Sobriety Medallions

This New Year, more than a few people have resolved to quit surfing Internet porn.

Most of those people are going to find it more difficult than they expected.

Have you promised yourself that you’re not going to contaminate your new computer with any porn? Are you going to stop cruising the bookstores, restrooms, strip clubs, or ads on Craig’s List? If you have, it’s probably not the first time you’ve made that promise to yourself.

Is there a part of you that’s pretty sure you’re going to fail?

I know exactly how you feel. Really! I’ve been there and maybe I can help.

First of all, thinking about failure is not productive, so when those thoughts come up, say STOP, take a deep breath and then think about something else.

Secondly, changing your mind counts as failing. So a week from now if you’re sitting at the computer feeling horny and you decide that surfing porn really isn’t such a big deal as long as you stick with the vanilla sites, if you think it’s okay as long as it’s cybersex and not skin to skin sex, if you decide you’re over-sexed or your wife is under-sexed or … you get the idea. If you do that, you’ve failed and you’ll need to start again.

Here’s the hard truth. You’re probably going to fail. More than once. In fact, you’re going to keep on failing until you succeed.

Some of you are saying, “No shit, Sherlock!” That’s the world’s biggest no-brainer. Not only that, but it’s way easier said than done. I don’t know about you but I don’t like feeling like shit, which is how I feel when I fail. I’m not Thomas Edison, and if you ask me, being able to keep going after so much failure isn’t exactly normal. But it is necessary if you’re going to change.

Figuring out a way to encourage yourself to try again (and again) is an individual effort. Some people pick church, others try the 12-step groups, others try the self-help section of the bookstore – where (by the way) it seems like there’s an evil plot to derail you since all the sex manuals are in that same section. In any event, whatever method of encouragement you choose, actually doing the encouraging – that’s not a solitary exercise. Which makes it difficult. How many people are in your life who can honestly congratulate you because you’ve given up porn, or because you’re learning how to reach orgasm with your partner, or without having to cut yourself. Probably none. Which is why doing the encouraging is difficult. After all, if you were able to encourage yourself enough, you probably wouldn’t be reading this.

There are only three places I’ve ever been where I can comfortably use the word masturbation in a sentence: the rooms of 12-step groups for sex addiction, therapy, and residential treatment. That’s where I find my encouragement. And I’m glad to say that after much failure, I’ve changed.

My hope for you is that you find the encouragement you need to keep quitting again and again. Because quitting is not a once and forever thing. It’s like eating; you have to do a little bit of it every day, over and over and over.

There is absolutely nothing special about me. Humans can and do change every single day. It took a lot of courage and encouragement for me but as you can see from the two year medallion in the image, I’ve stayed changed for over two years. If I can do it, so can you.



  1. I have been a porn addict for years and find it hard for me to quit. I tried to way to get my mind of it. Often the URGE factor comes in when i am alone and bored. Really wish I am my old self again. Hope that i never comes into contact with porn.

    therefore, I set upmy own blog to help me get through it.

    I needed more determination and friends to help me get through.
    So pls join me a

  2. Thank you so much for the encouragement and adding your experience, strength, and hope.

    It’s been years since I’ve thought about grokking! I’m re-reading some of my favorite David Brin novels so I’m kenning where you are! 🙂

  3. I too have failed numerous times at trying to curb self destructive (and destructive to other) sexual behaviors. I nearly lost my marriage twice. I was unhappy, even though I had done a significant amount of work in AA. At the time that I finally made it to SLAA’s door, I had 12 years sober in AA. I *had* done a lot of work in AA, including some damn good 4th steps that were completely honest on the sexual side. Nonetheless, I couldn’t find the willingness to quit my sex addiction until I was able to talk with other recovering sex addicts in a safe atmosphere.

    Even then, I’ve literally several dozen relapses. Anybody who says sex addiction is easy to recover from isn’t a sex addict I went through two very emotionally draining withdrawal periods with my wife (i.e. no sex at all, including masturbation). The first was a 60 day period. Unfortunately, at the end of that period, I still didn’t know what healthy sex was, so my relationship, sexual and otherwise, with my wife still floundered. The second withdrawal period was an open ended one.

    After I announced to my wife that I thought I needed to do another withdrawal period again (following a painful relapse after a year sober), my wife told me that we weren’t going to have sex until she was ready. 60 days came and went. 90 days came and went. During that time, I truly didn’t know when I was going to have sex again. I let go. Finally, after 112 days (yeah, I let go, but was still counting), my wife was ready. By this time, I had talked a lot with other folks about healthy sexuality and had begun to glimpse it.

    Since that time, I have made a systematic 9th step amend to my wife and subsequently she began to work on issues in herself, too. Today, I have four and a half years clean in SLAA. I continue to work with my sponsor weekly and work with three sponsees as much as they need it. My relationship with my wife is literally better than it has ever been and continues to keep improving. I find myself happy more often than not, provided that I stay true to my program.

    I wrote all of the above to add weight to your post. It IS possible to REALLY recover from sex addiction, but it won’t happen without footwork. There’s a great japanese saying: success is falling seven times, but getting up eight times. That’s how recovery was for me.

    Finally, I really appreciate the depth that you’ve put into your blog. I just ran across it a couple of days back and haven’t had a chance to read most of your back posts, but I grok where you are.

    Congratulations on your sobriety and keeping bloggin!

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