Tolerance and Escalation

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All daily inspirations can be found in the book Sex and Porn Addiction Healing and Recovery. Used here with permission of the author. Click the book cover image to purchase the book on Amazon.

We cannot turn back time and make a new start, but we can start from now and create a new ending.

Nearly all sex and porn addicts experience tolerance and escalation. With substance addictions, tolerance and escalation manifest when the addict must take more of a substance or a stronger substance to achieve and maintain the neurochemical high that he or she seeks. With sex and porn addiction, tolerance and escalation occur when we spend increasing amounts of time engaging in the addiction, or when the intensity level of our sexual fantasies and activities increases. Over time, thanks to tolerance and escalation, we sometimes find ourselves engaging in sexual behaviors that hadn’t even occurred to us early in the addictive process. Sometimes we act out in ways that violate our personal moral code, our spiritual beliefs, and perhaps even the law.

Task for Today
Think about where you started with your addiction, and where it took you. Ask yourself how you feel about that.

Learn from Your Mistakes

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All daily inspirations can be found in the book Sex and Porn Addiction Healing and Recovery. Used here with permission of the author. Click the book cover image to purchase the book on Amazon.

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

No person does life perfectly. Nor does anyone do recovery perfectly. All of us make mistakes, and we make them all the time. The difference between the people who ultimately reach their goals and the people who don’t is that the people who succeed are willing to recognize, accept, and learn from their mistakes. As recovering addicts, it is important for us to view our mistakes as what they truly are—precious life lessons that can only be learned by us the hard way.

Task for Today
Think about a recent mistake. Find at least one life lesson that it’s taught you.

Gaslighting Makes Betrayal Worse

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All daily inspirations can be found in the book Sex and Porn Addiction Healing and Recovery. Used here with permission of the author. Click the book cover image to purchase the book on Amazon.

Gaslighting is an attempt to alter the truth.

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse that involves the presentation of false information followed by dogged insistence that the information is true. For example, “I never said I’d be home by eight. I don’t know why you would think that,” and, “Why do you keep asking me if something is going on? You’re completely paranoid. It’s really annoying.” Even if we didn’t tell those exact lies as part of our addiction, we almost certainly told similar whoppers. And when our loved one worked up the courage to question our dishonesty, we flipped the script, insisting our lies were true and that our partner was either delusional or making things up for some absurd reason. We did everything possible to convince our partner that he or she was the issue, and his or her emotional and psychological reactions were the cause of rather than the result of problems in our relationship. In short, we made our partner question his or her perception of reality.

Task for Today
Stop denying your partner’s perception of reality.

Working Step 2

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All daily inspirations can be found in the book Sex and Porn Addiction Healing and Recovery. Used here with permission of the author. Click the book cover image to purchase the book on Amazon.

Faith in something greater than ourselves enables us to do what we have said we’ll do, to press forward when we are tired or hurt or afraid, to keep going when the challenge seems overwhelming and the course is entirely uncertain.

One issue that recovering sex and porn addicts sometimes have with Step 2 centers on the words ‘power greater than ourselves.’ Many of us immediately connect this language with the God and organized religion of our childhood. For some of us, this is helpful. For others, not so much. The good news is that there is no right wrong way to define ‘power greater than ourselves.’ If we choose to include a formalized version of God and religion in our definition of ‘power greater than ourselves,’ great. If not, we can think about 12-step fellowships, loved ones, and others who support our recovery as that power.

Task for Today
Consider the many possible meanings of ‘power greater than ourselves.’

Masturbation in Sexual Recovery

All daily inspirations can be found in the book Sex and Porn Addiction Healing and Recovery. Used here with permission of the author. Click the book cover image to purchase the book on Amazon.

Some (but not all) sex and porn addicts have a pathological relationship with masturbation.

When constructing a sexual sobriety plan, sometimes referred to as a circle or boundary plan, one potentially problematic gray area is masturbation. For individuals who compulsively masturbate (with or without pornography), the decision is clear: Masturbation is a prohibited activity (inner circle/boundary). For others, there is less clarity. In such cases, we must ask ourselves if masturbation consistently fuels the ‘high’ of the addiction. Depending on the answer, masturbation might be viewed as a prohibited inner circle/boundary activity, a slippery but still-sober activity (middle circle/boundary), or a healthy activity (outer circle/boundary). When there is confusion about where to place masturbation within a sexual sobriety plan, it is best to err on the side of caution.

Task for Today
Think about your masturbation history. When did it start? How has it escalated? What role does it play in your addiction?

Technology Facilitates But Does Not Cause Sexual Addiction

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All daily inspirations can be found in the book Sex and Porn Addiction Healing and Recovery. Used here with permission of the author. Click the book cover image to purchase the book on Amazon.

Technology is neutral. How it affects us depends on how it’s used.

There is little doubt that sexnology facilitates and drives modern-day sex and porn addiction. However, tech does not appear to be a root cause of these addictions. In fact, most people can use porn, hookup apps, webcams, and the like in non-compulsive and life-affirming ways. They do not become addicted and they do not experience negative consequences. However, the individuals who are predisposed to addiction (usually thanks to a combination of nature and nurture) may well struggle with sexnology, just as they might struggle with alcohol, drugs, gambling, or any other potentially addictive substance or activity.

Task for Today
Stop blaming tech for your addiction and look within yourself for the underlying causes.