Resisting Urges: The STAR Method

Everyone wants a quick solution to their problems. Whenever a problem arises, we think to ourselves, how do I fix it and how do I fix it right now?! We often desperately wish that we can change our lives in an instant and permanently be shiny and new. Unfortunately there is no way to just skip to the end and be successful.

When it comes to dealing with addiction, this is especially true. With addiction, there is no golden ticket, no fast forward button and no miracle pill.

(If we find one of these things we will definitely let you know.)

But for now there is one surefire place to start:

Just breathe.  

Words to live by. This simple task can be an effective solution for those difficult urges to look at porn. In the Fortify Program, we developed a great method that contains this little piece of wisdom and has shown to be super effective when dealing with those pesky urges. There’s a little more to it than just breathing, but it works.

It’s called the STAR method.

Addict or not, there will be plenty of times in life where everything is just too much. It’s too hard, too stressful, too painful, too tempting, too easy. These are times in your life when you are prone to acting in a way you are not going to like when you look back. STAR can help teach you how to gain control, direction, and vision.

Step 1: Step Back and Observe

Let’s be real, in times when we are losing our grip we are usually not thinking straight. It will make a world of difference if you just take a second and find your footing. Granted, this is easier said than done. Urges can make us feel desperate and frantic. But when our brain kicks into high gear, we need to put the breaks on and look at what is happening. You might not be able to catch yourself right away, but with practice you’ll start to see triggers and stresses coming. Eventually, you’ll be ready and waiting to shut down these urges before they even become an issue. You’ll see things for what they really are and start to be able to cut through denial.

Remember, an successful Fortifier knows how to wait a second and think about what’s happening.

Step 2: Take a Few Conscious Breaths

Don’t roll your eyes at this one, there is legit science behind it.  Give your brain what it needs to do its job and give it a good dose of oxygen. Your muscles will be able to relax a bit and you will feel more grounded. Some people find it advantageous to examine how their breath physically feels; literally feeling the actual sensation of just breathing. Close your eyes and feel your lungs fill up slowly. You are no longer frantic, you are in control and you are ready for the next step.

Step 3: Ask Yourself What You Really Want

This is crucial and requires something we aren’t always great at as humans: honesty. If you have some long term goals in place, they can be a big help here. (Hint, hint: go make some goals.) Think about what you want for your life, for the people you love, and who you want to be as person. Rely on your core values and reject the part of yourself that is craving instant gratification. Set your sights on the future and orient yourself toward that vision.

After going through these first three steps, you’re now ready to make a decision.

Step 4: Respond in a Healthy Way

You’ve stepped back from the situation, you put yourself in control and what happens next is completely your choice. The choice was always yours to make, but now you have a chance of doing this thing right. That isn’t up to us or anyone else, it’s up to you. We are rooting for you.

To help put you in the right direction, here are some tips: look around and find something to do. It can be anything, but it is more powerful if it’s something that is active. A few good examples we’ve heard from successful Fortifiers are; exercise, hobbies, talking to someone (including yourself), or just even getting outside for a minute. On the flip side, we would suggest you stay away from doing things that can make you feel worse or even fuel the addiction, like eating junk food or watching too much TV or playing too many video games. These things might just put you back in a weak spot. The key to this step is changing things up and giving yourself the chance to think clearly.

And don’t forget the main rule of the STAR Method:

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  

You might not master STAR right away and have a setback. Don’t beat yourself up too much, just be sure to use it next time. Maybe you do it successfully and the urge comes back ten minutes later. Stay strong. Take it from us, STAR works and it can work every time, even if you have to use it every ten minutes until you win the battle.

We all know there are good days and bad days but it is what we do on those days that matters. Remember:

Step Back

Take a Breath

Ask

Respond

That’s it, you now have some very powerful ammunition the next time you feel like you’re on shaky ground. The STAR method can be applied to anything and anyone. addict or not.

When you become a master of the STAR method you’ll be able to enjoy increased self-control, motivation, confidence, level headedness, feeling more like yourself, and being totally chilled out.

Sounds good.