Porn Addiction Affects Women, Too!

“Porn is a guy thing.”

Believe it or not, this is a common belief about pornography. In our society, misconceptions like this about pornography are accompanied by the word “normal.” (1) (2). Which, when something is supposedly normal, the implication is to not worry about it. More and more research is exposing the truth about how porn use can become compulsive and addictive. The negative, and sometimes profound affects of pornography use are often overlooked and mislabeled as something which simply cannot be helped- “It’s guy thing.”(3) (4) (5) (7) The unfortunate truth is that it’s not just a “guy” thing. Women consume and deal with compulsion, or addiction, to pornography as well. 

In a study done in 2018, it was discovered that, using 4 identified modalities of pornography, 91.5% of men and 60.2% of women reported having consumed pornography in the past month, with women being much more likely to consume written pornography than men (6).

What follows are the words of 3 separate women who shared their experience of exposure to, consumption of, and/or addition to pornography. All names have been changed to protect the privacy of each woman. 

Female Experiences

HOPE age 53

Hope remembers finding her dad’s stash of pornography when she was 4 or 5 years old. Hope’s usage of porn was on-again-off-again, consisting mostly of adult novels and cable TV. “Cable offered more access,” she stated. Hope shared a story of the first, and only, time she purchased a Playgirl magazine from the store when she was in college. She recalled, “It was humiliating enough to never want to do that again.” Hope remembers feeling very ashamed of herself in her younger years for her behaviors and noted that during that time she developed other compulsive-type behaviors. Her biggest worry was the spiritual ramifications of her behavior. Hope can see some negative affects on her self-esteem connected to her use of pornography, and believes she stopped her addiction to porn by leaning more heavily on other compulsive behaviors. “Phones today bypass the roadblocks people like me ran into trying to gain access to materials. Roadblocks that ultimately pushed me to stop using. I was lucky to have gone through the process of stopping before phones made it so accessible.”

GRACE age 42

Grace, too, was introduced to porn at 5 years old and reported finding magazines all around her parents property in magazine and VHS form. An adult member of Graces family dealt with his own addiction to pornography, so access was all too easy. Before age 5, Grace remembers her trust being betrayed by this family member, and was encouraged to watch porn with him as she grew up. When the abuse ended, the addiction didn’t. Grace lived life, hand in hand, with regular consumption of porn until she was 21 years old, keeping it a secret from everyone. “It was in the secrecy that the addiction thrived.” She looks back on that time as a life laced with hypersexuality. Even normal things became sexualized, and her estimation of herself was based on how closely she looked like the women in those videos. “I deduced that I was nothing. I could never look like these women. I believed a woman was only valuable if she was sexually desirable. What a dark place that was.” Grace spent 25 years trying to stop the urge to view porn, only to succumb during times of high stress and perceived loneliness. “I needed professional help because the addiction was more than I could handle alone. A patient and loving partner was essential for me, as was a place to let the secret out without judgment.”

CHARITY age 39

Charity shared that she was introduced to pornography at about age 7 or 8, and compulsively used it for 5 years. Like the abuse she endured, she did not seek out pornographic material, it was shown to her. Charity was 16 years old when she discovered using porn did not align with her values, and made an effort to stop. It took a year for her to kick it, but stated that there are consequences to being hypersexualized at such a young age, even 20 years later. “It sexualized my brain. My brain is wired in a visual way. I recall the images from the pornography from so long ago better than many of the details from my childhood. I don’t know if that will ever go away.” Charity noted some of the long term consequences she experiences. “I never felt worth anything. I never believed anyone would actually want me. I still have a negative self image.” She finds herself being vigilant with her children in an effort to spare them the experiences she had. 

Their Advice

Each of these women know what it is like to struggle with the consequences of viewing or reading pornography. When they were asked about what they might say to another woman who may be struggling to eliminate pornography from their lives, this is what they said. 

Hope: You are not alone. There is no shame in looking for help. It takes effort to follow a resolve to quit, so find people you can turn to.

Grace: Learning to see that I had a choice was very hard for me. I allowed myself to believe the lie that I had no control over what I thought, thus no control over quitting. Be patient with yourself as you make the choice to stop. Find out all the reasons you started, and be compassionate to yourself about it. 

Charity: It gets easier over time. Don’t allow thoughts of pornography to linger in your mind. When something in regular life becomes sexualized, I have to actively redirect my brain.

The Life Star Program has a group just for women who experience what these women shared. If you can relate to the words of these individuals, know that you are not alone, and there is help. 

Here are some other articles on the subject that may be helpful: 


  3. Love, T., Laier, C., Brand, M., Hatch, L., & Hajela, R. (2015). Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 5(3), 388–433.
  4. Stark R., Klucken T. (2017) Neuroscientific Approaches to (Online) Pornography Addiction. In: Montag C., Reuter M. (eds) Internet Addiction. Studies in Neuroscience, Psychology and Behavioral Economics. Springer, Cham.
  5. De Sousa, A., & Lodha, P. (2017). Neurobiology of Pornography Addiction – A clinical review. Telangana Journal of Psychiatry, 3(2), 66-70. doi:10.18231/2455-8559.2017.0016
  6. Solano I, Eaton NR, O’Leary KD. Pornography Consumption, Modality and Function in a Large Internet Sample. J Sex Res. 2020 Jan;57(1):92-103. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2018.1532488. Epub 2018 Oct 25. PMID: 30358432.
  7. Aubrey, J. S. (2006). Exposure to sexually objectifying media and body self-perceptions among college women: An examination of the selective exposure hypothesis and the role of moderating variables. Sex Roles, 55, 159-172. doi:10.1007/s11199-006-9070-7

By: Amada Flood, MS, AMFT

LifeSTAR of the Central Valley helps individuals, partners, and families to heal from the effects of pornography and sexual addiction. Complete our Self-Evaluation today to discover if LifeSTAR is right for you.

Posted in Addiction, Attachment, Change, Children, Female Sexual Addiction, Recovery, Self-care, Sexual Addiction, Shame, trauma | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Female Sex Addiction Treatment

Do you feel like you are looking for love primarily through sex? Are you turning to pornography to feel excited when you’re lonely or stressed? Are you surprised how much time you are spending online looking at porn? If so, you’re not alone. Thirty-five percent of all internet downloads are porn, people spend about 12 hours a week viewing porn, and using social media or other online dating apps to have fleeting sexual encounters is skyrocketing. 

Sex Addiction in Women

Most people think that pornography and sex addiction is a male concern, but research shows that one-third of all pornography consumers are women and that 17% of all women struggle with porn addiction. In general, pornography and sexual addiction involves using sexual images, thoughts, fantasies, and behaviors to numb out or escape negative emotions to the point where it causes difficulties in a person’s life and they cannot seem to control their urges, thoughts, and behaviors. In women, sexual addiction may also have additional features. Women with sex addiction often have unrealistic ideas about love, conflate intense sexual experiences with love, and feel deeply unworthy when not in a romantic relationship. They may also place themselves in situations of physical or situational danger to sexually act out, and be willing to put up with abusive behaviors from their partners or others to avoid the loss of a romantic relationship.

Treatment for Female Sex Addiction

Treatment for pornography and sexual addiction for women includes some of the same elements of sexual addiction treatment for men (for example, work to help bolster emotional regulation capacities, effective coping strategies, and daily activities to heal the damage caused to the brain by pornography and sex dependence), but women also need tailored treatment to address their unique underlying causes for sexual addiction. Sexually addicted women tend to have experienced higher sex-related shaming in their youth, higher rates of sexual abuse than their male counterparts, and have had romantic partners who have histories of addiction. They may also have had struggles with nicotine or other substance addictions and food addictions or other eating-related disorders.

By: Allison B. Weir, MS, AMFT and Kyle N. Weir, PhD, LMFT

LifeSTAR of the Central Valley helps individuals, partners, and families to heal from the effects of pornography and sexual addiction. Complete our Self-Evaluation today to discover if LifeSTAR is right for you.

Posted in Addiction, Female Sexual Addiction, Food Addiction, Recovery, Sexual Addiction, Shame, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

3 Common Misconceptions About Sex Addiction Treatment

Over the past few years as I have seen men and women come and go from the Lifestar program, I have heard a number of similar mindsets echoed from both those that stay, experience growth and success and ultimately graduate, as well as those who come, don’t stay and continue to struggle. These misconceptions often prevent people from seeking treatment or staying in recovery. Here are the 3 most common misconceptions about sexual/pornography addiction and its treatment.

1. “I can do this on my own.”

What exactly are you trying to do on your own? If it is just about giving up the sexual addiction or stopping the behavior, then sure maybe you could achieve that. However, in the case of sexual addiction it is never about just giving up porn or halting the behavior. Sex addiction is more about how those mediums are used to replace meaningful connections or attachments in your life. If you are focused on just stopping behavior, you are really not addressing the main issue. A huge focus for Lifestar is learning how to form meaningful connections and then having the space to do so. As I see men graduate, they resoundingly talk about the connections they made and how that strengthened them in tough times, and helped them more than they ever thought it would. If you really want to address addiction, it cannot be done alone.

2. “I thought it was just me.”

This is perhaps the most frequent comment I hear from individuals new to Lifestar. They have, for so long, told themselves that it was something that only they struggled with and the shame associated with such a thought has only driven them to hide their addiction and behavior more. Shame innately wants us to hide the behavior and that is dangerous with addiction. First time members to the group frequently report that hearing others’ stories – and sharing their own – takes a load off of them. They begin to realize the role of shame in their life and that it wasn’t just something that they struggled with. This is not just a “you thing”. So many share the same concerns and issues that you face everyday. There is no need to remain in the shadows, you are not alone.

3. “This will just be my issue for life.”

I hear this both from first-timers and those who have been in the program for a little bit. I have learned that this is not as much a statement about one’s ability to overcome the addiction but rather it is about hope. Facing something that you have wrestled with for many years can feel daunting. When addicts face the challenge of change, they often want to do it all at once. I liken this to the popular image of eating an elephant in one sitting. It cannot be done. Change is a process and not an event. Those who lack hope are typically fixated on the end product rather than the process. Conversely, those who actively engage in the process find more hope day to day. In Lifestar you will be provided a template for how the process will look. There is hope in recovery, you just have to be looking at the right thing.

If you find that any of these three mindsets have kept you from reaching out and starting the process of addressing your sexual addiction, just remember that it is not just you, you can change through a meaningful process, and we are here for you so that you do not have to do this alone.

By: Jeff Crane, PhD, AMFT

LifeSTAR of the Central Valley helps individuals, partners, and families to heal from the effects of pornography and sexual addiction. Complete our Self-Evaluation today to discover if LifeSTAR is right for you.

Posted in Addiction, Anti-Porn Movement, Change, Inspiration, Recovery, Sexual Addiction, Shame, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beware of the Point of No Return

Triggers are a consequence of addiction. Triggers include any kind of stimulus that activates an urge to act out, they include things like: getting stressed out, being by yourself, watching love scenes in a movie, and even the mere touch of the keyboard (for some). You need to be aware of what happens in your brain with these triggers and how to handle them so that you don’t succumb to them.

Each trigger sparks a chemical reaction in your brain which turns on the “dopamine valve”. This process will take you down a path that many people think is linear, but you need to know that it is more like a downward curve. Once the horizon of the curve starts to dip and the “line” becomes more and more vertical (going down), you reach what we call the “point of no return”, where even the best recovering addicts will fall. 

When you are triggered you have a certain amount of time before you reach that point of no return. The further along you are in your recovery the more time you have (the wider the curve) and the more addicted you are the shorter the time (steeper the curve).

Here is a graphical depiction of that whole process.


The way to avoid the point of no return is to intervene before you even get to the dip. But the trick is to intervene with something that will really be able to compete with the trigger. We need powerful alternatives to take us off that treacherous downward trajectory. I recommend looking for 3 competitive alternatives in these three areas (in order): 

  1. Three Mental Alternatives. These are mental things that can help get your mind off the trigger. You can pick from the things in your “tool kit” or fond memories of your family. You can also try some mindfulness activities to give your brain a healthy dose of serotonin (relax you) instead of dopamine, which will help you relax or you could turn to something that would take your total attention, some intense mental activity that is enjoyable.
  2. Three Spiritual Alternatives. These are powerful and moving spiritual (and emotional) activities to get you back on track. These alternatives should connect you to your higher power, thereby either giving you a dose of serotonin or oxytocin (the connection chemical). If you choose something like “praying” you might try heightening that experience by going to a private place, getting on your knees, and pouring your heart out loud to your higher power.
  3. Three Physical Alternatives. These are physical things to drastically change your situation or environment. These activities are meant to either give you a dose of endorphins (chemical that makes you feel good when you exercise) or a wholesome alternative to dopamine. As your last resort, these should be things that can act as a “fail safe”, such as literally getting out and going for a run, going for a walk, playing a game, playing an instrument, etc.

By: Sergio Pereyra, PhD, AMFT

LifeSTAR of the Central Valley helps individuals, partners, and families to heal from the effects of pornography and sexual addiction. Complete our Self-Evaluation today to discover if LifeSTAR is right for you.

Posted in Addiction, Change, Recovery, Self-care, Sexual Addiction, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Way Out is Together

If you Google, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”, you’ll get tens of pages or either articles or images saying this is “an African proverb”. No one really knows who said it, or if it truly is an African proverb, but nonetheless, it’s a helpful reminder in these times, especially for those in recovery.image (2)

In today’s world, so many people are accustomed to living largely private lives, and if a person isn’t careful, they can slip into isolation. Isolation feeds shame and shame feeds addiction. All addiction is perpetuated in isolation. With all of us living in different forms of isolation, we need to be wary of when we can slip into these moments of isolation and tend to get dragged into numbing behavior.

Thus, the way out is with each other. We can’t get out alone.

A mentor of mine once said, “You always need to live with one hand up, and one hand down”. This meant a person should always have a hand up to those ahead of them in life – those who are a bit further up the trail than we are, as well as having a hand down to those who are a bit behind us to help them along. We have to live with both, or we become unbalanced.

For those dealing with addiction recovery, this is a call to keep your sights on the horizon and your goals close in mind. Grab ahold of your people, your support group, your mentor – don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. You got this. We’re here with you.

By: Karen Huckaby, MA, AMFT

LifeSTAR of the Central Valley helps individuals, partners, and families to heal from the effects of pornography and sexual addiction. Complete our Self-Evaluation today to discover if LifeSTAR is right for you.

Posted in Addiction, Female Sexual Addiction, Inspiration, Parents, Partner of Sexual Addict, Recovery, Self-care, Self-Compassion, Sexual Addiction, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Accountability During Social Distancing

Accountability can be a challenging thing for addicts in general, but social distancing can add additional barriers and make it even more difficult to stay accountable. The devil (addicted brain) on your left shoulder is already whispering “sweet nothings” into your ear in the form of seducing messages like, “well, if you act out now no one will know” or “You are all by yourself, now is the time… just like old times”, but help the Angel on your right shoulder to bolster up more power by following these 6 suggestions to stay accountable during the mandatory isolation.  

  1. Stay proactive.

    This is a mindset issue. If you let your guard down, you are more likely to slip or relapse. Stay committed to your recovery and keep it at the forefront of your mind at this time of added stress. 

  2. Plan ahead.

    Don’t wait to react to triggering situations and don’t wait on your accountability partner to reach out to you or wait from something to push you to reach out to them. Plan ahead and think about the time of day, the method of communication and even how to formulate your report to your accountability partner. By planning your accountability report ahead, you are increasing the likelihood that you will actually go through with it.

  3. Be consistent.

    Pick a time during the day that works best for you to reach out to your accountability partner and try to stay on that same schedule. Do it every day, the same time! Even if your accountability partner happens to be busy during that time on a future day, you can use other methods of remaining consistent with your accountability. I recommend trying the free Marco Polo app. It is a way of reaching out without feeling like you are bothering them and removes that excuse. You can leave them a video message, like a voicemail or text, but this is more effective than texts or emails because there is more of yourself in the message for your accountability partner to receive and vice versa. Also consistency and structure help heal the addicted brain. 

  4. Remain completely honest.

    Remember that you can be completely honest with your accountability partner, even if you happen to slip. Don’t only tell them of your successes but tell them of your triggers and of your struggles. If your accountability partner shames you (more likely to happen with a spouse), you might seriously consider a different accountability partner. They should be available to you and not become emotionally reactive if you do slip or relapse. Remember that secrets are the lifeblood of addiction and accountability (being honest with what is going on for you) directly counteracts those secrets.

  5. Tie in your accountability to your sobriety date.

    If you can imagine building up a protective fortress against the evils of your addiction and accumulating power and momentum as you extend your sobriety date, think of your accountability reports as essential building blocks to that fortress. As you continue to stay true and active in your recovery by being consistent with your accountability, you strengthen your protection against slips and relapses and your confidence grows in your recovery. When you slip or relapse and your sobriety date is reset, you damage part of your protective fortress and need to spend some time and energy patching that area back up with continual accountability.

  6. Use the accountability report as a form of connection.

While it might not always be possible to have a substantial conversation with your accountability partner as you provide them your report, try your best to set up a few times during the week (at the very least once a week) where you do have time to talk. As you open up to your accountability partner and feel validated by them, you will feel more inclined to continue sharing your accountability with them.

By: Sergio Pereyra, PhD, AMFT

LifeSTAR of the Central Valley helps individuals, partners, and families to heal from the effects of pornography and sexual addiction. Complete our Self-Evaluation today to discover if LifeSTAR is right for you.

Posted in Addiction, COVID-19, Recovery, Self-care, Sexual Addiction, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Avoiding the Digital Trap

Porn addicts who have used the internet countless times to act out are now being asked to move all their work, outside connections and even therapy sessions onto the very platform that has caused them so much pain and trouble. This situation could be a digital trap waiting to happen, unless you stay vigilant. 

Here are 8 tips for porn addicts to avoid the “digital trap” while navigating the internet.  

1. Stay alert. 

Don’t be naïve; you need to be cognizant of your current situation. It is like taking your tiger for a walk, while trying to control it. You will need to make certain proactive adjustments to your internet and computer usage and if you let your guard down your addicted brain will find a way for you to act out. The important thing is to make the decision not to view porn before the electronic device is in your grasp and to plan out your internet use before going on so that you can have a plan to stick to.

2. Don’t give an inch. 

Some of you might be tempted to just get a “little fix”, something small enough to maybe not qualify as a skip, like a “harmless” beach video of a woman in a bathing suit or an underwear commercial- surely if it is aired on public tv it is not considered porn right? Wrong! Anything material viewed for the purpose of arousal, no matter how weak or strong the arousal is porn. Stay away from anything remotely triggering. Now is not the time to “test yourself”. Just stay as far from the appearance of porn as possible.

3. Filter, filter, filter. 

If you do not have a filter by now, you need to get one YESTERDAY! Once you activate your filter, don’t just leave it to random settings. I would recommend you go into your advanced settings to either pick sites that you know are triggering and “blacklist” them or better yet, only pick the few websites you need for your work and personal use (banking, schools, etc.) and only “whitelist those” sites, making everything else off limits- and of course, make sure your partner or accountability person has the password.

4. “Prepaid” internet use. 

Obviously your internet does not work like a prepaid phone, but maybe you should treat it that way. Give yourself a time limit before going on to use the computer that day. Keep the timer on your phone so that you are aware and don’t pass that time limit. As a matter of fact, some really good filters have features like this on their plans, which I would encourage you to explore.

5. Make your electronic use “public”. 

Of course, there will be exceptions when you have to keep confidentiality with your work, but whenever you can, designate a “public” or high traffic place in your home to use your any and all electronic devices. This will help keep the temptation at bay. 

6. Create electronic boundaries for yourself. 

This would be a good task to complete with your partner or accountability person. Write down a list of rules for yourself that go beyond “just don’t look at porn”; you can include some of the things already mentioned here and more, like not using electronic devices past a certain time of day, or not before a certain time of day, giving yourself a schedule to your electronics and sticking to it.

7. Background help. 

Where possible (when you are not in meetings) and just working by yourself on your “work”, get some background help to keep you focused on your recovery. You can have some uplifting music playing in the background or music that reminds you of your family. Even relaxing music in the background could help increase serotonin levels so that you don’t feel the need for a dopamine fix. 

8. Healthy dopamine. 

Speaking of dopamine, make sure you are giving yourself healthy doses of wholesome dopamine so that you are not dopamine-deficient- that is just asking for trouble. If video games are a go to for you, make sure you regulate your video game time so that triggers do not come to “ride out the dopamine wave” or to “finish it off”.

By: Sergio Pereyra, PhD, AMFT

LifeSTAR of the Central Valley helps individuals, partners, and families to heal from the effects of pornography and sexual addiction. Complete our Self-Evaluation today to discover if LifeSTAR is right for you.

Posted in Addiction, Anti-Porn Movement, COVID-19, Partner of Sexual Addict, Recovery, Self-care, Sexual Addiction, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Staying True to Your Recovery During Social Distancing

Social distancing complicates things for recovering porn and sex addicts for many reasons. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind while trying to stay true to your recovery during this stressful COVID-19 situation. 

  1. Pay closer attention to your triggers.

    With added stress and isolation, you will be prone to increased triggers. Pay close attention to how you feel and how different situations pull you towards acting out. It might even be beneficial to use a rating system from 1-10, with 1 meaning that you are totally fine and 10 meaning that you are to the point of acting out. Make sure to intervene at around a 7; it will also be your job to figure out how those numbers coincide with your actual feelings. 

  2. Create a pre-planned list of possible alternatives.glenn-carstens-peters-RLw-UC03Gwc-unsplash

    It is very difficult to try and think of things in the moment to replace the urge to act out. Instead, find a moment of time where you feel relaxed, extra dedicated or just positive and write down things that you like to do. These need to be dopamine producing activities (fun things) that can compete with the urges to act out. This way, when your brain sends a signal to your body requesting the “go-to” dopamine fix (acting out) you can offer it a healthy, yet substantial substitute. Try to come up with at least 3 alternatives.    

  3. Make sure to get some exercise.

    You might feel some “sexual tension” rising out of this social inactivity, but instead of acting on the sexual impulse, get some energy and tension out with some good ol’ fashion exercise. You can even push your body a little more if you feel “extra pent up”. The endorphins produced in your brain will not only make you feel better, but it will help open up other important neuropathways to minimize the entrenched neuropathway caused by your addiction.

  4. Keep your accountability partner informed.

    While you might be tempted to keep your accountability partner in the dark or make an excuse for yourself with the social distancing, just remember that the only person you are hurting is yourself (and your partner if you act out). Make extra efforts to keep them informed of how you are feeling and emotionally dealing with the social distancing.

  5. Recognize your connection needs and take action.allie-smith-KzUsqBRU0T4-unsplash (1)

    Remember that the opposite of addiction is not necessarily sobriety; it’s connection. While the social distancing can make it more difficult to connect with loved ones, be sure to recognize within yourself the need for connection (especially when triggered). When you start feeling lonely, reach out! I would recommend you use a video conferencing method instead of a phone call; seeing someone visually makes a difference to your brain and will make you feel more connected to the person you are speaking with.

  6. Stay true to a healthy daily routine.

    Even though your normal routine might be thrown off due to the COVID-19 situation, do your best to adapt and adopt another one. Structure is very good for the addicted brain, but sometimes it fights against it. Don’t let your addicted brain win the healthy routine battle! You can even just use the same work routine without the drive to your office (if you work from home) and don’t forget to do your dailies.

  7. “Pluck out thy right eye if it offends thee”.

Let me be clear, I am not condoning self-mutilation; this refers to the bible verse that talks about removing the stimulus that is causing you to “stumble” or in this case to act out. If you have found the “back-door” to your ability to act out, now is the time to shut it. Do your best to create an environment that would make it extremely difficult for you to act out if you got the urge to do so. Take it out of your hands and out of your own willpower and put it (the password to a device) in your partner’s (or trusted individual’s) hands.

By: Sergio Pereyra, PhD, AMFT

LifeSTAR of the Central Valley helps individuals, partners, and families to heal from the effects of pornography and sexual addiction. Complete our Self-Evaluation today to discover if LifeSTAR is right for you.

Posted in Addiction, COVID-19, Recovery, Sexual Addiction, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An Open Letter To Those Currently In Recovery

Dear Human,

I hear you might be going through a rough patch right now. Perhaps that’s an understatement.

You might have lost your job.

You might be caring for a loved one.

You might be caring for many tiny humans.

You might be afraid for your own health, or those close to you.

You might be lonely. Or hungry. Or both.

You might be desperately looking for work.

You might be enjoying the time off.

You might be feeling a certain sense of discontent.

But I also hear you’re working through your recovery as well. Hoo boy, that’s another layer to that rough patch I mentioned earlier. There happens to be a soft spot in my heart for those in active recovery, especially those healing from a sexual addiction or those dealing with the hurt of someone who is. It is so difficult.

But it can also be beautiful. If you’ve been in recovery for a while, you’ve probably learned the importance of specific daily self-care (in the LifeSTAR program, we call these Dailies). You might have been working toward increasing your Dailies score, and then COVID-19 hit. Oh man, what an imperative time to know how to care for yourself! I hope you really buckle down (in a non-pressured way) during this time and keep making sure you keep doing the things that keep you healthy and grounded, so you can be healthy for those around you.

If you haven’t been doing as well as you hoped during this time of quarantining, you might also be dealing with shame. Shame is a sneaky foe who will show up to judge your actions and belittle you at any chance if you aren’t aware of its activity in your life. It’s your job to make sure you have a kind truthful mantra about yourself to help combat shame. Something like, “I love and accept myself just the way I am”, “I’m doing my best”, or “This too shall pass”.

Also, dear human, many folks are currently experiencing old trauma triggers resurfacing, like past feelings of abandonment, trauma, or abuse. If this has been true for you, I hope you’re able to kindly attune to that pain and give careful attention to it. If you don’t know where to start, try this:

  • Count to four while taking a deep breath in through your nose.
  • Count to four while letting the breath out slowly through your mouth.
  • Continue for a minute or so.

Your body and mind need to be on the same page, and conscious breathing helps keep your body grounded, and your mind from spinning out.

Try it, you’re worth it.

Human, my heart goes out to you. With you being in recovery, you might be having a bit harder time than most right now, and that’s alright. I know firsthand it doesn’t feel alright, but know that there are many more in recovery as well who are experiencing similar things. You are loved, you are worth all kindness and good.

Love from your fellow recovering human,


By: Karen Huckaby, MA, AMFT

LifeSTAR of the Central Valley helps individuals, partners, and families to heal from the effects of pornography and sexual addiction. Complete our Self-Evaluation today to discover if LifeSTAR is right for you.

Posted in Addiction, Change, COVID-19, Inspiration, Recovery, Self-care, Self-Compassion, Sexual Addiction | Leave a comment

Connecting in a Time of Separation

One of the mantras of LifeStar is that “the antithesis of addiction is connection”. But it can be extremely difficult to experience that much needed connection during this time of social distancing and isolation. While it is extremely important to continue the social connection with others, I want to offer the reminder of 2 other types of connections that can be focused on during the time of isolation, and offer some helpful suggestions for that interpersonal connection as well.

Connecting with Other People

You might find yourself in one of two situations:

  1. You may be with your partner and finding “extra” time to connect
  2. Or you are single and finding yourself “stuck” with roommates, or even by yourself. 

If you live with your partner, make sure you are both on the same page in terms of the type, frequency and intensity of the connection you have with each other. You might think it is okay just to watch tv together or to just enjoy sex together, but she might be asking for more social and emotional intimacy. Your addicted brain might find it difficult to access those underlying emotions and knowing how to remain open and emotionally available to your partner. But this type of emotional intimacy (connection) with your partner is essential to your recovery, so spend some time talking to your spouse about their emotional needs – and yours – and how you can set aside some time to enjoy that emotional intimacy together. 

If you live alone, don’t let the physical isolation keep you from connecting with your family and friends. Take the time to reach out to them, especially when you feel lonely. But instead of the normal text messaging or social media methods, try video conferencing. You might find it difficult to carry on the conversation, but challenge yourself to go beyond the surface level pleasantries and check-ins and move the conversation to more meaningful things that are tied to your emotions. This type of conversation will feel much more fulfilling than the mundane conversations you might be used to.

Connecting with Your Higher Power

If you have become somewhat nonchalant with your personal connection to your higher power, now would be a great time to re-evaluate and rekindle the connection that you really want with them or it. If you are used to connecting with your higher power through prayer, make sure you are praying and not just “saying prayers”. You can treat your prayers as actual conversations with your higher power, including listening to their direction and input in your life. But like the previous point, if your conversation with them is mundane, you will probably not get much out of it. Your heart needs to be in the conversation- also use your heart to listen. 

If you find your higher power in nature, you might be a little more restricted in how you can connect with your higher power, but you might also benefit from connecting with the close nature in your house or near it. Going for a peaceful walk during a comfortable time of day (temperature-wise) or even allowing yourself to focus in on the beauty of the grass, trees, flowers, air and other natural elements in your surroundings can be surprisingly refreshing.  

Connecting with Yourself

Now would be a good time to start being more in touch with your mind, emotions and even your body. Take the time to ponder some of the meaningful things in life and right down the thoughts and emotions that are a part of that experience. Journaling is a good way to continue to practice good self-connection. Mindfulness and meditation are great ways to connect with your mind and body. There are lots of YouTube videos with guided meditation if you are not sure how to do it. Try some out and see what works for you. 

Lastly, as you begin to connect more in these three different ways, pay attention to your body and mind and the type of connection you might be needing at the moment. You receive much greater benefits from using the three types of connection in a more intentional way, when you feel like you need one more than the other.

By: Sergio Pereyra, PhD, AMFT

LifeSTAR of the Central Valley helps individuals, partners, and families to heal from the effects of pornography and sexual addiction. Complete our Self-Evaluation today to discover if LifeSTAR is right for you.

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