Combatting the Stress of Porn Addiction
Porn was our escape. A destructive and co-dependent escape, but an escape nonetheless. When hard times came into our lives, we would dodge them and go running for a fix rather than dealing with them head on. The release we felt from using porn would numb us to the bumps and bruises of life while simultaneously blinding us to the healthy joys of the world around us. In our quest to avoid pain, we closed ourselves off to happiness. But now things have changed. Recovery is breaking down the walls of isolation and addiction and we can start to feel the little things again. Warmth is returning to our minds and bodies. But sometimes those same old negative feelings creep back in.
As addicts we trained ourselves not deal with negativity. When pain, pressure, worry, discomfort, or boredom come into our lives, they cause stress. Stress is a huge trigger for most recovering addicts. However, like almost anything in recovery, you can turn it into a positive experience.
There are two things we need to know about the stress in our lives in order to harness it.
First, where does it come from, or what kind of stress is it?
Second, how are we responding to stress?
Let's start with the different kinds of stress.
Doing Too Little
This is probably the most common form of stress among addicts.
Usually when we think of stress in our lives we think it’s because there is too much going on. However, people often feel the most stress because they are doing too little.
Think of this scenario: You know you have a test coming up that you need to study for but instead you binge watch something on Netflix. You then perform poorly on the test and now all of the sudden there is more pressure on future tests, you are concerned about failing the class and considering the impact that could have on your academic career.
When we aren’t prioritizing our lives and taking care of our responsibilities, small things can tend to snowball until they feel out of control. Even when we try to brush them off they are still there waiting for us. Taking time to accomplish important tasks, or just getting some little things done, you will feel stress begin to ease up. Life will feel more manageable and you will feel stronger. Like the saying goes, don't sweat the small stuff and it's all small stuff.
Doing Too Much
Fortifiers can fall into this trap because they want to fix everything and they want to fix it all right now. We are so eager to be free from our addictions that sometimes we stuff our lives with anything and everything that will push porn out. Sometimes though, that can bring stress in.
We need to learn to walk before we run and dealing with these things can be new for us.
You are the only one who can really decide what needs to be changed in your life but just remember that there is no shame in being human. Biting off more than you can chew won’t help you or anyone else.
Just Because Stress
Life happens, and there isn’t too much to say about it. The only thing to remember is that not all stress has to do with your actions. Addicts can tend to take all negative feelings and combine them with a sense of blame but that is never helpful.
The most important thing about any of the three forms of stress is how you deal with it.
Healthy Response, Healthy Growth
Like we already said, stress is a trigger so treat it like one. Use the skills like STAR and Urge Surfing to move past your stress in the same way you would anything else.
If those aren’t quite what you need here are a couple more tips:
1. Talk about It: Calmly discussing your situation with someone can be a great way for you to put it in perspective. Even if you're talking to yourself… no joke. Try it.
2. Laugh it off: Again. No joke. Laughing increases your oxygen supply and stimulates the production of endorphins. Endorphins make you feel happy!
3. Exercise: Ok, we know, we talk about this in almost every article. But it’s a big deal. 20-30 minutes of breaking a sweat just 3 times a week can lower stress.
4. Get real: Learn from your strengths and weaknesses. Let go of the past and put your mistakes behind you.
5. Think positively: Choose to adopt a good attitude. Don’t think or say things that put yourself down. Find the silver lining and use it. A positive perspective can be the most crucial part at keeping stress at bay and empowering yourself.