4 Steps To Recovery From Porn Addiction: Walk, Don’t Run

Recovery from an addiction to sex or pornography is much more like a marathon rather than a sprint. Much will be required of and from you in your pursuit of sobriety. Recovery demands patience, perseverance, and maybe the most difficult—self-compassion. Many of my clients initially look for the quick sprint to the finish line…seeing the recovery process as a linear line with clear goals and boundaries. Unfortunately, the journey is instead more arduous, with twists and turns and unforeseen pitfalls….and blessings.

 

Prepare for a Marathon

walking young man over field and sunset

The similarities to recovery from compulsive sexual behavior and preparing for a marathon are plenty. You are looking at changing almost an entire lifetime of learned behavior along with an intricate, intact system that runs the machine. Once you have gained awareness that you have a problem and you both need and want to change, settle in for the long haul. So, how do you prepare or train to recover?

 

 

 

Step One: Take a long-term approach

You are investing in yourself, so it’s best to take a long-term view. See recovery as a process or journey and not just something to quickly fix and remove from your life. The latter is tempting but truthfully not realistic if you have grappled with your behavior for some time. Instead entertain the notion that you are making a lifestyle change that will require both your time and patience.

 

Step Two: Break recovery into small pieces

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when we have a large project sitting before us. It’s best to break it into smaller, more manageable chunks. Set achievable, realistic goals which support your sobriety and lessen the chances of you acting out sexually. This could look like organizing your acting out behavior into different tiers or levels and addressing them separately, particularly if quitting cold turkey just does not work for you.

 

Step Three: Patience and perseverance

Recovery will simply knock you on your ass a few times. People familiar with 12-step programs resonate with the notion that there are distinct differences between a lapse, a relapse, and collapse. Another idea is to make the distinction between a slip and a slide. Know ahead of time that you will likely act out during your recovery from porn and sex addiction. This will test your mettle. The ability to both regroup and learn from your “mistakes” plays a major role in not giving up or in but rather gaining the necessary tools of patience and perseverance required to break the cycle of your compulsive behavior. Take a “it’s information, not ammunition,” point of view.

 

Step Four: Get support

When someone is actually preparing for a marathon, they often don’t go it alone. They buddy up. Same goes for your sobriety plan. Consider joining a group or seek out individual counseling to address not just the behavior but also the underlying issues and root causes. Don’t do your recovery alone, instead reach out and connect with others.

 

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