The Steps to Overcome Pornography Addiction
Updated: Feb 25
How do we Develop a Full-on Porn Addiction?
Everyone who becomes hopelessly trapped in pornography arrived at that place of bondage through a series of steps. I remember as a kid when I was first exposed to porn it was very much a case of extreme curiosity. With regular viewing, it quickly evolved into a form of recreation where I would go to "have fun," and feel pure pleasure. Then this quickly turned into an obsession where I found myself constantly thinking about it.
But the real addictive power of porn became obvious when I began turning to it as an escape whenever life became stressful, uncomfortable, overwhelming or uncertain. Porn became my drug-of-choice to cope with life—my obsession evolved (or devolved) into a compulsion where I felt an overwhelming urge to go to porn—I was compelled to seek it out.
From there, porn went from a want to a need—something I HAD TO HAVE—like air to breathe or food to eat. This is FULL ON ADDICTION! Where are you in this process? Curiosity, Recreation, Obsession, Compulsion or full on Addiction?
Healthy Sexuality vs. Destructive Porn Use
One of the first steps leading out of porn addiction is learning the difference between healthy sexuality and destructive porn use. Healthy sexuality involves real connection where sexuality is a part of the overall holistic intimacy in the relationship. Sexuality is a celebration or culmination of ALL that we sacrifice, invest and experience in a committed relationship. In this context and healthy application, sex is positive, uplifting and connecting, not just physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.
At the opposite extreme, porn use isolates the sex act as a "stand alone" event and severs it from all other aspects of true human connection and closeness. Porn's sole focus is on body parts and positions. It requires no sacrifice or investment in a relationship. It involves a sense of shame around
sexual thoughts and quickly devolves to a place where one's sexual desires are uncontrollable. There's an intention of exploiting and using others as sexual objects through force, power and in a way that is NOT mutually respectful, consensual or kind. Porn addicts use pornography to escape stress or feel desired, powerful or important—all motivations that are destructive to healthy human intimacy.
What are the SIGNS of Pornography Addiction?
How do you know IF you're addicted to porn? Common signs of addiction to porn can include things like secrecy, increasing social isolation, defensiveness, guilt and/or shame regarding your porn use. Porn addiction also includes an increasing dependency on pornography as an escape from the stress and difficulties of life, in many ways just like a drug addiction. In addition, the porn addict develops a loss of control and an inability to resist, stop or say "no." He keeps going back to porn in spite of negative consequences to time, sleep, thoughts, work, focus, spirituality, energy and even when it places a strain on and eventually wrecks a cherished relationship.
Porn Use is Only a "Symptom"
One of BIG obsessive thoughts I had during my deep addiction years was, "If I can can just STOP watching porn, everything will be fixed!" What I didn't realize was that my porn viewing was only a "surface symptom" of much deeper "core-cause" issues. These deeper issues included: boredom: loneliness: stress; insecurities; feelings of unworthiness; lack of resilience; tendency to escape and avoid; lack of healthy stress-management skills; social anxiety and disconnection; ADD and OCD tendencies; depression and anxiety; religious shame; unhealthy sexual habits and attitudes; childhood traumas and others.
Without addressing these core issues, even if I did manage to stop using porn for a time, I would just turn to other forms of self-medication like food, TV, gaming, rage and resentment and more.
Treat the Underlying Core-Causes!
"Revealing" and "Healing" the underlying triggers that are driving your porn use and addiction is ESSENTIAL to breaking free and staying that way! One of the primary reasons why I broke permanently free from addiction, and why I help others do the same each day, is LEARNING the knowledge and SKILLS of HEALTHY coping, connecting and living! As I say, breaking free from porn addiction is NOT about "will," it's about "SKILL"! Once you learn what keeps driving you to use porn, you can "reveal it and heal it." This is NOT a "quick-fix" proposition! We develop our porn addictions over decades, so it takes some real, focused, dedicated time, energy and effort to develop the new skills and habits necessary to break free.
The good news is—YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN LIVE COMPLETELY PORN-FREE!
Seek Effective Treatment for Pornography Addiction
Over decades of effort I tried 12-Step groups, individual therapy, self-help programs, religious solutions, etc. While these were all helpful, none worked to break me permanently free. It took many years of trial and error as a therapist for me to have my own "last relapse" and break permanently free from porn addiction. For nearly 20 years, I've been helping others do the same. I KNOW from BRUTAL in-the-trenches experience what works and what does NOT!
If you've tried everything and just can't break free, you need specialized treatment and individualized attention with me and my program at Reclaim Counseling Services here in Northern Utah. I've been where you are now! I get it! Let's work together to help you finally get your life back! There IS help to permanently OVERCOME porn addiction right here in Utah! I also work with a lot of LDS men who are trapped in porn addiction.