Avoiding relapse is one of the most difficult parts of pornography addiction recovery. Quitting is hard but staying away from pornography is harder. You’ve spent months, years, or decades developing your addiction and you’re not going to feel relief all at once. Learning relapse prevention methods is a vital way to protect your recovery.
Once you incorporate skills and substitutes into your life, you won’t obsess over porn the way you used to. Until then, it’s important to have some tips in mind that will keep you focused on your recovery. These four powerful relapse prevention tips will help you during your early days and weeks away from porn.
1. Relapse starts when you lose control of your emotions
You’re in a rational, clear headspace when you make your decision to quit pornography. But your pornography addiction stems from an emotional place, not a rational place. You use it to calm yourself when you feel upset, anxious, or any other overwhelming emotion.
Relapse beings the moment you lose control of your emotions. If you lose control of your thoughts, your control over your judgment goes out the window, too. It doesn’t matter how rational you are, your addiction is more powerful. Learning to control your emotions is a necessary part of recovery.
2. Understand that many symptoms are subconscious
Recovering from pornography addiction is hard because much of your addiction is subconscious. Addiction develops slowly over time and you train your brain to use it in times where you feel out of control. Your relapse symptoms might not be apparent to you even as a relapse is about to happen.
Think about it. It happens to men all the time. How many times have you told yourself, “Okay, I’m done, no more,” then found yourself watching porn a few hours later? Why is it that no matter how many times you tell yourself to not watch porn, you still relapse? You tell yourself that you’ll quit tomorrow but you’re doing it again the very next day.
This is because your addiction acts subconsciously. Accept the nature of your addiction and use your understanding to your advantage. One of the best things you can do is learn to work with your brain, not against it. Using willpower to quit is working against your brain. Developing the skills and tools to stay away from pornography is working with it.
Start building a checklist of things that lead you to a relapse. Every man has his own set of things that set off his subconscious pattern of relapse symptoms. These include things like:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Spending too much time on social media
- Reading materials that increase your anxiety
- Neglecting meditation
- Not incorporating a healthy diet or exercise habits
- Disconnecting from your support network
Look over the list above and create your own. Understanding the subconscious things that lead to relapse, then working with your brain to avoid them, leaves you less susceptible.
3. Relapse doesn’t “just happen”
Plenty of men try to say that their relapse “just happened”. They don’t know what led up to it, they had no way to predict it, there was nothing they could have done. One moment they were chilling, the next moment they were overcome with an insatiable urge and it just happened.
Relapse might be subconscious but it’s not that simple. If you’ve been struggling with out of control sexual behavior or pornography addiction, it’s time to get serious about it. You need to develop a deeper understanding of what’s happening and realize that your decisions landed you here.
This also means your relapse comes about as a result of your attitude and your values. You have to decide to use the tools and tips to create your new life. Recovery is the result of whether or not you’re putting in the work to change your self-image and behavior. It won’t work unless you examine your beliefs, values, attitudes, and responses.
4. Relapse can be interrupted at any point
It might sound contradictory to everything above, but relapse can be interrupted. Yes, it happens when you lose control of your thoughts and emotions. Yes, it is a subconscious process. Yes, it’s a result of your beliefs, values, and responses. But at the same time, if you learn the skills and the strategies that you need, you are going to be able to stop it.
Life is going to happen once you’re in recovery. You’ll still have difficult points in your life where you’re feeling very low. You might feel depressed. You might’ve lost somebody. Maybe you’re going through a tough time financially or mentally, and these things put you at risk for relapse.
There are so many moments where you’ll be challenged, and it’s better to have a system in place to help you stop relapse in its tracks. It’s your responsibility to take your life into your own hands and develop the tools. That’s what Porn Reboot is here to do. It teaches you the skills you need and surrounds you with a supportive group that shares the same struggle.
Make the choice to fight back against your addiction. You don’t need to do it alone, either. There’s an incredible group waiting for you to join our ranks. Our system can help you find your way out of the darkness of addiction and back