I use porn but so do most people, how do I know if I am addicted?
Not everyone who looks at porn is a sex addict, just like not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic. Take the Sex Addiction Quiz which will give you an indication of whether an addiction is present.
Isn’t viewing porn better than having an affair?
Is snorting cocaine better than smoking pot? The issue is not whether one way of avoiding reality is better or worse than another, but that you are enslaved to something that is harming your life.
I started meeting with a friend of mine once a week for accountability. I am hopeful that this will heal the porn addiction.
The problem is not porn. Porn use is your solution to the real problem and the real problem is deeper than you know. Porn addiction is called an ‘intimacy disorder’ which means that those who are addicted to porn don’t really know what it means to be truly intimate with another person. As long as you focus solely on stopping your porn use, you are avoiding the deeper issue which drives you to choose fantasy over reality. Meeting with a friend once a week will not get to the root of the disease and you will end up battling the symptoms rather than eliminating the virus.
I’ve tried countless times to quit, why should this time be any different?
If you have a virus the doctor will often give you an antibiotic and tell you to take it for 10 days. If, after two days, you feel better and quit taking the medication, the virus often returns. If you then say, ‘I’ve tried antibiotics and they don’t work’, you would only be telling a partial truth, because you tried antibiotics your way, not the way they were prescribed. The same is true of recovery. We often dismiss a remedy before we’ve actually taken the full dose. The the AA Big Book supports this, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path”. The key word in that sentence is ‘thoroughly’.
What if I enter recovery only because my spouse has forced me?
Your attitude doesn’t affect the outcome. If you take the antibiotics under compulsion, they will still work. The program of recovery works if you take certain steps, even if you hate every step. Every addict enters recovery with mixed motives and most of us only partially want to give up our drug. It’s okay. Many have been where you are now, and they are living purposeful, peaceful lives because they were willing to take certain steps.
My stuff is really bad. I’ve seen things on the internet and done things that I haven’t told anyone about and if they knew they’d most certainly reject me.
Addiction thrives in isolation. You may allude to a problem with a friend but nobody knows the whole truth of who you are and what you’ve done. This way of living perpetuates the cycle of addiction because you believe that if anyone knew the whole truth, you would be universally shunned. You are not alone. Every addict has shameful secrets.
What do I do now?
Take the Sex Addiction Quiz to determine how addicted you might be. Ask for help from someone who understands addiction and what it takes to recover. Too often friends or family try to help, but their well meaning advice leaves you feeling isolated and ashamed.