“No.” The happiest word I’ve ever said

STF AdminFreedom, strengthtofight

By Josh Gilman

Two years ago today, my friends and family stood and cheered as it was announced “For the first time, Josh & Megan GILMAN!”

Since that time, my wonderful wife has absolutely been the best thing that has ever happened to me. Ten months after our wedding day we welcomed our first child and, lo and behold, it turns out Megan isn’t just an incredible wife, but a world class mother. Fast-forward to today and we have child number two on the way and Megan continues to be this incredible mother, wife, and my best friend through this insane year of launching Strength To Fight.

Not a stock photo. Those are our actual hands after getting engaged.

Not a stock photo. Those are our actual hands after getting engaged.

One “yes”, could have turned my current life into vapour. Nothing. My own version of It’s A Wonderful Life, where the world is a dark, hopeless dream, but unlike George Bailey, I wouldn’t wake up.

You see, well before we got to the point of exchanging vows, making promises, sharing our life, Megan asked me a question. It was after I had asked her to start a relationship, and before she agreed to do so. She had several questions she wanted to make sure we were on the same page on. There were a lot of good smart questions a girl should ask a guy before beginning a serious relationship, but one stood out. She asked, “Are you addicted to pornography?”

This is the part that makes me oh so happy. If she had asked me that question a few years earlier, I couldn’t have honestly answered anything besides “yes”. Frankly, if she had asked me that question any time between the ages of 14-24, I couldn’t have looked her in the eye and answered anything but the affirmative. And yet instead, here we were and I could tell her. “No. I was. I was a slave to pornography. But now I am free. It’s hold on me is gone. No, I am not addicted to pornography.”

Afterwards the incredible “what ifs” flooded my mind. What if I hadn’t reached that point where after years of hiding my struggle I never got to that point where I said “enough is enough” and brought it into the light? What if I hadn’t gone through that pain, and healing, the tears. What if after tasting freedom I had decided I didn’t want to keep fighting. That it wasn’t worth it? I would not have been able to answer “No.” And my darling Megan, who had seen what a relationship destroyed by porn looked like, would have walked away. (And that would have been the right thing to do*)

There are a lot of reasons to quit porn, and there are a lot of reasons why I have made it my life goal to fight it. But a big part of it, is my “no” moment. I know what it takes to get there. Even harder, I know what it takes to stay there. I want to help men and women around the world get to that place.

It doesn’t always end with a Megan. Everyone’s story is slightly different. Our lasting consequences of past actions play out in various ways. But everyone can have that moment where they can look back and think. “Wow. I’m so glad I could answer “No.”

Today, I’m not just grateful for who Megan is in my life, but I’m also so grateful of the reminder that she is to me of who I was, and who I am now.

To the men or women struggling with pornography today, I point to my life and say, “it’s possible.” It actually is possible. Keep fighting, as I need to fight. Every day. Victory is possible. Keep Fighting.

*While I would not counsel anyone to start a relationship with someone who is addicted (and not fighting) a porn addiction. This does not mean there isn’t hope for those already married or in a relationship. Healing is possible for everyone and every situation*