Mindful Recovery – The Purpose of Daily Recovery Practices

Mindful Recovery – The Purpose of Daily Recovery Practices

Recovery takes time, focus, support and most of all actions. Actively doing activities, exercises and daily recovery practices will positively support and promote your recovery each and every day, keeping you grounded and on track.  

What is the purpose of daily recovery practices?

Passive recovery and hoping things will change and work out without putting in the recovery work will be fruitless and lead to slipping back into an addiction cycle. To quote the twelve step mantra about active recovery,  ‘it works – if you work it’.  These recovery practices and rituals will reinforce your overall recovery goals, not just for abstinence and sobriety but for moving towards a place where you are living a fulfilling life far beyond the stress and trauma of addiction.

Recovery really is about consistency and every small daily practice you do for your recovery moves your forward.

An addiction counsellor or sponsor can guide you through the many different types of good recovery practices and exercises. Some of the more common ones are journaling, keeping a diary, gratitude lists, learning, list making, support groups, reflection, mediation, workbooks, reading, therapy and physical exercise. (Read – The Daily Recovery Ritual of Tracking Your Sobriety) Of course as with all new learned skills, it will take you time to work out what works best for you, your personality and your own unique skill set.

For example, you may not be an avid reader and choose to listen to podcasts or audiobooks. Then there are people who will enjoy writing daily in a recovery diary or journal and others who are not natural writers and prefer to use a recovery app instead which has lots of similar features to a diary.

As you progress in your recovery, you will learn new and clever ways to stay focused and motivated in your recovery that you never knew about when you began. Recovery really is about consistency and every daily small practice you do for your recovery moves your forward. Recovery activities will keep your grounded and focused especially on the more challenging days. Find out more about how addiction counselling can support you through a recovery process here.

Addiction recovery support meetings in Ireland & online

Addiction recovery support meetings in Ireland & online

No one should struggle to understand or recover from an addiction alone. There are many trained therapists, organisations and nationwide support meetings for addiction recovery here in Ireland. Now with so many therapists working online using telemedicine software and self help support group meetings also being hosted online using sites like Zoom and by phone conferencing, getting support is more convenient and accessible. 

When you realise that you can no longer manage or fight your addiction alone it can be difficult to know what to do next, who to turn to, or how to find out about recovery options. Finding support is the first step followed by growing your support network. It is through this support that you will learn all about recovery and sobriety and how to move forward. Getting the help of a professional Addiction Counsellor or Psychotherapist who is experienced in addiction and recovery or couples recovery will also help provide you with the information you need to move forward.

Most people who are seeking help for the first time and are new to the recovery process are not aware that there is in-fact a wide variety of self help support groups available here in Ireland. These organisations have websites with advice, information, self-assessment questions, leaflets, helplines and group meetings around Ireland daily and weekly. Once you know where to look, you will realise that you are not alone in your recovery and that there is hope for the future and a path forward.

Recovery group support meetings hosted online and by phone

Since the COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines came into place in March most of these group meetings are now being hosted online using Zoom and by phoning into a meeting. Being able to call or log-in and join a group support meetings means you can attend meetings regularly day or night and around your schedule from home. Sadly, many regional drop-in meetings are currently suspended at present.  There are many benefits to attending group support and they are an integral part of long term successful recovery. To find out more about joining a face to face meeting in your region or joining an online meeting contact the helpline for the organisation. Many of these meetings are by region or may be nationwide.

What type of addiction support groups are available in Ireland?

There are organisations that provide support groups in Ireland specifically for food addiction, alcohol problems addiction, drug addiction such as Cocaine, Marijuana and Narcotics, gambling problems and sex addiction. Many of these groups are based on the 12 Step principals while other organisations such as  Lifering and SMART recovery offer a research based recovery approach.

There are also support groups for partners and family effected by a loved one’s addiction. It is always a good idea to get the support of peers or professionals when effected by a spouses addiction even if they are not yet in recovery themselves. You can identify the organisations for partners and family members by the Anon reference such as Al-anon, S-Anon and Gam-Anon. The Rise Foundation provide excellent support to partners and families effected by a loved ones addiction.

Once you know where to look, you will realise that you are not alone in your recovery and that there is hope for the future and a path forward.

Support group meetings are available throughout Ireland daily and are on a donation basis making them affordable for everyone. Group support is a crucial part of early recovery and successful long term recovery.

Some organisations provide 24/7 chat room group support and have developed apps to promote recovery and sobriety which you can find on iPhone or Samsung play store or check out their websites for more information.

Podcasts are now also a great way of learning more about addiction and recovery support. The latest podcast launched here in Ireland recently relating to recovery is called The Problem Gambling Podcast with Barry Grant and Tony O’Reilly which you can find on all podcasting platforms.

To find a professional registered Psychotherapist visit www.iacp.ie and www.addictioncounsellors.ie or to book an online appointment with me for addiction and recovery support click here or visit www.orlaghgahan.ie

Here is a list of addiction recovery support groups in Ireland who currently provide support meetings online. 

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) – www.alcoholicsanonymous.ie

Al-Anon,  Support for families of alcoholics – www.al-anon-ireland.org

Cocaine Anonymous (CA) Ireland – www.caireland.info

Marijuana Anonymous (MA) – www.marijuana-anonymous.ie

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) – www.na-ireland.org

Co-dependents Anonymous Ireland – www.codaireland.com

Food Addicts Anonymous – www.foodaddictsanonymous.org

Gamblers Anonymous (GA) Ireland – www.gamblersanonymous.ie

Gam-Anon UK & Ireland – www.gamanon.org.uk

Problem Gambling Ireland – Information, support, resources & podcast – www.problemgambling.ie

LifeRing – Sobriety from alcohol & substances – www.lifering.ie

Overeaters Anonymous, Food addictions – www.overeatersanonymous.ie

Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) – www.slaaireland.org

Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) – www.saireland.com

S-Anon, Support for partners of sexaholics – www.sanon.org

Smart Recovery Ireland – A science based recovery support group – www.smartrecovery.ie

The Rise Foundation – Support for partners and loved ones – www.therisefoundation.ie

If you have a recovery support group you would like included in this list please email info@orlaghgahan.ie

12 Self-help Recovery Tools For Overcoming Pornography Addiction

12 Self-help Recovery Tools For Overcoming Pornography Addiction

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 or by teleconferencing. 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.

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.

You can find more articles on my blog at www.orlaghgahan.ie

 

 

Podcast Spotlight – Sex, Love & Addiction 101 with Dr. Rob Weiss

Podcast Spotlight – Sex, Love & Addiction 101 with Dr. Rob Weiss

There is no doubt that Sex, Love & Addiction 101 with Dr. Rob Weiss is the best podcast available out there right now for anyone seeking information, insight, opinion and expert advice about all aspects of sex addiction, porn addiction and sexual recovery.

Dr. Rob Weiss is a leading expert in the field of sex and love addiction and sexual recovery and also author of 10 books about sexual recovery, porn addiction, intimacy and infidelity. He hosts this wonderful informative and easy to listen to podcast with many expert guests who share their experiences, research, and knowledge with listeners.

Dr. Weiss is the Chief Clinical Officer of sexandrelationshiphealing.com and founder of seekingintegrity.com where you can find additional information and support for sex and pornography addiction including online support groups.

This podcast is not just about sex and love addiction. It explores the many aspects of intimacy, connection, sexuality, healing, self-development and relationships.

Sex, Love and Addiction 101 which is available on Spotify, Apple iTunes and most podcasting platforms also focuses on important issues impacting partners effected by sex and porn addiction, relationship breakdown, trauma, infidelity, betrayal and the relationship recovery process. Partners need help and support too in order to take control of their own health and well-being and to make important decisions about their own healing and recovery process.

This podcast is an excellent recovery tool for anyone starting sexual recovery and for those who want to stay focused on maintaining their sexual recovery and sobriety. It can also be helpful for therapists and partners who want to better develop their understanding and awareness in order to support someone through sexual recovery in a compassionate and empathetic way.

With weekly podcasts focusing on the various aspects of human sexuality and sexual behaviours, Dr. Weiss talks openly and comfortably about topics which many of us would struggle to discuss and address in our daily lives with partners or friends. His kind and compassionate approach alongside sharing his own personal experiences will help listeners to reflect on how best to address and talk about their own personal dilemmas and hopefully seek out professional help.

The reason I suggest this podcasts as a recovery tool to many of my clients who come to therapy for sex and relationship problems is because it touches on problems that come up for clients that they believe are uncommon or stigmatized. These include problematic pornography use, women and porn, infidelity, affairs, betrayal, sexual compulsivity, love addiction, fantasy, fetish, relationship breakdown and relationship healing. Many topics that clients simply feel are off limits to discuss openly outside of professional therapy.

One of the best ways to get focused and motivated about recovery and understand your problems from an all-round perspective is to listen and learn from the experts. The great thing about podcasts is that they are often topic specific, available instantaneously and easy to listen to privately in your own time.

Don’t know what to listen to first? Here are some of my favorite episodes…
  • Defining Love Again After a Betrayal with Michelle Mays
  • Help Her Heal with Carol the Coach
  • About Disclosure with Mari Lee
  • Let’s Talk about Porn Addiction with Dr. Rob Weiss
  • Going to Therapy Online with Forest Benedict
If you would like to talk to a professional Psychotherapist about a sex and relationship problem, sex and pornography addiction, infidelity, affair, sexual recovery, intimacy, fetish or any related concerns you can book an appointment with me online at www.orlaghgahan.ie and schedule a professional telephone and online therapy session.

 

 

Healing From Betrayal & Infidelity – An e-book Resource For Partners & Spouses

Healing From Betrayal & Infidelity – An e-book Resource For Partners & Spouses

Finding out your partner or spouse has betrayed you in some way is devastating and traumatic. Partners go through a process or stages of emotions such as shock, disbelief, anger, hurt, depression, questioning.

Betrayal in relationships can take many forms, it is often confused with infidelity which is a form of betrayal. Other types are being secretive, dishonest, disloyal, lying, disrespectful and lying by omission in a relationship. Betrayal is essentially breaking or breaching the trust and commitment developed between two people while at the same time creating a false sense of safety, security and reality.

Discovering your significant other has a secret sexual life is a traumatic event. As a result, many betrayed partners and spouses deal with traumatic stress symptoms such as physical pain, increased anxiety, insomnia, depression, poor self-image, overeating, substance abuse, and sexual withdrawal. – Mari Lee

Sadly betrayal can develop in relationships were one person is experiencing problematic behaviors and sexual addiction and porn addiction. Sexual betrayal leaves partners feeling confused and traumatized as they start the process of piecing their lives back together.  Many partners of sex and porn addicts and those who’s spouses have had affairs are faced with the healing and recovery from betrayal and infidelity.

There is healing and support for anyone faced with healing from betrayal and infidelity. It is recommend that you seek the support of a professional Psychotherapist who understands what you are going through with experience of infidelity, affairs and sexual addictions. They can help guide and support you through your own healing process and that of your partners what ever the circumstances. They can also help you understand the process you are going through and discuss how to navigate rebuilding trust in the relationship. This may take the form of a formal disclosure process with your partner, identifying non negotiable ground rules in the relationship and working towards making important decisions and choices about your relationship future together.

This insightful and helpful e-book resource called Healing from Betrayal – An e-book for partners and spouses of Sex and Pornography Addicts by Mari Lee can help you understand more about what you are going through and how to cope in the aftermath of a betrayal, infidelity or affair. Mari Lee is a Licenced Sex Addiction Therapist (LCSAT) in the USA could help you understand more about your own healing process and the steps to take next. You can listen to Mari Lee on popular podcasts about sex and intimacy such as Sex, Love and Addiction with world renowned therapist Rob Weiss.

This e-book which costs around $20 to download will help you understand more about betrayal, sex addiction, sexual recovery, the disclosure process and your own important healing from trauma and recovery process.

Mari Lee also has a wonderful workbook called Facing Heartbreak – Steps to Recovery For Partners of Sex Addicts which I have on a recommend reading list for my clients who come to therapy for partners recovery and support.

Many people who come for counselling have either discovered that their partner has betrayed them (discoverer) or has been told that there has been a betrayal or infidelity (discovered). There is professional support during this difficult time. Couples if they work together can and do rebuild relationships, trust and commitment again with the right support.

If you would like professional help and support visit me at www.orlaghgahan.ie

25 Signs You Might Have A Problem With Pornography

25 Signs You Might Have A Problem With Pornography
How much pornography is too much pornography?

A commonly googled question and one my clients often ask early in therapy but there are no recommended healthy pornography viewing guidelines. It is better to consider what is healthy or unhealthy for you as an individual rather than focusing on duration or quantity of use. There are many signs of problematic online pornography use which are not measured specifically by time or quantity alone but are related to behaviours and consequences associated with using it.

The problem with pornography is that it can become difficult to differentiate what’s healthy and normal when you are your only reference point and so few people are talking about it.

This article is part two in a series of articles about Overcoming Pornography and is to help individuals and partners understand a range of possible signs of problematic pornography use. If you identify with one or more of the below sign’s you might have a problem with pornography and should consider seeking professional help. Find out what it is like to be 365 days in recovery from pornography addiction after being a habitual user for over 10 years and what my client wants you to know about giving up porn.

You do not have to be a pornography addict to benefit from counselling. In my practice, clients often come for sex therapy and addiction counselling before it escalates into a more serious problem and just want support changing their behaviours while addressing other problems they are dealing with. Therapy can provide non-judgemental professional support and advice for clients and couples experiencing any signs of problematic pornography use. It is important to spend time finding the right professional therapist for you. Read more about practical ways to give up online pornography.

It’s worth mentioning that many people who use pornography do not have difficulty controlling or stopping when they want, and it does not affect them or their relationships in a negative way.

What are the signs that you might have a problem with pornography?

Here are 25 signs that you or your partner might have a problem with pornography and that the problem could be getting worse over time. It includes some links to external sites which readers may find helpful.

  1. Porn is negatively effecting your physical, mental or emotional health.
  2. You have tried to stop and give up many times but have failed over and over.
  3. You no longer enjoy regular natural healthy loving sex and intimacy like you did in the past.
  4. You are experiencing signs of erectile dysfunction with a partner but not alone.
  5. You are over sexualising the world around you including people, places & situations.
  6. The content you are viewing conflicts with your core values and beliefs as a person.
  7. You are viewing online pornography for more than 11 hour a week.
  8. You believe you couldn’t live without pornography in your life.
  9. You are experiencing signs of Compulsive Sexual Behaviour Disorder.
  10. You choose viewing pornography alone to intimate real sex with your partner.
  11. You have developed performance anxiety and are fearful about real sex.
  12. When you are having sex with your partner you are thinking about pornography and are not present or connected with them.
  13. Relationships have ended because of your pornography use.
  14. You are hiding your porn use from your partner and do not like that you are keeping secrets from them.
  15. The content you are viewing is making you feel bad about your body and that you are not good enough.
  16. It’s making you turn away and disconnect from your partner, family and friends.
  17. It is affecting your sexual health in a negative way.
  18. You feel you need to be watching pornography to have good sex.
  19. You are influencing your partner to watch pornography even though they do not want to.
  20. You are now watching pornography during working hours or in the work place.
  21. You are using work property such as phones and laptops to access sexually explicit content and pornography and as a result risk losing your job.
  22. It is leading you to view other sexually explicit websites that might end your relationship.
  23. You are putting your children at risk of being exposed to pornography at home on your devices.
  24. The content you are viewing is verging on illegal.
  25. The content you are viewing is illegal.

As a general rule of thumb if something in your life is effecting your health and well-being in a negative way or is causing you mental or emotional distress then you will probably be happier without it.

The problem with pornography is that it can become difficult to differentiate what’s healthy and normal when you are your only reference point and so few people are talking about it. Problematic pornography use does have different types of consequences but you can live a happy healthy life without pornography.

If you are experiencing problems giving up pornography, then talk to someone and get professional help. To book an appointment face to face in Ireland or worldwide online via SKYPE click here. 

Sexual Recovery | 365 Days in Recovery From Online Pornography Addiction

Sexual Recovery | 365 Days in Recovery From Online Pornography Addiction
How does it feel to be 365 days, one full year free from online pornography when you have been a habitual user for over 10 years? This month one of my regular clients celebrated being 1 year in full recovery from his pornography addiction. He offered to share his experience in the hope that it will encourage others to get help just like him, because one person’s recovery also positively impacts partners, peers and family.

For anyone going through a recovery process, getting through the first year of abstinence is a full-time commitment. Challenging, testing and rewarding and just cause for celebrating personal achievements. The first year of sobriety from any addiction helps to pave the way for a brighter more fulfilling future for everyone effected. The challenge with online pornography addiction and recovery is that nobody is openly talking about it. This is the third part in a series of articles about Overcoming Pornography for individuals and couples.

The most common questions that clients who come for therapy ask me about pornography addiction is how do other people give up porn? What are their results? What can I expect? Where do I start? In the media we read about the negative consequences of pornography but rarely hear about personal accounts of sexual recovery and giving up pornography.

Michael who is 28, has kindly shared his experience of recovery and answers some of these commonly asked questions. His story of problematic pornography use is not uncommon. In fact many of my clients who come for addiction counselling have been accessing pornography for as long as the internet has been available, that’s over two decades.  For other’s, smartphones have escalated the habit into a problem. In many instances the partner would not be aware that there is a problem and rarely has it been discussed openly in the relationship.

Here is Michael experience of his first 365 days of sexual recovery and personal development.

How was online pornography effecting your life before you realised you had a problem?

Porn has affected my life on a daily basis since I was just 14 year old. For me that was over 13 years of habitual use that I had to start unraveling. The last 4 years have been the worst, as my problem showed me how much of a hold it had on me. It took almost losing my family and job to realise how deep I was in this problem and addiction.

I had to change the small things first to get big results.

During this period of time, I never believed or realised that I had a problem. I always thought to myself that all men use pornography and I couldn’t see an issue with it. It started off occasionally and gradually became more of a routine from weekly to daily. At my worst it was a couple of times per day.

I had a routine and I was blindsided to the fact that I was no longer in control. Once the thoughts entered my head, I felt I had to act on the impulse and go online viewing porn.

The path that I was on was a downward spiral. At this point porn was my life, I had lost my close friends and almost my partner and kids. I distanced myself from everything that didn’t involve porn. I had no enthusiasm for life or my own family life. Porn was the biggest part of my daily life, in the morning, throughout work and I’d even sneak off at night while my partner slept. I thought everything I was doing was normal, unknown to the fact that porn had rewired my thoughts and mindset.

What are the things that you did to overcome your online pornography addiction that other people might be able to also try?

The first step in my recovery was realizing and accepting that I had a problem with porn. I was simply unable to stop alone. My biggest downfall was believing that I could overcome my issue with pornography myself. From that day on I realized I needed professional help.

I recommend reaching out and talking about what you going through. I did a search online for therapists who provide porn addiction counselling and made my first appointment with Orlagh Gahan. During my first session, I found it extremely hard and uncomfortable to go through but afterwards the relief I felt was unbelievable. I had so much that I needed to talk about and get off my chest in those early sessions.

Orlagh suggested several things to start with, some self-help books and the Fortify Fight The New Drug website and app which was brilliant. It was relatable and opened my eyes to what porn had and can do. (Check out a practical guide to giving up online pornography here.) My partner also came to some therapy sessions with me and we read The Partners Perspective by Paula Hall together.

I soon found out what my triggers were and how to avoid them. I now fill my life with structure and new hobbies. I gave up my phone with internet connection soon into therapy. This was the big turning point for me. I had to change the small things first to get big results.

How has your life changed since giving up pornography?

My life has dramatically changed since being free from online pornography. I can actually say I have a life now. I can feel and experience emotions, whereas before I kept everything suppressed. I have meaningful connections with people. I can honestly say for the first I am happy and content with my life. Words can’t describe how much my life has been changed positively since I began this journey.

I had so much that I needed to talk about and get off my chest in those early sessions.

With the support I received from Orlagh, my partner and my family I don’t feel trapped by porn anymore. I can now openly talk about it with all of them and I no longer feel shame or embarrassment.

Do you have any advice for anyone who thinks they might have a problem with pornography?

My advice to anyone who feels that they are struggling with porn is to stop trying to deal with it alone. Reach out to family, friends, your partner, a therapist or doctor etc. It’s the best thing I ever done, so much as changed for me in just one year. Get the help you need. Take it day by day. Figure what your triggers are and set goals, find new hobbies and talk about it, it will get easier.

A Practical Guide to Giving up Online Pornography

A Practical Guide to Giving up Online Pornography
Online pornography can effect people in many ways over time because of the many habits and behaviours associated with using it. For many users it doesn’t develop into a problem of any kind and may have no obvious negative consequences. However for some people it can develop into a very serious problem as it becomes a normal part of life. Here are over 20 practical ways to help you overcome pornography for good.

Online pornography effects users in many ways.

Excessive and long-term habitual use of pornography can have many negative effects on the individuals overall well-being and how they think, act and feel. The problem does not lie with the pornography content alone but with the sexual acting out, short term reward cycle and associations connected with it. Porn sites are also developed to be highly sensually and neurologically stimulating, designed to engage users for as long as possible, just like gambling websites. This makes them intriguing and compelling to keep accessing.

With porn being so free and easy to access, it can make it difficult to stop permanently. This is part one  in a series of articles about Overcoming Pornography for individuals and couples.

Pornography addiction which is kept hidden and untreated creates great conflict between the individuals inner and outer world.

Porn addiction can become a complex problem and is directly connected with sexual functioning, desire and the arousal process. Over-consumption can effect sexual health, performance, intimacy and overall relationship health. Research confirms long term use can distort the perception of real normal healthy natural sex and intimacy, making it feel unfulfilling.

The nature of addiction is that it takes people away from loved ones and family, leaving the addict disconnected. In a relationship this translates into them turning away and shutting down from their partner, neglecting their basic relationship needs. With the secrecy and privacy that comes with using online pornography this disconnect is magnified.

The good news is pornography does not have to be a part of your life and you can live a fulfilling happy life without porn. All men do not use pornography. This is a common belief system among many avid users. It is difficult to measure and understand the benefits of giving up pornography when you have a problem until you give it up. Clients in recovery feel their relationships improve, they are more driven in work, experience less stress, tension and anxiety and overall have a more positive outlook on life because they are no longer caught in a negative perpetual cycle.

How do I know if I have a problem with pornography?

The best way to find out if you have a problem with pornography is to give it up for a period of time and see how easy or difficult that experience is for you. If it is already having negative consequences on your life, causing problems with your sex life, creating conflict in your relationship or you have tried and failed to stop many times then it is most likely already a problem.

Giving up online pornography may often mean giving up the way you use social media or any content which may trigger an arousal or desire to act out sexually or which feeds into being preoccupied by sex and sexually compulsive behavior.

Practical ways to stop using online pornography.

If you think you have a problem or you know for sure you have a problem it can be difficult to know where to start. If you would like to book an appointment to talk about how porn is effecting your life click here. Here are some of my suggestions and tools to consider which I explore with clients who come for sex addiction and pornography addiction counselling.

Decide to Stop.

Make a decision to start stopping, significantly cut down or to stop cold turkey altogether for a period of time i.e 7 days, 21 days, 365 days. It is important to start setting goals for yourself to feel motivated and focused. Consider setting a short term, medium term and long term goal which you transition through. Willpower alone is not enough to overcome a long term problem. In recovery, the first 90 days of total abstinence paves the way for new habits and behaviours.

Get offline.

Spend less time online on your phone, laptop and tablet. If you want to move away from online pornography then you need to significantly reduce how much time you spend online in order to reduce your risk of acting out in the early months of recovery. Get offline and into the real world.

Talk to someone.

Talking about what you are going through is an important part of coming to terms with any problem. If you are in a relationship, start talking to your loved one about what you are going though so that you have extra support and also someone to be accountable to who you can discuss your progress and hopes with.

Get professional help.

Get the help of a professional Psychotherapist or Addiction Counsellor who works with sex and pornography addiction as early as possible. This will massively increase your chances of success. Its important to find the right therapist for you. They will help support, guide and motivate you to overcome pornography and help you understand how it started and the best way forward. Stay working with your therapist until pornography is no longer a problem. They will help you work through any other personal or relationship problems you may be experiencing. I can help you quit pornography for good, book a face to face therapy session or online therapy session here.

Spend time enjoying hobbies & interests.

Many porn addicts describe being sexually preoccupied and as a result begin to sexualise the world around them including people, places and situations. Being in a preoccupied state is a common characteristic of many addicts. Enjoying hobbies, interests and activities on a daily basis will help to reduce sexual preoccupation and the desire to act out by keeping your mind busy and active. When you are feeling a possible slip or relapse coming on, turn to your hobbies and interests for a distraction.

Read a book.

Read a few books in your down time about how pornography can impact and effect your brain, your health and your intimate relationships. There are lots of good books out there about pornography and sexual recovery. You could also consider reading books about changing habits and behaviors, self development books, relationships or biographies about recovery.

Mark your calendar on successful days.

Get yourself a calendar or diary and tick each day you have stuck to your goals of having a porn free day. This is a small simple visual way of staying motivated and focused and acknowledging the commitment you are making. It is also an incentive to help prevent slips and relapses. If you were in any twelve step groups you would be receiving a special coin celebrating your success as time goes by. Its important to do this for yourself if you are not getting the support of a group.

Learn to self-regulate.

Self regulation is a great life skill. It means that when you have a strong feeling, thought or emotion that you acknowledge what you are experiencing and react in a healthy way rather than in a negative way. For example when you are feeling very stressed you can choose to acknowledge the stress and manage it in a healthy way by going for a walk or a run rather than turning to porn, alcohol or something that may have a negative consequence. Self regulation for porn addiction means not acting out in an impulsive or compulsive sexual way but finding a new way to express yourself and cope with your emotions.

Learn more about others giving up pornography.

Check out the website www.fightthenewdrug.org which is an organisation in the USA promoting the positive aspects of living a porn free life. Their website has articles, videos, books, supports and podcasts. Their motto is #PornKillsLove. There are tons of websites dedicated to promoting porn recovery that you might find helpful.

Get software to restrict you going online.

Consider downloading some parental type software like Qustodio on your phone and other devices which will help regulate the content that you can view. The purpose of this is to make it more difficult to access porn when you are feeling triggered. Restricting access using software not only protects children from accessing pornography but also helps rebuild trust in your relationship.

Reduce your risk.

Contact your internet, TV and mobile phone provider and ask them to put a total block on all adult and pornographic content.  These days its not enough to just block your smartphone as most household devices with internet connection will have access to explicit content.

Download an App.

Download an app for overcoming pornography addiction such as The Fortify App on your phone and tablet and use it regularly for a couple of months. The Forify App helps your quit porn for good and is a great way of focusing daily on your goals and understanding more about yourself. It is free to sign up but the premium plan cost about €10 a month and it worth the investment.

Understand your triggers and stressors.

Spend some time thinking about the why’s and when’s of your porn habit. Most porn use can be described as predictive i.e same habits every time. Write out a list of triggers and stressors which lead you to using porn. Then write a list of other things you could do instead that will have a more positive outcome.  Finding ways to reduce or eliminate your stressors is a good preventative strategy. I always get clients to start compiling a list of alternatives to viewing porn, as they move through their recovery this list get longer.

Take it one day at a time.

Take things one day at a time. Try not to focus too far into the future, the present is what is important. Everyday is an opportunity to change and be better.

Keep a diary.

Keeping a diary is a common self-care recovery practice. Your diary can consist of thoughts and feelings about how you are doing, reflections or just simple plans for the week to help keep you focused on your goals.

Cut all ties.

Close any online accounts you might have, end subscriptions, clear browsing history, delete any content you have saved, empty spam folders and delete email accounts if necessary. The purpose of all of these exercises is to totally eliminate any connection to pornography you have created. You may wish to discuss this with your partner first. Rebuilding trust means allowing them to understand more about your addiction and be a part of eliminating all content and ties.

A routine for success.

Developing a good daily routine is a positive way of staying strong, motivated and focused particularly if life has become chaotic. Get good sleep, eat healthy, create a good work life balance, have fun, exercise, relax, enjoy life, get out into nature, spend time with friends and family. A good routine is critical to recovery.

Put down the smartphone.

If you access porn on your smartphone then its time to detach from your phone and start using it less, way less. Turn it off early in the evenings, keep it outside of the bedroom at night, don’t bring it into the bathroom or on your lunch break.  Alternatively, opt for a regular non smart phone for a few months until you are confident you have learned to self-moderate.

Real emotional connection.

Start spending more time with your loved ones, family and friends. The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it is connection. Addiction slowly pulls the addicted person away from what really matters in life without them noticing. The more time you spend in the company of others, the less time you have to spend on your online addiction.

Avoid common triggers.

Common triggers for acting out which I hear my clients share are often stress, drugs, alcohol, hangovers, stimulants, medication, gambling, relationship discord, opportunity, boredom, anger, availability and a lack of  a sexual relationship. Triggers can keep causing slips and relapses if you don’t identify them clearly. Overcoming pornography will probably mean getting professional help for other problems, trauma or emotional pain you are struggling with.

Listen to podcasts.

Listening to podcasts on iTunes and Spotify about recovery, self development, addiction and areas of interest you might have can be a great learning and a good distraction. You can listen on your way to and from work, driving in the car or out walking. They are a great way to keep yourself motivated.

Get relationship counselling.

Porn addiction directly effects the health of your relationship, sexual intimacy and your partner. Couples therapy with an experienced therapist can help guide you both through a recovery and healing process together and address any problems that have developed in the relationship. Gottman Method Couples Therapy is a holistic approach to creating happy successful long lasting relationships, you can find a list of registered Gottman Couples therapists around the world here. Find out more about Gottman Method Couples Therapy.

A holistic approach.

Taking a holistic approach to overcoming your porn problem is the best approach. You can do this by addressing your online porn problem on lots of levels. This means you are not only overcoming pornography but also improving your overall quality of life and your physical, mental and emotional well-being.

The key to success is being focused on feeling happy with the changes you are making in your life and being in control of your decisions and not on feeling deprived or missing out. Keep your recovery process simple. Start where you are, stick with it. It will be worth all your effort. Invest as much time and energy into your recovery as you did your online porn addiction.

Recovery & Sobriety – Setting Short Term Goals in Early Recovery

Recovery & Sobriety – Setting Short Term Goals in Early Recovery
Recovery is about a return to good health and in order to return to good health you may benefit from setting goals to help you get there. I talk to lots of clients early in their recovery about the importance of goal setting to help them achieve what they really want out of life, which is often ultimately to achieve sobriety, repair relationships and get some control back in their lives.

Sobriety requires much more than just sheer willpower which can be the reason people fail trying to do it alone with no direction. It requires motivation, goals, support, time, practice, routine, focus, patience and positive reinforcement.

‘Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.’    -Tony Robbins

If you are starting to understand setting goals for your recovery then focus on sorting them into short, medium and long term goals. Short term goals are from day one to day ninety. Medium term goals are from three months to twelve months. While long term goals are from twelve months and into the future. Its important to set goals which are realistic, achievable and motivating. Working towards your goals then starts to become part of a new routine in the longer term. As you reach your goals you will experience positive reinforcement that you have completed something you set out to achieve along with the feel good factor. They helps to build your confidence and self-esteem and most importantly your belief in yourself. Good strong routines in turn are a great relapse preventative measure in the long term.

Firstly you need to make a very clear decision on what your basic ultimate goal is in terms of your recovery. For example, do you want to be alcohol free, drug free, stop using pornography or give up gambling for good? What ever your ultimate goal is, that is your finish line. Right now in early recovery your only thinking about running a race. Every single goal you set out will help to support and reinforce your ultimate goal.

What should your short term goals be in early recovery?

Short term goals are really about helping the individual find some kind of balance and routine in their lives. These goals are focused on the present and should be quite simple and achievable. Set both daily and weekly goals, one week at a time. I think limiting them to no more than ten goals can help prevent feelings of being overwhelmed. It is much better to do two or three really well then ten half hardheartedly. Short term goals are about helping the client stabilise physically, mentally and emotionally.

Here are some common short term goals my clients often set out in the first 90 days.

  • Committing to one personal therapy session every week in the first 90 days.
  • Going to a support group two to three times a week in the first 90 days.
  • Learning about recovery and reading a book every night about recovery and self-development can help you to focus and gain some personal insight or, reading one book a week.
  • Keeping a journal and once a day spending some time writing down your thoughts and feelings.
  • Keeping a diary each day and writing in it each morning the things that will help you to focus on your recovery and sobriety that day. One day at a time.
  • Choosing an exercise like running or swimming, something you know you enjoy which will help you to burn off stress, anxiety, tension, frustration and all the emotions your may start to feel as you change your habits and behaviors. Exercise clears your head, helps you to focus and improves your sleep. Try to commit to your exercise every second day or so.
  • Start thinking about housekeeping. Housekeeping means that you start to get rid of any triggers, paraphernalia or products which may lead you to acting out. This may be deleting email addresses and accounts, clearing the house of alcohol or cigarettes or removing traces of anything which may lead you to consider a relapse.
  • Setting some goals around relationship healing is often on most peoples list. This may be something simple like asking your partner to sit down with and start talking to them about what your goals and plans for sobriety. It might also mean sitting down with your partner and listening to their needs and feelings. It might mean inviting them to a therapy session or talking about going to relationship counselling together.
  • Listen to a podcast or audio book about recovery, motivation or personal development.
  • Start writing lists which you can bring to therapy or work through yourself. List of goals, lists of motivations, lists of regrets, lists of thoughts and insights, lists of relapses, lists of people to connect with, lists of triggers, lists of music to listen to that will inspire you, lists of emotions, lists of hurt, lists of pain, lists of plans for the future. Writing down your thoughts can help you put context onto what you have be going through and is a way of letting go and releasing emotional pain.
  • Finding ways to learn to relax maybe by going to a yoga class or having a massage therapy session once a week.
  • Write out some thoughts on medium and long terms goals for recovery and your personal life.
  • Short term goals may simply be doing the things you have been avoiding for a long time like going to the GP, dentist or getting health checkups.
  • Personal hygiene and self-care is often a good short term goal. It may be simply getting up earlier every day, taking a hot shower and getting dressed.
  • Write an activity list of things that you can do to help you work through urges. This is a kind of activity list you can practice when you are feeling triggered. It may include things like meditation, go for a walk, do press-ups, phone a friend, breathing exercises, stretching etc.
  • Find an app that you can use every day to help monitor and motivate your recovery.
  • Do some research online of support groups, resources, workshops or blogs that might help promote your recovery.
  • Do something different at the weekend from your regular weekends. This might mean not socialising in the same way or meeting with different friends or family or planing activities for early in the morning instead of later at night.

So you can now start to see that short term goals are about helping you to focus on all the things which will promote your sobriety one day at a time from week to week. As you reach your goals, set new ones, this is how you grow and change. Recovery really is a learning process that times time and persistence. The more time you give it, the more you will gain from the work you put into yourself.

I believe that support and connection with people is a major part of what gets people through the early days of recovery.  Addiction counselling helps you to work through all the challenges you come up against so that you can learn how to recover. Recovery is about returning to health and finding your true happy fulfilled self. Keep it simple. Achieve your short term goals. Sooth yourself in positive ways. Give yourself praise and positive recognition every single day. Stay strong one day at a time. Reward yourself for goals achieved.

The biggest mistake is that people try to do it alone. You alone can do it, but, you can not do it alone. Remember, keep up your therapy sessions and support groups in your early days no matter how good or bad you are doing.

 

Starting Therapy – What to Expect From Your First Psychotherapy Session

Starting Therapy – What to Expect From Your First Psychotherapy Session

I wanted to write a short blog article to help potential clients feel reassured about what to expect in their first counselling & psychotherapy appointment for face to face and online therapy. Most new clients tell me that they have thought about coming to therapy for a long time, in many cases years, so I hope that this will help to demystify the concept of coming to therapy for the first time. Personally speaking I want clients to have a positive experience from their first session so that it helps normalise the idea of being in-therapy. If you have been thinking of starting therapy, don’t waste any more time, just go for it.

Many people consider therapy for between six months to two years before they make an appointment with me. The lead up to your first session can feel a bit daunting and nerve racking, the fear of the unknown and not really knowing what to expect but don’t worry too much. How do I start, what do I say, what will they think are common thoughts people can have first time around. Remember, every single therapist had first session nerves just like you! It’s really reassuring to know that your therapist will guide and lead you though your sessions every time, particularly your first session.

I like to break my sessions down into three parts which are an opening, middle and closing section. We know how difficult the first steps can be and meet new clients every day so an important part of our role as a therapist is to make you feel at ease and comfortable during each and every session.

What Should I Expect From My First Therapy Session

Most therapists will follow a similar process in the first session so this article outlines the process that I like to follow myself. The first session is very much an informal relaxed session of getting to know each other and a discussion around how we can both work together therapeutically with your particular presenting issue. What you can definitely expect to get from your first session is a safe supportive space to start talking about what ever it is you are going through. Below is a road-map of how I like to work through the first sessions.

Consultation Form. You will be asked to provide basic information such as medical conditions, GP details and contact details of a next of kin in the event of an emergency.

Introductions. I will introduce myself and my practice and what to expect from the first session to help put you at ease. Personally I take notes during sessions which I use as as a visual tool in therapy with my clients.

Explaining The Therapist Client Confidentiality Agreement. I will explain to you information about the our confidentially agreement and also the limitations of confidentiality and answer any questions you may have.

Sharing. This first session is really a safe space for you to talk about everything that brings you to therapy. I like to call it a session to just offload all your problems and worries. It can take some time to get used to taking about yourself but you will be amazed how quickly you can adjust and have plenty to talk about.

Identifying Problems. By the end of the session we will discuss some areas to focus on in therapy over the coming sessions and also discuss how many sessions to start off with. You may be asked to complete an assessment during the first session which will also help us narrow down some areas to focus on.

Closing The Session. I will spend five to ten minutes closing the first session and checking in with you to see how you are feeling or any thoughts and questions you might have. Many people are feeling much more relaxed as we come to the end of the first session and most report feeling relieved, happy, motivated that it is over after thinking about it for some time.

It is important to be realistic and not to expect to much from your first session. I think that many people expect to have life changing experiences in therapy and that they will walk out the door feeling fixed or better after just one hour. The reality is that most of the changes happen for the patient between sessions as they learn to practice what has been discussed in therapy and start to focus and reflect more on themselves. I regularly hear clients say ‘I tried therapy before and it did not work‘ and when we explore this more early in therapy, they may have attended just a handful of sessions, sometimes just one and had unrealistic expectations of the outcome. Therapy is where you come to talk about change, the next part is to actively learn how to change outside of sessions.

I can reassure you that your second session will feel easier to attend, as you know where you are going and what to expect. Ongoing sessions will feel like they have a nice natural comfortable flow as we get to know each other more and develop a relationship overtime. Therapy is a process of change, healing and personal insight. It is also learning to be vulnerable and open with another human being and using that connection with your therapist to help you to accept yourself, change and grow. All of which takes time.

 

FORTIFY – An Online Platform for Overcoming Pornography

FORTIFY – An Online Platform for Overcoming Pornography

The FORTIFY program was developed by an American organisation called Fight The New Drug. Their goal was to create a movement which would help to educate young people about the negative impact that pornography can have on health, relationships, sex and society and to encourage people to make more conscious choices about pornography usage. The movement has gained rapid momentum and so has their science based recovery resources, supports and research available to anyone who wants to overcome pornography problems. They are not a religious organisation and their strong message is that #PornKillsLove 

The FORTIFY program provides an online platform which helps support individuals who wish to recover from pornography addiction. They have thousands of online users in over 155 countries around the world. The FORTIFY program is also available to purchase as a book called ‘The Fighter’s Guide’ and a new App is now available to download on the Apple Store and Google Play. New users can trial the FORTIFY recovery program for free or pay a subscription of approx. $10 a month.

Here are some useful links if you would like to find out more about FORTIFY.

Fight The New Drug website

The FORTIFY Program – Link to their online support platform for overcoming pornography

FORTIFY Book – The Fighter’s Guide to Overcoming Pornography Addiction 

We Need to Talk About Pornography Video on YOUTUBE by Fight the New Drug.org 

Get help face to face or online via SKYPE visit www.orlaghgahan.ie

 

20 Early Recovery Insights from an Addiction Counsellor

20 Early Recovery Insights from an Addiction Counsellor

Last week I saw a picture online trying to portray how complicated the process of recovery from an addiction can feel in the early days for someone who had no clue about recovery. It looked like a giant blackboard packed full of mathematical equations which equal (=) ‘Recovery’. Now for someone who could never get the hang of basic long division and also as a therapist who sits across from men, women and family who desperately want to understand the recovery process in order to get a feeling for what to expect, I can wholeheartedly empathize with how confusing that analogy depicting the recovery process must feel. Abstinence and recovery is not a straight road.  The various roles of an addiction counsellor are to support, listen, empathize, encourage and educate clients. But often in the early days, the individual is so clouded with emotion, stress, pain, dependence or chaos that they are unable to hear simple messages that anyone, including their therapist are trying to get across.

Early recovery should be about focusing daily on practical abstinence and harm reduction goals, support and positive habit forming behaviours. However, understanding recovery really comes from being in a recovery process and the personal experience gained from recovery and sobriety. Here are some of these insights and strategies which I hope will help to motivate and encourage individuals early in recovery to stick with the process through the good and bad.

  1. Make a clear conscious decision that some things in your life need to change. Make a long list of those specific things and how you might change them.
  2. Remind yourself you will have good days and bad days, it won’t be easy, but, it will be worth it.
  3. If you are blaming everyone else for all your problems, you are still in denial about your problem. Stop blaming others for the things only you can control.
  4. It really is ok not to be ok and to reach out to someone or a professional who can help you understand what might be happening.
  5. The first steps to getting help can feel like the hardest, you are not alone, there are people who will understand and help you, you just have not met them yet.
  6. You don’t always have to go to rehab to recover from dependence or addiction, you can try support groups and addiction counselling first.
  7. Start talking yourself ‘out of acting out’ instead of ‘into acting out’.
  8. Motivation to recover does not come naturally in the early days, sometimes sobriety and feeling better in yourself motivates recovery.
  9. Willpower alone is never enough to change. Willpower is all in your head BUT practice makes perfect.
  10. You will have cravings, physical, mental, emotional and psychological cravings, but they too will pass.
  11. You won’t really understand how addicted you are to a substance or behaviour until you stop feeding your addiction, focus on abstinence and actively try to stop for a period of 7, 10, 30 days etc.
  12. Recovery is a process of change, challenge, learning, abstinence, re-discovery and time.
  13. Expect mood swings, difficulty sleeping, frustration, aggravation, withdrawals, anger, sweat and tears but not forever!
  14. Do not expect your partner and family to understand what you are going through until you can learn to share with them what you are going through.
  15. Time – Focus on your recovery every day in everything that you do until you realize you don’t need to think about recovery and what you do anymore.
  16. Be realistic about your expectations of yourself and others once you achieve sobriety because real change and healing takes time.
  17. Learn and connect with healthy balanced people how to be healthy balanced and connected.
  18. Our addiction tells us everyone else is doing ‘it’, but that’s just the world you see around you, its not reality. When you are in recovery you will realise that in general most people are relatively healthy, functioning, non-users and enjoying life.
  19. You can recover, you are not your addiction, your addiction does not define the beautiful human being that you really are.
  20. Believe that you can change, trust in others to help you, tell yourself you are worth it, share your story and focus on getting mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually better.

Sobriety and meaningful recovery takes willpower, motivation, practice  support, self-love, connection and time. The goal should also be gently focused on finding meaning and connection in life. Ultimately, recovery from illness and addiction is a path of personal development, self-love and healing.

Read about Setting Short Term Goals in Early Recovery.

 

Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery Resources

It is difficult to know where to start when you are seeking help for yourself or a loved one for a sexual addiction or pornography addiction. The good news is the more you start to research the subject, the more support and resources you will find are available. It is important however that you get help as early as possible and continue with various therapeutic interventions until you feel completely free from any problematic behaviour or addiction. Recovery often means engaging in both personal therapy and relationship counselling until the end of the process or on an ongoing basis. The level of professional support required will depend on the severity of the addiction and various other factors. Individuals may also have mental health problems, past trauma or abuse which also requires addressing. Partners are also encouraged to attend counselling, as addiction impacts spouses and family members on many levels.

You alone can do it, but you cannot do it alone.’

Below are some suggestions regarding sexual addiction recovery;

  1. Private counselling with a professional Psychotherapist, Psychosexual Counsellor or Addiction Counsellor.
  2. Attending a treatment recovery centre or Intensive 6 Day Recovery Course.
  3. Attending group therapy or group support regularly such as SLAA or SA.
  4. Speaking to your GP for a referral to a Psychologist or Psychiatrist.
  5. Attending an Addiction and Recovery (Life) Coach.
  6. Reading various books on sex addiction, pornography addiction and relationship recovery.
  7. Completing online courses for pornography addiction.
  8. Various Apps for your phone which can aid and encourage recovery.
  9. Using online resources and websites which educate and promote recovery.

Below are some Irish & UK resources which you may find helpful;

Support Groups in Ireland
Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) – www.slaaireland.org
Sexaholics Anonymous (SA Ireland) – www.saireland.com
S-Anon – Support for partners of Sex Addicts – www.sanon.org/meetings/meetingsireland.html

Professional Counselling Associations & Professionals
Addiction Counsellors of Ireland – www.addictioncounsellors.ie
Irish Association of Counsellors & Psychotherapists – www.iacp.ie
Psychosexual & Relationship Counsellors of Ireland & UK – www.cosrt.org.uk
Eoin Stephens Psychotherapist – www.eoinstephens.com
Addictive Behaviours & Sex Addiction Private Counselling – www.addictivebehaviours.ie

Addiction Recovery Centers 
The Rutland Centre – www.rutlandcentre.ie
Aiseiri – www.aiseiri.ie
Cuan Mhuire – www.cuanmhuire.ie
Smarmore Castle Private Rehabilitation Clinic – www.smarmore-rehab-clinic.com
6 Day UK Intensive Sex Addiction Recovery Course –  www.paulahall.co.uk

Online Resources
The Kickstart Recovery Guide -21 Page Recovery Workbook –  www.sexaddictionhelp.co.uk
The Fortify Programme – Online Pornography Recovery course – www.fortifyprogram.org/
Fight The New Drug – Pornography Awareness & Education- www.fightthenewdrug.org
8 week online course for Porn Addiction – www.paulahall.co.uk/services/addiction-recovery/
Sex Addiction Education & Information – www.paulahall.co.uk
The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity – www.atsac.co.uk

Recommended Reading List of Sexual Addiction Recovery & Self Help Books for Addicts & Partners

One day….or day one, you decide.

Sexual Addiction Recovery & Self Help Books for Addicts & Partners

Sexual Addiction Recovery & Self Help Books for Addicts & Partners

Contrary to what many clients and partners believe when they initially come for counselling for sexual addiction, there are in fact many self help and recovery related books on the subject. As new research continues to emerge so to does the variety of literature and understanding in the field. Below is a shortlist of some of the many books for anyone seeking information, understanding, recovery or help for sexual addiction and pornography addiction. I strongly recommend to anyone who is struggling with problematic sexual behaviours, sex or pornography addiction to start to understand, through reading, how the problem is effecting you, your partner and your life. Knowledge is power.

Most of the below books are available on Amazon.com and are downloadable on Kindle.

Sex Addiction – The Partners Perspective by Paula Hall, UK (2015) *Recommended Reading*

Understanding and Treating Sex Addictions: A Comprehensive Guide for People who Struggle with  Sex Addiction and those who  want to Help Them by Paula Hall, UK (2012) *Recommended Reading*

Always Turned On: Facing Sex Addiction in the Digital Age by R.Weiss & J.P Schneider (14 Jan 2014)

Breaking the Cycle: Free Yourself from Sex Addiction, Porn Obsessinos and Shame by G. Collins (2011)

Contrary to Love: Helping the Sexual Addict by Patrick Carnes (1994)

Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men by Robert Weiss (2005)

Cybersex Exposed: Simple Fantasy or Obsession? by J. Schneider & R. Weiss (2001)

Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction by Susan Cheever (2009)

Disclosing Secrets: When, to Whom, and How Much to Reveal by Deborah Cor-ley and Jennifer Schneider (2012)

Don’t Call It Love: Recovery from Sexual Addiction by Patrick Carnes (1992)

Facing the Shadows – Starting Sexual & Relationship Recovery Workbook by Patrick Carnes (2015) *Recommended Reading*

A Gentle Path Through the Twelve Steps: The Classic Guide for All People in the Process of Recovery by P.Carnes (2012)

In the Shadows of the Net: Breaking Free of Compulsive Online Sexual Behaviour by P. Carnes, D. Delmonico, E. Griffin (2007)

Is It Love or is it Addiction by Brenda Schaeffer (2009)

Lonely All the Time: Recognizing, Understanding and Overcoming Sex Addiction, for Addicts and Codependents by R.Earle & G.  Crow (1989)

Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction by Patrick Carnes (2001)

Pornified: How Pornography is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families by Pamela Paul (2010)

Say Yes to Your Sexual Healing: Daily Meditations for Overcoming Sex Addiction by Leo Booth (2009)

Sex Addiction 101: A Basic Guide to Healing from Sex, Porn, and Love Addiction by R.Weiss and D.Sack (2013)

Sex Addictions And Real Life Stories | Help and Healing for the Sex Addict by T.D. Johnston (2012)

Sex Addicts Anonymous by Sex Addicts Anonymous Fellowship (2009)

Stop Sex Addiction by Milton S. Magness (2013)

The Sex Addiction Workbook: Proven Strategies to Help You Regain Control of Your Life by T.P Sbraga & W.T O’Donoghue  (2004)

The Teen Guide to Recovery from Sex and Porn Addiction: Based on Dr. P Carnes ‘Innovative Thirty Task Treatment Model  (Jan  2014)

Untangling the Web: Sex, Porn and Fanstasy Obsesssion in the Internet Age by J. Schneider and R. Weiss (2006)

 

Related reading for partners, spouses and couples;   

Sex Addiction – The Partners Perspective by Paula Hall, UK (2015)

A Couple’s Guide to Sexual Addiction: A Step-by-Step Plan to Rebuild Trust and Restore Intimacy by P. Collins and G. N.  Collins (2011)

Facing Heartache: Steps to Recovery for Partners of Sex Addicts by S. Carnes, M.A. Lee & A.D Rodriguez (2012)

Intimate Treason: Healing the Trauma for Partners Confronting Sex Addiction by C. Black and C. Tripodi (2012)

A House Interrupted: A Wife’s Story of Recovering from Her Husband’s Sex Addiction by Maurita Corcoran (2011)

Claiming Your Self-esteem: Guide Out of Co-dependency, Addiction and Other Useless Habits by Carolyn M. Ball (1991)

Escape from Intimacy: Untangling the “Love” Addictions: Sex, Romance, Relationships by Anne Wilson Schaef(1990)

Letters To A Sex Addict: The Journey through Grief and Betrayal by Wendy Conquest (2013)

Lonely All the Time: Recognizing, Understanding and Overcoming Sex Addiction, for Addicts and Co-Dependents by R. Earle, G.  Crow & K.  Osborn  (1989

Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey Through Sexual Addiction by S. W Silverman

Love, Infidelity, and Sexual Addiction: A Co-dependent’s Perspective – Including Cybersex Addiction by Christine A.  Adams (2009)

Mending a Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts by S. Carnes (2011)

Pornified: How Pornography is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families by Pamela Paul (2010)

Relationships from Addiction to Authenticity: Understanding Co-Sex Addiction – A Spiritual Journey to Wholeness and Serenity  by C. Pletcher & S. Bartolameolli (2008)

Sex, Addictions, and Marriage: The Importance of Sexual Integrity by David J. Shock (2013)

Soaring Above Co-Addiction. Helping your loved one get clean, while creating the Life of your Dreams by Lisa Ann Espich  (2012)

Stop Sex Addiction: Real Hope, True Freedom for Sex Addicts and Partners by Milton S. Magness (2013)

The Porn Trap: A Guide to Healing from Porn Addiction, for Sufferers and Their Loved Ones by W. Maltz (2009)

Women, Sex, and Addiction: A Search for Love and Power by C. Davis Kasl, Ph.D (1990)

Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope & Heal by B.Steffens & M.Means (2009)

You can also find UK based information, resources and intensive recovery courses at www.paulahall.co.uk and sexaddictionhelp.co.uk

Download your first steps 19 page Kick Start Recovery guide by Paula Hall.

If you would like to find out about private personal counselling for sex or pornography addiction in Kildare, visit www.addictivebehaviours.ie and www.orlaghgahan.ie. 

Pornography & Sexual Addiction – Signs, Symptoms and Getting Help

Pornography addiction is a form of sexual addiction which is a process or behavioural addiction. Sex addiction is growing and becoming increasingly prevalent and problematic for many people in Ireland. The instantaneous availability of pornography, sexually explicit content, sex workers and online dating and hook up sites online makes sexual addiction more prevalent, in-particular since the introduction of tablets and smartphones.

Habitual, long-term, compulsive and impulsive use of pornography effects people in various ways. For many, pornography use damages healthy relationships, intimacy and mental and emotional health. The characteristics of problematic behaviour and addiction develop over time as individuals struggle to maintain their health and relationships. Pornography is deeply impacting and influencing some of our younger generations understanding and perception of healthy loving sex and sexuality. Ongoing exposure to pornography in a young person or adult can cause unrealistic attitudes and understanding of sex and create anxiety and internal stress regarding relationships and sexual performance. Unhealthy use of pornography can cause sexual dysfunction and intimacy disorders and in some instances leave to illegal behaviours and sexual offending.

Pornography is not automatically problematic. However, it is the association and level of use of pornography and the impact it is having on the individuals life which defines it as healthy or unhealthy. Habitual, impulsive and compulsive use of online pornography can lead to dependence and addiction thus taking the addict further and further away from themselves and others. Getting regular personal addiction counselling and attending Twelve Step Support groups to overcome pornography and sexual addiction are an alternative to residential addiction treatment centers.

Counselling provides individual one to one therapeutic support to individuals who are struggling with problematic, unhealthy or addictive sexual behaviours. The counselling approach is supportive, direct and gently challenging and is often a longer term process. Confidentiality, encouragement and unconditional positive regard are at the core of addiction counselling work. Breaking the cycle of secrecy and shame is the first step towards getting help. Early intervention is vital in breaking the cycle of problematic and unhealthy behaviours which can escalate over time.

Typically, sex with our selves or others starts us off, and just as in other addictions, it dissolves tension, relieves depression, resolves conflicts or provides  the means to cope with difficult life situations or take an action that seemed impossible before’.        (Sexaholics Anonymous, 1989:35)

Other process addictions are associated with food, sex, exercising, gaming and hoarding. Addictions associated with food and sex are considered more complex in that the addict cannot essentially survive without either food or sex as they are basic drives, instinctive and fundamental to life. It is this complexity which makes recovery from such dependencies sometimes more challenging. In addition, sexual addiction often coexists with other addictions or long term issues. Sex addiction is an invisible addiction and often goes unnoticed by partners and family for extensive periods of time. Sex may be identified as sex with self, sex with others or both.

Secrecy, shame, fear and embarrassment often envelope and conceal pornography and sexual addiction as partners and friends are unaware of their loved ones escalating and perpetuating behaviour. In many instances a strong sense of entitlement or reward distorts the addicts thinking process. Availability, accessibility and opportunity to access online sexual content have lead to a significant increase in problematic sexual behaviours and relationship breakdown. In many instances, pornography fuels exploration or preoccupation of other sexual activities both online and off-line. Excessive and prolonged use of pornography, sexual acting out or engaging in sexual relations (physical, non-physical and online) can lead to sexual addiction. Those effected are primarily male and they may or may not be in a relationship. It is recommended that attending personal counselling, support groups and relationship counselling are beneficial to successful long term recovery.

Orlagh addresses the following areas with clients in Pornography Addiction counselling;

  •    Identifying the problem
  •    Types of sexual addictions
  •    Self Assessment
  •    Functions of the Addiction
  •    Emotional, mental and psychological impact
  •    Brief Intervention
  •    Crisis Management in Relationships
  •    Denial & Rationalisation
  •    Triggers & Habits
  •    Stages of recovery
  •    Recovery process
  •    The Therapeutic Process
  •    Effects on Relationships
  •    Shame & Secrecy
  •    Healthy Sexuality
  •    Compulsive Masturbation
  •    Challenges & Resistance
  •    Motivations to Change
  •    Psychosexual Education
  •    Goals and Expectations

Counselling for Partners and Spouses

Personal counselling provides emotional support, understanding and coping mechanisms in a safe and supportive space to men and women effected by their partners sexual behaviour, infidelity or pornography use. Very often it can feel difficult to share with friends or family the private and intimate details of our closest relationship and the effect your partners behaviour or recent disclosure may be having on you personally. Counselling provides a space to explore and express the spectrum of emotions you may be experiencing such as hurt, shock, fear or confusion and how you can deal with your relationship situation going forward. Counselling may be short term brief intervention in times of crisis or disclosure from their partner or longer term personal therapy depending on each clients needs and the level of support they feel necessary at that time.

What is Sexual Addiction

The term ‘Sexual Addiction’ is used to described out-of-control, damaging sexual behaviour. Terms such as ‘sexually compulsive behaviour’ and ‘sexual dependency’ are also used to describe the same problem. As sexual addiction can take so many different forms we often use the plural term “sexual addictions” in our work. The sexual addict may engage in or feel compelled to seek out a variety of sexual behaviour and activities despite the negative consequences this may have on his or her personal life and physical or mental health. Often the addict makes continued failed attempts to stop their behaviour.

Signs of Sexual addiction and pornography addiction

  1. A pattern of out-of-control sexual behaviour;
  2. Severe consequences due to sexual behaviour;
  3. Inability to stop despite adverse consequences;
  4. Persistent pursuit of self-destructive or high-risk behaviour;
  5. Ongoing desire or effort to limit sexual behaviour;
  6. Sexual obsession and fantasy as a primary coping strategy;
  7. Increasing amounts of sexual experience because the current level of activity is no longer sufficient;
  8. Severe mood changes around sexual activity;
  9. Inordinate amounts of time spent in obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experience;
  10. Neglect of important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of sexual behaviour.
    (P. Carnes, 1991)

Getting help for sexual addiction:

Getting help for a sexual addiction is similar to getting help for any other addiction or personal problem. It starts with a realisation or an acknowledgement that there is a problem which you are struggling to deal. Often this is the result of negative consequences to your behaviour such as a discovery or disclosure. Early prevention or intervention is crucial to ensuring that an addictive behaviour does not develop and escalate. In Ireland, there are a number of ways which someone can get help for a sexual addiction. Below are some suggestions;

  • Attending personal counselling with an addiction counsellor.
  • Speak to your GP about your problem in confidence.
  • Attend group support such as  Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous or Sexaholics Anonymous.
  • Residential treatment centres are available for sexual addictions.
  • Educate yourself through reading book, listening to audiobooks and learning about sex and porn addiction.
  • Engage in regular Relationship amd Couples Counselling.
  • Use online resources for sexual addiction and pornography addiction such as support groups and organisations.
  • Talk to your partner or a close friend about how you are feeling.
  • Do not keep putting off getting help.
  • Set simple absence goals and develop healthy behaviours.
  • Find ways to manage and reduce stress.
  • Complementary health therapies help promote relaxation, self-care and stress management

Twelve Step Support Groups in Ireland for sex addiction:

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA)
Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) 

Orlagh is a Sex Addiction Counsellor at The Centre for Sexual Addictions and a member of ATSAC The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity. She provides private counselling to individuals, partners and couples for pornography addiction and related behaviour. Orlagh’s approach places strong emphasis on sexual health promotion, healthy sexuality, education and awareness. As addiction is mostly a long term problem developed over a long period of time, counselling is best attended for an extended period of time to support the recovery process.

 

Addiction & Twelve Step Support Groups in Ireland

Addiction & Twelve Step Support Groups in Ireland
Everyday in Ireland there are support groups and Twelve Step Anonymous support groups for individuals and family members effected or impacted by addiction and problematic behaviours. These are often open or closed meetings and can be attended daily. Unlike many mental health services in Ireland, there is no waiting list or requirements to attend these daily meetings, simply a desire to seek out support from others who understand what you or your loved ones are going through.
Resources & Support Groups in Ireland

Addiction Counsellors of Ireland | www.addictioncounsellors.ie
Alcohol Action Ireland | www.alcoholireland.ie
Alcohol Help | www.drinkhelp.ie
Alcoholics Anonymous | www.alcoholicsanonymous.ie
Al-Anon & Alateen Ireland | Support for families of alcoholics | www.al-anon-ireland.org/
Anon & Alateen Ireland | Support for families and friends of alcoholics | www.al-anon-ireland.org
Cocaine Anonymous Ireland | www.caireland.info
Co-dependents Anonymous Ireland | www.codaireland.com
Drink Aware | www.drinkaware.ie
Drugs | Drug & Alcohol Information & Support | www.drugs.ie
Food Addicts Anonymous | www.foodaddictsanonymous.org
Gamble Aware | www.gambleaware.ie
Gamblers Anonymous Ireland | www.gamblersanonymous.ie
Gam-Anon UK & Ireland | www.gamanon.org.uk/
Irish Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy | www.iacp.ie
LifeRing – Sobriety from Alcohol & Substances | www.dublinlifering.com
Narcotics Anonymous | www.na-ireland.org
Overeaters Anonymous | www.overeatersanonymous.ie
The Centre for Sexual Addictions | www.centresexualaddictions.com
Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous | www.slaaireland.org
Sexaholics Anonymous | SA Ireland | www.saireland.com
S-Anon | Support for partners of Sexaholics | www.sanon.org/meetings/meetingsireland.html

Residential Addiction Treatments Centres in Ireland

The Rutland Centre | www.rutlandcentre.ie
Aiseiri | www.aiseiri.ie
Cuan Mhuire | www.cuanmhuire.ie
Smarmore Castle Private Rehabilitation Clinic | www.smarmore-rehab-clinic.com

Find out more about private one to one addiction counselling in Kildare at www.orlaghgahan.ie

Sex & Pornography Addiction | Free UK Self Help Recovery Resource

The Kick Start Recovery Programme has been created by Paula Hall in the UK to offer the many thousands of people who struggle with sex addiction and pornography addiction with a reliable and tested self help solution. For some it will be a useful information resource and source of education and self assessment regarding sexual addiction while for others hopefully it will kick start a personal journey of long term recovery which may include ongoing support such as personal counselling or therapy and 12 step support groups. To download this valuable and highly recommended free 21 page Kick Start Recovery Resource visit www.sexaddictionhelp.co.uk

To get professional Counselling for Sexual Addiction and Pornography addiction in Kildare or online via SKYPE you can book online or visit www.orlaghgahan.ie

The Centre for Addictive & Problematic Behaviours

Today, we are delighted to launch our new website for The Centre for Addictive & Problematic Behaviours, visit www.addictivebehaviours.ie. The centre is a private counselling & psychotherapy practice which provides a range of therapeutic services to adults troubled by or affected by problematic or addictive behaviours and any associated emotional problems.

Problematic behaviours are those behaviours that are causing difficulty in our lives because they are distressing to ourselves or to others. They may lead to emotional problems, health problems, marital problems, legal problems etc. We may also find that when we try to control or stop these behaviours that we are no longer able to. In such cases, the behaviour may have become an addiction. These behavioural problems and behavioural addictions tend to occur in areas that we find highly rewarding

Common problem areas are;

  • Gambling
  • Sexual Behaviour
  • Pornography
  • Food
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Gaming

Our aim is to facilitate support, understanding, change and growth to individuals struggling with addictive and problematic behaviours.          Orlagh Gahan

For more information I invite you to visit our new www.addictivebehaviours.ie

When Porn Becomes A Problem by Kate Holmquist via The Irish Times

In today’s Irish Times, Kate Holmquist explores in length the problem that Pornography causes in an Irish context and she shares the thoughts of a number of Psychotherapists around Ireland on this pressing and unavoidable subject in today’s tech savvy society.

When Porn Becomes A Problem by Kate Holmquist via The Irish Times 

If you need help or support for problematic use of pornography or sexual addiction contact me directly or The Centre For Sexual Addictions, Dublin www.centresexualaddictions.com

Irish Country Living: Dear Miriam, I found out that my husband is watching porn…

In this weeks Farmers Journal, Irish Country Living Magazine, I talked to Dear Miriam about one readers relationship dilemma.

Dear Miriam,

I would be grateful if you could advise me please. Not so long ago, I found out my husband of almost six years has been watching porn. I just can’t get it into my head why he does this. I feel cheated for some reason, why, I don’t know. We have two beautiful children and I thought we had a good relationship. I feel I can’t trust him anymore as my feelings for him have changed. I have confronted him about this, but he says nothing. I am writing to you in confidence. Thank you. Anon

IrishCountryLivingDearMiriam 30.7.15Dear Anon,

Thank you for your letter. I’m sure that you must be very confused and upset at this time, so to give you the best advice possible I have been in touch with Orlagh Gahan, who is a Psychotherapist at The Centre for Sexual Addictions in Dublin and in private practice at orlaghgahan.ie.

 

 

To continue reading this article visit Irish Farmers Journal online – click here

 

Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial