How was Christmas? Were you struggling with FOMO, did you struggle more with triggers than usual? Was it as good, or as bad, as you expected? As we were exploring in our last blog, Christmas is not always jolly, especially for people struggling with porn addiction or compulsive sexual behaviours. Addiction does not take Christmas off, in fact, Christmas can make it worse.
A common way of resolving Christmas excesses, whether that’s acting out, or too much alcohol, food or time sitting on the sofa, is to set a New Year’s Resolution. And for the last few years our January blogs have been all about what you can do to ensure you succeed in reaching your goals. This year, I’m going to cut to the chase and say if you do nothing about your addiction, nothing will change. You can wish and hope and dream and plan as much as you like, but if you don’t actually DO SOMETHING, you will be in exactly the same place this time next year.
Beating sex addiction
Overcoming sex or porn addiction can feel like an overwhelming task and if you’ve tried and failed in the past, it can feel insurmountable. In my experience, the most common reason why people don’t get into permanent recovery is because they haven’t fully understood the complexity of the problem. If you want to fix any kind of problem, you first have to understand it. Because when you don’t understand a problem, you either try and fix it with the wrong tools, or you get a short-term fix that doesn’t last – in other words, the problem comes back. When that happens it’s so easy to blame yourself, rather than looking at whether or not the tools were fit for purpose. And when you blame yourself, that just feeds into the negative core beliefs we were exploring in our last series of blogs, which become a block to having the life you want to have.
So, if giving up your unwanted sexual behaviours, whatever they may be, is a resolution for 2023, how can you be sure you’re not wasting your time again on something that won’t work, or won’t work permanently?
What is sex and porn addiction?
The framework we use for sex and porn addiction is the BERSC model which is based on a bio-psycho-social model. What that means is that there are Biological, Psychological and Social factors that ‘cause’ the problem and critically, there are biological, psychological and social factors that ‘maintain’ the problem. BERSC is an acronym that stands for the 5 components of sex and porn addiction – Biological, Emotional, Relational, Social and Cultural and if you want to read more about BERSC and about our approach, please follow the link here – https://thelaurelcentre.co.uk/our-therapeutic-approach/. The most important thing to understand about BERSC is that unless you explore and address each of these issues, you won’t get into recovery.
Can you really recover from sex or porn addiction?
Another reason why people often struggle to get into recovery from addictive and compulsive behaviours is that they don’t fully understand what recovery means. They confuse ‘stopping’ or ‘abstinence’ with recovery – and it’s not the same thing. So, what does recovery really mean? It means building a life where your addictive, compulsive behaviours have no place. A life that is fulfilling and meaningful. In my experience the biggest mistake people make, and the most common cause of relapse, is that they confuse sobriety with recovery. They think that stopping your behaviours means that you’ve solved the problem. But doing that just leaves a hole in your life. Recovery means focussing on what you want to do, not on what you don’t want do.
When you understand what recovery is, it is much easier to achieve it. Recovery is not purely about behaviour change, it’s about life change. It means addressing the biological, emotional, relational, social and cultural aspects of your problem. Ultimately it’s not about learning to manage your addiction, it’s about learning to manage your life.
A new way for stopping porn addiction
Therapy has been proven to be effective in treating sex and porn addiction, especially joining a recovery course – you can read about the results of our groupwork courses here https://thelaurelcentre.co.uk/blog/does-sex-addiction-treatment-work/
But regrettably not everyone can afford this kind of intervention, especially during our current cost of living crisis and that’s why I’m proud to be able to tell you more about a new, low-cost service. Pivotal Recovery has been set up as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company to provide a low-cost alternative to traditional therapy. The whole 60-day course is a similar price to a single session with a therapist and there is an option to spread the cost with monthly payments.
The programme consists of 60 podcasts which range from 10 to 20 minutes, and an accompanying workbook that will help you to personalise the information to your individual circumstances. The workbook will guide you through tailored exercises and provide a place to record your journey and track your progress. The course content can be accessed from any internet connected devise, and the workbook is available in a print version and an interactive version which can be stored and completed on a phone, tablet or computer.
For more information visit https://PivotalRecovery.org