Working Step 4

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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.

Until we face our shadows, they will haunt us.

The goal of Step 4 is for us to take a hard, unrelenting look at our problems and our role in creating those problems. After working Step 4, we realize that we are not victims; instead, we are active participants in the mess our lives have become. And believe it or not, this realization is empowering. In fact, many of us point to Step 4 as the turning point in our recovery. Before working Step 4, we were battling external factors—other people, events, and organizations that ‘drove us to addiction.’ By the time we’re done with Step 4, we know that the real enemy lives within. We understand that we, not others, are the cause of our misery. Our addiction belongs to us and no one else.

Task for Today
Stop blaming others for your problematic sexual behaviors.

The Gratitude List

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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.

If the only prayer you say is “thank you,” that is enough.

As sex and porn addicts, we may have used our sexual fantasies and behaviors to numb out for so long that we forgot how to experience emotions in a healthy way—particularly uncomfortable emotions like anxiety, depression, fear, shame, and the like. As a result, sometimes, especially early in the recovery process, we can feel overwhelmed by those emotions, losing sight of what is going well in our lives and our recovery. A great way to combat this ‘stinking thinking’ is to create a gratitude list. Most of us find that a ten-item gratitude list counteracts almost any trigger toward addiction.

Task for Today
Write out a ten-item gratitude list. Carry it with you and refer to it often. Add to it as the day progresses.

Our Resistance to Asking for Help

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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.

An obstinate sense of independence is most people’s greatest challenge.

As recovering sex and porn addicts, we nearly always need outside assistance if we hope to change our problematic behaviors and live healthier, happier, more fulfilling lives. If we could stop what we’re doing on our own, we would. Most of us have tried that many times, failing repeatedly. We’re fine for a few days, but then we’re right back at it, as lost as ever. For us, shame and remorse are not enough to prevent relapse. Willpower alone doesn’t cut it. For lasting recovery, we need the impartial insight and accountability that only sex and porn addiction treatment and 12-step meetings with other recovering sex and porn addicts can provide.

Task for Today
Reflect on how much easier sexual recovery is when you’re not trying to do it all by yourself.

Overcoming Denial

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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.

Denying the truth doesn’t change the facts.

As recovering sex and porn addicts, we must develop an honest understanding of our addiction—what it is, how it negatively affects us and others, why we engage in it, etc. And this knowledge is best attained through concrete, unfiltered discussion and review of past sexual behaviors, past relationships, and past hurts to ourselves and others. Once this information is uncovered, it’s harder to pretend that compulsive sexual fantasy and behavior are not a problem. This is doubly true when this information is ‘witnessed’ by a therapist, a 12-step sponsor or group, an accountability partner, and other supportive people who are also in the process of healing from sex or porn addiction. To recover from our addiction, we must talk about our addiction.

Task for Today
Share three facts about your addiction with at least one person who actively supports your recovery.

Risk Factors for Addiction

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.

Addictions of all types form and manifest in the same basic ways.

The risk factors for substance and behavioral addictions (including sex and porn addiction) are the same: most often a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Generally speaking, people are at risk when there is a history of addiction (any type) or mental illness (any type) in the family, and when they’ve experienced early-life or severe adult trauma. A lot of the time, at-risk individuals turn to alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit substances to self-medicate feelings of stress and other forms of emotional discomfort. Other at-risk individuals turn to an intensely pleasurable pattern of behavior (like using porn or acting out sexually). Either way, addiction is driven by the same underlying issues.

Task for Today
Ask yourself if it matters why you are addicted. Or is the fact that you’re addicted the most important thing for you to deal with.

Working Step 4

This entry was posted in Daily Inspiration and tagged , , on

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.

Honest self-reflection opens the mind to reprogramming, change, success, and freedom.

Often, as recovering sex and porn addicts, we dread the thought of Step 4, of taking a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Because of this, we may try to delay Step 4. Some of us might stop working the steps altogether, deciding we can stay sober on meetings alone. Others might create excuse after excuse to procrastinate—pretending we’re stuck on Steps 2 and 3, choosing to focus on our career or our relationship, switching sponsors because the old one seems too pushy, etc. Whatever our reasons, not working Step 4 leaves us stuck in a rut, moving neither forward nor backward in our recovery. When this happens, we need to understand that working Step 4 is the key to both internal growth and lasting sobriety. After all, Steps 5 through 9—the healing steps—all build on the work we do in Step 4.

Task for Today
Choose to not fear self-reflection. Instead, view it as a pathway to growth.