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I Feel Worse – I Quit Porn

When I quit porn, I feel worse. Is this normal?

There are many who go through a process of change and recovery from addiction, and will feel like things are not actually better; Even though acting on the negative behavior management is actually better.

What’s interesting, we refer to it as being dragged through the mud sometimes, because it feels like even though you’re working hard and you’re finding some success in managing the unwanted addictive behavior, it also feels like you feel empty at times. You feel isolated, maybe misunderstood or maybe like you’ve given up some of the rewarding elements of life and that you don’t really know how life can be rewarding now.

I like to use the following analogy:

Let’s say you lived in a place that was extremely hot like Arizona, New Mexico, Ecuador, or somewhere where the average temperature is over 115 degrees, much higher than where we are in Utah. As you get acclimated to that 115 degree temperature, which is a lot higher temperature than you’re used too, it is going to start to feel normal and not that bad. If you come back to a cooler temperature, say in the 80’s, you’re going to be cold. You’re going to feel the effects of that because you’re not acclimated to that cold temperature.

The reason why I use that analogy is because as you’re changing behaviors and looking for new ways of coping, the brain has to, in some sense, acclimate to the new kinds of strategies that you’re using in your life to cope.

You may often feel like:

`Well this is just too hot or too cold and I’m not too satisfied with what I’m experiencing right now.’ 

Literally, the brain has to make some adjustments and heal over time to be able to find the same or I wouldn’t say the same but to find rewards in normal life experiences that are not addictive or negative behaviors.

Acclimatizing to that new temperature, which in the brain, is called neuroplasticity. It’s literally the process of changing the brain, the neural connections in the brain, to allow new processes to take form. In other words, being able to change addictive negative behaviors to a more healthy coping behavior to be able to feel rewarded; to feel happy, to feel peace, after making such changes, like quitting porn, takes place.

It can take some time, and it can take some acclimation, if you will, for that brain process to start to take hold. Changing your behavior can be frustrating for a time because it feels like the rewards have gone away and you’re searching for new ways to reward yourself. It’s more about the brain acclimating to some of the new natural rewards of life that are separate from the behavior.

In summation, when you quit porn, you may need to acclimate yourself to a life without porn.

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