OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoman, who spent decades struggling with a deep, dark secret addiction, has now come forward hoping to help others fighting the same urge. It was no street drug, meth or alcohol he was battling, but one hidden in the shadows.
“I didn’t know a way out,” said Jerry Wright. “I had thoughts of suicide.”
It took him 50 years to get out of what he calls a prison. The son of an alcoholic, Wright grew up wanting to take a different path.
Wright said, “I always told myself I wouldn’t become an alcoholic and I didn’t. I just chose a different poison.”
His poison was pornography.
It started at a very young age after he found his dad’s stash of “dirty” magazines.
Wright said, “At nine-years-old, I didn’t really know what I was looking at, but it had an impact. It just really changed something inside of me.”
The internet eventually replaced magazines, making that first peek just a click away.
Josh Nichols is a family therapist who is currently training to help those, like Wright, with sex addiction.
Nichols said, “The youngest I’ve heard is about five.”
He says children, especially those between the ages of four and eight, are incredibly susceptible to pornography addiction.”
“There’s some research out there suggesting that when children view it at that age it releases the same amount of chemicals in the brain that you would get if you were on crystal meth,” Josh Nichols says. “It kind of rewires the brain and makes that person pretty much fertile ground for addiction.”
Wright said, “I had this deep dark secret that I kept from everyone.”
After decades of shame and fear Wright decided to shine a bright light on his dark secret. He wrote a book called “My Father’s Stash,” sharing his struggle and how he broke the chains of his addiction to pornography.
Wright said, “One of the clear commands God gave me was to talk about this.”
It’s a mission he says comes from the Bible, specifically James 5:16 which commands Christians to confess their sins to each other.
Wright said, “When I was in the midst of my addiction I thought I was the only guy struggling this way.”
He’s learned he’s not alone. In his book, Wright talks about how he overcame addiction through a 12 step program. He also sought out one of only a handful of sex addiction therapists in the state and now uses computer accountability software.
Wright said, “An unprotected computer was one of my major risk factors.”
While he’s made incredible progress, he says one thing that makes recovery from pornography addiction so challenging is that our society is so “sexualized.”
Wright said, “There’s temptation all around you. It might be the lady walking down an aisle in an inappropriate outfit, it may be the magazine on the shelf.”
Jerry now shares his struggle with everyone he can, wanting to let others know there is a way out of the darkness.
Experts say this is not only an addiction facing men, but there is a growing number of women who are also battling pornography addiction.