This is a guest blog post written by Stop Together.
Because pornography use can become compulsive and out of control, it can be difficult to determine whether or not you have a problem. Being honest with yourself is step one. If you find yourself emotionally dependent on viewing pornography to achieve pleasure and happiness, you may be developing an unhealthy compulsion. Continuing to view pornography despite the negative consequences it’s having on your daily life is another clear sign that you’re facing an addiction.
Now that you know pornography is a problem, it’s time for an intervention. Here we’ll offer strategies, techniques, and lifestyle changes that can help you get over pornography addiction and start living a more productive and purposeful life.
1. Keep a Journal and Identify Your Triggers
The best way to identify the severity and root cause of your addiction is to keep a journal. Starting today, write down every time you have the urge to watch pornography, including the day, time, and where you are when the urge strikes. Now, document what triggers may have prompted this urge. Lastly, make note of how you reacted to this urge. Did you succumb to the impulse or find a way to move past these feelings?
The more information you write down, the better. Now, you can take an objective look at what’s driving your addiction, what your triggers are, and what techniques work best for overcoming these moments of weakness.
2. Place Blockers on Your Electronic Devices
Placing porn blockers and controls on your computer, smartphone, and tablet, aren’t a sure-fire way to beat porn addiction but they can help. It’s important not to rely on these blockers or safety measures to beat your addiction for you. The old saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”. That means if you really want to watch pornography, you’ll figure out a way around these safeguards.
Instead, placing content blockers on your devices will help facilitate your recovery. It will help eliminate opportunity. Think of it like a recovering alcoholic not keeping alcohol in the house. This won’t prevent them from going out to the store and buying more or having a drink at the local bar, but it will make getting their hands on a drink much more difficult. Having these blockers in place will force you to stop and think about your actions before acting on impulse.
3. Accept Support from Others
Addiction recovery of any kind is often a team effort. Most pornography addicts are hesitant to let friends and loved ones know about their addiction or their efforts to quit. This is due to feelings of shame, guilt, and embarrassment. The good news is, there are several therapy and support group options available for pornography addicts based on their needs and comfort level.
If you’re opposed to sharing your experience with others, online treatment programs like Stop Together are the perfect solution. You can complete every step of the program in the comfort and privacy of your own home. You’ll have access to all the necessary information, resources, and expertise to help you tackle your porn addiction head-on. Community groups and forums give you the benefit of group therapy with the added bonus of anonymity.
You may also opt for in-person therapy, either individually or as part of a group. Group therapy offers its own unique benefits. Here, you can meet like-minded individuals that are facing the same struggles, hurdles, and uncertainties as you are.
4. Find Alternative Activities
An important question to ask yourself when facing pornography addiction is why you watch it. There are countless reasons people turn to porn, with the most common being sexual stimulation or satisfaction and stress relief. When trying to break any “bad” habit, it helps to find a healthier alternative.
If you’re using pornography and masturbation as a way to relieve your stress, it’s time to swap pornography websites for a good book, creative expression, or physical activity. Adopting a regular exercise regime can help not only boost confidence but release feel-good endorphins that elicit feelings of happiness and relaxation. Yoga is another great way to reduce stress and increase flexibility and physical stamina.
For those who use pornography for sexual stimulation alone, it may be time to take an objective look at your intimate relationships or lack thereof. If you’re currently in a relationship, try having an open, honest conversation about your sexual and emotional needs. Together, you may be able to get to the bottom of the problem and swap pornography for true intimacy and physical contact. If you are currently looking for a relationship, consider how pornography may be undermining your desire for authentic connection with another person.
5. Practice Mindfulness
The benefits of mindfulness are far-reaching, especially when it comes to treating behavioral addictions. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) helps you identify, challenge, and change your negative thought patterns and behaviors. Mindfulness can support this therapy process.
A form of meditation, mindfulness helps you become intensely aware of exactly what you’re feeling and sensing in a given moment. It also helps you acknowledge these feelings without judgment or interpretation. Instead, you acknowledge and then release them. Techniques include guided breathing, imagery, and muscle relaxation.
You Have the Power to Get Over Pornography Addiction
Living with pornography addiction can feel like a hopeless, lonely place. But it doesn’t have to be. With the right frame of mind, resources, and support you can overcome your pornography addiction and start living a more meaningful life.
As with any addiction, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Be honest with yourself about the role pornography currently plays in your life and the ways it’s negatively impacting your well-being. You can choose to face your addiction alone or with the help of others. Whichever path you choose, just remember, recovery is within reach!