One of the most difficult parts of recovering from an addiction is the after treatment. This part is crucial as it is what determines the future of the person recovering from the addiction, it decides the path they’re going to go down. During this period you are highly vulnerable and fragile. One of the main reasons for this being the constant urges and cravings that take over your life for a good portion of recovery. How you deal with these urges will have a great impact on how you recover. So, it’s important these urges are dealt with in the right way.
Porn Addiction and The Urges
These urges can sometimes get out of hand when it comes to behavioural addiction like porn addiction. It does not help that we live in a world where everything is so sexualised and porn is everywhere. Many recovering addicts find it almost impossible to quit internet porn, especially at the beginning of their reboot journey. Unlike real-life sexual behaviour, people get hooked on to internet porn very quickly because of how accessible it is. This type of addiction can have a powerful hold over a person, leading to frequent relapses.
Sexual content and imagery is everywhere you look. It even pops up on your screen when you least expect it. Undeniably, we live in a very sexualised world. The world market has figured out that sex sells, and as a result of its advertisement you come across or movie you watch, it will at least have the slightest sexual undertones. Being surrounded by such content can have a seriously detrimental effect on a recovering addict. It’ll only increase the magnitude of urges and halt recovery.
A good thing to do in this case is to communicate with people who’ve been through this. Just the perspectives alone can make a lot of difference in how you’re thinking of the situation at hand.
What is an Urge?
This word that you come across so often while dealing with an addiction, means nothing but a strong desire or an impulse to something. In this case, to do something that is not necessarily good for you.
Urges go hand in hand with habits. This is also something that many scientists and researchers have backed. Habits are the root cause of addictive behaviour and they are what give rise to the urges. Even if a habit might seem harmless in the beginning, anything not done in moderation is definitely harmful. Like, overeating, stress-eating, binge-watching tv shows. On the other end of this spectrum are the other habits like drug abuse, alcoholism, porn addiction, etc.
Many people dealing with these above-mentioned addictions or “habits” have claimed that they derive absolutely no pleasure from partaking in these habits. Instead, it’s the relentless craving that fuels the urges, keeping the addictive behaviour strong and fuelling social anxiety.
A lot of the time people fail to recover from addictions because they don’t understand how to deal with their urges and cravings. They end up giving in to the temptation, not being able to control. But, we cannot blame them as the urges can be very strong. Especially during the first few months of recovery.
You must understand that, throughout recovery or even after recovery, urges are completely normal. Even people who are not prone to addictive behaviours, are prone to cravings and urges. This is a completely normal way in which our brain functions. We crave for things normally in our day to day life. So, that is how you have to look at craving during recovery as well. It is unreasonable to expect the urges and cravings to vanish completely.
Instead of expecting the urges to stop, what you can do is learn how to deal with these urges. After extensive research, we have come up with a practical guide that can help you deal with the urges.
Urges can arise during the most unexpected time. But when they do arise, your primary instinct might be to flea. However, this is not always possible. You can’t always run away when a problem arises, you need to learn how to deal with the situation and make the best of it. Here are some tips that can help with that.
Delay and Breathe
The moment you feel an urge arises, just take some time out and breathe. Deep, slow breaths oxygenate the blood and calms the mind and body. Don’t panic, it’ll only make the situation worse. Sit down and focus on something else around you for a few minutes, it could be anything and count six breaths per minute for at least 2-3 minutes, or challenge yourself with five minutes. Give your mind and body some time to process the urge. Figure out why it is happening. Normally it should go away over time if you delay it long enough and distract yourself. Just have the willpower to deny giving in for just a few minutes. Make up your mind that you can do this.
Consider the Consequences
Remind yourself of the consequences that would occur if you were to give in to your urges. Instead of thinking about the desire that is currently eating away at your brain, think of the consequence that you would put yourself through if you were the act on it. Think about all the trouble you’d cause for yourself if you give in to this. But, make sure you’re thinking about how it affects you and not about how it affects the people around you.
Feeling guilty is not the way to go about with this. So, right now focus on yourself and your progress. You are responsible for your actions, so don’t let the urge get to you. Thinking of the consequences should help you put away the thoughts about the actual craving.
Some urges can be relentless, you need other activities to get your mind off of them. The goal is to distract yourself, as quickly and effectively as possible. The moment you feel an urge creeping in, quickly substitute it with a different thought or activity. Something that you know is beneficial for you and can calm you down. These are the activities you’ll turn to every time there’s an urge. This is a way to distract your brain, helping it focus on something else other than the cravings.
BlockerX can prove to be a very useful tool in this scenario, by cutting out the adult content altogether. Not only will it be stopping the porn, but will distract you into the right sort of headspace.
If you have a premade list ready and stored away or memorized then you won’t waste any time thinking of an activity. Make sure these are all activities you personally enjoy. Don’t force yourself to do anything, it’s important you genuinely enjoy the activity you choose. Because, when we partake in a pleasurable activity, our body gets a surge of dopamine and a brand new circuitry is created in our brain.
If the urges occur when you’re with people you’re comfortable with then it’s all well and good. But, a lot of the time this might not be the case. You might be in class or stuck in a meeting when the urge kicks in, plaguing over your mind. So, it’s very important that you establish a support system that can see you through this situation. It can be whatever that works for you. For example, something that might help is having an accountability partner. An accountability partner is just someone whom you can confide in. you need to be 100% comfortable with this person. Anytime an urge arises and you’re stuck in a situation where you can’t leave then you can drop this person a text. Just this small act can really calm you down and become more comfortable with the situation.
Acceptance is everything when it comes to dealing with urges. Take the time and patience to understand your urges. Understand what’s causing things and accept why this is happening. Don’t be too hard on yourself with regard to urges. Urges arising from triggers and cravings are completely normal. So, accept that this is all a part of the process. This might make you uncomfortable at first but will improve your recovery tremendously. But accepting and understanding you’ll learn so that can help you stay calm through the cravings and triggers. This alone can stop you from fleeing the situation and will teach you how to fight it.
Just Remember This
All this might or might not work for you. Every individual is different, we react differently. But, give this method a try and see if it works out for you. If it doesn’t and you end up relapsing then don’t be too hard on yourself. Relapses are completely normal, they’re just a small setback. One relapse doesn’t mean you give up on the whole idea of recovery. Instead, use the above-mentioned tips to focus on your reset. In a way, reset is another opportunity you give yourself as a means to prove your strength and will power. It means, restarting your challenge with a fresh and positive mindset.
Use this reset as an opportunity to work on your willpower and move forward towards a life free from the clutches of this addiction. You’ll know when you’ve left the addiction behind, the choices you make in life will reflect it. Be patient with yourself.