This article highlights several key activities that can help individuals find victory over their addiction to pornography. In his Sex Addiction Training Workbook, Dr. Douglas Weiss discusses six primary actions that should be assimilated into every recovering sex addict’s daily life.
While these methods are enumerated for those struggling with an addiction to pornography, they are easily adapted for other non-substance addictions such as gambling and shopping.
Six Activities for Overcoming Pornography Addiction
1. The Rubber Band Method
The brain plays a part in every addiction. Certain activities (e.g. watching porn, shopping, gambling) engage the reward center of our brain which releases the chemical dopamine, giving the individual a sort of natural high. This substantially increases the likelihood that the activity will be repeated, creating a threshold for addiction. Over time, the neural pathway in the brain becomes so strong that it becomes harder and harder to stop the behavior.
How the Method Works
Place a thick rubber band around one wrist. Each time you are tempted to engage in the unwanted behavior, snap the rubber band hard against your wrist. The pain stimulus thwarts the work of the subcortical, or impulse-regulating, part of the brain which was poised to reward the acted-upon impulse with a boost of dopamine. Developing the habit of responding to the impulse (e.g. to watch porn) with a snap of the rubber band essentially breaks the impulse-behavior-reward cycle.
Recovery is an all-out battle and calls for unprecedented vigilance. Most of us try to overcome our addictions with increased will-power or vows to do better next time, all to no avail. We cannot do battle alone. Every morning, pray that God will give you His strength to fight.
Don’t wait until you feel like praying – you often won’t. Don’t wait for a convenient time to pray – you won’t find one. Just pray. Every. Single. Day. Daily, intentional prayer reminds you that you’re not alone and that you have access to supernatural power to overcome the addiction.
Addictions often plunge people into isolation, so connecting with other people is essential while in recovery. In the same way that soldiers fight in battalions, we are not created to do battle with addiction alone.
We need people we can call when we’re facing temptation – people who are safe, available, and not afraid to speak truth to us. In order to establish these accountability relationships, we must first humble ourselves enough to acknowledge that we need others. And then we must call them!
Because battling addiction requires constant vigilance, those seeking victory must make use of every available resource.
Numerous books on porn addiction can be found in the marketplace as well as in public libraries – even digital copies – which can help keep the mind engaged in the process of recovery.
5. Support Group Meetings
As we mentioned earlier, connection with others is essential to the recovery process, but something must be said for connecting with those who are really in the trenches with you.
Support groups and 12-step programs provide connections with fellow recovering addicts – people who have been where you are – which fosters a sense of being truly understood. Making the effort to consistently attend the meetings is also an important step in making recovery a tangible, objective goal.
Just as you pray for strength at the start of your day, recovering addicts should end the day with a prayer of confession and thanks.
In that way, prayer acts as the bookends of your day and is a means of reflecting on how God has provided for you; it expresses your dependence on God for all things, not just what is related to your recovery.
Christian Counseling for Pornography Addiction Recovery
Christian counseling can be a powerful resource for those seeking recovery from porn addiction. If you would like help in applying these six methods to your daily life, let me coach you through your recovery.
Weiss, D. (2014). Sex Addiction Training Workbook. American Association for Sex Addiction. Colorado Springs, CO: Discovery Press
“Rubber band”, Courtesy of Neonbrand, Unsplash.com,. CC0 License; “Prayer”, Courtesy of Jordan Whitfield, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Books”, Courtesy of Rendiansyah Nugroho, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Prayer”, Courtesy of Ayo Ogunseinde, Unsplash.com, CC0 License