Great video / resource describing the impact of porn

More and more research is being done on the neurological impact on the brain...the following video from Gary Wilson/TEDx is a great resource showing the problem of porn and its addictive features. The great dilemma / juxtaposition is responsibly vs addiction. Porn is addictive therefore someone caught up in porn / sex addiction becomes powerless. But there still exists responsibility because others are always impacted. So where does this leave the person caught up in addition as well as the family? The most important step is asking for help. That is where change starts to happen.


When to Engage and when to Withdraw

There is something so profound in working through the steps in the larger 12 step community. For so many, it is life changing because it is truly a program of action. To work the steps literally requires "work". It means stepping out of our comfort zone in ways that we normally would never have imaged. The beauty of the program is the community of people that have gone before you and are willing to let you go at your own pace. 

Al Anon is one of those 12 step programs. In many ways, it is a program on learning how to be in relationship to others around us. The tool of detachment is one of the most helpful tools Al Anon has to offer. Al Anon has a lot to say on the subject of detachment. Detachment is the idea of stepping away when you sense chaos, control, or intensity. A phrase often used is "don't pick up the rope". The heart behind detachment is letting go of control and allowing another person to maintain "their own side of the street". Al Anon encourages detachment "in love" and not in abandonment or neglect. In a sense, it acknowledges that we are not God therefore we will step out of the way and let God be God to that other person. But it doesn't stop there. 

The program also encourages us to look at our part or "our side of the street". I believe the heart behind any 12 step program is relationship. So much of the program is about re-engaging others when there often times has been a great deal of discord. In a sense, we detach from the negative cycle / relationship in order to get our bearings in how to re-engage when it is safe and calm to do so. It is during these times that we take an honest account of our part in the relationship. It is only after this that we can really own "our part". This then allows to be ready to engage.

One the most impactful moments is often found in "making amends". It can be a very risky and vulnerable process. Re-engaging with a person puts yourself at a place of powerlessness. We really do not know how the other person will respond. Will they accept us, shame us, or ignore us? This is the real crux of relationship. We cannot control others and what they feel. But we often try by hiding our real feelings or dismissing them entirely. So much of our relationship struggles are really rooted in fear. Fear isn't necessary bad and in many ways it is very good because it helps us access our needs. We need to be affirmed, valued and assured that we matter. But we really can't do this unless we make the first step by re-engaging.

All in all, the beauty of a community that practices making amends is that you get to hear stories along the way the inspire and motivate. Otherwise, we are doing it alone and life is just not made to live solo. 

Addiction...part of the story but not the whole story

What if we could live in a community where there was no judgment? What if we could be surrounded by people that would not label us as such and such? What if we could walk into a room of 50 people that knew every detail of our story and accept us just as we are in that moment?  There is a place for naming our struggles because it helps us name the problem.
We have to remember though that these names don't define us. These names are not our essence. I love a quote by Brennan Manning which says, "I'm Brennan. I'm an alcoholic. How I got there, why I left there, why I went back, is the story of my life. But it is not the whole story."

We are more than a label because a label doesn't do justice to our story and our humanness. I have been refreshed by the approach used in Emotionally Focused Therapy that we see people in a non-pathologizing way. This means that we first see the person not the problem or diagnosis. Otherwise, the relationship could end up not being safe. Certainly, there is a place to talk about the struggles and all that comes with it. It is important to name the problem but it doesn't have to end there. The main thing is that we can't lose sight of who we are and whose we are.

I believe this is a general truth in life. It is connection over correction.

We are all addicts..

Richard Rohr mentions in his book "Breathing Under Water" that we are all addicts. He believes it is a universal struggle. It speaks to our human nature and our brokenness. The reality is that we are broken and messy people. When you look at all the things out there to be addicted to...like drugs, sex, social media, video gaming, shopping and even religion is can be overwhelming. So what does it look like to be in recovery? I believe looking into and working the 12 steps can help answer that question.

1. We admitted we were powerless over addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God 

as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

This version of the 12 steps is an adaptation from the original 12 Steps of AA

 

You know your in your addiction when...

men's counseling for porn addiction and sex addiction counseling treatment nashville james trone

The hope of sex & porn addiction recovery is not only being sober but being healed and in recovery. It is a great feeling when you can live life without the fear of some giant monster looming over your shoulder waiting to pull you back into the depths of the disease. The problem is that so often we have already started down the path of addiction and we do not even realize it. While we might have all the right intentions and motives, one still gets caught up in the disease. It is often said that one can make all the promises in the world but when the addiction train is near, you get right back on it. What are ways you can know when we are in danger of acting out? The goal is to catch and be aware of early warning signs. The simplest way is to be aware of when you are not "feeling". We are created as "emotional" beings. Sexual addiction and porn addiction is fueled but us trying  not to feel our feelings. Chip Dodd in his book "Voice of the Heart" narrows our core feelings down to eight (glad, sad, hurt, lonely, shame, guilt, anger, and fear).