Since I’m nearing my 4th Anniversary of sobriety from porn, I would like to share my insights about things that worked for me during that time! This is what works for me in a nutshell:
- Never Beat Yourself Up
Learn from your mistakes. What I was constantly doing, when I had a slip, was thinking along these lines:
“You screwed up again! You’ll never be healthy! Sou are a worthless good for nothing pervert! And masturbating is your only choice because nobody will ever love you!”
There was a tremendous sense of sadness, hopelessness and shame whenever I made a mistake. What I did is I started asking myself, “Is this perspective really working for me?” “I do have control over my thoughts to a certain extent, so I can at least try to make them less harmful.” I call this Self-Compassion. What are the alternative motivating thoughts? Focus on what you can do better or what you need to change. Take action instead of blaming yourself. It doesn’t make anything better & I’m pretty sure it’s a great way to motivate yourself to act out even more.
- Create Daily Plans
This is crucial. Unplanned time, the time our mind wanders is like a playground for our old habits. We get distracted, mindless and BAM! Our old habits hit us straight in the face. What you can do to prevent this is to create daily goals and plans. Sometimes it’s even good to plan a day hour by hour. It’s not about never having fun, it’s about when you want to have your free time and what you want to do in your free time. You’ll be much more productive, healthier and therefore much happier. And I bet you’ll have time for anything and everything.
- Learn What Triggers You & What Soothes You
You have to be aware of things that are triggering the Automatic Compulsive Reaction. Usually those things are strongly connected with our emotions and unfulfilled needs such as lloneliness vs the need for connection, anger vs the need to set boundaries/calm down and anxiety vs needing to relax. Trigger is your friend, it tells you something very important. The information is about what’s missing in your life at that moment. Finding out things that calm you down and make you happier is just as important. Some people like to jog, but you may not be a fan of jogging, it’s okay, you don’t have to be! It can be anything that you enjoy, even listening to loud music, that’s ok with me! Just try things out and see what brings fun and relaxation to your life. The only rule is, to let it be healthy and organic. Booze is definitely a no no, it does more harm than good.
- Focus On Positive Habits
You’re on your second, third or whatever year of setting a goal to not act out without success and you wonder why? Well, it’s simple. You weren’t setting goals that were about things you wanted to do instead. You need to focus on your healthy well being, mental well being and physical well being. You have to develop habits that support your sobriety. Spend some time on your hobbies too. All work and no play makes jack a dull boy.
- Move Towards Love & Intimacy
So, here we are at a milestone. Sexual Compulsion is always connected with how well we relate with others. Are you allowing yourself to be vulnerable? Are you focusing on bringing intimacy to your relationship and to your life? Cure for sex addiction is not sex. It’s not even marriage, its finding true love & intimacy. Sexuality unfolds itself in a healthy context if we feel healthy and happy in our own relationships with ourselves and others. Are you happy with your relationships in life? Do you feel vulnerable, honest and connected? Does your partner feel the same way?
- Reach Out For Help
GUYS! I mean that. I tried to do it on my own for 10 years! I finally reached out to Craig and beat my addiction in 6 months! There’s no amount of money that I can put on the program that Craig provides. It literally changed my life! I am a happier and healthier man today than I was 4 years ago! I know you may feel afraid, you may feel it’s a hopeless cause or you don’t have the funds. You do! This is always a question of priorities! Do you want to get better and cut out some of your spending or do you want to be stuck in the same place for the next 3, 5, 10 years? Only you can choose, so choose wisely!
- Be Honest With Yourself & With Your Relatives
I was s supporter of being transparent 100%. I shared everything, even the hardest “addict” thoughts with my partner. The damage that was done to her couldn’t be undone and was one of the reasons we split up. She said she didn’t have to know every little detail, that she just wanted me to work on this and know the general situation or if something big happened. That was a big surprise to me since I believed being transparent was the right thing to do. So based on my experience I would say, discuss where the line lies with your partner before full disclosure. If your partner wants full transparency, be brave and do it. It’s always a question of our motives. Why are we sharing? Are we dumping our problems on our partners? Are we letting go of shame or maintaining a bond and trust? Harder said than done because some people don’t know what to expect and we’re never sure what their reaction might be. My idea of intimacy is deep sharing so I need to know that my partner understands me and my struggles too. That’s my need. But at the same time I had to respect that my partner couldn’t deal with certain information as well.
- Make Recovery Your #1 Priority
I believe it goes back to “we can only change ourselves” kind of thing. Your number one priority has to be recovery/health and that’s why I have done so well now. Prior to recovery many things suffered because of this, I was kicked out of my university at some point, but I’m happier than ever now. So it all comes down to asking myself this. “What will make me ultimately more unhappy, my insanity/compulsion or a pile of dirty dishes, or an unfinished to-do list? I don’t say “never focus on anything else.” Working on your life goals and creating a healthy environment is a part of recovery. So first things first! Make sure you’re doing your healthy routines, you’re doing your assignments, (whatever modality of therapy/coaching you’re using to recover), and then everything else. I would say there’s enough time in a day to take care of yourself and to handle some daily tasks.
- Be Your Own Best Friend
What kind of thoughts are you feeding in your mind daily? Always ask yourself, “What would I say to my best friend in this same situation?” “Would I beat them down with negativity?” “Would I harm them?” No, absolutely not! Then why would you do it to yourself? You have to have self compassion for yoursel just as you would for your best friend.
- Your Negative Actions Are Not Who You Are, They Are Choices, You Can Change Them
Your actions are not your identity! You are NOT an addict! You are NOT a pervert! You are a human being! And human beings can change! You are struggling, I get it! This is NOT an incurable disease! Embrace your power of choice and start believing that change is possible & change can and will happen!
Peace, Coach Adrian