Recovery tools will help you learn and understand more about yourself and your recovery and keep you focused on the path ahead. They are also helpful for rebuilding trust in a relationship and working towards relationship healing.
Giving up porn for good when you have developed a dependence and reliance on pornography and any type of sexual material alongside a perpetual habit of sexual acting out is going to take some time. Sexual recovery describes the process of restoring a healthy sense of sexual well-being that is not impulsive, compulsive, or problematic in any way. There is no shame, guilt, remorse, regret, or secrecy associated with being a healthy sexual adult.
Getting help for pornography addiction means also dealing with the negative ripple effect on health, relationships, lifestyle and your overall mindset. Often unresolved problems linked to stress, trauma and loss become evident as clients who come for therapy open-up and talk about their problems. The impact of having a long-term porn habit slowly unravels.
Every clients 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. There are basic tasks of recovery and achieving abstinence and these can be supported using practical recovery tools that will suit almost everyone.
Using visible recovery tools will help to rebuild trust in a relationship that may have broken down. It shows that you are taking your recovery seriously and are committed to ongoing change and learning. They can also be a safe conversation starter for couples struggling to talk about the problem.
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 is more challenging is understanding and changing behaviours, habits, resolving emotional conflict and committing to ongoing personal therapy.
Using recovery tools will help to reinforce these more challenging behavioural changes which take time. They are also helpful for re-building trust in a relationship as your partner can see you doing practical things for your recovery.
What are recovery tools for pornography and sex addiction?
Recovery tools are essentially practical things and habits you can do on a daily basis that will support your recovery and help you develop new insight and understanding of the problem. Rehabilitation, addiction counselling, addiction coaching, group support, group therapy and relationship counselling are recovery interventions that can be reinforced by using recovery tools.
What recovery tools can I use for pornography addiction?
These different types of recovery tool’s will help you to be focused and motivated about sexual recovery even if you’re not exactly sure what that means for you just yet. Early recovery is a big learning curve. Here are some examples and suggestions of recovery tools that I know have helped my clients particularly in early recovery from pornography and sex addiction. Find some that work for you and keep using them. It is better to use two or three often then different ones sporadically and randomly.
Podcasts. Listen to one or two 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 available on Spotify.
Keeping a Diary. Get yourself a page a day diary and spend 5 minutes each morning or evening filling it out. Record your therapy appointments, daily reflections, sobriety day, mood good or bad, triggers and recovery tools/tasks for that day. It’s a great way of learning to be focused on changing your behaviours and habits. This is also helpful for building trust in the relationship because it is evidence that you are doing practical things to overcoming pornography.
Books. Books are a super recovery tool. There are lots of books available about overcoming pornography and the effect it can have on your brain, biology, relationships and sexual functioning etc. I could suggest authors such as Dr. Patrick Cairns, Dr. Rob Weiss, Paula Hall and Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson. Relationship books are really helpful for relationship healing and learning how to restore trust again. Again, having books by the bedside locker shows that you are reading and learning about recovery which show your partner you are committed to recovery.
Workbooks. Workbooks are a practical way of working through the stages of your own recovery and learn about the addiction cycle, triggers, managing habits and changing behaviours. The Kick Start Recovery Guide by Paula Hall is an excellent 21 page free downloadable workbook for getting started on porn recovery. Sex Addiction 101 Workbook by Dr. Rob Weiss (2016) and Facing the Shadow by Dr. Patrick Carnes are two recent workbooks that I recommend to my clients.
Wall Calendar. This simple mindfulness practice is a good visual motivational tool. Tick each day you have achieved another day of sexual sobriety. Some clients also draw smiley faces to help describe if it was a good day, bad day or just OK day. It is also a simple practical way of building trust with your partner so they can also keep track of your progress and mood.
10 Minute Exercise Ritual. Work through impulses, urges, emotional upset and feelings of slipping or relapsing by creating a simple 10 minute exercise ritual. This will be something really simple like doing 100 sit-up, 100 press-ups, 100 star jumps or a 10-minute run. Basically brief energetic exercise that will get you into your body and away from your thinking and thoughts temporarily.
Setting 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 and mark dates in advance. Keep adding to this list as you need to and tick them off as you achieve your goals. Set yourself rewards for achieving and succeeding.
Audio-books. Just like traditional books, audio-books are a great way of focusing on recovery and you can listen to them in your own time. Listening to biographies, personal development and self-help audio-books are helpful in recovery. Download them on your phone or table for easy access anytime.
Self-Soothing Techniques. These are an important aspect of sexual recovery to help the transition from being impulsive and compulsive sexually to being mindful and accepting of sexual feelings, thoughts, and impulses without acting out sexually. They consist of simple 10 minute breathing exercises, listening to a meditation or meditation music, positive affirmations or more simple practices like just taking a 10 minute walk rather than acting out.
Online Support. There are a host of 24/7 online supports such as webinars, group support & inspirational speakers for people going through all types of recovery and sobriety. Webinars and experts can be viewed on YouTube and TedX. Online support groups are available on most of the 12 Step Support group websites via ZOOM. Dr. Rob Weiss has online support groups every week at sexandrelationshiphealing.com which you can register and access.
Recovery Apps. The Fortify App helps people to overcome pornography and quit porn for good. It provides a host of tools, video’s, research, shared experiences and most popular – a community forum. The premium version is worth investing in at about $15 a month. It is a good way to stay motivated and learn something new every single day. The Fortify programme is also available as a book and is available on AMAZON.
Content Restriction Software. Also called parental control software which can be applied PC’s and smartphones such as Qustodio can help compulsive and impulsive porn users restrict availability of sexual content on their devices. Interrupting access and reducing availability and accessibility can make early recovery easier. Some couples choose to use this type of software on home and personal devices as part of a restoring trust plan together.
I hope that you find some of these recovery tools helpful to your recovery plans. If you would like professional online support, couples recovery counselling online or your own personal addiction recovery counselling online via ZOOM you can book an appointment HERE.
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