In the recovery/addiction counseling world there is an acronym all stugglers learn early on: HALT, which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired.

What we all learn is that whenever we experience one of more of those conditions, our vulnerability to our addiction, whatever that is, increases.

As i talked to my brother the other day, i learned that his recent struggle with porn — the soft variety — was fueled by Anger and Loneliness. He watched some movies he shouldn’t have. It was an escape, but he still had to return to his Anger and Loneliness when the movies ended.

But what really got us to the core issue of the Anger and Loneliness was the fact that i followed up with him because of a report i received from Covenant Eyes, which had some curious activity on it.

It  turned out that the report indicated he had visited a website which appeared to be a porn site, but wound up not being one. The conversation led us to the more serious stuff.

That’s the power of authentic accountability:  a person willing to ask the uncomfortable question and stick with the line of inquiry, and a person willing to open up and be honest.

The Anger and Loneliness had been really powerful over the course of the previous week, and my brother was taken somewhat off guard by them. Anger usually simmers in the heart of every porn user, whether he be an addict or just a consumer.  And Loneliness will open the door for porn at every opportunity.

When Anger and Loneliness are present, indulgence presents itself to me as something i deserve. And, because i am angry, i don’t care if it hurts anyone else. The isolation of Loneliness, coupled with the fact that we are designed for relationship, is a feeling i want to avoid as quickly as possible. And porn seems a suitable remedy. After all, it comes in a package labeled “Relationship.” Though it be a counterfeit, i willing take it as better than the alternative:  more isolation and a feeling of rejection.

But porn indulgence only worsens both Anger and Loneliness. Porn is, in every way, the opposite of what it seems to be. And what will soothe my Anger, and make me feel loved — as opposed to Lonely — is the infinite love of God; the purpose of my life in the larger Story He is writing, as shown to me through Jesus.

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