I don’t feel a strong need to seek out porn like I did before. I do however need to get a different phone as I forgot that stuff is accessible on it as well and slipped up. It’s a Blackberry and I talked to Verizon and they said there is no way to filter the internet on the Blackberry. Their content filter works on other phone models though so I will get a different one.
Anyway I was thinking over the weekend about an interesting paradox. When we subscribe to cable TV we usually subscribe to certain channels and leave out the bad ones. Of course we do this because it would be silly to have bad channels easily accessible on TV for no reason. However, even though the internet is also like the TV, we treat it very differently. We don’t subscribe to certain websites(channels) but instead we get the entire internet then it is our job to try and block all the channels(websites) in our homes. All the while porn sites and companies make it more and more impossible to block all of them. See the paradox in how we treat TV and Internet so differently even though they are basically the same thing when it comes to entertainment? So we should all be protecting ourselves from the bad stuff on the internet, not just those addicted to porn. This is also true with phones these days since it sits around in our homes and can easily access any material.
I no longer feel so weak that I want to go out and seek porn outside the home like before. Now I feel like protective measures at home are enough. However, porn is like alcohol, if I had a bottle of alcohol in my refrigerator right now then I would eventually give in and drink it. So people who are recovering cannot have porn easily accessible on the TV, the Internet, or even their phones, especially during the post acute withdrawal symptoms, which can last for several months or more.
Good news by the way. I was very frustrated last weekend because I couldn’t get an internet filter working on my Blackberry phone. As it turns out Blackberry does not support any filtering. So I went and bought a new phone yesterday, a Google Andriod phone. The Verizon content filter worked on it but it was all or nothing. In other words it filters everything good with the strict settings and the other settings let too much through. Anyway, I was mad because I bought an expensive phone thinking it was going to be safe. So I searched around and finally found a way to make the phone safe. I found a monitoring program that works similar to covenanteyes but it also works on Andriod phones. It is here: http://x3watch.com/x3watchandroid.html
Anyway, there is no way to make a Blackberry safe. Andriods and Iphones can use the program I mentioned above.
This frustrating effort to protect myself from all sources of bad media has led me to a conclusion. People who are struggling with bad media should not be surfing the internet in privacy. 1. Even if they have a filter, in a moment of weakness they will find a way around it. 2. Relapse ends up being much longer than it should since an accountability partner would have helped the person stand back up and try again instead of secretly binging and getting more discouraged and weak.
So a filter coupled with some type of monitoring that emails a partner your browsing activities should do the trick.
Don’t Lock Horns with the Devil
Mark Chamberlain, Ph.D.
Kevin thought he was addicted to pornography. “I must be. I’ve tried so hard to stop. I’ve worked for the last five years at it, and yet I still can’t kick the habit completely.” When I talked to him about his approach, it sounded like he was doing almost everything right. He had opened up to his family about the problem and would talk to them about lapses. He had sought the help of his bishop and met with him regularly. He was participating in the Church’s addiction recovery program and regularly attended their 12-step group meetings. He maintained a habit of regular prayer and scripture study.
It sounded to me like Kevin was doing everything right except for one thing: he was still in the habit of locking horns with the devil. Terry Warner said, “Satan does not need to overpower us in order to win the war. He only needs to get us to adopt his way of fighting it.” On a typical day, Kevin might be going through his routine, doing well and feeling good. However, if temptation hit, he’d start to brace himself, focus real hard on doing well, and redouble his efforts to avoid a problem. Sometimes his approach “worked” and he avoided giving in that day. Too often, despite all the effort and energy he exerted, he failed. Sure, he may fight for a while. But later that day or sometime the next day—occasionally his fight lasted several days—Kevin almost always eventually gave in once an intense battle got going.
I shared with Kevin my opinion: that it was not the initial trigger, not the temptation itself, but his way of dealing with it, that was the beginning of his downfall. So what, exactly, is the problem with fighting temptation with all our might, as we may feel compelled to do when a strong urge or craving hits? To answer that question, let’s consider our reaction on four dimensions:
• Attitude: When we fight temptation, we do so with a sense of urgency. This certainly makes sense: it’s a threat to our spirituality, our sense of confidence and well-being, and perhaps even our success in life. The problem couldn’t be much more important than it is.
• Body: When we brace against temptation, our bodies react by tensing up. We become physiologically aroused in order to deal with the threat. We’re on alert and ready to “fight or flee.”
• Mind: Our consciousness narrows and we become very focused—sometimes even fixated. Mentally we know what the problem is and know that it’s a challenge we haven’t yet figured out how to overcome. Our mind is primed and ready to devote significant mental voltage to the threat.
• Behavior: We feel driven to take action against temptation. We feel like we “can’t” give in and “have to” resist urges. We vacillate between that and feeling like we “have to” give in and “can’t” resist anymore.
In the 121st section of The Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord describes two different approaches to the exercise of power and influence. The Lord labels the first “unrighteous dominion.” It is characterized by the attempt to exert control by way of dominion or compulsion (v. 37). In our efforts to get what we want from other people, every one of us has at least experimented with this approach. I can tell you from experience, we never become more influential by being coercive. Of course, it may work great for getting our way in the moment, but people end up resenting our pushiness. Any influence we have evaporates once we walk out of the room.
Whenever I get pushy—whether it’s with my kids, with another driver on the road, or with a customer service representative on the telephone—I end up feeling less powerful. Not only that, I end up being less powerful. People simply do not respond well to coercion. Instead of cooperating, quite often they rebel. The driver I tailgate slows down. If I tell my three-year-old, “You can’t watch TV any more, you have to go to bed,” I’ll be peeling little fingers off stair railings and door frames all the way up to his bedroom.
As human beings, everything inside of us yearns to remain free and stay in charge of our own lives. David O. McKay has said that “next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is God’s greatest gift to man” (Gospel Ideals, 1993, p. 299). Even if the driver in front of me doesn’t believe in God, even though my three-year-old doesn’t understand the Plan of Salvation, they, like all of us, instinctively value their agency and will fight fiercely to retain it. Every one of us is determined to maintain independence, especially if we sense that someone is trying to force us to do something.
If a coercive approach fails miserably when it comes to influencing other people, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that things don’t go well when we adopt it in an attempt to change our own behavior. If our Father in Heaven wouldn’t allow Satan to tell us we can’t sin and have to obey, do we really believe that he might bless our efforts when we adopt to the same mentality or methods on ourselves?
Fortunately, there is a second form of influence described in D&C 121. It’s quite unlike unrighteous dominion both in terms of the way it operates and the effect it has. It is characterized by persuasion, long suffering, gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, kindness, pure knowledge (which is described as “greatly enlarging the soul”), and a lack of hypocrisy or guile (vv. 41-42).
I’m reminded of this gentle, easygoing approach when I talk with those who have established a solid, long-term recovery from a formerly compulsive behavior. When I talk with people who are two years, five years, or twelve years beyond their last relapse, not one has ever said, “I still fight the same battle every day, it’s just that now I always win.” Instead they say, “It’s hardly a struggle at all anymore.”
Consider the way they approach the problem across the four dimensions we introduced earlier:
• Attitude: These folks exhibit an easygoing mentality and are not easily perturbed by temptation. The problem remains an important one to them, but less urgent: they know that it’s not one they can annihilate “once and for all” with sudden efforts of Herculean proportions.
• Body: Physiologically they stay calm and relaxed. They stay in a mode they can maintain over the long haul, not one in which their efforts will of necessity diminish over time as a result of depletion and burn-out.
• Mind: They remain perceptive and observant. They’re big-picture-oriented. They’re not as vigilant against temptation itself, but remain on-the-lookout for its precursors. By remaining observant over time they have learned what puts them at risk and they keep trying to respond to those concerns in a proactive way. They reach out when they’re struggling or in-need so that their emotions don’t build to the point that they fuel self-defeating urges.
• Behavior: They don’t “have to” do anything—they remain free. They keep choosing their response, rather than giving in or fighting based on which compulsion is strongest at the time. If one response doesn’t take them in the direction they want, they’re free to change course. They keep experimenting until they find what works.
If you’ve been in the habit of fighting temptation and forcefully trying to keep yourself on track, how can you switch over to this other, more relaxed and effective approach?
Change Your Attitude: Next time temptation hits, adopt a more easygoing mentality. Don’t think, “Oh no, here we go again! I’m never going to be free of this!” Instead, Remember what the apostle Paul said: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13). In fact, instead of “Oh no!” think to yourself, “Oh, good! Now I have the chance to practice a different way of approaching this problem.” The more chances you get to practice, the better you’ll get at doing things differently. Plus, something else happens when you think, “Oh, good!” The devil is, by nature, contrary and oppositional. Once you, like a Judo master, start to use the force behind his blows against him, he will probably pick fewer fights with you.
Relax Your Body: Take a few nice, full breaths. This helps relax the body and ease it down from a hyperaroused state. Instead of bracing yourself against temptation, loosen up. Oxygenate your brain and body so that you can approach the problem with all of your usual resourcefulness and intelligence still intact.
Open Your Mind: Broaden your attention. Don’t fixate and obsess. Encourage your mind to maintain objectivity by turning your attention to something concrete like a sight, sound, or touch. I encourage clients to alternate this kind of noticing with the breathing just mentioned. “Breathing and noticing” three or four times in a row can help the mind free itself. For instance: Take a nice, full breath and notice: “There’s a poplar tree way down the street.” Focus intently on it for a moment. Then breathe again and notice: “There’s the sound of a car engine.” Hold that focus…. Breathe and notice: “There’s the hard sidewalk beneath my feet.” Feel it. Feel it. Feel it with each step. As simple as this technique sounds, it can help us stay rooted in reality here-and-now, where we can see more of our options.
Choose Your Behavior: With more of our options in view, we’re prepared to take action, and to do so in different ways than we have been in the habit of doing. Whenever we refuse to do what it feels like we “have to” and choose our response instead, we exercise our freedom in a powerful way. Even if the behavior we choose this time doesn’t end up taking us where we want to go, at least it was different than the well beaten trails we’re in the habit of treading. We can always choose a second new path next time, and a third after that, until we find one that does work better than our usual.
Kevin knew that “trying harder” had never worked for him over the long haul, so he was excited to try something different. He went home from our first session with a resolution unlike the dozens of others he had made in the past. He was ready to practice a new way. Here’s what he reported when he came back the following week:
“I was determined to think, ‘Oh, good!’ when I was tempted and then to practice breathing, noticing, and experimenting. However, I really didn’t think I’d be able to do it every time I was tempted. After all, it had seemed to me that some days were filled to overflowing with sexual triggers and urges and cravings. It seemed to me that if I really tried to do it every time temptation hit, some days would be consumed by this new little ordeal.
“However, once I was on the lookout for temptation in a good way, prepared to practice my new skills, I was surprised that the topic of sex seemed to rear its head less and less. Even when it did, sometimes I’d check in with myself to see if I was tempted only to discover that I wasn’t. Now that I was prepared to cope with it and eager to take it in a better direction, those triggers seemed less threatening. The emotional charge of many of my everyday triggers seemed to be neutralized.
“But then, Thursday night, I came face-to-face with a real test. I had played basketball until late, and once I finally got home everything was dark and quiet. As I started down the stairs, I got panicky: ‘I’m headed down to shower. It’s late at night. Oh, no! This has often been a problem for me in the past! I’m headed right into the lion’s den. I could so easily have a problem while I’m showering. All of the progress I’ve made would be washed away. Three weeks of success would be down the drain. Then the countdown for turning in my mission papers would have to start over again. This could be disastrous. It’s so important! I need to focus real hard on staying clean and redouble my efforts right now!’
“Then I caught myself. ‘Hold on a minute. That’s my reflex, but I can do it differently. I don’t have to lock horns with the devil. In fact, I can look at this as a good thing—an opportunity. Yes, I’ll go back to my fire drill: “Oh, good—another great chance. Let me breathe… and notice the texture on the sloped ceiling in front of me as I walk down the stairs. Breathe… and notice the feeling of the banister in my hand all the way down. Breathe… and notice the musty smell of the basement. Experiment… Experiment… What could I do differently?’ I was pondering that as I grabbed onto the doorknob of the bathroom door. That was when it hit me: I always lock the bathroom door when I shower, but I don’t ‘have to.’ I am free to leave the door unlocked. It was late at night. Most of my family was asleep. There was very little chance that any of them would even come downstairs, and almost no chance that they would walk in on me when I was showering. Still, if I left the door unlocked, it seemed to me at that moment that there was no way I was going to masturbate in the shower.”
At that point, I didn’t need to hear anymore. I didn’t cut him off—we continued that session and continued for several more after that as well. Nonetheless, there was something defining about that moment. I hadn’t even heard whether Kevin’s experiment (leaving the bathroom door unlocked) had worked (it turns out that it did). It’s just that I’d seen enough clients like Kevin to know how this was going to go. Even if that experiment had failed, Kevin was succeeding. He had not yet succeeded in completely overcoming his sexual struggles, but he was successfully changing the way he approached them. He was adopting a new, easygoing attitude. He was learning to relax instead of bracing against temptation. He’d been able to see, even in the heat of the moment, that he had options besides the two he’d always fixated on before: fighting and succumbing to temptation. He’d taken one of those options and acted on it. I knew that as time went on and he continued to exercise his freedom along all four dimensions, Kevin would overcome his problem. He’d keep relaxing and exploring and experimenting in a more easygoing way until he kicked his destructive habit once and for all.
I know how it feels to want a quick way out of addiction. For years I was looking for the end all solution that would make everything all better in a hurry. However, porn addiction is like many other things in life, there is no quick fix or magic pill. I had to write this post because I see more and more people looking for a quick way out and I see more websites offering a supposed quick solution.
I have received comments and questions about different herbs and drugs that can help someone overcome addiction. There are some things out there, including herbs and prescribed medications, than can help reduce sex drive. Continue reading…
One lesson I found very hard to learn as I set out to overcome porn addiction is that most of the time success will come gradually. There are those who appear to drop the addiction and never have the problem again. However, for most people, this is not the case. Most people have to gradually overcome these addictions for it requires a changing of the heart which only comes with time and effort.
I’ll be honest with you, I wanted success and I wanted it now, not later. I wanted to make a great effort in the beginning then glide through life with ease. This attitude and expectation only prolonged my recovery. It wasn’t until I realized that the freedom I wanted would come gradually and over time that I had real success. On that note I will say that even with this corrected attitude I still needed the correct methods of overcoming addiction which came from the porn addiction recovery program that I have written a review on.
So when you start working with the correct methods you must pace yourself and not expect perfection. What you can expect, so long as you persevere and pick yourself up quickly every time you fall, is to get stronger and stronger. Trying to be perfect or perfectly handle every temptation will only bring failure. It is almost a guarantee that you will stumble and make mistakes as you set out to gain control of your life. Don’t let these setbacks discourage because you are most likely closer to success than you think.
The analogy I started using is playing sports. If you start out playing football you’re probably not going to be very good. But if you keep going to the games and keep practicing you will get better and better. You will make errors and mistakes, its expected. However, you don’t give up and throw the game just because you made a mistake. No, you get back in the game and try to do better. This applies to life and it applies to overcoming porn addiction. When you make a mistake just get back in the game of working to overcome and do better than before without expecting perfection. You will progress in amazing ways with this attitude and approach.
Ok, so there is no way to erase thoughts other than perhaps amnesia. However, there is a way to not think of certain things, especially lustful things. It’s actually surprisingly simple since you are the master of your mind.
I learned this technique from a friend who was struggling with the same thing. He said this, “What works best is just not thinking of porn. Not only that but also not thinking about ‘not thinking about it’. I know this sounds too simple but trust me it works 100% of the time.”
I was skeptical. He was right, it did sound too simple and I tried everything and thought I had already tried this idea as well. The problem was I never really applied this method effectively. I was so obsessed with conquering my addictions that that was all I ever thought about. If you’re religious I should mention that the Devil loves this tool. It seems like it’s not from him since it appears like a great thing to be thinking about stopping an addiction. However, stopping an addiction starts in the mind. Whatever controls your attention controls your life.
The key to proper implementation of this method is to remember that even thinking about not thinking about something is still in effect thinking about it. Ironic huh. Anyway, the goal is to think about something completely different whenever a momentary thought of the undesirable things enter your mind. This is not easy unless you have prepared beforehand with something at least almost as interesting as the addictive thoughts. You need something that will quickly take your mental attention off the sexually stimulating things and keep it off long enough for the wave of temptation to pass.
I will give you an example. I’m sort of an entrepreneur and love to think of new business ideas. That doesn’t mean I implement any of them. I just love to think about them and also talk to people about them. This is one of the only things that excite me as much if not more sometimes than thinking about lustful things. So in the event that I’m driving along and see a beautiful girl I will immediately shift my thoughts to some of my business ideas and keep it there. I’ll be honest; if I tried to apply this method by thinking about NASCAR then it wouldn’t work because that just doesn’t excite me.
Whatever excites you in life, other than your vices, will become very helpful tools in you escape from addiction. Think of your hobbies or passions. Sometimes you may have to discover a new hobby or passion. I did this. I started experimenting with new hobbies and just trying things out to see what I liked. You’ll be surprised at the things you didn’t realize you would like.
Something to remember is you have more mental power then you probably believe you have right now. One of the goals of addiction, or the devil, is to cause you to believe you no longer have this power. The doubt and depression certainly don’t contribute to self confidence. However, you can climb out of this mental dark abyss and feel free again. It will just take more mental muscle than if you were already practicing self mastery. It’s not as hard as it seems or “someone” would have you believe though.
Lastly, one more thing you should know, a thought entering your mind does not mean you have already given into a thought and you’ve done bad. That’s not true at all. Everybody, and I mean everybody, has bad thoughts enter their mind on a daily basis. What’s important is how you handle those thoughts, which is the purpose of this article. If you choose to dwell on that thought then yes that is bad but if you choose to control your mind and switch to another thought quickly then you have done well. Never get down on yourself though if you don’t apply this method well at first. It takes practice, somethimes a lot of practice which means a lot of learning from mistakes.
You’ve most likely heard that alcohol is a depressant right? Well, so is pornography and masturbation. What do I mean? If you haven’t already experienced this then you will eventually if you are addicted to either porn or masturbation. There’s the excitement and then there are the low feelings of lack of self control that follow.
Alcohol is a bit easier for people to understand when it comes to analyzing an addiction. Its simple right, you’re putting a substance in the body that is unhealthy. Typically, anything that is unhealthy physically is also unhealthy mentally as you are not feeling the best you could. So how is pornography or masturbation similar to this?
If you agree that porn or masturbation can be addictive then you agree that they are not right for your mental and physical health. In other words they are foreign to a healthy lifestyle in general and cause more pain than excitement. Anything introduced to the mind is introduced to the body. When you engage in mentally unhealthy activities you will experience both mental and physical consequences. These consequences are usually in the form of some level of depression or lethargy.
So why build the case that porn is a depressant? The reason is that you can get “stuck in a rut” and not understand why. Alcoholics continue to drink because they have a continuous feeling of depression and start to believe there is no other way to relieve said depression other than to have another drink. The same applies to porn or masturbation. You feel low shortly after acting out or the next day and return to the only source of fast acting temporary excitement you know. Drugs and alcohol are not addicting because they cause pain. They are addicting because they are a constant cycle of temporary rushes and let downs.
There is a way out of this miserable cycle. It’s certainly not easy but it’s also not as difficult as you may think. In fact I would compare it, at least for some people, to trying to motivate yourself to go to the gym every day. Not easy but once you get in the rhythm of a routine you find it easier.
Just like with alcohol or drugs there is a detox and readjustment period you need to endure before gaining freedom from strong urges to return to the drug of choice. This period of time usually seems unbearable to most and hence the biggest reason for staying in the addictive cycle. The interesting thing is the body is very adaptive and can readjust itself in a matter of days or weeks. This doesn’t mean the fight is over but perhaps easier than before. There is always the possibility of relapsing if you get lazy, similar to getting lazy with your gym routine.
One biological fact I should point that may contribute to the depression associated with viewing pornography and masturbating is that studies have shown that about 4 times more prolactin(the hormone that relaxes you after orgasm) is released during orgasm with a commited sexual partner(spouse) than when orgasm is done alone. This contribues both to the addictive factor and the discontent factor since you’re not using the body as it was designed to be used. The reason for this is emotions. Emotions, even in guys, are a huge part of a sexual bond and a “full” orgasm. Without the proper emotional connection you are missing a huge part of the equation in a truly satisfying sexual bond. You are essentially trying to fulfill a desire and void within with something that will never satisfy you. Hence the addiction cycle.
It’s nothing new these days to associate addiction with sex. It was before thought of as a figment of the imagination but people in general are starting to understand it is actually real. There are powerful biochemical processes that people simply cannot ignore. Sex and addiction are certainly related so far as sex is misused.
Sexual addiction is an often misunderstood term as most people assume it means someone who is addicted to having sex with others. While this is true it is not the complete definition. Sexual addiction is any kind of addiction pertaining to the sexual organs. Arguments against this seek to narrow a broad definition for reasons that do not help those seeking to understand sexual addiction in general.
I wrote a post some time ago called “Your Body has been Hijacked by Addiction” and the main purpose was to point out the powerful effects of misuse of sexual organs and bodily processes. I can call it misuse for several reasons but I will concentrate solely on the loss of personal control as evidence of unnatural habit.
Sex is powerful for a reason. It is not the reason most think. If you break it down into simple scientific and logical elements it is easy to see the sequence of necessary events in the body’s arousal process. We can of course CHOOSE to be “turned on” by anything. However, the natural born instincts tell us to be attracted to the opposite sex. The reason for this is two fold, recreate and bond.
Let’s concentrate on the bond part. If you misuse the body’s sexual processes you can bond to just about anything. You can bond to an imaginary world or porn, or you can bond to same sex, or you can bond to yourself through masturbation. None of this will ever feel consistently satisfying and you will always need constant stimulation. People in various stages of bonding, or rather addiction, may argue against this in defense.
You see, there is nothing more satisfying than doing what is right. Nothing makes you feel more content, secure, or satisfied. We all know what is right.
When looking for help for a porn addiction it is easy to become quite frustrated. You see, they are relatively few therapists who specialize in sexual addiction. There are even fewer who actually know what they’re talking about. This does not mean it is impossible to find help for a porn addiction it just means it takes more effort to find one to help with this problem than perhaps other problems.
The point is that there is plenty of help out there but it may not be obvious at first. There are plenty of forums, therapist, or people struggling just like you who want to help. Don’t get frustrated and don’t feel alone. Help for your addiction is within easy reach.
I remember when I thought there was no one who understood me and no one who could help me with porn addiction. I was definitely surprised to find that someone did specialize in this field.
There is much advice on this site about how to stop porn addiction. There is quite a range of suggestions involving physical and mental techniques. One of the top contributing factors to an addiction is an addiction to a certain thought pattern. Meaning you have been thinking a certain way for so long that it is difficult to think any other way. However, without completely changing the thought process that has assisted in keeping you in addiction you cannot hope for any long lasting success.
If you do not work out your emotions and thoughts then you will return to your vices. I will focus on thoughts for a moment here since everything stems from them, including emotions. I was reading an interesting article today written by Jonathan Leger titled “Think low and you will stay low”. This article highlighted the importance of overcoming mental barriers before you can overcome physical one. If you were to do this in the opposite order you would just return to what you have not worked out in your heart and mind and the cycle would repeat itself.
So you want to know how to stop porn addiction or any addiction. Start believing in yourself first because there is nothing that you cannot overcome if you believe and persevere. This is the first step and is very necessary. Stop all the negative self talk and start building yourself up with positive thoughts that cause you to believe in yourself no matter how many mistakes you have made.