Posts Tagged ‘12 step’



Getting Back Up

March 21st, 2011

So, you guys ever feel like you’ve been stuck before? (That’s a rhetorical questions) I’ve been feeling that way for over a month now. I started this website as a journey for myself, but I think I’ve let myself believe that I needed to have all the answers, that I needed to have no setbacks, in essence, that I needed to be perfect in order to keep sharing my efforts here. Along the way some have assumed that because I created a site to help people with their struggles with pornography that I myself have completely overcome them. Not so, but I AM trying.

It takes a lot to admit your flaws, to admit that you’re not where you want to be. It’s difficult to be vulnerable with friends, let alone a whole bunch of strangers who find their way to your website. So, I’ve been avoiding updating everyone on my status and reaching out to those who have answers and interviewing them over the last couple months. I know it’s normal to feel fear, but it’s not as common to admit it and face it. I’ve once again come to the conclusion that the more I open up and share from the heart the more I am able to walk through the fear instead of cowering in a corner each time I feel it.

The last two weeks I’ve gone back to my 12 step program that I think I’ve been avoiding. I also met today with my religious leader. I’m setting goals to move on with my life, I’m planning my days and turning my desires over to a higher power. Through all of this I have been learning that strength comes from honesty. I felt that before and had even begun writing a book about it. It just feels like I can’t write until learn more about the topic. There’s a reason I guess that I keep relearning the need for honesty. Each time I close up and try to hide things from those who offer their help to me I jump onto a superficial plane where I’m not able to progress. It feels like I’m trying to ride my bike to a destination hundreds of miles away, but doing it on a stationary bike.

I often think about the interviews I’ve done up until this point with great men and women and they’ve all had one thing in common, they’ve all shown me in one way or another that they’ve had courage in the face of fear.

I just want to say thank you to those who have listened, who have supported me endlessly (even when I don’t appear to be making any progress) and for the friends, family and strangers who have shared with me hope and much needed love. YOU keep me going. YOU inspire me to try again. YOU lift me up when I fall and I thank you for it. I’m getting back up and I hope to join you again. Let’s fight the good fight.

101 Questions About Pornography – What’s YOUR Question?

July 27th, 2010

So, I get anxious each day wondering what I should be doing. It’s only when I sit down and really meditate & pray on where my energies would be best spent that I access truly meaningful direction. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s good every once in a while to head to the mountains and think about where I’m going in life. So, in one of my latest flashes of inspiration I’ve decided to spend some time answering questions that you have about pornography, addiction and the like.

My intention is to take all the questions I gather up and go to the experts: those who have overcome addictions as well as those working with others to overcome their addiction to pornography. Some answers may come as blog posts, others as podcasts (audio interviews) and some as videos.

I’ve kick-started the list of questions to have answered. These are questions I’ve either asked myself or have heard people ask. I encourage you to ask your questions in the comment section below or to otherwise contact me with your most pressing questions about pornography and addiction. I look forward to answering your questions!!

Then make sure you’ve signed up for the Destination Freedom list with the form at the right to be notified of coming podcast guests and as each answer is made available. NEW! Honest Answers Podcast.

Understanding Pornography & Pornographers

1. What exactly is pornography?
2. Porn is just porn when there’s nudity & sex, right?
3. About what age to people typically 1st see porn?
4. Do pornographers really want me addicted or just to go about legitimately selling their product?
5. Where does my money go if I buy porn?
6. If I just look at free porn I’m not supporting the industry, right?
7. What’s the effect of porn on those creating it? What goes on behind the scenes in the creation of pornography?

Something May Be Wrong: Am I Addicted? (Sincere Questions)

8. If I look at porn, can I become addicted? Is pornography really an addiction?
9. How do I know if I’m addicted to pornography?
10. I’ve heard “once and addict, always an addict.” Is this true with porn addiction?
11. I struggle to not look at porn, do I have an addiction?
12. Everyone says watching porn is okay…why do I feel so bad?
13. Why is porn everywhere nowadays?
14. Do I need to see a doctor about my porn addiction?
15. Where can I read more about porn addiction?
16. Are there any lasting effects of watching porn?
17. Is porn addiction genetic?
18. What’ the typical profile of someone who’s addicted to porn?

In Need of Hope

19. I started w/ porn, but now am involved sexually. Is it too late for me?
20. I’ve tried to stop watching porn before. Can I really do it this time?
21. I’ve tried everything! How can I once and for all overcome pornography addiction?
22. Can people really break porn addictions or are they just wired that way?

Understanding Addiction

23. What role does fear play in a porn addiction?
24. What is the role of fantasy in a porn addiction?
25. What’s the role of shame in perpetuating a porn addiction?
26. What role does secrecy play in a pornography addiction?

Porn & the Brain (Porn as a Drug)

27. Why do I always “zone out” when I start thinking of porn? It’s like I can’t do anything else until I look at porn.
28. I’ve heard pornography is like a drug. How?
29. How can porn be addictive if you don’t ingest it?
30. If I see porn once will I always have those images in my head?
31. I’ve seen some pretty bad porn. Will it ever leave my mind?
32. How long does it take to forget the porn I’ve seen?
33. What happens in my brain when I look at porn?

Porn & Relationships

34. Can I watch porn and still have a healthy attitude towards women?
35. Can I overcome an addiction to pornography alone?
36. Can porn change the way I think about women?
37. How can my relationships with others help me in overcoming a porn addiction?
38. I already stopped watching porn. Do I still need to tell somebody about it?
39. How does pornography use affect my relationships?

Porn, Marriage & the Family

40. Can porn really destroy my marriage?
41. How do I tell my spouse about my struggles with porn?
42. My wife said she’d divorce me if she ever caught me looking at porn. I looked. What do I do?!
43. Won’t my addiction to pornography go away when I get married?
44. I’ve got porn, so why get married?
45. Why is porn more exciting than sex with my spouse?
46. What’s the difference between porn & sex within marriage?
47. Can I use porn to spice up my marriage?

Opening Up: Breaking the Silence

48. I feel like I’ll be rejected if I tell others about my porn problem.
49. How can I talk to my parents about my porn problem?
50. How can I overcome my embarrassment to tell someone about my struggle with porn?
51. I’m a public official, sharing my problem will harm many people, should I still come clean?
52. Why is it important to be accountable (i.e. report) to someone else for my porn problem?

Breaking Addiction

53. What can a 12 Step program do to help me break my porn addiction?
54. How can I stop watching porn?
55. What can my life be like without pornography?
56. What’s the role of gratitude in breaking a porn addiction?
57. What’s the role of service in overcoming a porn addiction?
58. Are there any meds I can take to stop my porn addiction?
59. What activities work best to replace my need for porn?
60. Why do I keep going back to porno even though I hate it?
61. What’s the most important thing I can do to break my porn addiction?
62. Are there affirmations I can use to change my attitudes and beliefs about porn and people?
63. Can I use hypnosis to stop my porn addiction?
64. Are there warning signs that someone is addicted to porn?

Addiction Prevention & Maintenance

65. What can I do on a daily basis to prevent porn addiction?
66. How do I identify the triggers that pull me back into my porn addiction?
67. I feel like I have no choice. Why can’t I stop looking at porn?
68. I know I should stop looking at porn, but don’t want to. What can I do?

The Pull

69. The urges to view porn are so overwhelming. How do I prepare to face the urges to view porn?
70. It feels like I’ll die if I don’t get porn. Why are these urges so strong?

Relapse

71. I just totally indulged in porn. What now?
72. If I’ve already relapsed why not just do it some more?
73. Is there a healthy way to deal with relapse?

Spiritual Questions

74. Will I go to Hell if I look at porn?
75. I’m a Christian, why am I still tempted to look at porn?
76. How can I involve God in my recovery from porn addiction?

Setting Healthy Boundaries

77. What do I do if I can access porn at work?
78. I have co-workers/friends that give me porn. What should I do?
79. I’m on the computer all day, what can I do to help prevent using porn?

What’s the Big Deal? Common Rationalizations

80. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with porn. Why should I stop?
81. Isn’t porn a good place to learn about sex?
82. How can I protect myself against the effects of porn?
83. What’s so bad about porn?
84. Is porn really that big of a problem?
85. Is the industry really out to get me? Seems like a scare tactic.
86. Isn’t it true that all guys look at porn?
87. Some say you can’t be addicted to porn because it’s not a substance. Is that true?
88. I only look at porn a little, what’s the big deal?
89. It’s my choice to look at porn if I want to, why don’t people get off my back?
90. Will looking at porn make me go blind?
91. My favorite magazine says that porn’s okay? Are they right? If not, why do they say it?
92. Will boundaries, like a filter, really help me with my porn addiction? I can just get around it.
93. What’s wrong with just looking once at porn to see what it’s like?
94. If porn feels so good, how can it be so bad?
95. I feel so low. Porn makes me feel normal. Why stop?
96. Is there ever a time when porn use is okay?

Taking a Stand: Community Advocacy

97. Aren’t there laws against pornography?
98. What can I do to keep porn out of my community?
99. What can I do to keep porn out of my home?
100. Is it important to talk openly about porn @ home even if there’s no problem?
101. How do I know if someone I love is struggling with porn?

Life’s Golden Ticket

May 12th, 2010
Cover LifesGoldenTicket 187x300 Lifes Golden Ticket

Life's Golden Ticket

So, last week I received a book in the mail. I do love to get books that I’ve ordered off Amazon, but this one was not one of those. It came unexpected and with a little note that said “I love this book and figured you’d like it too. Enjoy!”

The retrun address was the address of a marketing company. Before reading it I just wrote it off as a marketing ploy, but as I got into it I imagined someone who cares reaching out, giving me a hand. I’ve fallen so many times in conjunction with my struggles and it felt like…

Well, let me tell you the circumstances under which I received this book…and it might make a little more sense. Yeah?

So several weeks ago I had felt renewed energy to take control of my life again. I had been missing the 12-step group I was attending, I had been inconsistent with my devotion to my God and hadn’t been practicing the skills I needed to have in order to triumph when temptation came. In short, I had been wallowing in self-pity, trying to stay afloat.

In the midst of these feelings and inconsistent behaviors I received the book. “Cool,” I thought and tossed the book on the passenger’s seat of my car, driving off to continue in the rut I’d been operating in on and off now for many years.

Last year I had stumbled across a little movie called The Celestine Prophecy and while not agreeing with all its premises, it had touched me. A major theme of the movie was that there are no coincidences in life.

I bring this up because when I finally sat down and turned the book over I saw a testimonial from James Redfield, the author of the book from which this movie was made. A coincidence? Perhaps. But if I had learned anything from the movie, then no.

The second “coincidence” that helped to push me on to read the mysterious book I had received in the mail was an incident at the library. I needed to buy a computer pass and had to spend a minimum of three dollars in order to use my credit card – the computer pass was only a dollar. So I grabbed a book or two. After I got home I noticed that this book too had a testimonial from James Redfield on it…I got the hint!

After starting the book I recognized its literary style. The Five People You Meet in Heaven had been similar, a journey of self-awareness. I also recalled having gone through a similar process when I devoured Leadership & Self-Deception twice. I paused many times to write down answers to the questions asked the main character in the book.

So, I can’t really give to you what I got from the book. It would not even be the right way to go about it… Let me change directions for a second, then I’ll bring it back to Life’s Golden Ticket.

I started a couple weeks ago to offer a little report for download to a small group of people. I call it my “Hope Report – Who You Really Are.” In it, I try with all I have to share with others the hope I’ve seen as I’ve started to give attention to healing from my addiction. Before reading it I challenge people to look inward, loosen the soil so to speak, so the roots of hope can go deep.

This book is JUST the type of book to help one “loosen the soil” before hope can take root. It’s about getting honest with yourself, a necessary component of moving forward to achieve any goal that we set out for ourselves.

I would recommend Life’s Golden Ticket to anyone looking to break down a few walls, but ONLY if they’re willing to be open with the process. Life isn’t what happens to us, but rather, how we choose to react to it. In other words, we get out of life what we put into it. So, if you’re not ready to put anything into this book, don’t bother. But, if you have even a small inclination to change and get real, it’s a real good place to start!

OFFER: Read it, let me know what ya think and I’ll send ya my free Hope Report and add ya to my book give-away list!


Why Are 12 Steps So Effective? | Dr. Patrick Carnes

February 9th, 2010


Dr. Patrick Carnes is big in the field of sexual addiction & recovery. His Out of the Shadows of the Net was one of the first books I picked up when I started getting real about how to break free from my addiction to pornography.

Several months ago I sat down with my girlfriend at the time and talked about the things I felt like where gonna be critical for my recovery going forward. One of those things was going out to a 12 Step based support group. A while back I went to one meeting, but then got into some groups that were associated with the individual therapy I was receiving at the time. They weren’t really rooted in the 12 steps however.

Here Dr. Carnes gives some of the core reasons why a group like 12 Steps is important in the recovery of those struggling with sexual addictions.

Breaking a Porn Addiction

January 5th, 2010

Breaking a porn addiction can be a little bit like trying to swim upstream in a fast moving river. Tired and worn out so many get swept away into the powerful current assuming that there’s no other way. While this may seem like the only option, it’s not! If you’re struggling against the current of porn addiction, looking, panicked and doubtfully for a break in the rapids then let me extend to you an oar and point the way to the shore.

In their book entitled “Willpower is Not Enough,” A. Dean Byrd & Mark Chamberlain explain that one reason we don’t succeed at change despite our continued efforts is that we think we need to force ourselves to refrain, an act of the mind. They explain beautifully that by accessing the power of the heart, by learning to channel our desires, emotions and needs properly we can avoid the daunting waves that can and will sweep over us before they destroy us.

We must know, if we quietly assess the situation, that we are much more capable than we’ve been giving ourselves credit for. We all have value outside our actions. Even the man with the greatest burden is of great worth to God, for he is His son and has the opportunity to obtain all that God has. Even that mans potential beyond imagination.

Breaking free may have seemed impossible up ‘till now, but with God, nothing is impossible! Success is inevitable to one who puts his trust in the Lord. To Him, you’ve already won. Do you wonder why 12 Step programs have been so successful at helping people out of addictions of all types, alcoholism, over eating, gambling, sex addictions, etc.?

One reason in addiction to the connection that one develops with their God in the course of the program is the place of honesty it can bring one to. When one admits before God that they are powerless with out him, they find that his power is more than sufficient. When they surrender their meager control over their addiction they find that the control He provides is much greater than they ever had.

This release may seem counterintuitive, after all, the river rages and you’re determined to fight it. Just let go and you’ll see that the heavens have already orchestrated your safe arrival on the shore.

One other reason that the 12 step programs are so powerful is that they are founded on the principles of personal responsibility and effort. You have been given power to act. You always have a choice even if your capacity has diminished through giving into porn over and over again.

You always have a choice. That choice may be as small as going to a meeting, starting to feast upon the word of God or to open up to a friend or family member, but remember, you always have a choice. As the successful Bob (What About Bob) once learned, “baby steps” is the way to move forward one step at a time.

Here’s one baby step you can take right now to enhance your letting go process: Fill out the form to the right and get access to a free mini-course packed with powerful principles that have helped thousands break their porn & sex addictions!

Related Blogs

Sex Addicts Anonymous

December 29th, 2009

Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) is an organization formed to help those who struggle with compulsive sexual behaviors. It was founded after the great tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous and their landmark 12 Step program of healing from addiction to alcohol.

Because of their group approach many find an immediate benefit from attending meetings: breaking the secrecy. Keeping inside struggles of any sort is difficult, not to mention one that lies at the very core of who we are.

Our sexuality was instilled in us by a loving Heavenly Father for the purpose of drawing men and women together in committed and loving relationships to form families and to provide a place for children to learn vital lessons that will prepare them to experience happiness in life through healthy relationships with themselves and others.

A core principle of SAA is honesty. If you can’t be open to yourself about the nature and details of your addiction then it will continue to have power of you. Stating the problem is a powerful step in conquering your compulsions.

Another great strength that’s to be found in the 12 steps of SAA is the confession you’ll make to God and perhaps more importantly, to yourself, that you are powerless to solve your addiction alone. Many, if not most, addicts feel that they are alone. They feel like no one can understand them and that their problem is theirs alone. They feel that it affects no one else and that they can overcome it by themselves. A confession of this sort opens the door to healing and learning how powerful healthy interactions with others can be in your recovery.

Another step is to help others who struggle gain their footing as they begin on their own journey of recovery. This is a way to “pay it forward,” but it also is a way to more firmly cement your recovery. The teacher so often learns much more by teaching.

With these and other principles to help you in your recovery, Sexual Addicts Anonymous may be right for you. Either way, learning about your addiction, being open to sharing with others and committing to do something now all are necessary steps. Freedom IS possible. To receive a free mini-course that teaches powerful principles to those addicted to internet porn fill out the form to the right.

Masturbation Addict

December 18th, 2009

In the 12 step programs there is a phrase often tossed around that I quite disagree with. The statement is usually something like, “once an addict, always an addict.” While I understand that there’s always a need in everyone’s life to be cautious of falling into dark patterns of behavior, I also know the human brain has an amazing plasticity or ability to change. One should not underestimate the capacity of the human spirit to exert change when it sets its will to do so and for that change to become permanent, a very part of their nature.

With this initial premise in place I wish to talk briefly to those who may consider themselves or be considered by others to be a masturbation addict. Masturbation or self-stimulation is nothing new. Sexual tendencies lie within all of us & they have been exploited in many ways as long as humans have been around.

Quite often those who compulsively masturbate also have incorporated into their belief system false ideas which do them great disservice. These beliefs can lead them to engage in the illusion of intimacy while avoiding the heart of it. While seeing a professional therapist may be appropriate there is much headway one can make on their own to understand & correct those core beliefs.

Each of us has an inner voice that when paid attention to can help us understand great things about ourselves, including the reasons we may have turned to masturbation in the first place.

Even though masturbation is quite common it is not a proper means of expressing the sexual desires we have had placed inside of us by a loving Heavenly Father. Masturbation has been used to condition people to become stimulated by deviant behavior (Human Intimacy, Victor L. Brown). This is one thing that makes masturbation such a problem to those seeking real human intimacy, that deep & meaningful connection with others.

Chemicals released during sexual intercourse help join man & woman together in a committed, loving relationship while masturbation mimics the chemical release but provides not those things that a real relationship can. It also forms a bond to the object of attention.

Pornography addiction for example is a bond often formed by the means of masturbation. A connection to pictures or videos rather than a spouse can lead to wedges driven into what otherwise may have been a beautiful & rewarding relationship.

For the “masturbation addict” it’s important to know first and foremost that you are a child of God with unlimited potential divinely placed inside of you! You have great power to change. There IS hope! Learn to listen to that voice within as you turn your heart to that voice from above. Follow the impressions you get to move towards good, they will not fail you.

Along the way, learning of how your brain can pull you down into an addiction is very important. To begin your journey sign up for the free mini-course to the right that will give you help with porn addiction, masturbation & other sexual behaviors.

Giving: The Grand Meaning

August 25th, 2009

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what’s most important in life and why. It seems to me that knowing this would add meaning & power to my healing & recovery from pornography addiction. Again and again in small and simple, yet profound ways the answer has come to me: People matter most. How I interact with others determines the quality of my life.

There is a great teaching in many religions that can be summarized by the simple words of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Ghandi said it this way, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” These sayings invite us to look inward and to focus on changing our own behavior. How wise indeed, for no man can change the habits of another unless he inspires action through the power of his own right conduct. We can only change ourselves.

Treating others with kindness because it’s how we’d like to be treated is a great reason to live a life of service. Looking deeper we can find that the reason these teachings exist is because our very understanding of life’s deepest truths can only be fully understood as we give ourselves to the aid of others.

Last week as I got ready for my day I had the strong impression that “we need each other.” The thought came seemingly out of the blue although it was preceeded by a smile and quick memory about my girlfriend. The thought however of us all needing each other sunk in deep during the moments that followed.

I recalled times where I had felt like I wanted escape being around others or that I could understand life without the help of others. I even felt that I could overcome my pornography addiction without the others, just me and God, that’s all I needed. Ironically, I often came to those feelings while reading books…written by, yup, others. I also would feel this superman-like determination after a relapse and because I was embarrassed to tell anyone of what I had done.

The power of connecting emotionally with others allows love flow freely as we give our energies; our time, our thoughts and prayers, our skills and passions, our laughter and our true understanding gained through lives experiences – to those around us. Indeed, it is ONLY through these, often difficult efforts, that any lasting connection can be made. Victor Brown said in his powerful book Human Intimacy: Illusion & Reality, “marriage (and for that matter, all relationships) is not for emotional weaklings.”

It’s so easy to overlook the debt which we owe to our fellow man…for just about EVERYTHING. I love to play the guitar. However, my enjoyment of this hobby would have been severely limited without the efforts of the thousands who came before me; those who studied acoustics, those that build prototypes who failed and tried again, those that diligently observed and documented the relationships between notes, those who sored to great musical heights and inspire greatness and those who took incentive to finance and manufacture the creation of affordable guitars. My enjoyment has been developed over centuries and I am the beneficiary. I owe those people a debt of gratitude.

When we truly see and feel the connection we have to others – that they are part of us, our brothers and sisters – we can open up and fully give of ourselves to them and in so doing know that all we give will be returned to us. In fact, we cannot fully receive that which we do not also give. Kindness is repaid with kindness. The healing of forgiveness is obtained when we afford it to others. We help others and in doing so we only help ourselves. This was beautifully illustrated in The Celestine Prophecy, a novel by James Redfield made motion picture in 2006 (watch through about 4:15)

Perhaps this is why the final step in the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program is to give back and to share your story with others. We share our experiences to learn of ourselves. We gain freedom and hope as we share freedom and hope with others. Because love is such a powerful key to avoiding the pitfalls of pornography addiction it’s essential to learn to give love and to serve.

Glory to God!

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