What is the Most Effective Strategy Against Porn Addiction?
The most effective personal strategy against porn addiction. Will vary depending on the individual, there are so many things that are going to be a source of strength for a given individual and it will vary.
There are so many factors that play into strategy but I’ll give you a couple of examples of things that can be a huge source of personal strength.
Strategy #1 – Accept Yourself
One thing that I find very important for clients is the idea that we can learn how to accept ourselves for who we are, imperfections and all. It’s very easy to get caught in the cycle of shame when it comes to addiction. In fact that’s why we call pornography the perfect poison.
The perfect poison for keeping the addiction to pornography going, in most cases is shame. Shame is such a very profound human emotion, among the deepest emotions that we can possibly feel.
Shame is so profound that it can detract us from our goals, it can help us – or I shouldn’t say help but it can cause us to feel hopeless, unmotivated, it can encourage us to remain in a state of I guess what we’d call lack of change or homeostasis, is the therapeutic term for it. We stay in that cycle because we don’t believe we could ever break free from that.
The Devastation of Shame
One of the strongest elements that is involved in any addiction and keeps fueling the flame of addiction like adding kerosene to an ember is Shame. Shame can be used for quick, immediate change, which is what a lot of parents may use without knowing it; however, the changes are not lasting. Shame only drives the addiction deeper and more internal and causes the addict to shut down.
The Power of Guilt
Now, Initially one might think, well shame and guilt are essentially the same things, the same emotion. There are some similarities in terms of how you feel. You feel bad, right?
You feel something negative, in terms of behavior. But, while shame, as I just said encourages hopelessness, self-doubt, a lack of motivation, even a lack of responsibility, on the other hand, guilt can actually be a helpful feeling because while we recognize something is unwanted and is a negative in our life, we also believe that we can change.
Strategy #2 – Belief & ability to change
We must believe that we have the abilities to have a change which is very powerful. It can be very encouraging. It can be very hopeful.
My belief is that the reason why you are here reading and/or watching this today is that you want to believe that it is possible to overcome some of these challenges in your life.
I’m here to tell you that it is very possible.
There are many people that have experienced wonderful changes in their lives, have found great peace because of a personal strategy, like simply working on the difference between shame and guilt.
Start here, start by telling yourself:
“I’m going to work on not shaming myself, not telling myself I’m such a terrible person for what I’m doing but instead, acknowledging I want to make a change”.
Acknowledge the reality of unwanted behavior in your life and simply make a decision that it’s not going to hold you back, that you’re going to move forward.
This is easier said than done and it’s NOT easy.
Certainly, there are steps along the way and – Recovery is a process.
This process is something that is long-term. In fact, most would consider that recovery in itself is a lifelong process of managing behavior.
There’s no official graduation from a certain kind of behavior, especially when it comes to sexual addiction. Because the sexual drive within us is part of who we are, sexual beings by nature.
It’s a natural human instinct. It doesn’t go away. It’s not meant to go away. How grateful we are for it!
We want to manage these feelings and triggers and that is definitely a big part of the recovery aspect.
I think a personal strategy is very effective combatting addiction to pornography.
I think working really hard to see the difference between shame and guilt and allowing yourself the chance to feel good about yourself and recovery is a huge part of that.
Strategies & support
Another good strategy is to have good support in place. Support that is going to be there for you while on this road of recovery, support that will be there to listen to you and not kick you when you’re down.
Recognize, this road takes a while to travel on and that it’s a process it’s not just a step or an event.
Examples of individuals for support are a spouse, a significant other, a loved one, family members like siblings, parents, mentors, people who are important in your life such as a religious or ecclesiastical leader.
Those supportive people around you can form a very powerful network of people who you trust and who you can open up to. They could help reinforce, again, that sense of progress; that sense of,
“There’s hope for me, there’s a fighting chance for me to do this and to find greater peace and happiness in my life.”
With these individuals, you can…
- recognize the environments in which you find yourself where triggers are more likely.
- recognize where the desire to act out in unwanted sexual behavior.
- recognize triggers for wanting to view pornography or masturbate.
- recognize certain situations more often than others that trigger you.
- recognizing situations, for example,
- being really bored,
- being lonely,
- feeling a lot of stress,
- feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with things in life. These kinds of emotions can definitely lead to a greater challenge of trying to battle with addiction.
Knowing what are very likely challenging environments to be in, or emotions to feel, can help us to say,
“Okay, I’m going to do something about this. This is a challenge. I’m feeling lonely. What can I do to address feeling lonely right now? If you’re bored, what can you do with that? How can you empower yourself to not be so susceptible in the moment?”
One of the things that I had a lot of people say is they get out and they start doing other things. They think about other people, they help other people and that helps them to focus on the recovery process.
This way you’re not focused on yourself but others, which engages your prefrontal cortex so you can rationally start thinking.
This has been tremendously successful for a lot of people.
Often when we work with people on addiction recovery, interestingly enough our sessions, our work, is not one hundred percent focused on the addiction.
We talk a lot about other areas of your life and service to other people, working to accomplish career goals, development of life skills, things like that are also – relationship-building and relationship enhancement – those things are also part of what we talk about because there are many things that can help to strengthen us.