Recognizing Triggers and Traps, Part 4: The Trap Day
By Biz Gainey
I know the term Trap Day is an unfamiliar one. It is, in fact, not one I have heard of anywhere else. That’s because it’s one that is birthed from my personal journey out of porn addiction and into a porn-free life. In my experience the Trap Day is a day of ongoing struggle with porn’s pull. It’s a day when one is particularly susceptible to porn and its destructive power of persuasion.
The Trap Day is as unexpected as it is unavoidable.
The Trap Day is debilitating because it is durative.
While the term may be new to you, the experience I am describing is likely all too familiar. It’s the experience of being stuck in your addiction and – seemingly – unable to break free. You can break free, though. Before I discuss how it’s possible to live porn-free in the troughs of the Trap Day, I am going to identify a couple of Trap Day characteristics. Identifying some characteristics may help you recognize, prepare for, and resist this day in your life.
Characteristics of the Trap Day
1. Day of Adrenaline Depletion/Depression. The trap day typically appears immediately following a day in which one has expended a vast amount of emotional, mental, physical and spiritual energy. In other words, the Trap Day assails when one is worn-out and too weak to put up a strong resistance.
Because of my personal weekly rhythms, the Trap Day always falls on a Monday. It can, however, occur at any time and always shows up when I am deeply drained and in need of rest! The Trap Day for you may not be weekly. Paying attention to your daily and weekly schedule will help you begin to recognize the Trap Day and prepare for ways to endure it.
2. Day that Seizes Relapse or Accentuates Failure. The Trap Day is a master at making one feel like a failure. It’s a day in which the memory of the prolific nature of a past with porn and the pain it causes is all too real. The Trap Day may exploit the ways in which triggers have, recently, been entertained, rather than resisted.
I have found that, in the midst of the Trap Day, old memories – many years old – grab a hold of my heart and mind in a painful way. Of course, it’s all a lie. But, in the moment, when enduring is difficult, it seems true and serves as a reminder of how difficult this journey is. Even though porn addiction is no longer true of me, the power of memory combined with the moment of weakness is difficult – but not impossible – to fight against!
Though the Trap Day cannot be avoided, it can be endured. It can also become a day in which one can experience great victory and freedom. The key to victory over the Trap Day is found in whom or what we behold, rather than how we hope to behave.
I call this key the Practice or Rhythm of Beholding True Beauty!
To behold is to “reflect upon, look upon, gaze upon or consider often and regularly.”
In my journey out of porn and into a porn-free life, the true beauty I choose to behold – on a regular and consistent basis, shapes the inner realities of my heart. These inner, or core, realities, shape me in such a way that – in moments of undeniable weakness and unavoidable temptation – I am able to stand strong and live from this place of beauty.
Beholding True Beauty
As I practice the rhythm of Beholding True Beauty, I find that true beauty beholds me. In other words, beauty – true beauty – is life giving. Life giving is the antithesis of what porn offers. Porn is the distortion of beauty.
Reflect on the following options of True Beauty to Behold:
1. Behold the beauty of God. Psalm 27:4-5 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture in this regard. The Psalmist exclaims, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.”
Later in the Psalm we read, “I remain confident of this: I will gaze on the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” This wonderful phrase is one that I memorize and hide in my heart so that its hope will hold me in the midst of the Trap Day which is sure to come!
2. Behold the beauty of your spouse. I have found that the Trap Day tries to trick me into believe that I am not loved and/or cared for in the ways that I find meaningful and life giving. If I buy this line, then the offering is a quick trip to porn and a speedy descent to destruction. I have learned to think and speak truth about my spouse and reflect on the moments when I have sensed her love. I find that the more I behold the beauty of my spouse the less I give in to the power of porn’s pull. Even better, the less I give in to the power of porn’s pull, the more I am able to behold the beauty of my spouse. This rhythm leads to a literal flywheel of freedom.
3. Behold the beauty of your children. I became serious about trying to deal with my porn addiction after the birth of our first son. Yes, I had attempted to shake it before his birth, but the reality that I would pass this sin onto him was weighty. Beholding the beauty of my children has always held me fast in the midst of the Trap Day!
4. Behold the beauty of community and creation. One of my favorite themes in The Odyssey is the theme of brothers who fight wars – of all kinds - together. Enduring the Trap Day requires dependence on and commitment to a larger community of trusted friends who will speak truth into your life in a moment’s notice.
The evil one, whom I believe is the father of porn, will twist you like a pretzel if he catches you alone and lonely! Don’t give him the opportunity. Find – at the very least – one or two people who will walk with you and be there for you in your day of need!
I live close to a coast line, as the Atlantic Ocean is within ten minutes of my home. If, during the rigors of the Trap Day, I get out and experience the majesty of God’s good creation, I find that the pressures of temptation decrease and the joy of freedom becomes attainable.
5. Behold the beauty of you! This is as difficult as it is important. When self-doubt creeps into my mind and heart, insecurity begins to take root in my soul. As soon as insecurity takes root, porn’s pull becomes nearly impossible to resist. I, therefore, have learned to practice the rhythm of being thankful to God for the innate gifts, desires and experience He has given me. This is closely related to, yet distinct from, beholding the beauty of vocation.
One of my favorite Bible verses to chew is found in Psalm 139:13-14, where the Psalmist proclaims, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”
What a great reminder to me – especially when in enduring the Trap Day – of the worth and value I hold in the eyes of our creator!
My hope is that this will encourage you and inspire you to create your own list and begin beholding, on a daily basis, so that you will experience freedom when the Trap Day shows up!
Together we can experience a porn-free life and help usher in the end of porn addiction in our lifetime!