I have a lot of funny stories to tell about my journey to overcome bad habits and addiction. I tried so many different approaches, some very creative, some extreme. What can I say, a person who is desperate to change will try just about anything. I brainstormed for just about every solution I could come up with. I got excited every time thinking, “This is it, I know this will work.”
I would like to tell you about my quest for the perfect environment. This story will be quite revealing about things I usually don’t talk about since people sometimes have a natural tendency to judge people based on their past. However I feel I can only talk around the details so much without taking away from the full effect of the story.
So here it is. Once upon a time I had a porn addiction for years. The addiction made me a different person and it ruined two marriages. These were good women and I was mostly to blame for the failure of the marriage, especially the first one. Because of the loss I experienced and my admitting I was out of control, I was humbled. I hate admitting it took that to humble me but it’s true.
So I set out to change but as anyone addicted to pornography will tell you, any kind of media that is sexually provocative or pushing the boudaries in any way can trigger a relapse. So I decided I would control my environment as much as possible to make it easier to stay “sober”. I quickly found this is not the easiest thing to do. First of all, my career involved working with computers and this was quite the temptation for me. In fact, most of the time I could stay away from pornography most of the time but it was always a problem at work and so that would lead me to seek it out at other times as well. I tried everything with computers. I shared half of the password with my wife so I would only be on while she was around, I put filters on the computer, and I even got rid of the computer several times. I always found an excuse to get another one and I always found a way around filters and passwords. In fact, this addiction made me quite the computer guru, certainly nothing to brag about.
After my divorce I roomed sometimes with friends or just found someone willing to share an apartment. The problem with that is I could not control the environment. I didn’t want to live by myself because I would just start to feel bored and lonely and give into temptations anyway. This was such a frustrating dillema for me. I opted to live with people and try to control the environment as much as possible. Well, this day in age everyone has internet and cable TV in their homes and these things were huge temptations. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to live like the Amish(though sometimes I wondered if this was best) but I was trying my best to make my environment as least tempting as possible. Sometimes roommates cooperated and understood and other times they didn’t.
One roommate in particular was quite a bit younger than me and could care less whether or not I had a weakness. There were some things on cable TV that came on during the late hours that triggered my addiction and caused me to go seek out more revealing media. I understood this wasn’t a problem for him but I desparately wanted to stop. So, I talked to him about getting rid of the TV or asking him to not watch channels that were sexually provocative. Well, he got defensive and insisted there was nothing wrong with what he was watching. So I decided to take matters into my own hands. I don’t reccommend this by the way. I decided to get rid of the cable on my own. So I unscrewed the cable jack panel from the wall and cut the cable behind the panel so he couldn’t see. Then I screwed the panel back on the wall. Then I typed up a letter from the cable company stating that the cable would not work for a couple months and left it on the door for him to find. It was quite a funny letter and ending saying “Please don’t call and thank you for your paiteince as we work on giving you a better cable experience”. So he came home and was upset when he got the letter but didn’t think there was anything he could do about it. Cable was free in our apartment so he wasn’t worried about any bills.
The stories go on and on about how I tried to create the perfect environment. I really felt like I couldn’t change unless I could give myself some time to gain some strength. I felt like I couldn’t gey strong so long as my environment was too tempting. This was partly true and can be compared to rehab. People go to rehap to have a controlled environment away from their drug of choice and get counseling. This time helps them to gain strength before they enter the world of temptations again.
I found out the hard way that no matter how much I changed my external environment I was not changing on the inside. Yes, we should work to make our homes and work environment as safe as possible from the things that bring us down. We should also put as much if not more effort into changing what’s on the inside otherwise even the perfect environment, which does not exist, would not be enough.