How can I Overcome Pornography?!
If you're beating your head against the wall wondering, "How in the world can I overcome porn addiction?" you're NOT alone! I can totally relate!
My name is Mark Kastleman. For 20 years, I've been helping men all around the world break out of their hopeless habit of watching porn. I KNOW what works and what doesn't. How? I'm not only a therapist who specializes in pornography addiction, I'm also a porn addict in long-term successful recovery.
My Own Porn Addiction Nearly Killed Me!
For 30 years, starting when I was a kid and extending decades into my adult life, pornography dominated my world! I tried EVERYTHING to break free and nothing worked to permanently set me free—I just kept relapsing and falling back into the black hole of porn. I was so angry, frustrated and hopeless I came very close to putting a gun to my head several times. You can view my personal story here—Mark's Story
Finally, after many years of trial and error, making all the recovery mistakes, I learned what actually WORKS to finally and permanently STOP watching porn! These tested and proven principles and tools have worked for me and my clients—most of us suffering from very severe, deep, decades-long pornography addiction. If we can do it, YOU can do it. You just need someone who's been there to show you how.
Here are 5 Basic, Essential Principles to
Help you Overcome Pornography
1. Porn Viewing is ONLY a "Symptom"
For decades I focused all of my attention on my porn viewing as the primary problem. What I failed to realize is that the porn is only a "surface symptom." The question I had to confront and answer was, "What's driving my obsessive need to look at porn in the first place?" Just like alcohol or drug addiction are NOT about the liquid in the glass or the pills in the bottle, porn use is NOT about naked bodies. It's about the powerful, self-soothing/self-medicating chemicals the images release in your brain and what pushes your NEED for those chemicals. Until you uncover and treat the "core causes" the symptom of addiction will just keep returning.
We have identified many different thoughts, beliefs, emotions, environments, past traumas, etc., that fuel the symptom of addiction. For example, feeling "BLHASTed" is often a trigger for seeking the escape and self-medication of porn. BLHASTed is an acronym for bored or burned out, lonely, hungry, angry, anxious or afraid, stressed or tired. For an overview of how these "core causes" can lead to watching porn, check out my short video—Your Brain On Porn.
The bottom line is, you can get some temporary stretches of "sobriety" where you don't look at porn, but if you fail to identify, address and heal the underlying core causes, you'll just keep falling back into your old porn habit.
2. Pornography Acts Like a "Drug" in the Brain
Some people in society believe that pornography is just a harmless, recreational pastime and what you do in the privacy of your own Internet search doesn't harm anyone. Others rightly discern that pornography is dark and destructive, both to those on display and the viewers. What most people don't realize is that pornography has a dramatic impact on brain chemistry—an effect very similar to that of cocaine or heroin use.
Porn viewing triggers the brain into releasing its own endogenous (produced from within) chemicals, including dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, endorphins and more. These are the same brain chemicals released in street drug use. This is why we say, "porn use is substance abuse." For more details regarding pornography as a drug, you can read my article, Is Pornography a Drug Addiction?
Learning that porn impacted my brain like street drugs helped me understand a lot of things that for years were extremely confusing and frustrating. For example, everyone kept telling me, "Just make up your mind and decide to stop." I tried but I just kept coming back. I realized their simplistic advice was just as worthless for me as it was for a heroin addict! I learned that it takes a LOT more than just sheer willpower to stop watching porn!
I also came to understand why I would go through emotional and physical withdrawals when I tried to stay away from porn for lengthy periods of time. And, I actually came to the realization that I wasn't a weak, worthless loser with no willpower! There was a logical explanation behind my struggles and why I was so unsuccessful in my endless attempts to quit porn. Just as an alcoholic or drug addict can 't overcome their addiction without extensive help, I couldn't' be expected to magically "stop" my unwanted behaviors on my own. The same holds true for you.
3. Shame and Secrecy Only Deepen Your Addiction
For decades I kept my addiction a secret and struggled alone. Why? I was terrified that if anyone close to me found out about the depth of my porn habit, they would never see me the same again! I was certain I would lose everyone's respect and love. Then when I finally sought outside help, I spent years divulging only parts of my addiction, again, convinced that if anyone one learned the "whole" truth, my life as I knew it would be over.
What I had to learn the hard way was that one of the biggest drivers of my addiction was my shame, secrecy, isolation and fear of discovery. The more I tried to go it alone, the more my addiction progressed. I learned that the opposite of addiction is NOT sobriety, but CONNECTION! I had to be willing to come out of hiding and connect to a system of support. If you're married and like I was, one of your greatest fears may be fully disclosing to your spouse. If you would like some direction for this very daunting task, please see my article, Disclosure Is Critical to Your Marriage.
You don't have to "go it alone." Nor do you have to spend the time and energy to find a professional and peer support system that works. I've spent the last 20 years testing and proving recovery principles, tools and practices that get results—even if you've "tried everything else" and haven't succeeded. That was my story and the case with nearly every client I work with. We're here, ready to help you start down your path of eliminating pornography from your life—for good! By the way—most of the fears I had about coming out of secrecy and getting help, never materialized. In nearly every relationship, when I was open and honest, I found love and support.
4. You CAN Learn to Master Your Own Mind
One of the most difficult and often excruciating things about my own efforts to stop watching porn, was my inability to control my own thoughts. When the sexual urges and temptations hit me, it felt like someone or something would completely take over the stage of my mind! I would try to fight the unwanted thoughts, but I would end up exhausted and finally give in. I felt like a complete weakling and loser—I couldn't even control my own thoughts!
Then I met Dr. Page Bailey, one of the world's leading neuropsychologists. He became my mentor and over a period of four years, taught me the brain science of porn addiction and exactly HOW to become the master of my own mind! Super surprising to me was the fact that "willpower" was NOT the answer! I had spent more than 20 years doing it wrong! I learned that the more you fight, the worse it gets! It's NOT about "will," it's about "skill."
For nearly 20 years I've been testing and proving Cognitive Behavioral techniques designed to give any individual total control over the stage of their own mind. These powerful tools have been highly effective for me and my clients across the world. YOU are NOT your BRAIN. You—your Highest, Truest Self, can literally step back and become a watcher of your own thoughts. You CAN become the MASTER of your own mind. You simply need to learn the right principles, tools and practices. Once you do, you'll be amazed at how "automatic" it becomes and how you NEVER need be a slave to your thoughts ever again!
5. Real, Lasting Recovery Must Be Daily
In my early recovery I just wanted to be "cured" as quickly as possible! I wanted to be done with pornography so that I could move on with my life! I figured a weekly therapy session would be enough. It wasn't.
For decades, an obsession with pornography, sexual thoughts and fantasies had dominated my life and rewired my brain. To assume that once-a-week therapy or group meetings could undo all of that was very naive on my part. I had trouble accepting that real, lasting recovery must be DAILY. I can tell you after 20 years of testing and proving every possible approach with men around the world, a DAILY focus is ESSENTIAL to lasting recovery success! It's NOT about "will" it's about "skill" and you develop practical recovery skills through daily PRACTICE.
Now, that doesn't mean that you have to spend hours and hours every day immersed in recovery work. Who has the time or energy for that?! But, it does mean that recovery must become an integrated part of your daily life. That's why I've developed simple recovery principles, tools and practices that can smoothly and easily become part of your daily routine and a very natural part of your life. In fact, once you've mastered these tools, you'll discover they will help you succeed in every part of your life, career and relationships.
This daily focus helps you "rewire" your brain so you can live a healthy, happy, successful and PORN–FREE life! For a brief review of what this daily focus looks like, you can review my Intensive Program in Sandy, UT or if you live outside the area, my Online Therapy Program.
You Don't Have to Live Trapped in Porn Addiction! There IS a Way Out!
I remember when I was hopelessly trapped on what I call, "The roller coaster ride from Hell!"—Fighting porn urges until I was exhausted; giving into porn and getting instant, temporary relief from the battle; pounding my fist on the desk and vowing never to look at it again—and then the whole cycle would start over again—fighting–giving-in–fighting–giving-in—until I was completely hopeless!
Perhaps you're in a similar situation. You just want to STOP looking at porn! Why does that have to be so damn hard?! Believe me, I can relate! I was once in a place similar to where you are now. And I know how HARD it is to imagine that you could ever live your life COMPLETELY free from porn. I'm here to tell you that for me and many, many of my clients past and present, it IS ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE! It will likely be one of the MOST focused and challenging things you will ever do, but those of us who have been where you are now are LIVING PROOF that YOU CAN DO IT!
The Next Move is Up to You!
If I were in your shoes, I would probably be hopeful and at the same time skeptical. I get that. But, only you can decide if it's worth taking the next step—communicating with me. If you're ready to kick your porn habit's butt and move forward on the path to a porn-free life, then reach out to me and let's get started.
If you're serious about breaking free from porn once and for all—then the next step is yours to take—click on the link below and text me, email me, or set up a phone conversation with me. I'll answer your questions, give you raw and honest feedback about your situation, and help you move forward on the path of freedom!