You want to stop watching porn. You agree that it’s no good. But you can’t kick the habit. Here’s are 10 ways to help fight against porn addiction and usage.
1 – Mindset.
If you are reading this article, then likely you are already there OR almost there. If we want to stop watching porn, we have to admit that it is a problem and that we want to stop. If we don’t have a true ‘want to’ then we will not succeed. That is true with most things in life. Once we have that and we are serious about it, we will be on the right track moving forward to a life without pornography.
2 – Preparation.
You need to get ready. We cannot expect to get in shape without reading about health and exercising, without watching some tutorials, without buying a few dumbbells, and clearing out the pantry of garbage. In the same light, we cannot fight a powerful habit (addiction for some) without some prep too.
There are countless resources online that offer help in getting past this (you’re reading one now). Not all will align to who you are, but most have insight into the problem. Start there. Note the ones that describe you and your struggle. Write them down. Make a plan, for you.
Next: Destroy your porn collection. A painful experience for some men, but well worth it if you’re serious about moving forward. If you have physical porn or porn on your computer, throw it out, permanently delete it, burn it (well don’t burn it – although it might be a powerful, symbolic torching, it probably won’t help our environment), and get rid of it. ALL of it.
If you’re serious about stopping, you will do what it takes to give yourself a better chance of moving forward without pornography in your life. If there is no junk food in the house, it is really easy for me to stay away from ice cream. If it’s in the freezer, I’ll have a ‘little’ which will lead to having a ‘little’ every night until it’s gone. We cannot allow the source of our habit/problem to live in the house with us. It just won’t work.
3 – Programs/Filters.
I have seen stories on all sides of this topic. Some have installed these on all their devices, on their best friend’s devices, and on their spouse’s devices. They have installed a barrier that does not allow porn to be an option, at least not online. And it has worked well for them.
Some have told me they cannot afford a program or filter. Some programs have a monthly cost, but some are pretty cheap. X3Watch.com offers a plan that is $65 for the year and has a basic plan that is $25, and some form of a plan for free. NetNanny is about 60 as well on 12 devices. At the end of the day, I’d say sixty bones is well worth a year away from porn. I get that your money may be tight, but if you are serious about kicking the habit, you can come up with a little bit of dough.
These programs make it much harder to view porn online and online pornography is obviously the easiest to get to, so it is vital for us to battle that head-on. This band-aid approach is difficult at first, but will help to create some healthy habits in getting past the norm of watching porn.
Now some people are too tech savvy for their own good. I have a friend who can get around the filters. When he gives in to porn, he simply goes around them. He’s like a wizard… And I’m sure all the filters have strengths and weaknesses. But to that guy reading this and others like him, I’d say find a way. Find a friend who is smarter than you. Let him install things with his passwords and his loopholes. Let your mom control the settings and view your online activity. Somehow. Someway. These programs and filters are lifesavers for some. To not have them would be setting yourself up for failure. I’d say find a way. The harder it is for you to view porn, the less likely you will jump through all those hoops to find it.
4 – Accountability.
Most battles are not won alone and beating pornography is no different. We need help if we want to win.
I have seen different approaches to this piece of the battle. It all depends on the person. I had a friend that made his accountability partner run a mile with him if he ever gave in. The person’s hate for running gave him even more reason to be strong in times of temptation. I’ve seen the filters send emails or texts to a partner triggering the partner to call immediately. I’ve seen spouses at the other end of the partnership, upping the ante even more so, and forcing a tough conversation after.
I’ve also seen this not work. Some partners just kind of say, “Oh, it’s okay man. Don’t do that again. Do better,” and then move on with their day, which is not really helping anyone.
Most important is having a strong accountability partner or team. These people have to be people we trust, people who will challenge us, and talk to us.
Questions like – What triggered you? Where were you? How can we stop this from happening again? What can I do to help you be stronger? – need to be addressed, as well as forgiveness and encouragement. We need someone who is firm, but loving, someone who understands you and your battle.
5 – Community.
For those that would call pornography an addiction or those that feel like an accountability partner is not enough, a whole community is in order.
Just like those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, they cannot go at it alone. The stronghold is too much. They need a community to work with, to talk to, to struggle with. And that may be the case for you with pornography. If so, then a community is exactly what you need. There are programs out there for all forms of addiction. I would search and find a community and get plugged in immediately.
6 – Friends.
Pornography is a very isolated and lonely event. Many feel worse after they finish. It is dangerous. If it becomes a habit or addiction it can lead to more loneliness and isolation and even depression.
Substituting our isolation for action and activities with friends can be really hard. Some of us are introverts, loners, gamers who lock ourselves in our room online, so it may be really hard, but finding a community of friends who go out in public and do things can be a great way to beat porn. As simple as that sounds, it works. Friendship and real community and intimacy are often being artificially filled by watching porn, but the aftereffects of not actually having that friendship and community can be painfully demoralizing after the porn is done. Good friends and a social life can truly help.
7 – True Intimacy.
No shocker here. But porn temporarily and artificially fills the void of real intimacy with another human. Many people that struggle with porn also do have a spouse or do have a sex life. I would argue that porn is still taking away from that intimacy and sex life, but that’s a blog for another day.
But many others that struggle with porn do not have real intimacy at all in their life. I would say to seek it. Nothing is better than true intimacy, a real relationship or real sex with a real person that you love. Porn can never beat that. It can steal from it, disguise itself as something like it, but it cannot be it or beat it. I know porn keeps some of us inside, allows us to avoid the perils of searching for a partner; rejection, awkwardness, commitment, and time. All of those fears and factors can deter people back to porn, the ‘simple,’ quick solution. But if you are reading this, you know that porn is not filling that void.
Finding love. Finding a partner. Finding intimacy. Those things will trump porn all day, everyday. Real intimacy fulfills a void we try to fill with porn.
8 – Recognizing Triggers.
Self-awareness is key in moving forward and beating porn use. This is a conversation to have with a community or accountability partner, but one that we must explore alone beforehand. What are your triggers? When do you most use/watch? What time of day? Where? How are you feeling beforehand? What led to the act? Sometimes it is TV, a certain co-worker, a game, or just a time of day/night. Sometimes it’s having a phone next to the bed.
Once we establish what triggers us, we can then battle against them. It’s just like wiping the house of porn or junk food. If staying up late and gaming leads to porn after, then gaming may get the X. That is how it goes if you want to move forward. You have to get to know yourself, tell friends and community about those triggers, and then try to avoid them like the plague. Period.
9 – Substitute Action.
If we dwell and think about not watching porn all day, we will inevitably be thinking about porn all day. And that doesn’t sound like a recipe for success either! So it’s a lot like getting healthy… If we used to indulge in bad eating, just throwing out junk food and buying dumbbells will not get us in shape. We have to actively start working out. With porn, it is not as simple, but some level of substitution is in order.
For some it’s taking up a new hobby. For some it’s working out. For some it’s putting time and energy into dating. For some it’s finishing school. Depends on the person. But having something that can help us out of a trigger/temptation moment is crucial. You can have that, “Usually I would watch porn right now, I better go shoot more free throws.” or whatever works. Whatever it may be, focusing our energy elsewhere is no joke and can help tremendously.
10 – The What If.
As this is an addiction for some and a serious stronghold for others, to not acknowledge the possibility of a slip up would be unfair. What I have seen in my life and in the life of those around me is that what usually happens is some level of shame and isolation. We screwed up. But instead of getting back on the horse, we get reeled back in. Kind of like: “Well, I screwed up. I might as well stay in for a while longer.” We fall and stay down for a bit. We hide out. We watch more. Or even worse, we give up the fight and go back.
This is what we cannot let happen. We have to have a plan of action. Talk to our accountability partner. Talk to our friends. Identify the trigger. Fix the glitch in the program. Get a different filter. Forgive ourselves. Move forward. Make a new goal. Start back at day 1. Something. We cannot let the isolation lie to us and tell us we cannot have victory over this, like we were just enjoying before this small step back. Utilize community. Have a plan, a conversation. Move forward. Don’t dwell.
Like I said in the beginning of this blog: Note the tips and ideas that describe you and your struggle. Write them down. Make a plan, for you. If you are struggling with porn, but want to beat it, remember this: YOU CAN! I have. Many have. You can too. Go do it.