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Anyone who has tried to quit watching porn probably knows that it is a lot harder to do alone. This is because pornography feeds off of our isolation and makes it harder to get help. Even though it’s hard, involving important people in our journey to recovery is a huge step for almost every Fortifier.

But those pesky questions still remain: who exactly should I talk to? Should I tell all of them, or just a couple? What if they don’t understand or judge me? And more than that, how do we get around the guilt, shame and embarrassment I feel about my addiction?

No two people struggling with a porn addiction will have the same answers when dealing with these questions. But there are people who can help you navigate them. The following list details the different categories of people in your life whom you need to talk to about your struggle. A lot of these categories will overlap, but that’s ok. There is no real limit to who you should tell, as long as it’s going to help. Confiding in someone about your journey to recovery is a personal choice that you should consider carefully, but it doesn’t have to be a huge deal. Because let’s be honest, most of us could use all the help we can get.

The People Who Take Care Of You

This could mean something very different for a lot of people but it is a good place to start. Confide in the people who you respect, look up to, and have qualities you want to develop in yourself. For many of us this is a parent, spouse, or other older relative. But for others, your main caretaker could exist outside your family. Often people will talk to school counselors or religious leaders when needing advice and guidance. Whatever your situation, the key here is to seek out someone who you know has your best interest at heart and is capable of investing in your recovery.

The People You Love

The people in this category also fall into the category above but this one could be a little different for some. Regardless of whether your relationship is romantic or platonic, these relationships are the ones entirely based upon honesty and communication. Opening up to the people you are closest to gives you a chance to grow together through vulnerability. Being completely open and vulnerable with these people will be very rewarding and teach you to trust yourself.

The People You Trust

We understand that not everyone has an ideal family or social life. In many cases it can be very difficult for people to find someone who can be a firm part of their recovery. When looking at your friends and peers, make sure you choose someone who you can trust. An accountability partner should always be someone who understands what you are up against and wants to help you meet your goals. This group contains the lion-hearted friends that you know will always have your back. Stay true to them by being open with them and they will reward you with their undying support.

The People Who Need Your Help

As you begin to open up and share with those around you, it is likely you will discover others going through the same thing. This can be a great opportunity for the both of you. Forming a close-knit group of those who are on the journey to recovery is an amazing resource. It is not something that you should force, but if the opportunity arises, consider it a valuable opportunity. Seeking change together with a peer that is fully committed to recovery will strengthen you both immeasurably.

How To Start The Conversation

The first rule of talking about your addiction is honesty. There is no need for explicit details but there is a need for absolute truth.

Be earnest with whoever you approach in expressing your need for help and your desire to change. There is no specific formula of what to say but if you need some inspiration try something like this:

“Hey, can I talk to you for a second? I trust you a lot and that’s why I am talking to you now. I think I need your help with something that I’ve been struggling with. I want you to understand that I have tried to deal with it on my own for some time but feel that to truly overcome this I will need your help and possibly the help of others. I’ve been struggling with pornography, and after learning firsthand how addictive and enslaving it is, I’ve realized that I can’t overcome it on my own. So I enrolled in the Fortify program—a program developed for those struggling with an addiction to pornography—and it has helped me understand the importance of getting someone like you involved. I feel like I need to be accountable to somebody, and I’m hoping that you will be willing to be that person. Will you be my accountability partner? It would help if we got together at least once a week to talk about my challenges and progress as well as discuss ideas on how I can continue to improve. I may eventually invite others as well to strengthen my support and chances of recovery. This is a very personal issue and I trust that you will keep this between us until I am comfortable opening up to other people. Thank you for listening and understanding. That means a lot to me and I already feel more confident in my ability to beat this with your help.”

If you’re still stumped you can try breaking the ice with this Fortify Accountability Partner video: http://bit.ly/1glI7Du. This will not only help them understand your struggle but also briefly explain the nature of porn addiction. This video will help to coach accountability partners on some things they can help with. It isn’t the most directly personal approach but it can be an easy transition to starting some good conversations.

Remember, your addiction is a prison built on secrets, lies, shame, and isolation. Every time you open up to someone in honesty and love, you are breaking down one of those walls.