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.