“I’m not afraid (I’m not afraid)
To take a stand (to take a stand)
Come take my hand (come take my hand)
We’ll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just letting you know that you’re not alone
Holler if you feel like you’ve been down the same road (same road)”
— Eminem, “Not Afraid”
Recovery for any kind of addiction is not easy by any means. Addictions come in all shapes and forms. While some in the psychology/scientific communications may say that pornography/sex addictions aren’t valid and shouldn’t be treated like addictions, that sort of attitude is where science fails addicts. Where addicts are also failed is when people say that addictions aren’t real and that addicts are merely people looking for pity and an excuse for a lack of self control. Wrong. Addictions aren’t as simple as a lack of self control.
People with addictive personalities have a higher predisposition to becoming addicted to something, but also with many failures associated with recovery. There’s a saying “Once an addict, always an addict,” but I think a better term for this period is recovery. Recovery is a return to a normal state of health, mind or strength, and also, the action or process of regaining something that is lost or stolen. During this recovery period addicts return to a healthy state of mind, and recover their sanity, relationships and sense of self. Recovery removes a lot of the stigma associated with addicts and allows addicts to feel empowered.
When it comes to sex and pornography, it is important for an addict to recover to a normal state of mind. More often than not, this involves the addict avoiding stimuli that will cause them to relapse. It’s like waving a pack of cigarettes in front of a former smoker. Hearing the cigarettes move around inside while the pack is packed. Smelling the fresh smell of a new lit cigarette. There are different stimuli involved with pornography and sex. For some it is easy to avoid these stimuli, but for most it is hard. We can see sex on television, in music videos and in movies. We can hear sex on all those mediums as well. We can touch said stimuli through self exploration and through sex with our partners. With addicts it is not as simple as just avoiding said stimuli. It’s also about changing the way one thinks.
My partner will be one month clean of pornography on November 3rd and we are 1/3 the way through his initial recovery period. I gave him Reigning Champions: Battling Lust Addiction to read and one of the first steps in that book is to change the way you think. To stop looking at other people like they’re objects for your amusement.
Recovery is also having an ample support system. A partner, a forum like NoFap, and even a good book can be a great way to support yourself with a task that can be difficult to achieve. The second half of this post will be Addiction and will debunk some studies that supposedly disprove porn addiction.