Fortifiers need to always be on the lookout because porn is everywhere. Like the alcoholic who won’t even eat rum cake, we need to know our weaknesses, no matter how small. Recognizing the enemy is a very important and ongoing part of recovery. Becoming aware of the reality of your addiction is the first step to constantly arming yourself against triggers. While our addictions and our weaknesses don’t define us, we can’t let them consume us either.
Take an inventory of your life and look at what needs to change. Some things might be obvious and can take place right away. Others you might have to do some soul searching for. Frequently revisit the question of how you can shape your life to support your recovery. Revisit Battle Strategies, your Battle Tracker and all of your responses from the Fortify Program to identify weak spots and strengthen them.
As for today, here is a quick and easy checklist to run through and see if you are doing everything you can to set yourself up for a porn-free life. Take an honest mental inventory and apply each category to your own personal life.
1. Social Media
Not all online porn comes straight from the big bad porn industry. Lots of people actively support and distribute pornographic content. Some sites are worse than others but there is some level of triggering content on almost any site with a search bar, and that includes social media. Limiting your time on these apps can be a really helpful. It is usually when we get bored or restless that the urges inevitably starting growing. Try setting daily limits or going on social media diets where you try to browse less time than you normally would. Not only is this going to reduce the chance of being exposed to something, but it will be great practice in building a healthy lifestyle.
2. Dating Apps
Kind of like social media but with a more personal purpose, dating apps are now a legitimate way of meeting people. They can be fun and helpful but they can also be very dangerous for triggers. Many of apps are marketed in very sexual ways and are used as nothing more than quick hook-ups or sexting. Also, remember that even the idea behind dating apps can be a trigger. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself using dating apps to reduce a person down to a couple of photos and a short bio, leaving nothing more than a little online blip to make superficial judgements about. Not exactly the best way for us to practice getting to know people and stop objectifying. Try to keep your relationships to the real world and learn how to appreciate people for who they are, not how they come across online.
3. Stuff That “Isn’t That Bad”
You know the stuff we’re talking about here: shows, movies or games that feature content that isn’t necessarily pornographic but is just the right amount of suggestive. We get that these things can be really entertaining, but you need to ask yourself, is it worth it? Don’t jeopardize your recovery for something as common as a trashy reality TV show or rated M video game. Basically, just be honest with yourself. Some people will have personal triggers that have nothing to do with explicit content. For example, here’s a recent message we got from a Fortifier:
I used to justify looking at porn by saying if it wasn’t real people it was ok, so I would search for drawn or animated stuff. This lead me to find things that featured characters from my favorite shows and games. Now, those games are huge triggers for me. It sucks but I have to stay away from them now.
4. Those Pesky Urges
The biggest trigger you will need to learn to overcome is yourself. Porn is everywhere and there are always going to be triggers that cause urges that could cause you to relapse. While avoiding them is key, the best thing you can do is train yourself to recognize these triggers and keep moving past them. Right now, your brain is programmed to seek things out. So when something flashes in front of your eyes the natural response is to chase it down. But following an urge down that rabbit hole can go a lot deeper than you thought. The white rabbit might be enticing but it leads to no wonderland at all. Don’t rationalize! Learn to step back from those moments and see things for what they really are.