Author Topic: Focusing on what I did right for 9 months  (Read 733 times)


  • Member

  • Offline
  • *

  • 6
    • View Profile
Focusing on what I did right for 9 months
« on: November 02, 2016, 11:01:58 AM »
I have recently posted on this forum that I relapsed after nine months of abstinence from PMO. Since relapsing, I have tended to focus on what I had done that led me back to porn. It's really very simple. I  stopped doing some of the essential things that were keeping me well. Rather than focusing on where I went wrong, let me acknowledge one of the things that helped me reach nine months:

- Admitted to myself daily that I was a real porn addict - that I suffer from an illness of body and mind.

Accepting that I have a brain that is especially vulnerable to virtually mediated sexual stimuli, and that any such stimuli could potentially trigger a "flare up" of the reward circuitry associated with that behavior, helped me to mindfully avoid potential triggers, just as I avoid foods that trigger flares of the stomach condition that I have. It's so much easier to avoid triggers and treat my condition on a daily basis than it is to get a flare back under control.

The thing about a "flare" of the reward circuitry in my brain is that it is characterized by craving for more of the rewarding substance or activity, which results in more out-of-control behavior and further craving. The only way I have successfully gotten any such "flare" under control is by abstaining from porn in all of its manifestations (e.g., Internet, videos, pics, sexting, personals, Skype). This may seem paradoxical, at first, because it sounds like I'm saying that 'you've got to abstain from porn in order to abstain from porn.' This is true. But the obvious question is, "how do you abstain in the first place?"

I can only describe the things that seem to help me. Things to pursue: 1) Cold showers (5 min/day); 2) meditation (20 min/day); 3) SLAA/AA meetings (3x/week); 4) helping others with this condition (daily); 5) exercise (3x/week); 6) asking for help from others with more experience. Things to avoid: 1) isolation (working from home alone); 2) excessive T.V. watching (more than 1hr/day); 3) any sexualized media, conversations, etc; 4) trying to overcome this alone. In my experience, sometimes you have to let a "flare" run its course. By that, I mean that you have to set the intention to become abstinent and then patiently wait for the craving to pass.

When I fail to take these actions, I am passively denying the reality of my condition. I am saying, "I'm not really that sick." However, when I take these actions, I am passively and actively affirming the truth of my condition. I am admitting my very real physical limitations, and it is in doing so that I am able to stay well. When I deny my limitations, I get sick again. This is what happened to me most recently. Denial crept in again and now the sickness is upon me, and this is precisely how the mental obsession of this illness works, but I'll save that subject for another post.