6 STEPS TO RECOVERY FROM PORN ADDICTION

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1 6 STEPS TO RECOVERY FROM PORN ADDICTION By Andre Radmall

2 6 STEPS TO RECOVERY FROM PORN ADDICTION This ebook is written in response to a growing trend in pornography use. A recent survey in the UK showed that 97% of young men between had viewed porn. Although increasingly socially acceptable porn use has been shown to be implicated in divorce, symptoms of male impotence, depression, anxiety, shame and guilt. An increasing number of people both male and female are unable to give up watching porn. This is an epidemic that because of the shame and guilt kept hidden. The effects can be toxic to self esteem but also to the intimate aspects of relationships. Many women (and increasingly men) feel betrayed and diminished by their partners use of porn. In particular they feel it is impossible to measure up to the glossy perfection of porn stars. For the porn user sex within a loving relationship can simply deteriorate to being like bad porn. So here are 6 steps to take to break the habit of porn use.

3 Step One You are not who you thought you were. One of the problems with addiction is that the addiction can define a person s identity. However popular, successful or talented a person is they have a deep rooted sense that they are weak and a failure. This is because the addiction and all that goes with it has defined them. A key principle of recovery is to build up a strong awareness of who you are as a person without being addicted. The miracle question. This is a question that many therapists use. Imagine that you wake up tomorrow and you are no longer addicted. What kind of day would you be living? What would you do that you currently don t? More specifically, imagine how you would feel. How would you relate to others without the shadow of porn in the background. If it s hard to do this exercise of imagining life without porn there is a good reason for that. Porn corrodes a person s ability to think for themselves. Like other addictive substances porn floods the brain with adrenaline and dopamine to such an extent that the thinking process is overwhelmed by feelings. To start to heal this it is useful to write down 6 things about yourself that gives you a sense of hope and positivity. Most people find it hard to bring these thoughts to mind when feeling bad so its important to write these down and keep them on you. These act as a reality check. Another helpful way to keep the rational mind switched on is to simply ask the question, What would be best for me? several times a day. Porn may seem at the time to be a good option. However if you can practice thinking about and looking after your needs then you are in a stronger position to deal with those impulses.

4 Step Two Face the problem. It is worse than you think. The problem is that you have an addiction that is out of control and your best efforts have failed to solve it. The first step of the 12 step program is to accept that you are powerless over your addiction. This is harder than it seems as addicts have an inbuilt belief that if they just tried harder or became more informed or DID something then they could somehow solve the problem, alone. Accepting that the problem is indeed eroding and corrupting life, relationships and peace of mind is a difficult but necessary first step to take. Task: To increase your awareness of how porn is affecting you, write down a list of all the consequences of looking at porn. If you don t think there are any consequences then you are not ready to stop being an addict. Porn can have subtle effects such as producing feelings of guilt, tiredness form staying up late, depression, anxiety and an inability to hold down a relationship. To help you get started you may want to think about how porn has affected: Self - esteem Energy level s Use of time The intimacy in a relationship with partner and openness toward friends Be aware that this can be a difficult exercise but it is an important reality check to really face the consequences of porn use. Without doing this it is harder to move forward.

5 Thomas Jefferson

6 Step three Panic room A panic room is a secure place that a person can retreat into when under threat. When the door locks, noone can get in. It may be a space that s much smaller than the person is used to living in but as a temporary safety measure it works. If you are in the early stages of coming out of a porn addiction then you need a safe room. Once again, remember the motto from step one, It s worse than you think. People can go for many years bouncing between addiction and recovery because they don t get this step right. If the addicted brain is going to recover from the repeated onslaught of pornographic material and the huge chemical high this creates it needs a period of detox. That means a period in the panic room. 30 days is a good start. This means as far as is practical shutting down all contact with porn. It doesn t mean staying outside the panic room and praying it doesn t happen again. It will Also remember that these panic room tactics are not going to resolve the causes of porn addiction. But they do clear some space for the deeper work to begin. Let s get specific. In today s world it may be impossible not to have access to a computer. But if you can, then give your computer to someone else for a period of time. If you have to use a computer load Covenant Eyes onto all computers you have access to. This is a program which sends a report on all websites accessed to an accountability partner. If you have a phone with Internet access then swap it for a cheap phone that doesn t and put the smart phone somewhere you can t get it. In my experience many porn addicts have systems in place for stopping them access porn on the computer but not the phone. Part of being in the panic room is stopping the activities that you KNOW will trigger a porn binge. A classic example is staying up late at night, alone and cruising the channels on the TV with the remote. Other common triggers are being Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, and awareness of any of these should cause the addict to HALT

7 Step four Show up and do the work Now that you have faced up to how bad a problem you have with porn and got into the panic room its time to work at more depth. I believe that to come out of porn addiction a new way of managing chaotic emotions has to be learned. Key emotions that lie just below the surface for an addict are fear, anger, resentment and anxiety. The first step toward managing these feelings is self awareness. Porn addicts usually have reduced awareness of feelings as they are using porn to numb out painful emotion. When the addict does start to become aware of their feelings they can be very self - hating and judgemental. This means they don t tend to have much dialogue with their often chaotic and messy feelings. Learning to relate to oneself with compassion and empathy is crucial to recovery. Brene Brown has spoken eloquently about this. There are various ways of raising self - awareness. In my recovery program and individual consultations I talk about this in more depth. One way to get started though is to write every morning. To do this requires no skill, it s an exercise for your own benefit. What you write is what the childlike part of you is feeling, resentments, fears, hatred, despair, joy, love, whatever is going on at the time. The key thing is not to judge what comes out onto the page. The next part of this exercise is to write what a loving response to the child s feelings may be. If you are a person of faith you may want to ask God to show you his response. The key here is that the God Response must be written in a tone of acceptance and love, even if you don t feel it. Like they say in AA, you sometimes have to fake it till you make it. It is often the opposite of what the emotions are saying. If the emotions being expressed are very negative try writing statements that are the opposite to them.

8 Saint Augustine

9 Step five Vulnerability, vulnerability, vulnerability No vulnerability, no recovery. Vulnerability means telling someone what you are struggling with. It means opening up to a trusted person or group. For example Sex Addicts Anon. There are also increasingly church based groups that address porn addiction. I am currently developing a recovery program that can be used with groups. Being vulnerable may mean seeing a counsellor, pastor or trusted friend. But in choosing who to speak to make sure they are trustworthy. One of the key drivers for porn addiction is a fear of vulnerability because it is seen as weakness. This is why I believe that opening up dialogue with a group or person is an essential (albeit painful) part of recovery. This step out of all four may be the hardest as it means enormous change. Rather than a lifestyle of secrecy and hiding whole areas of life behind a veil of shame there is vulnerability and openness.

10 Step six Its OK to get it wrong. This final step is crucial to all the other stages and needs to become a new habit for the recovering addict. Practice being kind to yourself. Most addicts are very punitive and self - judging. One way to check if you are like this is to observe the way you speak and the words you use. People with addiction tend to use extreme negative phrases like Its a disaster or I always knew it would go wrong or I always mess up. These negative thought patterns are very based in a self - critical mindset. The problem with this negative language is that it increases pressure and raises anxiety. This in turn creates an increased risk of using porn to reduce the build up of anxiety. Using positive and affirming language, even if you don t believe it can literally retrain your brain to function in a calmer and less stressed manner. Being kind to yourself is a life long skill that will help prevent a slide back into porn. And if there is a lapse remember its just a lapse and not a collapse

11 J.K. Rowling

12 Contact If you or anyone you know struggles with porn or sexual addiction, I'd love to talk with you. As a trained and accredited (UKCT) addiction psychotherapist, I'm available for face to face or Skype counselling. Everything you say will be be kept in the strictest of confidence, and we'll work together to help you find freedom. E: T: Designed by calebstorkey.com/agency

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