Sun Tzu’s way of dealing with your porn addiction

Discussion in 'Rebooting - Porn Addiction Recovery' started by TheMathFolder, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. TheMathFolder

    TheMathFolder Fapstronaut

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    I’ve always wanted to start a post by quoting Sun Tzu’s The art of war. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a quote that matched what I wanted to say, so I just went ahead and made that one up. Not that such a principle would be out of place in that book, though. Just ask the Spartans how they managed to fight the Persians for days, despite being widely outnumbered, in that battle that we all learned about from Hollywood.

    With a little bit of imagination, we can apply it to porn addiction as well. The result could be stated like this: fight your addiction wherever it’s easiest for you to deal with.

    I'll try to show you what I mean by that…

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    It’s been over a year since I decided to quit porn, and I’m fortunate to be now — finally! — in a place where I barely crave it anymore, in the middle of a long path of recovery and personal growth that has improved not only my addiction but also many other aspects of my life. But getting here wasn’t easy. I’ve struggled, suffered to control my urges, and relapsed quite a few times. And, during all this time, I’ve always tried to keep on learning about myself, my addiction, and the addictions of others, to come up with better ways to cope with it and eventually overcome it.

    When I first started dealing with urges — and they were very frequent in the beginning — my set of tools was pretty basic. You’d find there your usual ways to cope with an urge: exercise or go for a walk, take a cold shower, play videogames or any other thing that keeps you distracted. These tools were great, in the sense that, when done, they were effective in calming down the urge for a while. However, and despite saving me from relapsing more than a few times, it seemed like I always got to the point where the craving was stronger than my will to use any of these tools, and I would inevitably relapse time and time again.

    I took an important step in the right direction when I learned about triggers. By identifying those situations in which I was more prone to succumb to the urges — my triggers — I could preemptively remove myself from there to avoid relapses. Defining my triggers and learning new ways to deal with them made a big difference for me. Strong urges became less frequent and building streaks got a bit easier. However, I was still struggling and occasionally relapsing. I knew I could do better, and it was what I had learned about triggers that would eventually lead me to an even more effective strategy.

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    See, the problem with the other techniques was that I was entertaining my urges. I would often think about porn, picture old videos in my head, and fantasize about real girls all the time. This state of mind made me prone to relapsing. I could identify my triggers and, based on them, try to avoid situations in which I was at my weakest. If that failed, a walk or a cold shower could come to the rescue. But the cravings for porn would come back time after time, always present, and using these tools to fight them was exhausting.

    I was, in essence, fighting my porn addiction in the wrong territory. I was letting my urges grow strong, and then struggling to fight them away. In that territory, my chances to win the battle were slim. Fortunately, I was able to recognize the situation and devise a better plan: just like I had learned to remove myself physically from triggering situations to avoid urges from getting to me, I would learn to remove myself mentally to stop the urges from happening altogether.

    Whenever I would think about porn or fantasize in a way that could easily lead me there, I would just quickly let that thought go and move on to something else. The memory of that video that I discovered during my last relapse? Well, I might as well think about that trip to Greece that I’d like to plan for soon. The sexy picture that a friend posted earlier on Instagram? Huh, what should I make tomorrow for lunch?. Every thought of that kind was not in my head for more than just a second, however long it took for me to notice it and take my mind somewhere else. Horny thoughts come, horny thoughts go — like cars on the highway — but they never stick.

    This all probably sounds familiar to many, because it’s the way you usually describe the practice of meditation. It’s not a coincidence that I had been trying to get into meditation around that same time. Even though I never spent as much time as I wanted doing it, that experience helped me identify how I could apply some of the principles of meditation to fight my urges in a better way. I got into the habit of meditating my urges away the very first moment they sprouted in my mind, and this turned out to be the most effective technique I had used thus far.

    With time, I got better at dismissing these thoughts, and they in turn became more and more infrequent. Without them, urges barely happened and the whole process just got way smoother. I didn’t need to invest so much energy, and I was able to make much more progress than before. I had taken the fight to a better territory and, in there, I was finally beating the shit out of my addiction.

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    So, next time you think about porn, don’t entertain it. Just move on to a new thought. The quicker the better. And then do it again. And again. Because, to us addicts, the thoughts will keep coming, but we still have the power to ignore them. That’s the best way to stop them from growing into something you can’t control. Following Paul Anka’s advice to get rid of the huge advertising monsters that were destroying Springfield in one of those great Simpsons’ old Halloween specials: “just don’t look! just don’t look!”. If you ignore them long enough, they will start tapering off, and your path to recovery will clear.

    Take the fight to the right territory, and you’ll have a greater chance at beating your addiction.

    Be mindful, be strong, and, just like those Spartans, never give up fighting!
     
  2. Infidel.48

    Infidel.48 Fapstronaut

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    What if I took the fight where I am strong. As in Exposure Response Prevention Technique
     
  3. TheMathFolder

    TheMathFolder Fapstronaut

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    Have you tried it? How exactly do you apply ERP to porn addiction?
     
  4. Infidel.48

    Infidel.48 Fapstronaut

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  5. Infidel.48

    Infidel.48 Fapstronaut

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    The opportunity to defeat the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
    The opportunity here are the memories of P.
     
  6. TheMathFolder

    TheMathFolder Fapstronaut

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    It's an interesting approach, as long as it's using just memories. I feel like edging for exposure would be too risky, but that sounds safer.
     
  7. Matheus A.

    Matheus A. New Fapstronaut

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    Great stuff. Thank you so much.
     
    TheMathFolder likes this.
  8. HolyTheotokos

    HolyTheotokos Fapstronaut

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  9. livelovelaugh

    livelovelaugh Fapstronaut

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    thanks for sharing this
     
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