10 Tips for a Successful Reboot or Recovery!
10 Tips for a Successful Reboot or Recovery!
Here is a list of tips that will help anyone who's seeking to either reboot (physiologically) or recover (psychologically) from an addiction to either pornography or masturbation without necessarily using blocks or accountability groups:
- Don't Think About It.
If you're thinking about it, whether in favor of it, or with efforts towards stopping it, you're still thinking about it.
This is a matter of will: intention is revealed by attention.
If your mind drifts into sexual fantasy, about a real or imaginary woman, get to the bottom of it. What am I feeling that I all of a sudden need to alter my mood in this way? Did someone insult me? reject me? Do I feel neglected? Did I think in some negative downer way?
If a thought, memory or fantasy arises in your mind, don't try and directly fight it, you'll only fuel the fire. Rather, put your mind on something else. Sing your favorite rock song, plan for after work, think of something you're grateful for, etc...
- Admiring Beauty Without Objectifying (Idolizing) It.
For me, being attracted to a woman is a time where I can gauge how I'm doing internally by how much I'm drawn to them. I can break this down in 3 stages:
1) If I see a beautiful woman, I'll acknowledge it and dismiss it from my mind.
2) Other times, there'll be a stronger pull to ogle her- and so, maybe I'll say a prayer for her.
3) Still other times, the draw can be so intense for me- then I know that there's a deeper need, a thirst that only the Lord can quench, that I'm trying to assuage through women's beauty.
Thus, I no longer condemn myself for how I respond to women's beauty, but instead use it to gauge my own level of 'thirst'- not for womankind, perse, but for the Lord- Who's Living Water is masked by the beauty and goodness of this world, all too often.
So, I'll take that draw as a cue to-
1) Assess my emotional state: what happened externally or internally (or both) that I'm now trying to meet some need through this form of self-medication?
2) Meet this way in a manner that answers to me personally, through worshiping the Lord- as that Living Waters, as He's the only One Who can satisfy those deeper needs and issues in my own heart.
[For others, there can be alternate ways to meet this need through whatever Wisdom has given them- it could be meditation, socializing, or spending time with their loved ones, etc...]
- Solve the Identity Crisis.
You are not an alcoholic if you're no longer addicted to drinking alcohol! Neither are you a sex-addict if you're no longer using sex or porn to self-medicate! It is false to say, "Once an addict always an addict"- Really, still an addict even if the person has quit using for x-amount of years? Identifying ourselves as such keeps open the possibility of one day returning, maybe when the $#!+ really hits the fan!
You are neither your addiction, nor are you your mind, nor your body. You are not your story, but the witness of it- and how you choose to interpret it is all in your control.
Don't believe any story about yourself where you're the loser, where you're weak and powerless- hogwash! You're a human being, made in the divine Image, full of infinite potential for good. You are forgiven and loved by God, and you need not hold onto guilt and condemnation which has produced toxic-shame, which very well may be driving your addiction.
The above goes for you, whether you're a believer or not! If you're not a believer, you're still loved and forgiven, forgive yourself- love yourself.
- Solve the Shame Factor.
As stated previously, toxic-shame often drives our addiction, and jacks with our self-identification.
I can best answer for myself as a believer, that two things happened:
1) Legalism, spiritual abuse and hyper-moralization of my sexuality (both internally and externally) caused me to undergo multiple years more struggling than what was probably necessary. - and-
2) Grace, for me coming to understand that flipped shame on it's head. To understand: that All our sins are forgiven right now- all our sins of the past, present or future have all been forgiven and atoned for by God.
When this was believed by me (even after over 25 years of being a believer), in a practical sense, whenever I failed I could get up a lot easier, dust myself off, and go on. It wasn't a moral factor for me anymore. Sure, in the back of my mind I understood that it would be moral to abstain, and immoral to selfishly indulge- but my failings were no longer an insurmountable sin that separated me from God. No. It's now like, even if I fell into something, my relationship with God is not affected one iota. I'm not distanced from God, nor in a bad light in His opinion. I know this may be controversial to some who want to gauge their walk by their performance- but that's legalistic crap which doesn't help anyone. But I can speak of what's helped me, immensely.
- Stop Self-Medicating, Face Reality.
Recognize that our addictive behaviors are just the weeds, but attached to roots that go deeper. To get at the roots, or deeper issues, we have to stop the addictive behaviors, cold turkey if need be. Due to past hurts, traumatic events, or a negative environment in our family of origins, we developed incorrect coping mechanisms, false coping strategies that only [self-] medicate or insulate us from the pains, stresses and anxieties of life because we're too afraid to face these things without our 'security blanket'.
This is the path to maturing as adults, throw away these false-coping mechanisms, be it pornography or masturbation, and train ourselves to face uncomfortable and even painful day-to-day issues of life.
Whenever we're tempted to act-out in our former behaviors, we can use that as a gauge to determine what is occurring internally or externally that's pushing us to do so. Then, we can sit with the issues and try and face them head on (allow ourselves to feel all of it, the good-bad-and the ugly), and/or find other healthier ways to deal with it.
- Have the Attitude of Finality.
Many set their addictions before them, instead of behind them- as a thing of the past. We must consider ourselves as former addicts, or no longer as addicts at all. This is the Porn is not an option of Gary Wilson, or the I will never drink alcohol again, ever of Jack Trimpey (Rational Recovery).
This is the daring idea that this stuff can be overcome, stopped and completely recovered from. That we can wake up, and know that we will never use this stuff to self-medicate ever again. Isn't that a liberating and empowering thought?
- Having Goals, Properly Assessing Failure.
While there are many who decide right away that they will never use again, and they stick to it. Most of our experience is more of an ambivalence toward our addictions- we're typically not so ready to give up what's been our drug of choice for 10, 20, or even 30 years! And also, our habits are so ingrained, the neuropathways so entrenched toward the dopamine rush, that we're more akin to cocaine addicts, than those who get off on pixilation.
So, set realistic goals. I did mine in stages. I had an overall goal of 120 days, but I broke it up in more manageable (and at the time, believable) bites of 20 day then 40 day goals. Don't feel ashamed if you have to have 1 week, or even 1 day as a goal. Whatever you need to do. Then when your confidence is built up somewhat, you can increase your goal.
If we fail, however, we have to be able to determine whether it's a slip, a lapse or a relapse. Briefly we define each as:
1) Slip- an unexpected temptation that affects you, but you immediately regain your balance and go on. No fall was involved, though there was a temptation to use. Maybe there was some acting on it, but you immediately stopped and regained your composure.
2) Lapse- under temptation, there was a fall. But you soon got back up, and did not repeat the addictive behavior. You went on from there, learning what you needed to learn from the experience.
3) Relapse- Having fallen, there's a repeated-fall, a re-lapse. There was an obsession surrounding the former lapse, and as a result, a re-lapse occurs. There's a repeat of the addictive behavior engaged in earlier.
Important! How we choose to treat or react to a slip or a lapse will determine whether it's a lesson learned or a full-blown relapse!
Even in a relapse scenario, there's no ultimate defeat, unless we refuse to get back up, and try again. Having a plan for relapse prevention is a good idea. And how, why or when someone resets their reboot counter is their choice.
- Importance of Motivation.
Instead of just motivated daily to not use, we live for a future of a happy and fulfilling life. We plan for being without these impediments, but instead of making our primary focus the negative avoidance of these behaviors, we instead focus on our life-goals, whether they're career, health or other goals.
There's also the motivations away from the behavior, where we remember the look of hurt and horror on our loved one's face as we told them our secret. The pain we've caused others, especially ourselves, should be remembered, especially when we're tempted to use.
- Having a Support Network.
Is it possible to do this alone? Much of my struggle was in isolation, but I do believe it's possible. However, I seem to do better, and speed up the process of recovery by being a part of a supportive network- such as here, at NoFap Reddit, or Reboot Nation. But, this is not necessarily accountability. We're here to encourage and help each other out. Hold each other accountable? Yeah, to our own goals and purposes for rebooting, but not to any external idea of someone else's reasons for rebooting.
But it is so uplifting for another human being to understand your struggles, especially if they've been there themselves. To truly be empathetic (not just sympathetic) you need that comradery, brothers (and sisters) who will not judge you, but be compassionate toward you.
- Plan for High Risk Situations.
This is something that relates to some of the other points above. While what we may consider 'high-risk' earlier on in recovery may and will change as we go on- for example, driving down a red-light district used to have a pull on me, but now, it's not so high-risk any more, as I'm not as tempted in that direction anymore. But, what may be high-risk now, we need to have a 'what-if' type of plan ready to go. Is being left alone when the wife's out of town a high risk scenario for you? Or, is having unfettered access to the computer high-risk? The shower may be high-risk for some folks, you get the idea...
1) Set your intentions: "If I'm in this situation, I'll not do this or that..."
2) Plan for it, having alternate activities that will take up your time and energy (and interest) away from the behavior.
3) Reframe the high-risk situation differently, like in the shower (for example) you can make that a time to think about what you're grateful for in your life, instead of pmo. You can practice your rock-star vocals in there, as well. You can leave the house, take an alternate route, etc... And these may be like 'training wheels' initially, until these situations are not so much high-risk.
Of course there'll always be certain common sense risky situations that one should avoid, like if an unexpected nudity scene pops up in a movie, we don't decide that 'we can handle it', and keep watching...
Hopefully these points will be helpful to the many who come on here for help, and to change their lives. These things are in use in my own life, and I've been struggling for over 20 years with these compulsive and obsessive behaviors- and so, have a feel for what works, and what hasn't worked for me.
May they serve to be a blessing for all.
LINK TO POST - 10 Tips for a Successful Reboot or Recovery!
BY - Phineas888