Recognizing Triggers and Traps in Overcoming Porn Addiction, Part 2

By Biz Gainey

In my last post, I wrote about the importance of identifying the Trying Season. 

The Trying Season is that time and or stage of life where stressors grow, and relief is needed.  Porn exploits those times of our life and extracts our dignity in the process.  If you are in that season now, click here.   I hope you find the blog post helpful.

Today, I am going to consider another trigger we need to be aware of in our fight against porn.  It is:

  • The Teasing Sensation.

Life is full of teasers.  A teaser is, according to Merriam-Webster, “something that is done, offered, or shown to make people want something or want to see something that will be offered or shown at a later time.”

Teasers, or teasing sensations, pose significant challenges for at least two reasons:

  • We don’t expect them.  They can show up out of nowhere and grab a hold of the addict’s heart with ferocious power.
  • We cannot control or anticipate our initial response to them.  Usually, the response is full of energy and excitement that seems almost uncontrollable.  Fortunately, it’s not uncontrollable!

Yes, teasers present a host of problems.  Teasers, or teasing sensations, are often leveraged by the Trying Season, Tempting Situations and The Trap Day – all triggers and traps this series is designed to help us fight!! 

Invariably, they become the fertile soil in which porn addiction and consumption seek to take root and grow!

Consider the following teasers you and I might encounter during an average day:

1.       A ‘pop up’ add on your computer.

2.       A commercial during your favorite program.

3.       A movie trailer at the local theater.

4.       A flirty glance or accidental – but charged -- touch from a colleague.

5.       A magazine cover at the ten-item aisle in your local grocery store.

6.       A girl at your local gym.

You get the point.  From Starbucks to the grocery store, teasers, or the teasing sensation, occur randomly and unexpectedly and we can NEVER control our initial emotional response.

Let me free you from that trap.  You know the trap that takes your initial excitement or rush of energy and makes you feel like dirt.  Men and women are creatures of desire.  We – all of us – want.  We want deeply so.   If longing and desire were not central to what it means to be human, then teasers would gain no ground!

So, if you see someone dressed in a way that stimulates you, or if you are caught off guard by an advertisement that excites you, relax - that’s okay – don’t let your initial reaction lead you to a place of destruction and pain.

It’s just a reaction, a reflex.  Do you remember when your doctor used to whack your knee with a rubber hammer?  Try as you might, as a kid, you couldn’t stop your knee from responding.  Our emotions work in similar ways.  They respond to stimulus and stimulating moments.

The enemy of our soul and society seeks to distort godly desire and tease us into a tempting situation.  The forces that rule the porn empire know that once one is teased into a tempting situation, it becomes all too easy to click that website and feed the addiction!

The question is, for those of us who want to be porn-free, what actions or steps can we take AFTER that initial reflex and response?  What can we do to ensure that the emotional response doesn’t digress into a normative way of life and living?

Here are a few suggestions from my life.  I share them not in triumph, but from tragedy.  These ideas were birthed in the midst of despair and pain.  They are, however, tried and true ways I become aware of and awake to the realities of living in a world bent on Trying, Teasing, and Tempting.

Preparing For and Responding to the Teasing Sensation

1.       Anticipate teasing sensations and situations and make a plan for how you will respond in that moment.   I simply sat down one day and wrote out all the possible times the teasing sensation might occur.  After jotting down eight to ten of them, I developed some ways I would respond in those moments.   I sought to develop life-giving, hope-birthing rhythms of response rather than shame-filled, guilt-ridden mechanisms of despair.

2.       Share the moments with a loved one or accountability partner.  Share them quickly.  I find that verbally expressed the sensation reduces its power and pull in my mind and heart.  Speaking it to another person proves to be wonderfully healing!

3.       Get out of the situation and away from the sensation!  Getting away from the teasing sensation may mean avoiding my computer, leaving the coffee shop, closing or ‘bouncing’ my eyes, etc.  If I remain in the moment and entertain the sensation, I give it the power to move me toward temptation.

4.       Negative reinforcement can bring me back to reality.  During my initial season or stages of recovery, these moments posed powerful and anxiety producing situations.  I found it helpful to wrap a rubber band around my left hand.   When such moment occurred, I would snap the band, producing an immediate and equal negative response to the sensation.  I would then think of my wife and the joy I have in her, which reinforced a positive affirmation of my identity and sense of personhood.

As I said earlier, those are just a few of mine.  Perhaps you have some of your own that you’d like to share with us.  If so, please reach out.  Men Against Porn is here to help you live a porn-free life as we bring the fight right to the porn industry’s doorstep.  For those to happen, we need people like you to join us, share our message with your friends and loved ones and live into the hope that freedom brings!

In my next post, I will look at the third and fourth triggers.  I call them, The Tempting Situation and The Trap Day.  These are those days and situations that pose particular problems for us.  I will let you in on how I handle them and their pivotal role in my desire to live a porn-free life!

Stay with us and stay healthy!