Are diet and exercise really that important for overcoming an addiction? You’ve already heard how important diet and exercise is for good physical and mental health but how would this specifically apply to an addiction? Perhaps you’ll be surprised how neglecting these areas of your life are actually making it a lot more difficult to overcome your addictions. While diet and exercise alone will not bring complete freedom they will help significantly. Read the rest of this entry »
Don’t Lock Horns with the Devil
Mark Chamberlain, Ph.D.
Kevin thought he was addicted to pornography. “I must be. I’ve tried so hard to stop. I’ve worked for the last five years at it, and yet I still can’t kick the habit completely.” When I talked to him about his approach, it sounded like he was doing almost everything right. He had opened up to his family about the problem and would talk to them about lapses. He had sought the help of his bishop and met with him regularly. He was participating in the Church’s addiction recovery program and regularly attended their 12-step group meetings. He maintained a habit of regular prayer and scripture study.
It sounded to me like Kevin was doing everything right except for one thing: he was still in the habit of locking horns with the devil. Terry Warner said, “Satan does not need to overpower us in order to win the war. He only needs to get us to adopt his way of fighting it.” On a typical day, Kevin might be going through his routine, doing well and feeling good. However, if temptation hit, he’d start to brace himself, focus real hard on doing well, and redouble his efforts to avoid a problem. Sometimes his approach “worked” and he avoided giving in that day. Too often, despite all the effort and energy he exerted, he failed. Sure, he may fight for a while. But later that day or sometime the next day—occasionally his fight lasted several days—Kevin almost always eventually gave in once an intense battle got going.
I shared with Kevin my opinion: that it was not the initial trigger, not the temptation itself, but his way of dealing with it, that was the beginning of his downfall. So what, exactly, is the problem with fighting temptation with all our might, as we may feel compelled to do when a strong urge or craving hits? To answer that question, let’s consider our reaction on four dimensions:
• Attitude: When we fight temptation, we do so with a sense of urgency. This certainly makes sense: it’s a threat to our spirituality, our sense of confidence and well-being, and perhaps even our success in life. The problem couldn’t be much more important than it is.
• Body: When we brace against temptation, our bodies react by tensing up. We become physiologically aroused in order to deal with the threat. We’re on alert and ready to “fight or flee.”
• Mind: Our consciousness narrows and we become very focused—sometimes even fixated. Mentally we know what the problem is and know that it’s a challenge we haven’t yet figured out how to overcome. Our mind is primed and ready to devote significant mental voltage to the threat.
• Behavior: We feel driven to take action against temptation. We feel like we “can’t” give in and “have to” resist urges. We vacillate between that and feeling like we “have to” give in and “can’t” resist anymore.
In the 121st section of The Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord describes two different approaches to the exercise of power and influence. The Lord labels the first “unrighteous dominion.” It is characterized by the attempt to exert control by way of dominion or compulsion (v. 37). In our efforts to get what we want from other people, every one of us has at least experimented with this approach. I can tell you from experience, we never become more influential by being coercive. Of course, it may work great for getting our way in the moment, but people end up resenting our pushiness. Any influence we have evaporates once we walk out of the room.
Whenever I get pushy—whether it’s with my kids, with another driver on the road, or with a customer service representative on the telephone—I end up feeling less powerful. Not only that, I end up being less powerful. People simply do not respond well to coercion. Instead of cooperating, quite often they rebel. The driver I tailgate slows down. If I tell my three-year-old, “You can’t watch TV any more, you have to go to bed,” I’ll be peeling little fingers off stair railings and door frames all the way up to his bedroom.
As human beings, everything inside of us yearns to remain free and stay in charge of our own lives. David O. McKay has said that “next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is God’s greatest gift to man” (Gospel Ideals, 1993, p. 299). Even if the driver in front of me doesn’t believe in God, even though my three-year-old doesn’t understand the Plan of Salvation, they, like all of us, instinctively value their agency and will fight fiercely to retain it. Every one of us is determined to maintain independence, especially if we sense that someone is trying to force us to do something.
If a coercive approach fails miserably when it comes to influencing other people, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that things don’t go well when we adopt it in an attempt to change our own behavior. If our Father in Heaven wouldn’t allow Satan to tell us we can’t sin and have to obey, do we really believe that he might bless our efforts when we adopt to the same mentality or methods on ourselves?
Fortunately, there is a second form of influence described in D&C 121. It’s quite unlike unrighteous dominion both in terms of the way it operates and the effect it has. It is characterized by persuasion, long suffering, gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, kindness, pure knowledge (which is described as “greatly enlarging the soul”), and a lack of hypocrisy or guile (vv. 41-42).
I’m reminded of this gentle, easygoing approach when I talk with those who have established a solid, long-term recovery from a formerly compulsive behavior. When I talk with people who are two years, five years, or twelve years beyond their last relapse, not one has ever said, “I still fight the same battle every day, it’s just that now I always win.” Instead they say, “It’s hardly a struggle at all anymore.”
Consider the way they approach the problem across the four dimensions we introduced earlier:
• Attitude: These folks exhibit an easygoing mentality and are not easily perturbed by temptation. The problem remains an important one to them, but less urgent: they know that it’s not one they can annihilate “once and for all” with sudden efforts of Herculean proportions.
• Body: Physiologically they stay calm and relaxed. They stay in a mode they can maintain over the long haul, not one in which their efforts will of necessity diminish over time as a result of depletion and burn-out.
• Mind: They remain perceptive and observant. They’re big-picture-oriented. They’re not as vigilant against temptation itself, but remain on-the-lookout for its precursors. By remaining observant over time they have learned what puts them at risk and they keep trying to respond to those concerns in a proactive way. They reach out when they’re struggling or in-need so that their emotions don’t build to the point that they fuel self-defeating urges.
• Behavior: They don’t “have to” do anything—they remain free. They keep choosing their response, rather than giving in or fighting based on which compulsion is strongest at the time. If one response doesn’t take them in the direction they want, they’re free to change course. They keep experimenting until they find what works.
If you’ve been in the habit of fighting temptation and forcefully trying to keep yourself on track, how can you switch over to this other, more relaxed and effective approach?
Change Your Attitude: Next time temptation hits, adopt a more easygoing mentality. Don’t think, “Oh no, here we go again! I’m never going to be free of this!” Instead, Remember what the apostle Paul said: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13). In fact, instead of “Oh no!” think to yourself, “Oh, good! Now I have the chance to practice a different way of approaching this problem.” The more chances you get to practice, the better you’ll get at doing things differently. Plus, something else happens when you think, “Oh, good!” The devil is, by nature, contrary and oppositional. Once you, like a Judo master, start to use the force behind his blows against him, he will probably pick fewer fights with you.
Relax Your Body: Take a few nice, full breaths. This helps relax the body and ease it down from a hyperaroused state. Instead of bracing yourself against temptation, loosen up. Oxygenate your brain and body so that you can approach the problem with all of your usual resourcefulness and intelligence still intact.
Open Your Mind: Broaden your attention. Don’t fixate and obsess. Encourage your mind to maintain objectivity by turning your attention to something concrete like a sight, sound, or touch. I encourage clients to alternate this kind of noticing with the breathing just mentioned. “Breathing and noticing” three or four times in a row can help the mind free itself. For instance: Take a nice, full breath and notice: “There’s a poplar tree way down the street.” Focus intently on it for a moment. Then breathe again and notice: “There’s the sound of a car engine.” Hold that focus…. Breathe and notice: “There’s the hard sidewalk beneath my feet.” Feel it. Feel it. Feel it with each step. As simple as this technique sounds, it can help us stay rooted in reality here-and-now, where we can see more of our options.
Choose Your Behavior: With more of our options in view, we’re prepared to take action, and to do so in different ways than we have been in the habit of doing. Whenever we refuse to do what it feels like we “have to” and choose our response instead, we exercise our freedom in a powerful way. Even if the behavior we choose this time doesn’t end up taking us where we want to go, at least it was different than the well beaten trails we’re in the habit of treading. We can always choose a second new path next time, and a third after that, until we find one that does work better than our usual.
Kevin knew that “trying harder” had never worked for him over the long haul, so he was excited to try something different. He went home from our first session with a resolution unlike the dozens of others he had made in the past. He was ready to practice a new way. Here’s what he reported when he came back the following week:
“I was determined to think, ‘Oh, good!’ when I was tempted and then to practice breathing, noticing, and experimenting. However, I really didn’t think I’d be able to do it every time I was tempted. After all, it had seemed to me that some days were filled to overflowing with sexual triggers and urges and cravings. It seemed to me that if I really tried to do it every time temptation hit, some days would be consumed by this new little ordeal.
“However, once I was on the lookout for temptation in a good way, prepared to practice my new skills, I was surprised that the topic of sex seemed to rear its head less and less. Even when it did, sometimes I’d check in with myself to see if I was tempted only to discover that I wasn’t. Now that I was prepared to cope with it and eager to take it in a better direction, those triggers seemed less threatening. The emotional charge of many of my everyday triggers seemed to be neutralized.
“But then, Thursday night, I came face-to-face with a real test. I had played basketball until late, and once I finally got home everything was dark and quiet. As I started down the stairs, I got panicky: ‘I’m headed down to shower. It’s late at night. Oh, no! This has often been a problem for me in the past! I’m headed right into the lion’s den. I could so easily have a problem while I’m showering. All of the progress I’ve made would be washed away. Three weeks of success would be down the drain. Then the countdown for turning in my mission papers would have to start over again. This could be disastrous. It’s so important! I need to focus real hard on staying clean and redouble my efforts right now!’
“Then I caught myself. ‘Hold on a minute. That’s my reflex, but I can do it differently. I don’t have to lock horns with the devil. In fact, I can look at this as a good thing—an opportunity. Yes, I’ll go back to my fire drill: “Oh, good—another great chance. Let me breathe… and notice the texture on the sloped ceiling in front of me as I walk down the stairs. Breathe… and notice the feeling of the banister in my hand all the way down. Breathe… and notice the musty smell of the basement. Experiment… Experiment… What could I do differently?’ I was pondering that as I grabbed onto the doorknob of the bathroom door. That was when it hit me: I always lock the bathroom door when I shower, but I don’t ‘have to.’ I am free to leave the door unlocked. It was late at night. Most of my family was asleep. There was very little chance that any of them would even come downstairs, and almost no chance that they would walk in on me when I was showering. Still, if I left the door unlocked, it seemed to me at that moment that there was no way I was going to masturbate in the shower.”
At that point, I didn’t need to hear anymore. I didn’t cut him off—we continued that session and continued for several more after that as well. Nonetheless, there was something defining about that moment. I hadn’t even heard whether Kevin’s experiment (leaving the bathroom door unlocked) had worked (it turns out that it did). It’s just that I’d seen enough clients like Kevin to know how this was going to go. Even if that experiment had failed, Kevin was succeeding. He had not yet succeeded in completely overcoming his sexual struggles, but he was successfully changing the way he approached them. He was adopting a new, easygoing attitude. He was learning to relax instead of bracing against temptation. He’d been able to see, even in the heat of the moment, that he had options besides the two he’d always fixated on before: fighting and succumbing to temptation. He’d taken one of those options and acted on it. I knew that as time went on and he continued to exercise his freedom along all four dimensions, Kevin would overcome his problem. He’d keep relaxing and exploring and experimenting in a more easygoing way until he kicked his destructive habit once and for all.
Porn addiction is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome. Millions of people around the world struggle with overcoming this powerful vice once they acknowledge they have a problem. Its been compared to cocaine addiction because of similar neurochemical activity in the brain.
Some people struggle with a masturbation addiction as well as porn addiction. Masturbating and reaching climax only strengthens your addiction to porn more. If you only struggle with only masturbation addiction then you still have a chemical dependency on the brains neurochemicals. You brain does not see the difference between healthy sex with your spouse and releasing the chemicals yourself. So you become addicted to the easiest way to release the chemicals which is alone and doing the act far too often in some cases.
How to Overcome These Addictions
Many people reach a point where they need outside assistance to overcome these addictions. The only problem is not everyone has access to someone who can help nor do they want anyone to know they have this problem. Of course I have a strong preference when it comes to recovery programs. The program I found to work the best is completely online and anonymous. To get started just subscribe for free to the form above or read the review I wrote on the program.
Signs That You or Someone You Know is Addicted
1. You or the person you know is not being as social as they used to be.
Porn turns us inward and makes us feel emotionally low. We lose motivation and become less social.
2. Healthy sex has become less interesting
It can be difficult to be as turned on with normal healthy sex if you have been over-stimulating yourself with porn.
3. You start needing sex to be more rough or perverse
Porn objectifies and is not about “making love”. Normal sex becomes boring and disconnected. You need something new and more stimulating, always progressing in perverseness.
4. You seem distant and disconnected with others
Porn makes us feel uncomfortable with healthy emotionally connected relationships. We may even feel like we’re bad people and no one would want to talk to us.
5. You feel irritable all the time.
Porn does not make us happy people and when we’re not happy we are irritable and complain about everything.
6. You’re not only lying more but you’re always accusing your partner of things
We treat people like we’re treating ourselves. So if we’re constantly hiding things and feeling guilty then we will treat people in a very defensive manner.
7. You’re on the computer all the time and demand privacy
Other than private work matters there are few reasons to be so private about internet use.
One lesson I found very hard to learn as I set out to overcome porn addiction is that most of the time success will come gradually. There are those who appear to drop the addiction and never have the problem again. However, for most people, this is not the case. Most people have to gradually overcome these addictions for it requires a changing of the heart which only comes with time and effort.
I’ll be honest with you, I wanted success and I wanted it now, not later. I wanted to make a great effort in the beginning then glide through life with ease. This attitude and expectation only prolonged my recovery. It wasn’t until I realized that the freedom I wanted would come gradually and over time that I had real success. On that note I will say that even with this corrected attitude I still needed the correct methods of overcoming addiction which came from the porn addiction recovery program that I have written a review on.
So when you start working with the correct methods you must pace yourself and not expect perfection. What you can expect, so long as you persevere and pick yourself up quickly every time you fall, is to get stronger and stronger. Trying to be perfect or perfectly handle every temptation will only bring failure. It is almost a guarantee that you will stumble and make mistakes as you set out to gain control of your life. Don’t let these setbacks discourage because you are most likely closer to success than you think.
The analogy I started using is playing sports. If you start out playing football you’re probably not going to be very good. But if you keep going to the games and keep practicing you will get better and better. You will make errors and mistakes, its expected. However, you don’t give up and throw the game just because you made a mistake. No, you get back in the game and try to do better. This applies to life and it applies to overcoming porn addiction. When you make a mistake just get back in the game of working to overcome and do better than before without expecting perfection. You will progress in amazing ways with this attitude and approach.
One of the first books I ever read on the subject of pornography addiction was called “The Drug of the New Millennium–The Brain Science Behind Internet Pornography Use”” written by Mark Kastleman. It explains in dept how the body works when it is under the control of a sexual addiction. Little did I know that as I was reading his book, Mark was in the process of developing a program to help people more than understand sexual addiction but actually overcome it for good.
The program that Mark and his colleagues developed is called Candeo and can be found at Candeocan.com. I actually personally met Mark before starting his program. When I met him we had a conversation about all the people, including myself, that were looking for help but didn’t have access to a therapist who specialized in sexual addictions. His idea was to bring the solution to people through the internet.
I remember thinking to myself “How can a program on the Internet help me if the Internet is part of my problem”. While I had doubts I decided to give it a try anyway since I had tried everything. Wow, was I surprised! As I started to go through the 6 week course, which I blazed through even faster, I started to feel a new hope I hadn’t felt in a long time. My confidence in myself and life began to be restored. Life became exciting again as this program unlocked the truth of my addictions and the truth of how to overcome them.
The program is set up in a very logical and progressive way so that no important steps are skipped. First you gain a great understanding of what is actually happening in your body and how you’re not just some pervert without a heart. Then you move into the really good stuff and that is the correct steps to actually overcoming sexual or porn addiction.
I gotta tell you, it is such a great feeling to get things under control and not feel scared around a computer with internet access. I can look at beautiful women with calmness and confidence without letting my sexual urges and thoughts get out of control. Life looks so different now. Its full of hope and excitement with friends, family, hobbies and many other things that got neglected because I was previously dark and isolated.
I now consider Mark Kastleman one of the leading experts in sexual addiction in the World. He personally speaks through the entire Candeo program. Its self paced and completely online and anonymous. You also get assigned a personal coach who helps you progress through the program. This person communicated with you via email.
So to sum it up here are the top benefits of the Candeo Program:
3.Assigned a Personal Coach
4.The Most Complete and Accurate Program I Know of
5.Lowest Price for the Most Help
Check out the program over at candeocan.com
7 Steps to Overcome Porn Addiction
There is much advice on this site about how to stop porn addiction. There is quite a range of suggestions involving physical and mental techniques. One of the top contributing factors to an addiction is an addiction to a certain thought pattern. Meaning you have been thinking a certain way for so long that it is difficult to think any other way. However, without completely changing the thought process that has assisted in keeping you in addiction you cannot hope for any long lasting success.
If you do not work out your emotions and thoughts then you will return to your vices. I will focus on thoughts for a moment here since everything stems from them, including emotions. I was reading an interesting article today written by Jonathan Leger titled “Think low and you will stay low”. This article highlighted the importance of overcoming mental barriers before you can overcome physical one. If you were to do this in the opposite order you would just return to what you have not worked out in your heart and mind and the cycle would repeat itself.
So you want to know how to stop porn addiction or any addiction. Start believing in yourself first because there is nothing that you cannot overcome if you believe and persevere. This is the first step and is very necessary. Stop all the negative self talk and start building yourself up with positive thoughts that cause you to believe in yourself no matter how many mistakes you have made.
There is something so important that is often not understood by those trying to reach lofty goals. That is, you must learn to enjoy your new life if you expect to keep it. If you’re dieting then you must learn to enjoy your new life of exercise and healthy food options. If you’re an entrepreneur then you must learn to enjoy working on the progressing steps required to grow a business. If you’re overcoming an addiction, such as porn addiction, then you must learn to enjoy a simple, happy life that does not require constant stimulation. Whenever you start a venture to make you’re life better there is the temptation Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes, if a person is struggling enough, attending a Sexual Addicts Anonymous (SAA) meeting or 12 step meeting is necessary. I myself attended several out of a strong desire to overcome and frustration in not knowing what else to do. I attended non-denominational and denomination specific programs. I personally had mixed results. I found both positive and negative aspects of these programs. Nevertheless I would recommend these programs to anyone trying to overcome any sexual addiction such as porn addiction or masturbation. Read the rest of this entry »
If I did not tell you about how spirituality helped me more than anything when overcoming addiction then I would be hiding something very important from you. I initially considered keeping this site religiously neutral. However, I found this difficult to do without leaving out some important parts of the subject. Spirituality is very important as addiction is a battle for your mind and heart, not just control over your body. I can honestly say, that if it wasn’t for my faith I would have had very little success in overcoming my addictions such as porn addiction. I also would have had very little knowledge on HOW to overcome addiction. Read the rest of this entry »
Are you wondering how to stop masturbating? Well you are not alone. There are millions of frustrated men in the world trying to figure out how to stop masturbating. There is a plethora of confusing guidance and information out there. I will lay out advice from myself and others I have collected over time to make this is simple as possible. But before I jump into that I want you to know that you can and absolutely will overcome this addiction with the right attitude. Perseverance is the name of the game and victory will be yours if you possess the ability to get up and dust yourself off every time you fall. Many people have overcome this addiction and so can you. Its a personal decision you must make because no one can do this for you. So let’s get into the steps. Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes progress is small and easy to miss if you’re not watching closely. I used to have a calendar that I would use to track my progress from month to month. I stopped trying to be perfect and instead started working on just doing better than the last month. For me, overcoming addiction to pornography took time and was more of a process than an quick change. Read the rest of this entry »