of our lives. I got my B.S. from Georgetown University and my M.A. from The Ohio State University.

Leave a Reply

Editor's Picks