Project Recovery: Utah man moves forward after years of pornography addiction
A lack of communication coupled with a surging curiosity had Jason Mauchley holding on to a dark secret — he was addicted to pornography.
Mauchley was 26-years-old and on the verge of celebrating one of the greatest days of his life. He was about to marry the woman he had fallen in love with and begin a new phase of their lives.
The day before they were to be wed, his father gave him, “the talk”. Unfortunately for Jason, it was fifteen years too late.
Growing up with no one to talk to
Jason recounts when he started to become curious about sexual images. “It started in 8th grade. Just going through puberty and not really knowing what was going on. I didn’t feel comfortable talking to parents or anybody about things. My sex education consisted of what they teach you at school in 5th grade,” Jason said.
His obsession began with women’s clothing catalogs but quickly moved to “inappropriate” shows on television. Jason decided to tell his parents one year after spending more and more time with such television programming.
He says that they’d already put the pieces together. They just never spoke to Jason about their suspicions.
“They always expressed love and made me feel like ‘I’m not a bad person because I’m doing this.’ I’m just making a choice that needs to be changed,” he said.
So, that’s what he did. Jason started to set goals that could help him get rid of his addiction. But his decision to get better came with heavy emotional stress.
“Once I realized what I was doing was wrong, I definitely wanted to do better and make that change, Jason said. “But then I also felt that if I’m doing this, then that makes me a bad person,” he added.
How curiosity led to a pornography addiction
Jason says that, initially, his addiction was experimental. But then it changed to a full-fledged drug of choice. He would use pornography as an outlet whenever he felt stress, anger, or even boredom. When he looks back on it now, he says he understands where those feelings came from.
“I realized that pornography is just like any other addiction. It’s just a symptom of something else that’s going on in your life.
“I, emotionally, was not handling my life well,” Jason said. He felt alone. He says that, from his perspective, he didn’t have a lot of people that he could talk to, openly. So, Jason never talked about his feelings even though this period in his life was when he needed help the most. His addiction became so bad that he would look at pornography every day, sometimes a couple of times a day.
That’s when he knew it was time to make a change.
Overcoming Jason’s pornography addiction
Jason was introduced to LifeStar, a mental health clinic focused on “sexual compulsion, marriage, and individual counseling”. He would spend the next three years in and out of meetings — breaking down his triggers, allowing him to understand his behaviors behind the addiction, and, finally, becoming able to express what he was feeling.
He had the chance to speak to people who understood what he was going through, and he says that was enlightening.
“It makes you feel like you’re not alone. Everybody has something they’re dealing with and it’s a lot more common than you think,” Jason said.
After committing to getting better, Jason says he is no longer suffering from an addiction to pornography. He is also more grateful after treatment because he is now able to look at the positives in life and not dwell on the negatives.
“Being in the addiction and having that shame that’s already there, you’re already thinking that you’re a worthless, bad person.
“That hurt and those negative things are always on the surface there,” he said. “There are all these good things that happened in your life. [Therapy] can help you remove some of that shame and see that you are a good person and still have done good things in your life.”
Jason says he knows there are many other people who may struggle with a pornography addiction but he has this advice. “Just know that you’re not alone … there are people out there that love you,” he said. “You’ve got to be brave and reach out to them and tell them you need help.”
Listen to the entire episode below
For more information on pornography addiction or if you or someone you know is struggling, you can find more information on Facebook and on KSL TV. To hear more from Casey Scott and Dr. Matt Woolley, you can listen below or subscribe to the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get major podcasts.