Stop it Now - case study

When John had the knock on his door in 2015 he knew exactly why the police had come round to his home in North West Wales.

His computer was seized, he was arrested and his family instantly turned their backs on him.

John is not making any excuses for his behaviour, after he was charged with downloading indecent images, but having had a difficult childhood, he admits he was an alcoholic and suffered from anxiety.

“I was abused by my father, my mother attempted suicide and I was always an outsider who found it difficult to maintain friendships.  So when at the age of 12 I discovered alcohol, it was magical because it helped with my anxiety and allowed me to fit in.”

John had also been interested in pornographic magazines from a young age after being exposed to them by his father, but when he was in his first year at university the internet was taking off and he immediately started looking at porn online.

“I know I am an addict deep down. Looking at porn gave me an instant fix and I became addicted. I would get drunk and masturbate. I could be driving in my job and I would even pull over at services when I was driving as I needed to relive my stress. I realised it was bad behaviour and that it was affecting my life.”

John thought meeting a girl, getting married and having a family would solve all his problems, he even went to chapel, got confirmed and enrolled on the Alpha course. But he could not stop himself.

“I was on anti-depressants, drinking vodka and secretly looking at porn. I felt lost, had no hope for a future and was dead inside.”

As time passed John, a professional man, admits to moving onto extreme porn in order to satisfy his addiction.

“It freaked me out, I knew it was wrong and I was waiting for the police to come and kick my door down, but as time went on the barrier just wore down. I didn’t care, I had no fear,” he said, admitting that he carried his fix on a memory stick.

When the police finally came round he initially denied everything. He admits he had no remorse, no fear and selfishly did not care. He felt suicide was the only option, once he had been released with bail conditions not to return to his home, as he believed it would stop the investigation and would save his family. 

But while in a hotel room a close relative paid him a visit, telling him that he was not the only family member who had been abused as a child. He realised he was not alone and found hope. He decided that suicide wouldn’t stop the pain, but only move it to someone else.

It was from there that he had strength to call the number on the Lucy Faithful Foundation leaflet he had been handed as he left the police station.

“I was consumed with self-pity. I had lost everything, but I had found hope that I could recover and I was determined to show everyone that I wanted to tackle my behaviour. I embraced the fact that I needed to be honest.”

“The gentleman I spoke to at Lucy Faithful understood I was a broken human being, not evil as I had come to think because of my actions.”

He suggested that I try to start to understand my behaviour by reading a book ‘The Porn Trap,’ before I began the course.

“Porn is not the problem, it’s me that had the problem and I know that society would prefer to live next door to a convicted murderer than a paedophile, but the people at the Lucy Faithful Foundation spoke to me like a human being. They helped me understand what I was addicted to.”

John went on the courses, did his homework and eventually appeared before the court where he was convicted of several online sex offences.

Now, a few years on his life is back on track, he no longer requires medication, he does not drink, he has set up his own business and his family have accepted him back.

“I would sell my soul to take back everything I have done. I put my family through hell and by downloading indecent images of children helped support a horrific industry, but thanks to the Lucy Faithful Foundation I have taken positives out of what’s happened to me. I now get up happily every morning. I am no longer selfish and living in the past, I understand my triggers and can take action to avoid them. Hopefully I will never be in that position again.”

“A thought that often comes into my mind is that if my father had access to the internet during my abuse; would I have become one of those images? That’s a horrifying thought”

“I am in a good place, but I can imagine a lot aren’t. For me this behaviour revolved around out of control masturbation. If you are thinking about indulging in this behaviour I urge you to think about what you have before you destroy your life and your family’s life. What you are doing isn’t harmless and there is no way of hiding what you have done. I wish I had seen something like the ‘Stop it now’ campaign. Perhaps I would have asked for help, but you still have that chance get help and call the ‘Stop it Now’ helpline.’

You can call the confidential ‘Stop it Now’ helpline on 0808 1000900 or go to get.help.stopitnow.org.uk