Author Topic: A collection of techniques to deal with the addiction: read,discuss & contribute  (Read 2804 times)

Chaos Mind

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 325
  • Personal Text
    Back to the true meaning of LOVE.
    • View Profile
Dear campaigners,

today I want to give this community something back for all the good it has offered to me. That something is a piece of knowledge I have gathered over the years. Since childhood I have always been fascinated about what our brain is able to do - most of it happening without active recognition. The more I learned about this topic, the more I tried out and the more I found suitable ways to gain some control over my own subconsciousness. Hoping it will change your perspective on the conglomerate of "addiction, satisfaction, heteronomy", I'd like to share some ideas and techniques with you. If you have any questions about them, or you want to add your own ideas, please all feel free to discuss it in this thread together!
 
Technique one - Self-revelation and self-acceptance
 
The problem: Whenever we feel like we want to change a big part of our life and whenever we feel like there is something we've done incredibly wrong, we should take some time and forgive ourselves. Of course we often need to clean up the mess we've made, like people here need to get things straight after their partners found out, or they struggle really hard with other consequences. But this fight may never lead to us losing faith in ourselves. Who else is going to stay loyal if we ourselves don't? I often heard statements like "If I was to forgive myself, wouldn't that be like an absolution to do it again next time?". The answer is: no, because there is a difference. No cheap trick. And, seriously, I see many people here who need some support - even if it is given by themselves.

The solution: Stay positive without defining down what you did. Formulate a sentence of self-revelation and self-acceptance. This sentence always has the same structure: it starts with "although..." or "even though..." or "even if...", followed by the nature of what bothers you and a statement of self-acceptance. One example could be "Although I struggle with a sever porn addiction, I like myself just the way I am".
The point is, however, that tiny little details can change the whole meaning - subtle or evident - of the sentence! You are asked to try out many different ways of expressing what you feel. Go for "I want to" or "I need to" or "I have to" or "I should"...they've all got a different meaning. "I like myself", "I like what I do", "I like who I am", "I love myself", "I am pleased with myself" ... make your choice until the sentence reaches YOU in particular for 100%. Never link the message of self-acceptance with a condition! You need to learn to love yourself (again) no matter what you did or do. Once you are finished, write the sentence onto a sheet of paper and repeat it whenever you feel like you need some positive energy. First practice reading it. At some point you will now be able to cite it by heart . Say it, feel it. As a last step: talk to yourself while looking into your eyes through a mirror. It is very important that you MEAN what you say. It is not just repeating words, it is accepting the truth of every single letter of it.

Why it works: psychology of acceptance is long considered a valuable tool for raising self esteem. Also, by admitting you have a problem, you are less likely to relapse. It has been found that by accepting a problem, it loses power over your subconscious mind. Just like a monster tends to vanish in your nightmares as soon as you realize the whole setting is not real.


Technique Two - Visualizing

The problem: Some people tend to express such sad statements like "I can't imagine a life without porn". I am certain that the word "imagine" is no coincidence in this case. Since it's easier to visualize things that happen or have happened to us, we like to stick to the familiar world and the familiar scenarios. That can be a problem when your reality is soaked with unwanted behaviour (like excessive porn consumption). It has become such a big part of our lives that we find it hard to imagine a world without. Just like a world without music, candy or television. We get stuck and find ourselves in a bubble where every thought springs from our very mind and can only create images of the world we already live in (and partially suffer from). So you could say: What we experience in our world, influences the images we visualize. Ask a shy person how he imagines talking to a beautiful woman and he'll say "I talk to her and I am let down" - it is the only probable scenario he could think of.
 
The solution: Good news - the process works in both directions! Not only affect our experiences the way we behave, but also can a strong visualization of an imaginary behavior change the way we perceive our world. Here's the deal: take your time and think about a situation in the past where you now think you reacted wrong. It could be a relapse to porn after any sort of stress trigger or also a different topic that keeps bugging you. It is important that you re-live the situation all over again. How was your state of emotion? What did you feel? What triggered you to do it? Once you have the image clear in front of you, you turn back time as if you were watching your life on DVD. You live the situation again and change some of the details remembered. You felt sad and alone, so you logged onto a racy site? Go back and visualize how you leave the computer behind, say out load "No!" and instead call a friend to meet up and take a walk. Or you put on your sport shoes and go for a run in the park - whatever it is you should/could have done instead. You can even visualize a situation that has never happened but COULD have happened. Visualize yourself in 7 months, how you talk to a girl simply because you like her smile. How you feel the romance without any spoiling pornographic thought. Imagine how good you feel, how positive you are. It's not just a goal - it happens in your mind, so it is real. Visualize your counter on day 89 on a bright sunny day. Visualize how your partner comes back to you because she realized you've been brave and won the fight. Take small steps at the beginning. Practise to retroactively say "no!" to porn. Your emotions will follow to every scenario you picture. Take your time and don't forget the details. Make the thoughts as vivid as you can.
 
Why it works: W.I. Thomas and D.S. Thomas once formulated one of the most important theories of sociology. They said "If men define situations as real, they ARE real in their consequences". And it is true. "Reality" is a paradoxal contradiction. There is no such thing as an objective truth. Truth is what the majority of people once defined as true. But if you are certain about something, all your actions will be based on the assumption that a special thought of yours mirrors the truth without any doubt. Once you've changed your perception, your reality will follow. What you visualize IS real in your consequences. You might know persons who think they were ugly, so accordingly they appear ugly because their radiation is all self-negative. On the other hand you don't have to be a super model to be pretty...it's enough to act on this assumption. When your subconsciousness starts accepting a new truth you provide, it will change your behaviour siginificantly.

 
Technique Three - Positive phrasing

The problem: Basically this is very similar to the technique above. We are all aware of how we say the things we think. But did you know that we also think the way we speak? So how could it be of any use saying things like "the heck, I am not going to make it anyway. It did not work the last 3 times, why should it now?" or even pseudo-funny things like "Don't bother - I'm a hopeless case...haha". Why would we ever want to say something that's completely the opposite of our former plans of recovering? It's because we want to spare ourselves the frustration of failing. By forestalling the negative outcome of our project, we aim at reducing the time of suffering. But we also deprive ourselves of the only chance we have. Others however use negative phrases as understatements which are meant to motivate us to continue. This effect is often seen in sports when coaches make the enemy team appear as invincible opponents to get the last piece of fighting spirit out of their own players. But this should be done wisely as there is a good chance of destroying the little spark instead of igniting the big fire.
 
The solution: Always phrase positively. Let me challenge you! Tell someone what he/she should do and avoid all words of negation. So instead of "Don't be mad at me" you say "please have patience with me". Instead of "I am not good at talking to strangers" you say "I lack of courage to talk to stranger" or even "I am better at talking to familiar persons rather than strangers". You will soon recognize how difficult this is! Some people suggest we should talk like this anytime throughout the day. I say that's crap, because negations are there for a reason and there are some times where positive phrases just are too far away from the intended meaning of your statement. But phrases of central nature to your recovery should always avoid negative words. The old familiar "yes, I can do it!" motivation phrase: it works - believe it or not. But do abandon "I will not watch porn" in favor of "I will live and enjoy a porn-free life".

Why it works: Deep inside we always know what we REALLY mean when saying something. We detect fake-sarcasm in our own words when it was intended in the first place. Our subconsciousness, however, struggles with these tricks. We get into a contradiction between what we say and what we feel. And when we speak negatively, the path is even clearer. And it leads into the wrong direction. You may have heard that subconsciousness cannot process words like "no", "not", "none" etc. That has been disproven, but it stays a difficult task for us and needs some extra ressources...which sometimes we don't have available (just like grumpy people tend to overhear sarcasm). Same as technique two: what we define as real, is real in our consequences. Make some central statements become your new reality. Phrase them positively and enjoy their effect on how you perceive yourself and the things you do. 


[to be continued in next post]
« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 11:40:03 AM by Chaos Mind »
~ Subconsciousness is the key to sort the chaos in our mind ~

A collection of techniques to deal with the addiction: read, discuss & add your own ideas

Chaos Mind

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 325
  • Personal Text
    Back to the true meaning of LOVE.
    • View Profile
[continued thread]

## Advanced Techniques:
Relaxation as the #1 stress killer

 

The problem: It's all about the stress. Stress is a symptom, a trigger and a catalyst at the same time. Being the entry to a vicious circle, it is bound to cause negative feedback. Hence I'd rank it your first enemy to fight. There are two different kinds of stress. One is the eustress - the "good" one. It is there to get our body alarmed and ready to flight or fight. Athletes need the eustress, e.g. sprinters just before the pistol shot which releases all their accumulated energy at once onto the track. It has saved our survival in former times. The eustress is a short-term phenomenon and is retracted by sporting activity. Hundreds of years later, however, we still have this survival mechanism in us though we only need it on rare occasion. But even today stress is triggered several times during the day. #1 stress factor is work (or school) where we build up adrenalin and reveal the same symptoms as in a physical fight, even if we don't plan on punching our fist into our boss’ face, do we? Another stress factor is TV where we vicariously live through violence and agony, or video games likewise. We build up tension, wanting to get rid of it...wanting to move and yet, standing still. Ever noticed how you nervously and subconsciously bobbed your legs when fighting the urge to move but had to sit still? Stress that is not or cannot be released is called "distress". It leads to a permanent flight/fight behavior and causes physical and mental problems. Now if playing a racing game or watching a criminal movie can excite us to an unhealthy level, imagine what impact porn has on us! I'd love to read about experiments on this topic, but even without background knowledge I'd bet that watching pornographic material causes at least twice as much physical stress in our body than a horror movie. Us addicts...we have simply adapted to it. We are desensitized. But that does not mean the stress is not there. The physical reaction is immense and it affects our health both somatic (hypertension and risk of heart attack, strokes, digestive disorders ...) as well as mentally (you all know the symptoms...brain fog, apathy, lethargy, ED, only to name a few). The reason for that is the opposition of the sympathetic (activity, sports, energy) and the parasympathetic (digestion, sexuality) nervous system. Stress and adrenaline raise the former while suppressing the latter. Once again: this principle is crucial to our survival, but we literally overstress this mechanism to an unhealthy extent. So how do we quit this circle?
 

The solutions (including why they work):

Technique Four - Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

Forgive me for repeating my basic statements again and again. But I cannot emphasize this often enough: all those processes we regard as harmful are reversible. They work in both directions! Stress causes our muscles to contract. Even when we think we'd untighten, we often don't get rid of all the tension still present in the fibers. And it's not before we truly relax that our muscles get limp again. So when stress leads to cramp, we should be able to abandon stress by simply relaxing.
One way we can do this, is following the Progressive Muscle Relaxation as it had been taught by Edmund Jacobson nearly a hundred years ago. And this is how you can do it:
Sit straight but without effort. Relax a little by watching your breath and calming down. It might take some time until your feel ready to begin the exercise. When you are, clench your dominant hand to a strong fist. Clench as hard as you can, let your muscles tremble all the way up to your elbow. Keep the pressure up for 5 - 7 seconds and then suddenly release the pressure completely. In that very moment start focusing on the relaxation centered in your hand. Notice as comprehensively as possible all the changes that occur in your hand, your arm, your shoulder, your body. You might feel a warm sensation, a slight tingling, an illusion of stretching or autonomous movement. Whatever it is, feel it with all your senses. Do so for 30-40 seconds. Then, when you are ready, repeat the exercise for the same hand once again. Clench the respective muscles for 5 - 7 seconds, release them immediately and feel. Continue with your dominant arm, then your non-dominant hand and arm. Do the same with the muscles of your forehead, then the region around your nose and eyes, mouth and jaw, neck, shoulders, chest, upper back, abdominal muscles, thighs, feet. I suggest you try them all but don't force yourself into applying the exercise to body regions you’d like to spare (e.g. when you suffer from physical pain). The technique is called progressive, because the more often you do it, the more you learn how to cut the exercise shorter. Skilled users of PMR are able to relax only by imagining the warm feeling of releasing tightened muscles. They have that positive feeling stored in their memory, ready for recall whenever needed. Once your muscles get limp, your mind will follow your body into a more relaxed state.
I highly recommend to practice this technique by following instructions from online mp3s or even purchased media. Imagine how helpful it could be to gain control over your urges by relaxing on demand. You suffer from stress and you feel like only porn could calm you down now. But instead you tighten your muscles, one after the other...and when releasing the pressure you get rid of the stress and leave any former need for porn behind. Wouldn't that be great? You can also use it as an emergency method. Clench your fist and hold it, hold it, hold it...aaaand...release. Repeat to calm yourself down and control what was about to control you.
 

Technique Five - Access to your subconsciousness (autogenous training, meditation, self-hypnosis, ...)

Gaining access over your subconsciousness is easier than you think. And at the same time harder than you think. When the topic "hypnosis" is raised, many people picture magicians, charlatans or snakes with spiral eyes whereas in fact it's nothing more than biological and psychological science. Its effect is proven, only is the reputation of hypnotists often spoiled by false beliefs and prejudice. We are not talking about external control or zombie-like behavior.
There are different definitions of the hypnotic state. According to some of them we spend more than 50% of our wake (!) time in trance. Trance is a state in which our subconscious mind takes over and allows us to process and act without any deliberate effort. We are in trance when riding the car on the freeway after some time. We are in trance when watching TV or when reading a book. Don't be afraid of people who offer their service of hypnosis for your good. Be afraid of those who do it without you knowing, e.g. TV commercials. Even porn can hypnotize you! You stare at the screen, you are fully absorbed, you act without conscious thoughts of what you are doing...just following instincts and commands, allowing the addiction to become yet more powerful. This is the hypnosis you should fear!

Now that you are aware of what influences your desires and needs subconsciously, the next logical step is to initiate such a process on purpose. As you can imagine, this is a tricky thing to do. Simply spoken: it is called "sub-consciously" or "un-consciously" for a reason. The term suggests that subconsciousness is responsible for any activity we do not set off by a command of will. Our goal is to make our subconsciousness do something for us. A beneficial manipulation, if you will. Trance is the state where our subconsciousness is the most suggestible. The more you practice and the better you become, the easier it will be for you to insert believes into your mind and to also accept them.

Picture it like this: there is something like a guard, watching over the gate to your subconsciousness (i.e. your feeling, believes, maxims). Trance is a process in which you distract the guard and sneak through the door. The deeper you are able to enter and the better the instructions you followed, the deeper you are able to root the idea in your mind so it becomes a natural part of you. Yes, that does sound scary. Because it CAN be scary and actually DOES work. Market and promotion researchers have found excellent ways to bypass this guard: distraction in various ways such as flashing, fancy colors, unforeseen quick movements, overstimulation for eyes and ears. The more you get drawn into the colorful pictures and sequences, the deeper they are able to inject their message ("buy buy buy! 99ct, buy buy buy! You want it, you need it, you've got to be quick!"). You know the way professional hypnotists distract the guard from movies and comics: pendulums, spirals or the famous "hypnotic eye" (fixation). Still there are hundreds of different techniques to get a subject into trance. Most often it is mere talking. When you are in trance, you do not feel like a zombie. You are NOT asleep. You are fully awake, but simply find yourself on a different level of attention.

How can you reach trance? You can do it the hard way, gather experience by reading books or online articles and practice on your own. You can ask others in hypnosis communities (be careful!) or even close friends to help you. There are plenty of DVDs or CDs out there of high quality trance inductions. You would have to find the one that matches your expectation. The voice you find reassuring, the language you find the most relaxing and trustful. It all comes down to subtle details and you will not continue if you find it boring or unhelpful. Another way could be that you see a professional hypnotist. I have never heard of hypno-therapy being paid by health insurance as a treatment for porn addiction. That’s is kind of odd, given the scientific evidence for its potential to contribute to recovery of other compulsive behavior, such as smoking or drinking. It's no hocus-pocus, but it's not fake either. It only helps when you accept it and want it. You could start off with a therapist and continue at home which will probably save you some money, but is also harder to stick to.
I am absolutely certain about the power and usefulness of hypnosis and similar techniques (like autogenous training or meditation). I have gathered a lot of experience over the past years and I am happy to teach any of you more about the topic if you ask me via private message or here in this thread. It's just that an accurate explanation of possible exercises would go beyond the scope of this collection in the first place.

The suggestion you want to be given vary from the direct approach ("I am free from porn, I feel powerful and strong") all the way to the initial roots of your porn addiction ("I appreciate women as conversation partners and female individuals just like me" or "I am self-confident and have the power to change the things I need to change"). Hypnosis has even been considered a valuable technique to overcome psychologically induced erectile dysfunction (and premature ejaculation too). So maybe it's time to overthink your attitude towards this method and give it a serious try.
 
-------


There are so many more things I'd like to share with you, but I will restrain myself now. Take your time and decide what sounds good to you and what you'd like to try. I welcome you all to give me feedback and to raise a constructive discussion. Share your experiments and feel free to add things to this list.
 
Let's hope this is yet another smash against the wall of addiction that used to keep you captive.

Summon your energy and break free at last!
~ Subconsciousness is the key to sort the chaos in our mind ~

A collection of techniques to deal with the addiction: read, discuss & add your own ideas

Saadz

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *

  • 22
    • View Profile
Amazing thread, as a Porn addict fighter, I'm definitely going to try & apply the Stress Relaxation techniques in my life.


pjerry

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *

  • 19
    • View Profile
I'm practicing mindfulness meditation (vipassana tradition) and that is also the approach I'm taking to urges. I notice and acknowledge them. I don't try to suppress them. Just feel and endure them. Give them space. This helps most of the time. Sometimes, it takes a while until they fade away but they always do. It's like training a muscle. Relaxing tensions in my body and focus on breathing is also very helpful.
Disclaimer: When you read my posts, please take into account, that most of what I say is just my opinion. I don't make any claim to be the guardian of truth. It's just what I think and I'm flexible with that.

Here's my journal: http://www.rebootnation.org/forum/index.php?topic=3224.0

Free

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 79
    • View Profile
Great post! I agree with all of it, expect the meditation. To be active and proactive is (in my opinion) far more effective in living the life you deep down wants to live. Its fine to call things evil and good, instead of just accepting everything in a meditative state.

Also, for me, having a greater goal is so important. If you want to quit P, with "just" the reason 'because I will feel better', is not usually enough.
Your brain will tell you that just one relapse is not gonna hurt you, and you will find the "reasonable" level of P-watching.
My higher goals are these: To glorify God in me, to be a real man for my future wife and to be able to live life with as much joy and love I can possibly attain.

Just my two cents. Keep marching people.