I struggled with porn addiction for years before I realized that certain moments, thoughts, people, or places were triggers that ignited my desire and drove my decision-making process. I know them now, and I have to be ready for them.
A couple of trigger and traps are:
- Seasons of life that are particularly demanding and/or taxing.
- Transitions in life such as a new place of work or a new move.
- Moments or days after I have expended a large amount of emotional energy on a task or project.
Any of the moments described above are potential triggers and traps that can trick me into believing porn is a necessary escape.
I am not sure what your triggers and traps are, but I know you have them.
So, I am going present four areas of potential triggers and traps in the hope that reading them will awaken you to and keep you aware of your own.
In my own journey, awareness of these triggers and traps has provided firm footing on which to stand and has enabled me to live a robust and wonderfully healthy post-porn addiction life!
Triggers and Traps
- The Trying Season. The American Psychological Association reports that nearly 70% of us believe stress has an impact on our physical well-being.[i] I wonder if we realize the impact of stress on our mental and emotional health? While stress is the norm for many, highly stressful seasons of life are the experience of every one of us.
Consider two dominant areas of life experience:
- Relational. This is life with friends or family, pending life stage and development.
- Work/Education. This is the area of life that likely occupies most of your time. For those in a career, it means a job. For those who are students it means school work, life and all the activities that come with being a student in your typical academic setting.
In both areas, relationships and work, formation and deformation are happening all the time. For example: when you work hard and receive a promotion or pay raise, you experience formation. Your energies are rewarded and recognized by your colleagues, which gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment. The experience of pride and accomplishment help form our sense of personhood, plac’dness, and purpose in our world. In moments like these, ones of value, esteem and recognition, something sacred is at work. It’s as if places in us – often places we aren’t even aware exist – are being shaped and formed.
In such moments, we experience joy and fulfillment. While this is a beautiful moment that brings hope, it is also accompanied by subtle but certain stressors. Intuitively, we begin to entertain thoughts like these:
Wow, what is this going to do for my career in the long run? More success, more money, more stuff, more hours at work?
What’s my spouse going to think about this? Does this mean I have to put in that pool he has been nagging me to put in these past two years?
How will this impact my relationship with my colleagues?
Even in moments of joy and celebration, stress begins to build. Most of the stress is, of course, self-inflicted, but that’s not the point.
The point is that stress begins to build during moments we would not expect it to build.
If we don’t awaken to this reality, it will grow over time and become the dominate narrative from which we live.
Soon, we are in the midst of a Trying Season and we aren’t quite sure how we even got there.
As stress builds anxiety increases.
As anxiety increases, frustration takes hold.
As frustration takes hold, conflict – both internal and external – grows.
As conflict grows, stress becomes the norm.
When stress becomes the norm, we sense a growing need to escape reality and relieve all the tension. The Trying Season then falls prey to porn’s opportunistic pull and we act out.
We click that web page that offers total satisfaction with very little investment.
We hunt, really scour, the World Wide Web. Hoping to find that caring companion who will, for just a small amount of our hard-earned money, ease away the pain, if only for a while.
We stroll into that massage parlor that everyone knows offers more than back rubs and seek to receive a solace our stressed out lives fail to provide.
You get the picture.
Porn’s power is weaponized in the midst of Trying Seasons and stressful realities.
In our next post, I will share a host of ways I’ve learned to combat the weaponization of porn and to decrease its power in my life!
Men Against Porn