Relapse is a common concern for men when they begin their reboot.
Most come from past programs with abstinence-only approaches that make you feel like you’ve failed if you have a slip. I see it differently, though. When you’re learning how to stop porn addiction, relapses are part of the process.
If you’re like the majority of men early in the Porn Reboot system, you likely attach a lot of emotion to relapses. You feel a lot of guilt and shame if you start watching porn again, even if only for an evening. You might find yourself trapped in a negative thought spiral that keeps you stuck for longer than you should be.
I prefer men in the Porn Reboot program to remove all emotion from the relapse experience. You don’t need to assign big feelings to it when it happens; simply recognize that you made a mistake and determine how you can best avoid it moving forward. In this way, I like to see the process of viewing slips as data. This makes it easier to get back on track instead of digging yourself into a hole.
Men who are prone to feeling big emotions after a relapse will struggle with this at first. Learning to detach emotions from slips feels like a huge challenge. But when you start to rationally view slips as data, it becomes easier to not feel guilt, shame, or anger because you’re busy processing the experience.
For example, when you experience a slip you can immediately dissect what happened. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep because you stayed up too late watching YouTube videos on your phone. You watched the videos because you felt frustrated that work took longer to complete than usual and you wanted to feel a bit of relief from that stress.
This gives you multiple points to adjust so that you don’t have to slip in this same manner again. If you finished your work in time, you wouldn’t have felt as stressed or frustrated. If you recognized that sometimes you’re going to have bad days at work, you might not have sought relief from YouTube videos. If you still needed some time to de-stress, you could have achieved it by reading a book or meditating for a few minutes instead.
Breaking down your relapse in this way makes it almost impossible to feel bad about it. Sure, the goal of the Porn Reboot program is to eliminate your out-of-control behavior with porn, sex, and masturbation. But expecting it to go away immediately is only a recipe for disaster. Assigning big emotions to something that’s almost guaranteed sets you up for failure, too.
Viewing slips as data is a far more efficient approach to your reboot. If you haven’t already, I recommend practicing it as you learn how to stop porn addiction. You’ll become more effective not only at avoiding slips, but you can apply this reasoning to other troublesome areas of your life. You don’t need to feel bad about relapses when they simply offer you more information on how to avoid them in the future!