• Sam

Ways to Fail

I stole this excellent material from the equally website "No Fap." Highly recommended. Used without permission but with much gratitude. Hope they don't mind. Full credit to them.

How to fail at quitting porn or establishing healthier sexual habits.

Have an all-or-nothing mentality. This attitude can blind you from being able to recognize the progress that you're making. A reduction of unwanted behavior, instead of a full elimination, is still progress. Going from 6 PMO sessions per day down to 1 per week is a huge accomplishment, even if you aren't yet living life completely porn-free. Everybody has to start somewhere. Your favorite sports star wasn't simply born with those abilities, they also had to train for years to get to their prime. It is the same thing for recovering porn addicts - it often takes years of consistent work and improvement to achieve a completely porn-free life. Slipping up along your journey is a poor excuse to get so upset that you completely abandon your recovery goals.

Think that quitting using pornography will fix everything in your life. Yes, overcoming porn addiction has many potential standalone benefits. But many of the benefits you can experience are likely due to you living your life more fully. For example, quitting porn doesn't automatically result in better fitness, it's up to you to spend your extra time and energy pursuing health. Keep that in mind when you read people's recovery stories and you aren't noticing the same results. Quitting doesn't make you super-human, but helps you to regain the natural capabilities that you were born with to reach your goals.

Thinking that watching porn is okay for people in recovery from it. If you are a recovering porn addict, you definitely shouldn't be using porn. For some reason, we get dozens of messages from people asking us whether or not watching porn "counts," just so long that they're aren't finishing to it. Yes, it still counts even if you are not masturbating to orgasm. If you are watching porn, you are still further "wiring" your brain to porn.

Not trying to grow. A sedentary and unengaging lifestyle creates an environment where porn use can thrive. You want to live a life that is so fulfilling, with a schedule so full, that there's no room for compulsive porn use to leech its way back in.

Not taking it seriously enough. Recovering from porn addiction is far more than a "challenge" and it certainly isn't a "quit quick with these 10 easy tricks" scheme. Fully recovering from a serious porn addiction might be the hardest thing that you've ever done. We've had multiple people with histories of other addictions reach out to us to let us know that quitting porn was harder for them than quitting alcohol, smoking, or even hard drugs.

Beating yourself up over slip-ups. From our experiences, most people try to quit porn dozens to hundreds of times, before finally kicking the habit for good. Most importantly, you really have two options - let a slip-up or relapse set you back even further than needed with toxic shame, or use the slip-up as a learning experience, forgive yourself, and continue forward with a new resolve to do better next time.

Focusing too much on motivation. In reality, people aren't always motivated, and certainly not recovering porn addicts. Porn addicts may feel less motivation than non-porn addicts - the emerging science of compulsive porn use reveals brain changes associated with decreased motivation. The entire thing that kicks off recovery is to make a higher-level decision to quit - because your "motivational" part of your brain will still be screaming at you to continue your old habits. Just because you aren't motivated at the moment doesn't give you a valid excuse to return to unhealthy habits. People who quit can cope with low motivation by using their rational brains to continue to stick to the most important goals.

Being too focused on recovery. If you are always focusing on recovery, you are always thinking about recovery. If you are always thinking about recovery, you are always thinking about porn. The focus should be on building a new life of positive habits that keep your mind off of porn and on your family, friends, romantic partner or dating life, career goals, or whatever else you may be interested in.

Not learning the basics of recovery and how addiction works in the brain. We wrote up a page on our website which runs through the basics of how the addiction develops and how the recovery process works. Seriously, knowing the mechanics of why our brains get hooked on sexual media is tremendously useful in recovery. If you learn the science, you will have an explanation for why you experience certain things and always know that recovery is possible.

Not developing new ways to cope with stress and emotions. Many porn addicts rely on pornography as an emotional crutch to get through the day. You'll need to find a replacement activity. If you fail to develop skills to combat other issues in your life, you might fall on your butt whenever you are hit a problem that quitting porn can't solve.

Not taking care of yourself. Maybe you are already doing this - and if so, great. But many addicts neglect their personal health, including not getting enough sleep, not eating well, not exercising, and living high-stress lifestyles. Recovery is a great time to start taking some steps towards living a healthier life.

Not relaxing enough. Some people strive a bit too hard for self-improvement during recovery, at the detriment of their wellness. Eventually, they often burn out and end up slipping back into old habits. The goal should be a sustainable recovery. Give yourself some time to relax! Not taking care of yourself and being overloaded leads to feeling stressed out and unhealthy, which can easily lead right back to your old porn habit.

Being too reliant on other people. Ultimately, you are the person who needs to quit porn. Your romantic partner can't quit porn for you, nor can your fellow NoFap community members or a therapist. The same even goes for blocker software. Ultimately, you are the decision maker. You are the one who has to stick to your goals, show up to therapy sessions, participate in accountability relationships, etc.

Partaking in your recovery in complete secrecy. Addiction thrives in secrecy. Secrecy is almost a prerequisite for addiction; in order to escalate to addiction, you often have to hide aspects about it, and consequences from it, from your family, community, loved ones, friends, etc. By shining light on your life and not leaving room for shadows, you regain the natural accountability of living life fully honestly.

Not getting help, if you need it. Whether it is a therapist, a good friend, signing onto our recovery forum, an accountability partner, or an accountability group, you might be missing out if you don't get some kind of helping hand during your recovery.

Thinking that anyone else’s journey will be yours too. We get these questions all of the time. What happens on day 4? When will my PIED be cured? How long does it take to quit porn? These are impossible to answer and only serve to set unrealistic expectations for yourself.

Over-complicating the recovery process. There are now 10,000s of pieces of advice circulating online on how to best overcome porn addiction. This could easily become overwhelming. At the end of the day, keep in mind that quitting porn is as simple as not using porn. There's only one step. Everything else revolves around that one step. So, if you are feeling overwhelmed to the point that you feel like just giving up, keep that in mind.

Being over-confident. Just because you are smooth sailing on week one does not mean it will always feel easy. Recovery is not a linear process that gets better and easier every day. It's a twisty, winding road of ups and downs, and you never know what is coming next. Even if you are feeling confident, which is good, the proper mentality is to take recovery day by day, because you never know what to expect next.

Being under-confident in your ability to quit. People lived without Internet porn for many generations before you were born - so living life without it is entirely possible. Thousands of people have successfully quit. If you are ever feeling like quitting is a hopeless endeavor, read the 1000s of success stories posted on our forum community. You can quit porn.

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© 2018 by Dr. Sam Pascoe