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”.
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.