3 Ways to Begin Recovery From Porn
Every second, approximately 28,258 internet users are viewing pornography worldwide. Closer to home, more
than 40 million Americans claim to be regular visitors to porn sites, with
33% of those users being women and 67% being male. These astounding
statistics highlight the excessive use of pornography and its relation to
the growing number of porn addicts in today’s society. After years of
debate between professionals, porn addiction and sexual compulsivity has
officially been deemed a legitimate issue that often requires the help of
experts to control.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with an overuse of porn or
seeking porn addiction recovery, check out these three ways to get started
in gaining the skills and resources needed to live a happy, porn-free
lifestyle. Resist the inclination to disregard or minimize these
recommendations or to over analyze or question the reasoning behind them.
Just get Started. When you’re further into recovery, you will
understand the benefit of each of the steps and of the “dailies” (as we
call them), but for now just get some good recovery habits in place, which
will often help you replace bad habits.
Please note: This is not a cure. It is not a therapy. It is a way to get
1. Come Out of Hiding
Isolation is one of the most common—most significant—stumbling blocks
faced by addicts, as well as those who live with addicts. When you feel
anger, fear, or any strong emotion, a natural response is to retreat. It
often seems easier to be alone and to isolate yourself from others, either
physically or emotionally, than to seek help. And even though you may be a
social person and spend lots of time with others, you may still be
emotionally isolated or “shut down”, unwilling to let anyone really know
who you are deep down inside.
To come out of hiding, we suggest that you seek out a therapist who has
been trained in and has experience with the treatment of sexual addiction.
In addition to personal therapy, we also strongly recommend that you join
a 12-step or other support group, and that you let out your secret to a
trusted friend, family member, or religious leader.
Most addicts reject this suggestion. It is not your natural instinct to
share with others. “I don’t do that group thing!” is a common response to
this suggestion. Or, “I don’t need anyone else’s help. I can do it
myself.” If you could, you would have. Let someone else help you now so
that can then go on to help others.
2. Develop a Plan of Action
Creating a Plan of Action is a long-term exercise, a written schedule that
will help you stay committed and consistent in your recovery. It is a
method of tools you’ve learned and implementing goals in a regular and
organized daily program. It will help you get into a routine of
consistently following the behaviors that are essential to your recovery.
Eventually, this routine will become a healthy flow, and will replace your
old self-destructive behaviors. Setting up your plan may be a little
tedious in the beginning, but remember, there are no shortcuts. Recovery
is a total lifestyle change.
Your Plan of Action will help you get started creating this new life, but
we caution you to take this step at your own pace. Addiction of any kind
can “rewire” the brain with unhealthy habits and patterns of behavior.
Recovery is a time where the brain can heal from the damage done by
addiction. Sexual addiction recovery is taking steps to replace unhealthy
wiring with new, healthy wiring. Creating a Plan of Action and a treatment
plan is a way whereby you can have a temporary braking system for you
habits and addictions while the brain heals.
3. Self-Care – The Daily Program
Choose at least one (but not more than two) dailies from the each of the
three categories: personal, physical, and spiritual. You may wish to
create a worksheet or find one in the booklet, The First Step.
Fill in the dailies you have chosen, and commit right now that you will
build these positive habits daily. Be conscientious in filling out the
worksheet each day and before long you will be experiencing a positive
ripple effect as you watch these better habits affect every area of your
The following are examples from recovering addicts and how they used their
dailies to improve their lives.
– Keep a journal
– Repeat daily affirmations
– Personal Development
Start a new hobby such as gardening, recreational reading, musical
instrument, and so forth.
Take a community education course
Express creativity, such as artwork, writing poetry, and so forth.
– Exercise – 30 minutes at least 3 time a week.
(walk, bike, hike, swim, run etc.)
Learn about nutrition-plan meals in advance
Eat balanced meals
Avoid junk food (including sugar and caffeine)
– Rest and Relaxation:
Get adequate sleep
Limit TV to little or none
– Scripture or religious reading
– Church service
It is important that you do not overdo these dailies and that you take
them at your own pace. After all, this is your life and your recovery and
no one knows your needs and capabilities better than you do. Start this
program today and evaluate your progress daily. Add or delete activities
as needed to keep a healthy balance in your life.
About the Author: Dan Gray (LCSW, CSAT) is the Clinical Director and
cofounder at Lifestar Therapy. He has a master’s degree in social work and is a CSAT
(Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist). He is also certified as an
addictions counselor with the National Association of Forensic Counselors.
He has co-authored and edited two books: Confronting Pornography: A Guide
to Prevention and Recovery for Individuals, Loved Ones, and Leaders and
Discussing Pornography Problems with a Spouse: Confronting and Disclosing
Secret Behaviors. Dan is married and the father of four.