16 Principles of Recovery

Phineas 808

Respected Member
I'm 100 days into my own recovery/reboot effort, without P, PMO, MO, and with minimal p-subs or edging. I've also hit lengthy streaks before as well.

What tips can I offer others to help them be more sucessful in their journey?

Each of these principles have helped me in my own successful recovery efforts. And these should be thought of in the following context:

Addiction: trigger/cue > urge + repetitious response = stronger habit/addiction.

Freedom: trigger/cue > urge + repetitious non-response, or a different response = habit change.



16 Principles of Recovery

1. Approach social media, or entertainment with vigilance, without being overly restrictive.

Identify what trips you up: Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Pinterest, simply getting online (computer or cell phone), T.V., movies, music (audio)?

Know your enemy, know yourself. But don't be legalistic or overly restrictive. Learn to see the problem not as an outside force controlling you, but as all from within you, and under your power to control.

Don't set yourself up for failure, but then don't disempower yourself by placing all the blame on social media or entertainment.

Social media = in-and-out, unless purposeful, mindful.

2. Envision yourself as your new identity, not the past addicted self.

Are you an addict? Are you a porn-user? We may have an addiction, but we are not that addiction. This isn't like in AA or NA, where once an addict always an addict, even though you've not used in years!

We want to avoid recoveryism as from disease-models of addiction (12-Step type models). See yourself as recovered, or recovering. Have an end-goal in mind, what life will be like without this habit. See yourself as clean, see yourself as free. Imagine what life will be like without these unwanted behaviors. Visualize yourself before sleep as this brand new person.

Begin to say, I am a man (or woman) who does not use pornography, masturbate, or lust.

Note: if the 12-Step type of groups or recovery helps you, I'm not knocking it!

3. Don't think about it.

Attention reveals intention. Even if you're thinking about "your recovery", you're still thinking about your unwanted habits. Once you set your intentions (daily), pay it no mind.

Set it and forget it. The 'Porn is not an option' mindset.

4. Dismiss urges through mindfulness.

When urges come, be aware of them as an outside observer, nonjudgmentally. Be aware of your pulse, your heart-rate, if breathing is shallow, and when this calms down. Focus on deep breathing, until the urge passes. Repeat the above for any returning urges.

The sine qua non of habit change!

5. Reframe 'triggers' as cues.

The concept of 'triggers' is disempowering. It gives too much power to outside circumstances, emotional states, or past trauma.

Cues are different, as being outside stimuli that simply remind us of our habit. They're like ringing a bell, and Pavlov's dog drooling as a result. This is natural, and the urges have no power to make you do anything. You are always in control, not the habit, when we realize this.

Taking back our power is through recognizing this!

6. Know when urges are from a deeper emotional need.

Sometimes we're cued toward a habitual response, and we can dismiss it easily enough. Other times, the cue is from a deeper emotional need. Can we assess this about ourselves?

If we determine that the urges are coming from a deeper drive, spiritual or emotional, what can we do? If you're spiritual, you can pray and/or meditate, or reach out and connect with loved ones.

7. Use spouse to offset strong urges.

There is no wrong or harm done if when undergoing strong urges, in turning to your wife and working it out with her. Don't fear 'chaser effect', as you're rewiring toward 'real-world' sex.

Deal with 'chaser-effect' urges as prescribed above, mindfully.

8. Discover the space between cue and response.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

~ Viktor E. Frankl

Because of this fact, you should overcome this thing without porn-filters, porn-blockers, without support groups, accountability partners, or other disempowering approaches.

Taking back our power from the addiction is in this secret of discovering that space between cue and response.

9. Admiring beauty is not lust.

If a woman is beautiful, acknowledge it. It's okay. Then, don't dwell on it. Don't obsess over it. You're in control now, not a dog trying to sniff other dog's butts! Determine if your drive to lust in public is anxiety, or from a deeper emotional need.

10. Increase resilience and endurance.

Some take cold showers, others wait before opening an app they have notifications on. Intermitent fasting, too, helps to train ourselves.

Find different ways to delay the reward.

This helps to build endurance for when it counts in the moment when urges arise, we can make better choices in dismissing them.

11. Set goals that work for you.

Setting a lengthy goal is admirable, even desirable, 90 days, 120 days, a year... But the goal can seem insurmountable, or unrealistic to us. Keep the lengthy goal, but break it up into bite-size mini-goals. An example, my goal of 120 days divides up into 15 sets of 8-day goals.

In this vein, know what is a reset for you. Don't compromise on this, and you'll have a better uncompromising reboot/recovery.

12. Reinforce and refocus motivation and resolve.

Can you look yourself in the eye? Can you grab yourself by the throat? Can you have a dead-dog determination?

(I'm not talking about being too hard on yourself, or not being self-compassionate! But self-accountable)

Are you a serial-relapser?

Again, if unable to reach a lengthy streak, evaluate your plan, and/or level of commitment.

That's what it's going to take to break this habit, and this has to be constantly and consistently maintained. If you see yourself compromising (p-subs, edging), refocus.

Some write out lists of benefits in quitting, and the consequences of failure.

13. Give and receive support.

Don't be affraid to reach out to others in their journals and offer support. Even if your own efforts aren't perfect, you never know who may need the encouragement.

If you're struggling, and others offer support- learn to accept it from the place it's given. Some have strong personalities, or are having success, and so come off a little sharp. Instead of rejecting their help, maybe their strong words can help motivate you?

But if it's ugly feeling, like they're a jerk, you can always block them. Your approach is all your own, your method will be different from others, and we're all here to support each other.

Our unwanted behaviors make us so narcissistic, that it does us good to help others besides ourselves.

14. How to bounce back quickly after a lapse or slip:

Seeing the cause of a lapse as all from within yourself. Don't blame it on outside circumstances, triggers, or stress. The sooner you see this, the sooner you'll bounce back, and the less times you'll lapse.

Taking responsibility is part of taking back power!

15. Change the meaning porn has for you.

What is it in porn, masturbation or lust that draws us back, other than the habit? Do we see it as meeting some deeper need or issue? See P, PMO, and MO for what it is, fantasy! All it can offer is a few moments of pleasure, followed by years of regret, a failed marriage, and a limp noodle.

16. Change your habits now, emotional healing is separate and can come later.

You don't have to first resolve what happened to your five year old self, or untangle the subconscious. You can find freedom now. We worked ourselves into this habit or addiction by each little decision, and now we have to walk back out in the same way, one decision at a time.

We do this by changing our habits, and when those are no longer compelling us, we can work on the other issues.
 
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Phineas 808

Respected Member
@ Chris ~

5 and 13 speaks a lot to me.

Yes, mindfulness as dismissing urges, and sharpening our motivation or resolve are the backbone of any serious reboot done properly.

Consider what the opposite of these are, mindlessly falling into the habit or outer habits that lead to PMO. Or, constantly trying to fight urges head on, only strengthening them, being judgmental toward oneself, which doesn't help. And of course, when we start giving in, our resolve gets weakened.

These differences are not minor either, they may mean years of fighting versus overcoming the habit in a matter of months.
 
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escapeandnevercomeback

Guest
Yes, mindfulness as dismissing urges, and sharpening our motivation or resolve are the backbone of any serious reboot done properly.

Consider what the opposite of these are, mindlessly falling into the habit or outer habits that lead to PMO. Or, constantly trying to fight urges head on, only strengthening them, being judgmental toward oneself, which doesn't help. And of course, when we start giving in, our resolve gets weakened.

These differences are not minor either, they may mean years of fighting versus overcoming the habit in a matter of months.

Definitely, man. Urges come when you crave porn and/or you engage with porn or hypersexual thoughts. But they have this tendency to make us think that this is what we need, that it's an emergency and we must act right away. The truth is that it won't kill us or harm us in any way. The craving is the addicted brain, not us but we must understand and accept the fact that we won't experience the pleasure of dopamine released by porn ever again and this creates sadness, it's like losing your closest friend.
 

Leonidas

Active Member
Just wanted to drop a word in gratitude for your great work on the 16 steps.  Seems to have come at a critical juncture, for me in any case.  :)
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
...they have this tendency to make us think that this is what we need, that it's an emergency and we must act right away. The truth is that it won't kill us or harm us in any way. The craving is the addicted brain, not us but we must understand and accept the fact that we won't experience the pleasure of dopamine released by porn ever again and this creates sadness, it's like losing your closest friend.

Indeed. These cravings and urges arise from the primal survival parts of our brain (the 'lower brain', or the 'beast-brain'), where appetites are stored, as well as the memories of pleasure.

Any cue out there (and cues change over time + non-response) will illicit these urges, and they come so strong at times that, like you said, you think that you'll die if you don't satisfy them! But they have to get the permission of the prefrontal cortex, the rational and decision making part of the brain.

You always have veto power when it comes to urges!
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Just wanted to drop a word in gratitude for your great work on the 16 steps.  Seems to have come at a critical juncture, for me in any case.  :)

Definitely, Leonidas!

Grateful if this comes as a cache of weapons, dropped down in your own battlefield in the nick of time!

Victory in your journey!
 

King Leer

Active Member
Attention reveals intention. I agree with this 💯. Very well put when I relapsed after 28 days that day a lot of my attention was spent thinking about lustful things, then watch p-subs.  Finally my intention was revealed.  Congrats on your 100 days I am happy for you
 
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escapeandnevercomeback

Guest
King Leer said:
Attention reveals intention. I agree with this 💯. Very well put when I relapsed after 28 days that day a lot of my attention was spent thinking about lustful things, then watch p-subs.  Finally my intention was revealed.  Congrats on your 100 days I am happy for you

That's right, man. Hyper sexualized thoughts bring trouble. It's crucial not to engage with them (porn flashbacks, porn related fantasies etc.) because they create massive craving and urges because they get the dopamine going and once the dopamine goes up, it wants to stay up. When it goes down, it's hard to resist not to raise it again. We probably can't avoid porn flashbacks coming to our head for a period of time but we must walk away from them in the first second or else we're fucked. I know it's easier said than done but very very important thing to do. I've relapsed like this thousand times. It started with me arousing myself to porn from my head then edging to it then looking at pictures... And slowly but surely I binged to hardcore. 
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Thank you, escape!

Important points raised about porn memories, flashbacks and fantasies.

My point in that statement, too, was thinking about it in general as it leads to a white-knuckled approach, where we're always on the edge thinking a relapse is always around the corner.

Many are always thinking about it, to the point where their reboot or recovery is not relaxed, but always hyper-vigilant. And I know we're taking this seriously, and we're making right decisisions to not put ourselves in danger. But if we're always thinking about it, even thoughts against it, we're still giving way too much attention to it.

Once you take care of the careless habits that lead us to relapsing, we should be able to put it out of our minds mostly, and just live our lives. But so many, it's almost all they think about- even though their on day 20, or whatever, and they're not relaxing into their reboot, but are always on the edge, always on the jump-off point.

Does that make sense?
 
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escapeandnevercomeback

Guest
Phineas 808 said:
Thank you, escape!

Important points raised about porn memories, flashbacks and fantasies.

My point in that statement, too, was thinking about it in general as it leads to a white-knuckled approach, where we're always on the edge thinking a relapse is always around the corner.

Many are always thinking about it, to the point where their reboot or recovery is not relaxed, but always hyper-vigilant. And I know we're taking this seriously, and we're making right decisisions to not put ourselves in danger. But if we're always thinking about it, even thoughts against it, we're still giving way too much attention to it.

Once you take care of the careless habits that lead us to relapsing, we should be able to put it out of our minds mostly, and just live our lives. But so many, it's almost all they think about- even though their on day 20, or whatever, and they're not relaxing into their reboot, but are always on the edge, always on the jump-off point.

Does that make sense?

It makes a lot of sense, man. You have an interesting point here. I also think that what I said still stands: Porn will inevitably show up in our head and we must not engage with it. In my case, and I don't think I'm the only one, I could be doing something that has nothing to do with my recovery and then BAM! All of a sudden I see porn right in my head. It's a matter of what you do in the first second. If you start "looking" at it like "A little won't set me back, just 1 minute!" This invites massive troubles. The key is to dismiss it in the first second like "No, I'm good, I don't need this, bye!" Not getting mad at it for showing up, not despairing about it, just looking at it objectively for what it is: A symptom of withdrawal that will go away.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
It's a matter of what you do in the first second. If you start "looking" at it like "A little won't set me back, just 1 minute!" This invites massive troubles. The key is to dismiss it in the first second like "No, I'm good, I don't need this, bye!" Not getting mad at it for showing up, not despairing about it, just looking at it objectively for what it is: A symptom of withdrawal that will go away.

Yes, exactly! Well said.

Sometimes a fleeting thought is just that, and we can easily ignore and dismiss it. Sometimes, it's a stronger throught- maybe backed by an urge. I like how you worded dealing with that first thought...

Someone said, "You can't stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep it from building a nest in your hair."

I think that's so important to chase that thought away if it seeks to linger even for a moment.
 

James3939

New Member
I'm 100 days into my own recovery/reboot effort, without P, PMO, MO, and with minimal p-subs or edging. I've also hit lengthy streaks before as well.

What tips can I offer others to help them be more sucessful in their journey?

Each of these principles have helped me in my own successful recovery efforts. And these should be thought of in the following context:

Addiction: trigger/cue > urge + repetitious response = stronger habit/addiction.

Freedom: trigger/cue > urge + repetitious non-response, or a different response = habit change.

16 Principles of Recovery

1. Don't be in perpetual recovery, or become a serial-relapser.

We want to avoid recoveryism as from disease-models of addiction (12-Step types models). See yourself as recovered, or recovering. Have an end-goal in mind, what life will be like without this habit.

Again, if unable to reach a lengthy streak, evaluate if your plan is working, or the level of commitment.

Note: if the 12-Step type of groups or recovery helps you, I'm not knocking it!

2. How do you identify yourself?

Are you an 'addict'? Are you a porn-user? We may have an addiction, be we are not that addiction. This isn't like in AA, where once an alcoholic always an alcoholic, even though you've not touched a drop in years!

Begin to say, I am a man (or woman) who does not use pornography, masturbate, or lust.

3. The secret of bouncing back immediately after a lapse:

Seeing the cause of a lapse as all from within yourself. Don't blame it on outside circumstances, triggers, or stress. The sooner you see this, the sooner you'll bounce back, and the less times you'll lapse.

4. Avoid white-knuckled struggling by not thinking about it.

Attention often reveals intention. Even if you're thinking about "your recovery" all the time, you're still thinking about it. Once you set your intentions (daily), pay it no mind.

5. Use mindfulness in training yourself to dismiss urges.

When urges come, be aware of them as an outside observer, nonjudgmentally. Be aware of your pulse, your heart-rate, if breathing is shallow, and when this calms down. Focus on deep breathing, until the urge passes. Repeat the above for any returning urges.

6. Admiration of beauty is not lust, know the difference.

If a woman is beautiful, acknowledge it. It's okay. Then, don't dwell on it. Don't obsess over it. You're in control now, not a dog trying to sniff other dog's butts! Determine if your drive to lust in public is anxiety, or from a deeper emotional need.

7. Reframe 'triggers' as cues.

The concept of 'triggers' is disempowering. It gives too much power to outside circumstances, emotional states, or past trauma. Cues are different, as being outside stimuli that simply remind us of our habit. They're like ringing a bell, and Pavlov's dog drooling as a result. This is natural, and the urges have no power to make you do anything. You are always in control, not the habit, when we realize this.

8. Know yourself, are your urges simply the habit, or from a deeper emotional/spiritual place?

Sometimes we're cued toward a habitual response, and we can dismiss it easily enough. Other times, the cue is from a deeper emotional need. Can we assess this about ourselves?

If we determine that the urges are coming from a deeper drive, spiritual or emotional, what can we do? If you're spiritual, you can pray and/or meditate, or reach out and connect with loved ones.

9. Where possible, use spouse to offset strong urges.

There is no wrong or harm done if when undergoing strong urges, in turning to your wife and working it out with her. Don't fear 'chaser effect', as you're rewiring toward 'real-world' sex.

Deal with 'chaser-effect' urges as prescribed above, mindfully.

10. Discover that sweet spot between cues and reactions.

?Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.?

? Viktor E. Frankl

11. Train toward delayed reward and greater endurance.

Some take cold showers (not me!), others wait before opening an app they have notifications on. Intermitent fasting, too, helps to train ourselves.

This helps to build endurance for when it counts in the moment when urges arise, we can make better choices in dismissing them.

12. How to use goals that work for you.

Setting a lengthy goal is admirable, even desirable, 90 days, 120 days, a year... But the goal can seem insurmountable, or unrealistic to us. Keep the lengthy goal, but break it up into bite-size mini-goals. An example, my goal of 120 days divides up into 15 sets of 8-day goals.

In this vein, know what is a reset for you. Don't compromise on this, and you'll have a better uncompromising reboot/recovery.

13. Strengthen and refocus motivation and resolve.

Can you look yourself in the eye? Can you grab yourself by the throat (nonjudgmentally)? Can you have a dead-dog determination?

That's what it's going to take to break this habit, and this has to be constantly maintained. If you see yourself compromising (P-subs, edging), refocus.

Some write out lists of benefits in quitting, and the consequences of failure.

14. Giving and receiving support.

Don't be affraid to reach out to others in their journals and offer support. Even if your own efforts aren't perfect, you never know who may need the encouragement.

If you're struggling, and others offer support- learn to accept it from the place it's given. Some have strong personalities, or are having success, and so come off a little sharp. Instead of rejecting their help, maybe their strong words can help motivate you?

But if it's ugly feeling, like they're a jerk, you can always block them. Your approach is all your own, your method will be different from others, and we're all here to support each other.

15. Change what porn means to you.

What is it in porn, masturbation or lust that draws us back, other than the habit? Do we see it as meeting some deeper need or issue? See P, PMO, and MO for what it is, fantasy! All it can offer is a few moments of pleasure, followed by years of regret, a failed marriage, and a limp noodle.

16. See this as simple habit-change, and don't link it to your emotional states, stress, or past trauma.

You don't have to first resolve what happened at five years old, or untangle the subconscious. You can find freedom now. We worked ourselves into this habit or addiction by the little decisions, and now we have to walk our way back out.

We do this by changing our habits, and when those are no longer compelling us, we can work on the other issues.
This very helpful! Thank you. I’ve been struggling with this for a while. Boredom and going into auto pilot has always been my downfall.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
This very helpful! Thank you. I’ve been struggling with this for a while. Boredom and going into auto pilot has always been my downfall.

Thank you, James!

Yes, you'll see that the 'auto-pilot' you mention is mindlessness, the opposite of mindfulness (awareness) mentioned above.

Boredom will come, but after a while, you'll find other more healthy and satisfying things to do instead.

Be well!
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Please note: I reworded the sub-titles of each principal above, simplifying and making them more direct and impactful.

Thank you all.
 
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