The CHOICE Recovery Model - Challenge Core Beliefs

As promised our blog continues with the CHOICE Recovery Model.  In the last blog I was explaining how CHOICE was more than just an acrostic to remember the essential elements of recovery, but also a reminder that we each have a right to choose the life we want to lead. Both sex addiction and porn addiction rob us of choice. Indeed, any addiction can make us behave in ways we don’t want to; ways that contradict our personal value system and prevents us from reaching our goals in life; ways that hurt the people we love and care about most.

So we come to our first C – Challenge core beliefs. The decision to beat porn addiction or overcome sex addiction is basically a choice. But before you can make that choice you have to root out any faulty core beliefs and thinking patterns that might be blocking your ability to recognise it as a choice.  There are many different beliefs that can block recovery, but broadly speaking all of them fall under 3 headings – I don’t need to change, I don’t want to change or I can’t change. We’ll look at each of these in a little more depth.

  • I don’t need to change – is sex addiction really a problem?  Is porn addiction a real problem?  These are the questions that people who think they don’t need to change struggle with. They are often still in a place where they’re not sure if there really is anything wrong with the way they’re behaving and living their life. They think they are still in control and what they are doing is a choice, not a compulsion.  The best way to overcome this is to have a hard and honest look at the damage the harmful consequences that the behaviour is causing.
  • I don’t want to change – this is often said by people who know that they probably should change, but they don’t have the motivation to do so. They are often thinking that the cost of change outweighs the benefits. In other words, they would lose too much if they did change. One of the best ways to overcome this is to help someone to create a vision for the future - watch out for our next blog for more on this.
  • I can’t change – unfortunately shame and sex addiction often go hand in hand and at the root of ‘I can’t change’ you’ll usually find shame. Often someone who doesn’t believe they can overcome porn addiction also struggles with low self esteem; they feel worthless and useless and incapable of change. Thankfully this is simply untrue and group work is the most powerful way of helping people to realise that change is a choice and it’s one that they can take. 

The first step in overcoming faulty core beliefs is to recognise that they are happening. If you think you ‘can’t beat sex addiction’ or ‘don’t want to control your porn use’, focussing on why you believe that and where the message comes from is a good start.  One of the best ways to increase  motivation is to consider what an alternative lifestyle might look like – and that is the topic of our next blog.