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Model Student Overcomes Pornography Addiction

Jessica made sure her life looked perfect on the outside, but deep down she knew she needed help to escape the addiction that threatened to ruin her life. Read Transcript


(VOICEOVER): I didn't matter.

It didn't matter that I was hurting,

It didn't matter that I was struggling.

What mattered was the product.

In a way, what mattered was the performance.

NARRATOR: Jessica Harris spent her childhood

trying to live up to others expectations, especially

her parents.

JESSICA HARRIS: If I failed, if I didn't accomplish the goal,

or reached the standard, it was a disappointment.

So next time, you need to try harder.

This is unacceptable.

NARRATOR: At church she got the same impression about God.

I always felt like God just had these expectations for me.

And that the Bible was a list of rules

and God was just a list of rules,

and that is how you earned his love

and that is how you earned his favor.

And you mess up, you lose it.

It's kind of how I loved people.

How can I make you proud of me?

How do I make God happy?

How do I make my family happy?

How do I make my dad happy?

NARRATOR: When Jessica was seven,

her father walked out with no warning.

JESSICA HARRIS: I really felt like there was something

that I had done.

I had made him upset.

I had disappointed him and he doesn't love me.

My family was kind of like, let's just move on,

pretend it never happened.

And then I'm just frustrated living up

to all these expectations, and feeling

like I'm not good enough and wondering

why I'm not good enough.

Just a very, very bitter and angry,

angry child and teenager.

Just kind of bottled it all in, and just felt empty,

and like I didn't matter.

It led to a very empty, kind of joyless life for me.

NARRATOR: At 13, while she was online doing research

for school, on illicit video popped up.

When she tried to close it, it took her to a porn website.

She couldn't look away.

I think I watched the video because it's

a bit like watching a train wreck.

As much as you might not want to watch it, at the same time,

what happens next?

What is this?

I don't understand.

So there's an intrigue part of it.

NARRATOR: Then something else peaked her curiosity.

It was a chat room and she signed in.

went in there thinking, I'll just talk to these people

and just see what this is all about.

And it turned into men asking me to perform different things

for them just via chat, and I began

cybering, which is having chat room

sexual relations with people.

Then I have no clue what they're talking about.

So I'd have to go and research what

that was using search engines and things

and it just drew me further and further

into the world of pornography.

NARRATOR: At first, it was the attention and adoration

of those strangers that drew Jessica back again and again.

Here she was always wanted.

There is an escape.

And I can go on there and pretend that none of my life

is actually happening I can go on there

and pretend that my life is perfect, that I'm perfect.

I have it all together, and get acceptance and validation.

NARRATOR: Then it became more.

JESSICA HARRIS: And then eventually I

was just so like physically drawn to pornography.

Forget the chat rooms.

I'll just watch pornography myself.

It was kind of a release for me.

NARRATOR: By her senior year, she

was spending up to six hours a day online.

All the while still going to church

and being the model student.

JESSICA HARRIS: Now it's taken over my life.

Now it's starting to ruin my grades,

starting to ruin my dreams.

And I'm more ashamed of the fact that I let it get this far.

NARRATOR: Deep down she knew she needed help,

but to her, it wasn't an option.

JESSICA HARRIS: I'm so busy in school, in church,

at home, making sure everyone knows that I'm perfect

and making sure I meet all the rules.

Who am I going to tell because whoever I tell,

all of that perfection is going to come crashing down

and they're going to know.

I'm going to be the freak who watches porn.

There's no one safe to tell.

I had to do this myself.

NARRATOR: She tried to limit her time online, but couldn't.

It only made her feel like more of a failure.

JESSICA HARRIS: I would begin to just beat myself up.

I would take my head and bang it against the side of the bathtub

because I thought if I can make this hurt, I'll stop.

NARRATOR: But nothing worked.

She became valedictorian, but at her graduation,

she realized how meaningless her life had become.

had this revelation of my whole life is pornography

and that terrified me and I thought

no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

There has to be something else.

NARRATOR: After Jessica began college,

she attended the funeral of a girl she knew from school.

She was moved by the eulogy that spoke of her friend's love

for Christ.

I remember sitting there thinking, that's what I want.

I have given everything to try to make people happy

and to try to impress people.

And I could feel that, if I died, no one would care.

And I thought, that's not what I want.

Like, I want my life to matter.

I wanted to make a difference.

And if all it takes is loving Jesus, I can do that.

NARRATOR: Afterwards, Jessica knelt at the altar and prayed.

JESSICA HARRIS: If you can make something out of this mess,

you can do something with this.

It's yours.

Like, you can rewrite it from here.

NARRATOR: Still, she struggled with porn.

Then at a college women's Bible study, Jessica and the others

were encouraged to write down any sin

they needed help overcoming.

JESSICA HARRIS: And it was like God said, listen,

you've been waiting for a safe place to confess.

And all you have to do is write in your name

and that you're struggling with pornography.

So I wrote it out and I remember thinking

it was the biggest mistake of my life.

Like I walked away feeling so defeated

because I had just torn down that wall of perfection.

NARRATOR: But it didn't end the way Jessica feared.

A woman from the Bible study reached out and supported her.

Through prayer and several months of counseling,

Jessica overcame her addiction.

Today she's an author and speaker,

helping other women find their true worth in Christ.

And with God, It was just like there was hope

that my life had value and worth in and of itself,

not based on what I could do, or based on my brain,

or based on my body.

But just because he had given it.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

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