Impossible Steps to Quit Porn

IMPOSSIBLE STEPS TO QUIT PORN

I struggled with porn for 38 years after discovering it at five years old. My addiction began with magazines (yeah, I’m old) and continued on to video tapes and finally to the internet. I had a history of getting clean for short periods of time and then falling back into old patterns. Finally in 2010, I found real, lasting freedom from porn and sexual sin.

I’ve learned some secrets and want to share them with you.

There are lots of sites offering advice on quitting porn. They seem to say it’s easy, simple, and quick to quit. In the research I’ve done, however, no one is willing to tell you each step is nearly impossible. I decided someone finally needed to expose the ugly truth.

 

ONE:  STRESS

Everyone deals with stress in their lives. What is stressful to one person may not be stressful to another, but we all deal with the pressure of work stress, money stress, family stress, and even stress caused by stress. I’ve seen an odd dynamic, however, in my own life, and in the lives of other guys: I could go through a stressful season and not feel the pull toward porn, but when the stress dropped off, LOOK OUT. After I got back to being bored and relaxed, I also went back to watching porn.

So, my first step for you is this: Make sure your life is super stressful; no down-time allowed. Sleep will only occur when you collapse on the floor in the fetal position. Ulcers and hair-loss are your best indicators of getting this step right.

OR

You could make a plan for the down-time so you are not using porn as a reward for making it through a stressful time.

 

TWO: ENTERTAINMENT

At the beginning of my sobriety I was desensitized to most forms of soft core, sensual material. Stuff like bikinis didn’t capture my attention. I barely noticed the high number of sexual images in my daily life because I was used to harder-core material. Once I stopped looking at porn, though, I had to be cautious about what my eyes saw. I removed many movies, TV shows, video games, and other visual inputs from my life.

The second step is: You won’t get free from porn without changing what you allow into your life. That means NO MORE entertainment—none, zilch. You’ve had your fun watching porn, it is time to pay the piper and get serious. In step one, I said your life needed to be super stressful. We are going to make it worse because even healthy forms of entertainment are off-limits.

OR

You could find different forms of entertainment: hobbies, exercise, other games (many don’t have sexual material), and movies or TV shows checked for content. Review the entertainment options in your life and consider better alternatives.

 

THREE: ELECTRONICS

Speaking of entertainment, I used my laptop and my phone to watch porn. I had full access to the laptop, so I could install any software I wanted to get to porn undiscovered. I did the same thing with my phone, giving me full access to the internet. Additionally, I know men who’ve used their gaming systems to access porn as well.

Step three; those electronic things need to go. You must live without a laptop, cell phone, tablet, phablet, and gaming system. And no “smart” TVs either; those things have full access to the internet too. Electronics lead to uncontrolled rabbit trails, and you know exactly where they lead. You might say, “I need it for work.”  Well, you’ll have to get a different job, one with no need for technology.

OR

You could install a few inconvenient tools like OpenDNS and Covenant Eyes which will keep your electronics cleaner. (No solution is perfect in this regard, but anything is better than nothing.) Also be creative, like limiting the amount of time you use those devices or switching to a dumb phone like I did.

 

FOUR: LIFE

School, work, money, family, and all the stress of quitting porn can bring a person down. And a lot of guys I have talked with have said their life is the reason they watch porn. For some it is because they don’t have a significant other. Other guys complain it is because of their significant other. The complaint may be about the job they have or the way they grew up. All of us have reasons for why life can generally suck.

The fourth step I recommend is this: realize life sucks. Not life in general, but your specific life sucks to the limit. It won’t ever change, unless it gets worse. You will always be in the same crappy situation. To help you learn this fact, I want you to get a bucket of ice water, take off all your clothes, and dump the bucket over your head. Now your life sucks and you’re cold, wet, and naked—see it can get worse.

OR

You can find someone living life well, despite the fact it can suck, and find out what they are doing. Your life will always seem like ‘the worst one ever’ if you never get any perspective on how others faced similar—or worse—circumstances and found a way out.

 

FIVE:  VIGILANCE

Sometimes I’d find myself looking at porn and not remembering when I started looking that day. I was living my life in a fog of passivity. I went from moment to moment without a care in the world. I didn’t pay attention to my environment or even my emotional state. I didn’t have an emotional state. As I got better, though, I found I was more focused. Being aware of my own thoughts and feelings helped me to stay sober. I wasn’t just hoping to stay away from porn each day; I was living with the intention to avoid porn.

This brings us to step number five: live on high alert. If someone asks you a question, you should jump from the tension you carry. Live as if a wild animal is stalking you and you have raw meat tied around your neck. You need to be in constant prayer and meditation, and I want you to start blasting the caffeine. You will need to live with laser focused vigilance.

OR

You can be more aware of your habits and your environment. Set an intention before you go to bed and when you wake up. Put your phone further from the bed so you have to get up and get moving before picking it up. Leave it out in your car. Find ways to notice your surroundings. Make a plan to change the layout of your room, apartment, or desk once in a while so you are not coasting through your living space. Don’t be passive. Move with purpose.

 

SIX: ISOLATION

The more I retreated into my porn habit, the more I lost connection with other people. I didn’t maintain friendships and I certainly wasn’t close to my wife. When I had the chance to engage in social activities, I frequently ran away and watched porn.

My final step for you is: surround yourself with annoying people who are constantly in your business. Peace and quiet are dead to you. Fill your social calendar with awkward visits to invasive family members and passive-aggressive friends who have opposing views on religion, politics, and household pets.

OR

You could go to a recovery group in your area. There are even some online. People in recovery are familiar with addiction even if they don’t share your addiction. If you are lucky, you will find one for sexual integrity or porn addiction. You might want to find a mentor, someone like me, who has been through the recovery process and knows what the struggle is like—and knows how to get you out.

 

So there you have it: six impossible steps for overcoming your porn addiction. Now if you decided you wanted to go the easier routes in each category, good for you, because the easier ones are more sustainable long term, ensuring you won’t just quit porn over and over again—you’ll quit it for good.

Hopefully, you picked up on the ironic part of my post. I don’t think it is impossible to quit porn, but it will take time and effort. At first, it will feel unnatural because you are learning new habits and activities, but don’t let this stop you.

There are many other steps you can take as well, but start taking them. You will not get better without making changes, but I believe you have what it takes to make these changes.

Finding a mentor is an effective way to work through the steps to get free from porn, because they’re proactive about guiding you—especially when the road to recovery gets difficult.

I am glad I had someone to guide me, because I wouldn’t trade my sobriety for anything.