Having a relapse prevention plan is crucial if you plan to overcome your compulsive sexual behavior.
You need to have some things in place to protect yourself from the inevitable triggers and temptations that arise. If you already have a relapse prevention plan that’s a great start. However, your relapse prevention plan isn’t going to work unless you have these things.
There are three stages involved in a relapse: emotional, mental, and physical. You can use behavioral and cognitive coping strategies to manage the first two stages. But once you get into the physical stage of your relapse it’s impossible to turn back time. So how can you get your relapse prevention plan to work for you?
1. You need to be motivated
I’m not a big fan of external forms of motivation where people tell you what to do. This includes inspirational books, motivational videos, and all other types of external encouragement. There’s nothing wrong with receiving support but these outside motivators are not sustainable and don’t lead to lasting change.
I find that the best form of motivation is reminding yourself of the negative consequences. I often say that men end their behaviors with porn and masturbation for one of three reasons: out of love, out of duty, or out of fear.
Men who end their behaviors out of love are concerned about losing their wife or girlfriend, or not being a good father to their children. Men who end their behavior out of duty are thinking of their duty to their family, business, or career. Men who end their behavior out of fear are worried about the material they watch or behaviors they act on putting them in trouble with authorities.
Remember the things you have to lose when you’re creating your relapse prevention plan. Looming consequences can be some of the strongest motivators.
2. You need awareness and mindfulness
Most relapse warning signs are unconscious. You don’t realize that they’re happening right away. It’s why you find yourself saying, “Dude, the next thing I knew I had an orgasm even though I swore hours before that I wasn’t going to do it.”
It’s unconscious. But you can build up the skills to become mindful and aware of when these thoughts arise. Mindfulness and awareness are critical tools you need in your relapse prevention toolkit. You can think about your thinking when you decide to practice it.
We all want a magic pill. It’s part of the human condition to want the easiest way to do something or to arrive at the solution as fast as possible. But the truth is that it takes determination and willingness to overcome challenges and learn new skills.
You can’t just decide one day that you’re going to be aware. You have to practice it every day. Sometimes it feels like you’re not seeing results in your day-to-day life but you’ll notice a shift in your thinking over time. It’s something a lot of men don’t want to put the work into but will find that it makes an incredible difference when they do.
3. You need to be teachable
You have to be teachable if you want to overcome your problem with porn and masturbation. Too many men are too smart for their own good. Plenty of intelligent men who read a lot of books have a basic understanding of how porn addiction works. But their problem is they spend too much time consuming information and not enough time implementing practical solutions.
You might be one of these gentlemen who believes your solutions lie in these books. You’re stuck in the habit of watching tons of videos and listening to dozens of podcasts. You think you have all the answers you need. If this were true, though, you wouldn’t be stuck in the same cycle and looking for solutions.
You not only need to be open to new ideas but you need to be open to trying new things. Once you get the information, you need to implement it and notice the results. Being teachable isn’t just about consuming new information, it’s about implementing that knowledge into your real life.