Porn addiction is as real as any other chronic dependency

How to Overcome Porn Addiction and Get Your Life Back

How to Quit Drinking TodayCompulsive use of the internet for porn can interfere with daily life and your relationships, leaving you feeling ashamed. If you notice porn having a negative impact on your life but find yourself having difficulty cutting it out, you may need to go to greater lengths to get your problem under control. By replacing your negative behavior with positive ones, you can beat this habit.

You need to want to quit watching porn.
The first part to quitting porn is you really have to want to quit porn. You need to be sick and tired of porn and the sickness that it causes you in order to quit. If you are not committed, you will only be quitting untl the next time you look. Deep inside you have to want to stop

Porn addiction is as real as any other chronic dependency. Sure, you’re not injecting or ingesting anything into your body. But chronic porn viewing does have a physical effect (exhaustion of dopamine release in the brain). And the time spent ‘ingesting’ porn is mind-numbing and leaves you exhausted. After hours of viewing porn on the computer, John couldn’t ‘switch off’ his mind enough to sleep.

It wasn’t long ago if someone said stay away from drugs, we would immediately think of the obvious ones; Cocaine, Heroin, Meth and Weed, all of which are used to alter ones mental reality. However, there is another addictive drug that has been secretly altering reality, internet pornography.

Pornography Is Not Just a Bad Habit!
A first major component in my own recovery was an understanding that pornography viewing was not just a bad habit. It was an obsessive compulsive cycle (see Figure 1 below) from which I was not able to break free. It usually started with an unwanted sexual thought that I would try to avoid for as long as I could.

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Understand healthy sexuality. Healthy sexuality recognizes that sexuality is a positive and enriching form of communication in which we give, receive, and personally experience pleasure and emotions. It is an expression that can benefit us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Unhealthy sexuality includes feeling shame around sexuality, seeing sexual energy as uncontrollable, using sex as exploitation or to hurt someone, using power or force over someone in a way that was not mutually consented.
Pornography addicts use porn as a way to cope with boredom, anxiety, or other powerful feelings. They may use pornography to feel important, wanted, or powerful.

You need to be brutally honest with another person.
Thirdly, you have to tell someone else about your struggle and desire to get free. This person may be a male friend, your wife, a person of clergy, a life coach, or a 12-step group person. Somebody has to know the truth about your porn usage for you to get and stay free.

Internet porn addiction, like online gambling, is easier to fall into, because what once involved going out and meeting others face-to-face can now be done easily and covertly at the click of a button. This availability makes it all the more potentially devastating. So why does porn addiction happen?

Research suggests, in the United States porn generates 13 billion dollars each year, with three billion of it’s distribution coming from the internet alone. Internationally, that figure reaches a staggering 97 billion. Often times numbers can seem a bit abstract. To put it in a tangible perspective, that’s more revenue than NFL, NBA and MLB combined. It’s also estimated, 1 in 5 smart phone searches are for porn and each second, 28 thousand people watch it online.

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Unfortunately, trying NOT to think about something never really worked for me, and eventually I would get to a point where thoughts would get so intense that I couldn’t handle the pressure any longer. Then I would go back to the only way that I knew to make sexual thoughts temporarily go away – watching pornography and masturbating.
After sexual acting out I would slowly come back to my senses and realize what have happened. I would feel guilt for being so weak and giving in and I would swear to never do it again!
Unfortunately over time I would find sexual thoughts coming back, and since I didn’t know how to handle them in a healthy way, the whole cycle would repeat itself.

Identify signs of internet addiction. There are no set guidelines that mark when internet consumption becomes an addiction. However, there are some markers that indicate your use of the internet and pornography has become a problem that interferes with your life. Some common signs include:

  • Losing track of time spent watching pornography
  • Having difficulty completing tasks at work or at home
  • Social isolation away from family and friends
  • Feeling guilty or defensive about porn usage
  • Feeling a sense of euphoria when consuming pornography
  • Continued use despite negative consequences
  • Porn consumption feels out of your control; efforts have been unsuccessful to stop
  • Use of pornography consumes your thoughts; you anticipate use when unavailable
  • Your intimacy with a partner has become strained due to use

Identify signs of internet addiction
You need to get rid of all your porn.
Next, you have to do what I call “clean house.” You have to get rid of the porn you have. Throw away the discs, magazines, anything you have used as pornography, and make sure to dump and clean out your computer. This is just a start, some you have to clean house regularly.

Am I really addicted to pornography?
Being addicted to porn isn’t, strangely, just about sex. Viewing porn is hypnotic in that it narrows the focus of attention and makes us lose track of time. So people use it for escapism but, in the end, people always want to escape the very thing they were using…to escape. Jeremy said as much: “If I was having a rough time at work or been rowing with the girlfriend, I’d use porn to just forget about everything.” Eventually, of course, the cure becomes the curse.

Accountability.
A person that is preferably of the same sex you can be honest with and help you stay encouraged. Look for a support group, church resource, best friend, whomever that can keep you accountable. This can be the hardest first step, because as people (especially men), it can be very hard to open up and be vulnerable because it feels like you might be the only one. Remember the stats from early, you would be surprised how many people have overcome or are going through the exact same challenge you are.

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Fighting my sexual desires only made them come back stronger and faster, and I began to rely more on pornography and masturbation to help me get a temporary relieve.
Eventually this cycle got completely out of control to the point where I would have to spending most of my day watching porn. My brain got so used to regular imagery that I would have to seek out really hard core pornography in order to temporary satisfy my desires, and allow me to return to my normal state.
In other words, I found that the more I fed my porn addiction, the stronger it got.

Decide what needs to change. Once you’ve decided if you have a problem, you’ll need to identify what exactly you’re wanting to change. Some people may want to stop porn consumption altogether, while others may want to change how and when they watch porn. You may want to stop watching a certain genre of pornography. Be clear in what you want to change in order to move forward.

You need a friend to help you stay on track.
Finally, get accountable to a man on a daily basis about your porn usage. Make a call a day and a commitment to call this person before you even consider looking at porn. People who set consequences for porn relapse do better. Seriously, if you look at porn, set a consequence. Some guys run laps, give money to the political party they don’t vote for, do leg lunges for a half mile, give up some privilege or just pick up trash on the highway for a few hours.

How porn addiction lies to you.
Like any addictive behaviour, porn ultimately never delivers what it seems to promise. First there’s the feeling of building expectation before you start viewing. At first there is excitement but then, bit by bit, you start to feel hollow as the ‘pornographic gorge’ gathers pace. And, as with all binges, you start to feel overloaded, bloated with images. When you do finally stop, you feel worse than you did to start with as you experience the post-binge comedown.

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Let’s be honest, is anyone actually going to get rid of their computer or smartphone? A few brave souls might but for the rest of us, forget it. The next best thing would be to filter usage. Filtering is not the be all end all, there are other ways to get the “cocaine.” Aside from filtering websites, you also need to filter friendships and communication. The unfollow or block button for certain social media accounts can definitely save you. If certain people are posting images that are triggers or communicating with them causes you to yearn for the crack, remove them. Many people make the mistake of getting on the correct track to sobriety, but still hanging around the dope dealer or going to places that provide a milder hit. i.e certain movies, Instagram post, chat room, etc. Remember, filtering is not just software it’s a lifestyle.

No Craving Can Last Forever!
The second component that I learn was an understanding that any human feeling, including cravings, cannot last forever. In actuality any physiological impulse is shaped like a bell curve (see figure 2 below). At first cravings starts out slow but grow exponentially until they get really intense. Somewhere along this path most of addicts would end up giving in. As the result they get used to an idea that they could never get past their cravings and that their cravings will eventually get so strong, that they will have no choice but to give in.

Build your coping skills.
If you use porn as a way to cope with your emotions, there are more productive ways to cope. If you use pornography because you are shy interacting with individuals you are romantically interested in, consider building your social skills. Perhaps you deal with anger or frustration through internet and porn. Find ways to address these areas of your life that don’t include pornography. Learn healthy ways to Control Anger and Cope With Frustration
Consider engaging in healthy daily activities, such as physical activity or sports, meditation, relaxation, yoga, deep breathing.

A porn-free life is a better life.
You have to decide that you are worth living porn free. I decided that almost 25 years ago and just passed a polygraph verifying my freedom. I believe you’re worth it but your behavior will show you if you are. Don’t believe your words. Believe only your behaviors; otherwise, you can be in denial as to your commitment to being porn free. In actuality human beings cannot sustain any emotion or feelings indefinitely, and eventually any feeling or craving will decrease.
So the trick to stopping porn addiction is to learn to ride out cravings; to master a skill to stay away long enough for cravings to go away. This of course sounds simple, but as many addicts know it is not as easy to do.

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Combat boredom.
Since excessive porn consumption is generally a habit, one of the major causes is boredom. You simply don’t have anything else you’d rather be doing, so you turn to internet and pornography for entertainment. If you combat boredom and fill your time with other activities, you can kick a porn habit. One good way to fight boredom is to get involved in a community. This is better than picking up a hobby since you’ll have people to whom you’re accountable and that will notice if you’re gone. You can join a sports club, a reading group, or start volunteering.

Feel the consequences before they happen.
Ever notice how, in the moments before you view porn, you are stuck in the moment? How you become blinkered to how you’re going to feel after viewing porn? How the excitement clouds out the reality of the post-viewing exhaustion, disappointment, shame, or disgust? Next time you feel tempted, for whatever reason, walk away from the computer or DVD or magazine and sit in another room – just for twenty seconds. Close your eyes and really focus on the memory of the reality of how you feel after a porn viewing session.
No person is an island and fighting addiction is no different. This means we need someone to keep us on track if we fall off the wagon.

Physiological Signs of a Strong Craving.
It is important to know certain physiological changes that begin to take place in human body when they experience strong desire to watch porn and/or masturbate compressively. Such changes include:

  • Rapid Pulse
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Dilated Eyeballs
  • Shallow Breath

We can learn our pulse rate during normal state and then use this information to recognize if our pulse is getting too high. Therefore pulse can serve as an easy to measure indicator that we are about to get out of control. At the same time we can use pulse measurement to let us know that we are exiting the danger zone and that the physical craving begins to decrease.

Strengthen your support network.
Spend more time with your family, or determine to build or strengthen friendships. Have friends that can support you in dealing with your internet and pornography habit, and encourage you as you quit. Find the friends you trust and discuss your problem with them, and ask them for help.

Gain insight into how porn addiction works.
Think about when the danger times are. What’s different about these times? Are you more likely to be procrastinating from a work project or feeling bored, lonely, unappreciated, or tired? Using porn because you are tired and need to ‘rest the brain’ has the effect of making you much more tired.

Killing the Craving.
So let’s move right into action. The technique that I used to help me overcome the craving is called Exposure and Response Prevention or ERP and is generally used for Obsessive Compulsive disorder and other psychological problems. It’s been around for a very long time, tons of people use it, and it is very effective. Killing the Craving
So let’s move right into action. The technique that I used to help me overcome the craving is called Exposure and Response Prevention or ERP and is generally used for Obsessive Compulsive disorder and other psychological problems. It’s been around for a very long time, tons of people use it, and it is very effective. I’ve originally learned this technique from a book called “Kill the Craving” which uses ERP to help people with alcohol and drug addictions, and I slightly modified the approach to help me overcome porn addiction.

Overcome trauma.
Trauma is often a source of addiction problems. If you suffered a sexually-based emotional or physical trauma, you may be more likely to develop an unhealthy relationship with porn. If this is the case with you, you should consult with a mental health professional so that you can work to overcome your trauma. Ask your doctor for a referral to a therapist.
Often, simply acknowledging your trauma and talking about it to friends, family members, and other survivors can help you come to terms with those feelings and start moving toward healthier behaviors.

Use the computer in a public location.
It is generally looked down upon to consume pornography in public settings. Use this to your advantage and determine to safeguard yourself from temptation by only using your computer in public locations. When using the internet, use it only in places where other people can see you. Go to a coffee shop or library, or set up your computer in your living room and not your bedroom. The goal is to avoid complete privacy as a way to detract from the impulse to consume porn.

Use your imagination to help yourself.
It’s often been said that the largest sexual organ is the brain. If you feel genuinely sexy, then rather than dulling your imagination by passively watching porn, learn to fantasize. You’ll spend much less time doing this and can ‘direct your own porn’ within your mind. You’ll find this ultimately more satisfying, but strangely less compulsive than viewing porn. Why is this?

Cultivate a better environment.
Sometimes, your environment may be what is leading you to an unhealthy relationship with pornography. Avoid friends who encourage you to use porn constantly and clean up your computer if it’s full of easily accessible files and browser ads or pop-ups that tempt you.