Recovery tools will help you manage and understand more about yourself and your recovery while keeping you focused on the path ahead.
When you have developed a dependence and reliance on pornography, or any type of sexual material, along with a perpetual habit of sexual acting out, giving up porn for good is going to take some time.
Sexual recovery works to restore a healthy sense of sexual well-being that is not impulsive, compulsive, or problematic in any way. There should be no shame, guilt, remorse, regret, or secrecy associated with being a healthy sexual adult.
“Recovery tools are essentially practical tasks and habits you can practice on a daily basis that will support your recovery as well as help you develop new insight and understanding of the problem.”
Getting help for pornography addiction often also means dealing with negative ripple effects on health, relationships, lifestyle, and your overall mindset. The use of visible recovery tools can help to rebuild relationship trust that may have broken down due to addiction.
The most challenging part of recovery is changing behaviours and habits, resolving emotional conflict, and committing to ongoing personal therapy. Using recovery tools will help to reinforce these more challenging behavioural changes and can be a safe conversation starter for couples struggling to discuss the problem.
They are also helpful for re-building trust in a relationship as your partner can see you taking practical steps toward your recovery. This work shows that you are taking your recovery seriously and are committed to on-going change and learning.
In supporting my clients through addiction and recovery, I want to help make the process as easy as possible by sharing practical recovery tools that I know can be helpful. It is easy for anyone to use these practical recovery tools every single day.
What are recovery tools for pornography and sex addiction?
Recovery tools are essentially practical tasks and habits you can practice on a daily basis that will support your recovery as well as help you develop new insight and understanding of the problem.
Rehabilitation, addiction counselling, addiction coaching, group support, group therapy, and relationship counselling are called addiction recovery treatments and intervention that can be reinforced by using recovery tools.
What recovery tools can I use for pornography addiction?
These different types of recovery tools will help you focus and stay motivated on your sexual recovery journey. Early recovery has a big learning curve, so, even if you’re not exactly sure what it means for you just yet, you can begin to progress.
Here are some examples and suggestions of recovery tools that have helped my clients with pornography and sex addiction, particularly in early recovery.
Find a few that work for you and try to stay consistent. It is better to utilize two or three of these tools often rather than many different ones sporadically and randomly.
- Podcasts. Listen to a few podcasts each week that are related to sexual recovery, overcoming porn problems, and relationship healing. Two popular podcasts right now are Consider Before Consuming & Sex, Love and Addiction 101, which are both available on most podcast platforms.
- Keeping a Diary. Get yourself a page-a-day diary and spend 5 minutes each morning planning your recovery and healthy lifestyle. You can use a recovery diary to stay focused on recovery goals, supports, interventions, and help keep track of the appointments you may have been letting slip. Plan ahead personal therapy appointments, group meetings, couples therapy, health and medical appointments, recovery goals for the week, and also helpful self-care plans and appointments.
- Journaling provides a place to get in touch with your authentic self. The process of taking time each day to write down the detailed feelings, emotions, experiences, thoughts, and reflections that are resonating for you each day in your recovery allows you to process what you are going through in a very present way. Journaling creates space for feeling grounded, acknowledging and processing what is happening in your inner world, and bringing it out into the real world, which helps you create something more visual and tangible on your journey.
- Books. A super recovery tool; there are many books available about sexual recovery, overcoming pornography, trauma recovery, as well as a vast world of self-development psychology. I could suggest authors such as Dr. Patrick Cairns, Dr. Rob Weiss, Paula Hall, and author Gary Wilson. Relationship books are helpful for relationship healing and learning how to restore trust once you have established a strong recovery regime. Studying such books demonstrates that you are actively reading and learning about recovery, which tells your partner that you are committed to your recovery – very important for rebuilding trust.
- Workbooks are a practical way of working through the stages of your own recovery and learn about the many aspects of addiction recovery like the addiction cycle, identifying triggers, and managing urges. The Kick Start Recovery Guide by Paula Hall is an excellent and free 21 page downloadable workbook for understanding basic sexual recovery. Sex Addiction 101 Workbook by Dr. Rob Weiss (2016), Facing the Shadow by Dr. Patrick Carnes, and Help Her Heal by Carol Juergensen are three more recent workbooks that have become popular. Again, another helpful tool that shows your partner you are committed to your recovery.
- Wall Calendar. This simple mindfulness practice is a good visual motivational tool. Mark each day you have achieved another day of sobriety and notate your mood for each day as well. This is yet another practical way to rebuild trust with your partner where they can see you keeping track of, and holding yourself accountable for, your progress and mood.
- 10-Minute Exercise Routine. Work through impulses, urges, emotional upset, and thoughts or feelings of acting out by creating a simple 10-minute exercise ritual. This should be something simple and effective such as 100 sit-ups, 100 press-ups, star jumps, or a 10-minute walk or run. Ideally, you want a brief period of energetic exercise that will bring you into your body, shift energy and emotions, and interrupt the brain from thinking about acting out.
- Set Recovery Goals. Write out a list of short term goals (0 – 90 days), medium term goals (90 – 365 days), and long term recovery goals (365+ days). Record the list in your diary making sure to include goals associated with recovery and the life changes that are important to you. Mark the dates in advance if you wish and remember to celebrate milestones and goals achieved in your own way to boost positive recognition.
- Audio books. Similar to books, audio books are a great way to stay focused on recovery and multi-task at the same time. Listen while walking, driving, or commuting, and even just while resting during the day. Biographies, self-help, motivational audio books, and topics relating to recovery and resilience will complement your recovery process.
- Self-Soothing Techniques. Learning to self-sooth is an important aspect of sexual recovery and helps you make the transition from being impulsive and compulsive, sexually, to being mindful and accepting of sexual feelings, thoughts, and impulses without acting out. Simple self-soothing techniques are in-fact similar to stress management techniques such as 10-minute breathing exercises, listening to a meditation or positive affirmations, taking a short walk, resting with your hands on your chest, or working through the feelings. Self-soothing means learning to be responsive to your emotions, sitting with them and calming yourself physically and emotionally, rather than becoming dismissive and reactive.
- Online Support. There are a host of supports available online for those who have been able to establish a strong boundary for their sexual recovery while being online. Supports groups, webinars, podcasts, documentaries, and inspirational speakers relating to recovery and personal development can all be accessed online. Just be sure that you know the exact content you need, rather than ending up in dangerous territory by browsing or seeking out problematic content.
- Recovery Apps. There are many modern recovery apps available to those going through pornography and sexual recovery. Recovery apps have clever features such as daily pledges, goal setting, sobriety milestones, mood monitoring prompts, and online communities. The Fortify Appis created to help people overcome pornography and quit porn for good. It provides a host of tools, video’s, research, shared experiences, and most popular – a community forum.
- Restriction Software. In addiction to contacting your smartphone network provider to put a restricted content blocker on your phone, you can also consider restriction software. Parental control software that can be applied PC’s and smartphones such as Qustodio can and will help compulsive and impulsive porn users restrict their availability to sexual content on their devices. Interrupting access and reducing availability and accessibility can and will make early recovery more manageable.
Every client’s story and experience of pornography dependence and addiction is different and individual to them. However, the characteristics and problems associated with porn addiction are often similar. The basic tasks of recovery and achieving abstinence goals can be supported using practical recovery tools that will suit almost everyone.
Find the tools that feel right for you, implement them, stay consistent, and begin your healing journey!
- The Six Tasks of Early Sexual Recovery From Problem Pornography Use
- DayOne Series: Ask The Expert: Psychotherapist Donal Clifford on signs of problematic porn use, overcoming the problem and digital detox
- Preparing For Your First Addiction Counselling Therapy Session with Tips
- Recovery Stories. How 100 Days of Journaling Helped Me Through Early Sexual Recovery
- MEDIA: The hidden addiction: Why experts believe compulsive sexual behaviour is a growing problem in Irish society
- 13 Recovery Self-help Tools For Overcoming Pornography Addiction
- Two Harmful Results of Hidden Pornography Use
- Recovery Stories: 365 Days in Recovery From Online Pornography Addiction
- 25 Signs You Might Have A Problem With Pornography