As men, we would appreciate receiving an instruction manual, something like “How to Live Each Day in Purity.” However, each situation is different and there is no one way out of the problem of impurity, masturbation or pornography. But are there some universal rules for everyday situations which you could recommend for those who are facing this problem?
First, it is worth considering therapy and support groups, looking into the considerable literature available on the subject, as well as numerous audiobooks (for example The 12-Step Program). Second, all cases of quick (immediate, even miraculous) treatments of addiction that I know of were tied to conversions. It is clear to me that each addiction is a failure of will – and a weak will is not enough to enable one to come out of it. An extraordinary measure is needed. What is needed is grace – the support of a community, a regular confessor, frequent participation in the Eucharist, prayer and adoration.
Do a Course on Purity
To free yourself from addiction, you must be prepared for a radical decision and a lengthy battle. The most important step in the path to happiness is to stop thinking of purity only in the sexual dimension but to extend it to the whole of the human experience. By this I mean living according to my nature, and thus to be myself and be the purest that my Creator and Saviour wanted me to be, for He knows me and loves me more than I do myself and is certainly wiser than I am.
In practice this means that the man – or woman – who is addicted must turn back mentally from the evil of impurity and start desiring purity “to the core.” He must admit to himself that while impurity gives momentary pleasure, it is permanently damaging and fundamentally despicable. It is destructive to people, as it inhibits their development, harms their lives and happiness, their interpersonal relations, and their marriage in particular. Impurity does not allow one to look lovingly at another person; it just debases the other person when you “undress them with your eyes.” One must then decide willingly to give up impure acts, images, speech, and thought until one has cleansed one’s subconscious of impure impulses.
For men who have a problem with purity, the key is regaining purity of sight
The dream of attaining purity must then be translated into concrete deeds. Good intentions are not enough. You have to force yourself to follow wisely planned actions that are good, and to avoid actions that are bad. It is also a good idea to come up with an appropriate and realistic punishment for any failure, and it has to be painful enough to dissuade one from committing the evil act. The subconscious has to come to the realization that the fleeting pleasure is not worth the pain of the punishment.