Here are the necessary steps to overcome an addiction to pornography. Though the title is labeled “Internet Pornography” these steps would of course work for any kind of pornography. Though not meant to be a comprehensive plan I believe this plan covers the essentials while allowing you to adjust it to your personal situation and level of addiction. Keep in mind this is more of a self-help plan and does not address outside support. With that in mind if you feel you need additional help then coaching or therapy may be necessary to give you the boost you need.
1. Have a Strong Desire
“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” – Napoleon Hill. Without a strong desire, the process of change will be half-hearted and produce little results. Even if you can no more than desire to have a strong desire, you are headed in the right direction.
2. Make a Commitment.
After you have a strong desire you need to commit to the process. Change is a process, and the first step to creating change is committing yourself to the process. If you yourself are not committed then there is no course, program, or instruction that will create changes for you. Make a commitment to your success today!
3. Belief and Identity – You can longer identify yourself as your weakness or mistakes. Think of a strong role model and model your own identity after that person. If you find yourself talking or thinking negatively about yourself then stop and say or think the opposite. You must retrain your brain otherwise your low self-esteem will lead you right back to addiction. Forgive yourself and move on. Your future is spotless; so tie yourself to your potential instead of your past. Visualize the new you. You are not defined by porn addiction .
4. Identify the Cause not the Symptoms – The symptom is viewing pornography. The cause is whatever thoughts or feelings are leading you to see pornography as an escape and a solution for the uncomfortable or painful feelings you have.
a. The Void – Something inside is missing. Maybe you were hurt as a child or you are still recovering from a broken relationship. Perhaps you feel lonely or bored. Whatever it is, you are not feeling at peace or content and pornography has made it worse. If you find it too difficult to figure out what the root cause is then therapy may be necessary.
b. Thoughts and Feelings – Slow down and become more aware of the thoughts and feelings you have when you are tempted. Try to recognize the feelings you are trying to escape through pornography. Once you recognize these feelings you can begin to change them by changing the thoughts associated with these feelings
5. Set small manageable goals – Do not set a goal by saying “I want to be free from pornography in one week.” First of all this is probably unrealistic depending on the severity of you addiction. Second of all this is more of a target or result instead of a goal. You need to set small goals that will accumulate until the desired result is achieved. Accomplishing small goals will give you the initial confidence and momentum you need to keep this process going. You may even have to break your goals down into hours. The destination of success will be reached one step at a time or one small goal at a time.
6. Identify the times of biggest temptation
a. People – You may have to choose new friends if they are not going to live by your new standards
b. Places – Where the temptation is strongest such as the magazine rack in the grocery store or places with unrestricted access to the internet
7. Adjust your environment – If your pornography addiction is severe enough you may have to make some tough sacrifices. If you cannot stop looking at porn at work and there is no way to fix that then you may have to find another job or train into a new occupation. If the internet at home is a problem then get some monitoring software or get rid of the internet if it is still too difficult to resist.
8. Control your thoughts – Read the article “What Controls Your Attention Controls You”
9. Replace your old life with a new life – If you have spent your hours, days, and weeks viewing pornography then it is time to put new things in its place. Get out of the house, find a new life hobby or an old neglected one, exercise in your free time. Create some kind of blog on what you’re passionate about so you have something productive to do at work on the computer. You must replace the old with new or there will be a void that will cause you to fall back into addiction.
10. Renew your inner strength and motivation every day – If you are religious then read the scriptures or religious books of hope. If you are not religious then read motivating books like “Chicken Soup for the Soul”. Whatever you choose make sure it is not giving you some misleading, quick fix, self help advice that will take you off the road of steady progression. You need to renew your inner strength on a daily basis to maintain a positive attitude and motivation to keep going.
11. Persevere – Do not expect perfection and do not get mad because you are vulnerable to tempting situations. Every time you slip-up, get up. You are never failing so long as you are persevering. If you give up after making a mistake then you are no longer progressing. Keep track of your progress in a journal and on a calendar somehow so you can see your progress. Success is inevitable so long as you persevere. You may have to restart hundreds of times but every time you restart you are that much closer to complete freedom.
12. Reward yourself – Take joy in reaching your goals and resisting temptation. At the end of each day write down your success for the day and give yourself a pat on the back. Learn to take joy in you new life you have decided on. As you do this you will have gradually less desire to return to your old life. Find joy in every day by deciding to have the right attitude and using your passions and talents to contribute to others and the world.
More motivating quotes by Napoleon Hill-
• “Perseverance: The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those that fail.”
• “What you think, so you will become.”
• “Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.”
• “Thoughts mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire are powerful things.”