We had a great question in the Porn Reboot group the other day from a brother grappling with a range of things.
We usually get direct questions about specific topics but our brother had a few different questions running through his head. It’s a long question but it covers a lot of important points. He said:
“I’ve been struggling with escort sites and forums over the past two weeks and I’ve been getting hooked on it. This novelty thing is so strong it gives me a rush so I slipped to it last night. I’ve also been negotiating my boundaries with social media, YouTube, and online tabloids.
I recently watched a video of yours where you explained that average men don’t quit pornography. I recognize that I tend to limit myself. Since I read a lot about spirituality and incorporate these practices in my life, I have this belief that I don’t need to be a high performer or have a lot of money. All I need to do is be present.
However, I still want to be disciplined to achieve my goals and pursue my career. Of course, these conflicting beliefs, especially when it comes to quitting porn, are kind of driving me crazy. I know it sounds silly but these are the things I’ve been thinking about. What are some of your ideas on this?”
I’m going to break this one down piece by piece.
Average Men Don’t Quit Pornography
If you want to end your compulsive behavior, you cannot live like an average individual for a certain amount of time. That simply means there are certain things you’re going to see your friends do that you might not be able to participate in. These friends may not have the same struggles that you have so their particular habits and lifestyle don’t affect them the same way as you.
For instance, some of your friends can wake up in the morning, roll out of bed, and start their day. You don’t have that luxury because you have to anchor your day. They are going to go through their day and maybe get upset or angry at a certain point, but their response won’t be the same as yours. Watching pornography has always been your response to these emotions.
This is why you must take time in the morning to center yourself every day. You can’t just get out of bed and go straight into your day. Your morning recovery time helps you learn to manage your emotional responses and replace old coping mechanisms with new ones.
There are plenty of other common habits and behaviors your friends have that you need to leave behind for some time. These are things like watching your self-talk, being aware of the things you put into your body, avoiding excessive drinking, exercising daily, and more. Average men can’t commit to life changes like these. That’s why they can’t quit porn.
Our brother’s concern with escort sites is simple. If you find yourself visiting escort or erotica sites, or any other site that triggers you or sexually arouses you, it’s no different than visiting a pornography site.
If you’re arguing in your mind or justifying it by telling yourself that it’s not porn, all you’re doing is rationalizing your behavior. It’s simply cognitive dissonance and a way for you to avoid taking responsibility for what’s happening.
It doesn’t matter whether you slip to an erotica site or pornography; the damage has already been done to your brain. You’re activating that same harmful neural pathway that drags you down time and time again. Leave the escort sites behind.
Our brother also talks about incorporating spiritual books and practices into his life, but there’s an important caveat. He specifically mentioned reading a lot of books on spirituality. Truth is, spirituality has little to do with books. I’ve noticed lots of men who consume these books and digest them intellectually, but do little to bring these practices into their real lives.
I used to be like that in my late teens and early twenties, too. Men who consume these books and intellectualize them rather than practice them tend to have a conflicting understanding of what spirituality means. These men are the ones who wonder if they become better people for giving up their pursuit for material things.
This gentleman and many others, have bought into the belief that being spiritual requires you to discard all material pursuits. There’s this idea that you have one of two choices. Firstly, you can give up all worldly pleasures and become a monk. Or you can live in the material world, achieve material goals, but lack any sort of spirituality.
This simply isn’t true! As long as you’re not attached to your material possessions, material success and spirituality can coexist. It’s possible. You don’t need to confine yourself to a temple or monastery for the rest of your life to achieve spirituality. You can live a life based on spiritual principles while still pursuing your goals and having success.
Overcoming His Obstacles
Something I noticed from this brother’s question is that he lacks mentioning any solution. He doesn’t speak about boundaries, he never mentions accountability, he didn’t talk about identifying triggers or self-care. This post is more of a report that he’s been acting out without offering any constructive steps.
At the same time, there’s room to grow because this post reveals his victim mindset. If this brother wants to overcome these obstacles, and if you’re struggling with the same type of problems, you need to overcome your victim mindset.
You’re not a victim to your circumstances and you don’t lack control in your life. There are many things you can do to overcome the things you’re struggling with and we outline them all here at Porn Reboot. There’s nothing wrong with feeling stuck and asking for help, but you also need to recognize where you’re at fault.
Start asking yourself some questions. Where is your accountability? Which triggers cropped up that caused you to act out? What does your self-care look like right now? How are your boundaries holding up? Why did you break the boundaries you have in place and what are you going to do to make them stronger next time?
If you’re still having a hard time answering these questions on your own, come join us in the Porn Reboot group. We support each other and lift one another while providing honest feedback and accountability. You can’t make much progress in your reboot without reaching out for help. Come build your community with us today!