Dealing with a Relapse

One of the most frustrating aspects of trying to quit any addiction especially pornography is the relapse. Everyone wants to win, to beat it, to be strong ,to get to a certain marker,whether its a week, 30 days,90days or forever. The reality is that relapses do happen. Anyone who tells you that there’s a way to quit porn in which there is no chance of relapse is either lying to you, or has never been truly addicted to porn.
If you have relapsed so many times that you think its inevitable, please don’t lose hope. I tried and failed for eleven years. I don’t have extraordinary willpower,in fact I consider my self extremely weak willed. There are certain behaviors that you have, however ,that if not addressed before day one, will sabotage all your efforts.

i) Social isolation
ii) Emotional issues
iii) Lack of preparation
iv) Lack of self discipline
v) Problematic relationships

Social Isolation:
If your social circle consists of your guild on World of Warcraft, you’re putting yourself at a high risk to relapse. Similarly, if you have a small social circle that you are not close to, or lack a significant other, you’re in prime position for a relapse.
The reason for this is that one of the most common triggers for viewing pornography is being alone for prolonged periods of time. If you’re alone, you don’t really have many excuses to stay away from porn. Having an active social life or a supportive relationship keeps you busy and occupied.

Emotional Issues:
Continuously watching porn leads to various emotional issues or varying intensity. You may be hiding your addiction from a spouse which leads to feelings or guilt and shame ,or your porn addiction may have led you to commit acts that are inconsistent with your self image or sexual identity.
All these feelings are connected to low self worth and negativity, which in turn lead you to more porn.

Lack of Preparation:
What have you done to prepare yourself to quit pornography? Apart from reading this book, what other books have your read? What online resources have you consulted? How will you stay accountable? How will you deal with withdrawal? Let me assure you that having a limited source of information to battle your addiction will leave you unprepared, opening up various avenues to a relapse.
You must be mentally prepared to deal with the emotions, withdrawal, easy access to pornography and various unseen circumstances that will come out to sabotage you.

Lack of self discipline:
Self disciple is required to last even seven days without pornography or masturbation. If you have a habit of quitting most endeavors early, then a relapse is in order. Self discipline with regards to quitting porn involves committing to a certain time frame with absolutely no excuses. No rationalizing that after 2 weeks, you are “cured”, no losing your job and coming back to porn, no striking out at the bar and coming back to porn. Absolutely no excuses.
Self discipline is best cultivated by focusing on one problematic area at a time. If you feel self discipline is your biggest problem, then I suggest you use the time frame you’ve given yourself as a your first challenge to reclaiming you undisciplined life. Pornography addiction, as stated earlier is usually the epicenter of problems in an addicts life.
Lets use Toby as an example. Toby is a 23 year old college junior. In the middle of the semester, Tobys live-in girlfriend or 3 years leaves him for his best friend,Rob. Toby is devastated by the betrayal. Depressed,the only way Toby can deal with it is by turning to his only comfort at the time-food. One year later, Toby is 140 pounds overweight .His doctor tells him that he suffers from high blood pressure and has a high risk for diabetes. Toby decides that hes too young to throw his health away, so he begins an exercise program. Unfortunately, each time Toby makes progress, such as losing 4 pounds in two weeks, he reduces the intensity of his workouts, or skips a workout entirely. Toby makes a habit out of this for 3 years. The most he is ever able to lose is 31 pounds, before he gains it all back. He eventually quits, exhausted by the repeated failures and resigns himself to being “big”. Eight years later, with his health issues compounding due to his weight and accompanied sedentary lifestyle.at the age 34, Toby suffers a massive heart attack at work and dies.

Whats the moral of then story? Lack of self discipline will always keep you down,will over time destroy your sense of self and when addictions are involved, could jeopardize your life.

Problematic Relationships
If you are married or in a relationship, constant conflict can lead to a relapse, especially if you do not know how to resolve conflict the proper way. A lot of men in relationships find themselves viewing porn shortly after a fight with their spouse as a means to relieving the tensing brought about by conflict.
Constant fighting can sabotage your consistency if you do not develop a means of dealing with conflicts within your relationship. Lack of consistency quickly spirals into a relapse.
The solution is to proactively work on resolving conflict. Conflict and fighting in a relationship does not have to be a vicious cycle. Here are a few tips that I implement:
Spend more time being positive with those you are close to. Positive words, praise, compliments. You’d be surprised at how much criticism and negativity is thrown around in most relationships.
Avoid people who already have a lot of baggage and negativity in their life. If their lives are disorganized and unhappy, chances are, you cannot fix it and its best to avoid getting in serious relationships with such people.
Always look for a way to resolve conflict without raising your voice or arguing. First off, if you are a man, you never win arguments with women.Ever. Decide with your partner to sit down and talk things out without trying to hurt each other. If conflict has been a staple in your relationship, this probably wont be easy, but persist and it will go a long way in easing conflict.
Calm down and think before you open your mouth. Sometimes the best way to take care of a conflict is to not say too much.

  • Tuan

    Thanks for the article! It really helped

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