The Six Tasks of Early Sexual Recovery From Problem Pornography Use

Overcoming problems with pornography and getting a handle on compulsive sexual behaviours that have developed over months, years, and, in many cases, decades for some men will take time. Recovery is a process of change. Similar to how a concerning sexual behaviour progressed over time into problem pornography use. If you have just realised you have a problem or have known for some time, there are steps you can take to address the problem; keep reading, this article is for you.

Finding meaning and purpose in your sex and pornography recovery will continue to motivate you to change.’

Getting help for problem porn use

I believe that the best way to focus on sexual recovery is with the support, facilitation and encouragement of an addiction counsellor or therapist who understands what you are going through and the way forward. Problem online pornography use, which is prevalent, can be complicated. There are many factors and signs of problem porn use to identify. With online pornography use, there are common difficulties to work through regarding availability, accessibility and opportunity now that much content is accessed on smartphones. Having porn in your pocket 24/7 is an escalating factor for many who struggle to manage impulses and urges. It is a quick mood-altering high, a dopamine hit. Accessibility is a significant contributing factor to increasing numbers of people presenting with unwanted porn use.

You may like to read..[25 signs you may have a problem with pornography]

Even for mild unwanted behaviours that conflict with your inner values, self-esteem or just take up unnecessary time in your day, it is beneficial to seek out support. An addiction counsellor will guide you through the process of behavioural change and help you work through the internal and external changes and challenges that present themselves in the course of your recovery path.

What is sexual recovery?

I use the term sexual recovery to describe the process of a return to or restoring sexual wellness and healthy sexual behaviour. Destructive behaviours and process addictions relating to porn cause significant distress for the individual. Sexual recovery is also a form of healing for the person. There are over forty characteristics of a healthy sexual adult, which are not just about the physical act of sex and masturbation but which relate to relationships, sexuality, self-esteem, self-worth, communication, vulnerability, respect and self-control.

‘You can live a life without pornography-related problems by starting to take control, choosing change and working through the 6 tasks of early sexual recovery...’

For those who have developed destructive and unwanted sexual behaviours, patterns and impulses, recovering will mean many things for each person. Finding meaning and purpose in your sex and pornography recovery will continue to motivate you to change. If you are unhappy with your current pornography relationship, ask yourself – what changes do you want to make and why?

Willpower alone is not enough

When I work with my clients to overcome sexual problems relating to unwanted pornography use, we focus on the stages of change for addiction recovery, and I help my clients understand the addiction cycle in detail. It is common to make the mistake that willpower alone will be enough to work through sexual compulsions and change behaviours, but this is very untrue. Willpower alone is not enough, and if you find yourself deciding to stop using pornography and then using it over and over again, your willpower and self-belief to succeed are on a downward spiral.

You might like to read...[13 Recovery Self-help Tools For Overcoming Pornography]

‘Having porn in your pocket 24/7 is an escalating factor for many who struggle to manage impulses and urges. It is a quick mood-altering high, a dopamine hit.’

This recommitment to stop is, in fact, part of an addiction cycle. It takes far more than a single mindset to change behaviours and overcome persistent porn use. Willpower is a factor in recovery, but it must be reinforced with many other important factors, actions and shifts in thinking, being and doing to achieve goals and desired outcomes. There are many common mistakes people make in early sexual recovery, which your therapist can help you navigate in therapy. There are many tools and interventions you can start to use that will help you overcome pornography use.

The six tasks of early sexual recovery

Patrick Carnes, an expert in sexual recovery and author of many books and workbooks, suggested there are six tasks in early sexual recovery. The early recovery phase can be considered up to the first three to six months of establishing active recovery. You can work through these six tasks of early sexual recovery with an addiction counsellor to support you through the process. Another common mistake those in sexual recovery make is to try to do it alone and, as a result, feel isolated. It is the isolation that perpetuates problem pornography and a sense of unmanageability of the problem.

As you can see from the infographic of the 6 tasks of early sexual recovery, each has its own purpose and will take time to work through. Recovery and change is a process. With the support of an experienced therapist, you can develop self-compassion, self-acceptance, skills, tools and a recovery mindset. You can find out more about starting online therapy with me here.

Dependence and addiction to a process behaviour like porn use or substances take so much from the overall quality of your life and prevent you from reaching your full potential. Often it is only with periods of abstinence and sobriety that you can see the damaging impact if was having on you. You can live a life without pornography-related problems by starting to take control, choosing change and working through the 6 tasks of early sexual recovery and then discovering what it truly means to be a sexually healthy adult.

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Orlagh Reid Psychotherapy

Orlagh Reid

Orlagh Reid is an IACP accredited Counsellor & Psychotherapist, Addiction Counsellor, Gottman Couples Therapist and Fertility Counsellor in private practice based in Co. Kildare, Ireland and worldwide online via DOXY. She specialises in addiction, recovery, well-being and clinical sexology. To find out more or to book an online consultation visit www.orlaghreid.ie

Orlagh Reid Psychotherapy MIACP Therapy Ireland

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