Decoding Your Porn Addiction, Lesson 1: Understanding the Goal

I’m aware that many of the folks who come to this site are struggling with addictions to deviant forms of porn: the dark and violent stuff, not the “vanilla” variety. Trying to get helpful information about your porn addiction (why it started, what it means, and how you can effectively deal with it) is extremely difficult in these times. I looked up the resources available on Amazon once, just out of curiosity, and wow, what a bunch of guff.

Now since I’ve always been passionate about helping people deal with issues that are too upsetting to talk about, I love helping people understand their addictions to deviant porn. I’ve actually been wanting to write a book on this subject for ages, but books are enormous undertakings. Since I want to help people sooner rather than later, I’ve decided to start this series instead. This is an educational series, and my purpose in writing it is to help you start looking at your addiction in a radically different way. Rather than continue seeing this as alarming evidence that there is something terribly twisted about you deep down, I want to teach you how to decode what your brilliant little mind is saying through its obsessive behaviours.

Porn addictions are created by your subconscious. You might think of them like a side effect of your mind trying hard to resolve some psychological stress. This addiction surfaced for logical reasons, and for the purpose of solving specific concerns. When those concerns are properly addressed, your subconscious will turn its focus onto other things and the addiction will fade out all on its own.

The Wrong Approach

There’s a critical point to understand when you’re shopping around the internet looking for help on this subject. The most unhelpful thing you can do to resolve your addiction is try to cut yourself off from the porn cold turkey. Your addiction is a symptom of unresolved psychological stress. If you attempt sudden abstinence, you will cause your mind’s stress to skyrocket. Once this happens, one of two things will occur: you’ll either plunge back into the porn (and you’ll be more addicted to it than ever), or you’ll find yourself suddenly feeling an overwhelming compulsion to do a different sort of activity–one that makes you feel a lot worse about yourself than the porn did.

Now since playing porn videos online can get you into major legal trouble, yet instantly cutting yourself off can make your condition much worse, I always advise my clients to aim for a third option. Try to stop playing videos on physical devices, but don’t block them from playing in your head. In these kinds of addictions, there are two kinds of videos that your mind is using: externally produced (meaning videos made by other people), and internally produced (aka “mental fantasies”–these are “videos” which your mind starts playing by itself when you’re not watching anything). Therapeutically speaking, your self-produced fantasies are the most helpful in reducing your stress, and focusing on them doesn’t come with any legal risks. But when people try to go for total abstinence, they often try to cease all focus on pornographic or perverse imagery, and that means they put enormous effort into trying to block out the nasty imagery that their own minds keep producing. Before anyone misinterprets what I’m saying here, remember the context of this series: I’m talking to people who are already addicted to deviant porn. In those cases, trying to “keep your thoughts pure” by actively stifling your mind 24/7 is going to make your psychological condition worse, not better.

The Right Approach

To address a porn addiction correctly, your soul (which is the part of you that is freaking out about what a gross little perv you are) needs to get better educated about how its subconscious partner is communicating. Each of your elements (soul, body, conscious & subconscious) has its own preferred language. Your subconscious prefers to think using symbolic imagery. It feels that metaphorical images are far more efficient communication tools than words (and to be fair, it’s right about this). Meanwhile, your soul’s natural language is devoid of words or images. Your soul prefers to think in emotions: deeply complex ones which are capable of communicating extremely complex sentiments in mere fractions of seconds.

The fact that your subconscious and soul speak different native languages naturally results in a lot of confusion and miscommunication. As you go throughout your day, your subconscious is constantly translating your soul’s thoughts into visual messages, while your soul is forming its own responses to what your mind is doing. Those intense feelings of shame and self-loathing that rise up during (and especially after) one of your viewing sessions are caused by your soul responding to what it sees your mind doing. Your soul responds with such repulsion and confusion because it doesn’t understand what your mind is doing. Rather than assume the best, your soul assumes the worst about your mind’s intentions, and here is where you find yourself leaping to all kinds of devastating conclusions about what a horrible little monster you must be down deep. As your soul panics and bullies, your already stressed out mind becomes angry and defensive, and round and round we go until you find your addiction becoming so strong that it is taking over your life. To start untangling you from this miserable mess, we must begin by educating your soul. By helping it understand its partner better, we can move your soul out of the unhelpful role of “condemning judge” and into the far more constructive role of “supportive ally.” An ally is what your mind needs right now to recover, because it’s currently feeling stalled. Anytime there is a psychological addiction to something, it indicates the subconscious is feeling both stressed and stumped as to how it can solve its current problems. In these situations, your soul’s help and support is desperately needed, but unfortunately common approaches to addiction therapy don’t help you accomplish this.

Whenever I talk to former addicts, it quickly becomes clear whether or not their soul ever learned how to be the kind of supportive ally I’m talking about here. Sadly, most recovered addicts refer to their addictions using very condemning language, demonstrating that their souls never did understand the root cause of their addiction, nor did they ever develop true compassion for their partner elements. I want better than this for each of you.

From the Divine perspective, addictions are not just obstacles that need to be removed from our paths; they are growth opportunities. Your struggle with your addiction is supposed to profoundly change the way that you view yourself, others, and God. To simply get unshackled from the obsessive behavior is what passes as “recovery” these days, but it isn’t the kind of victory that God wants you to experience. He wants you to grow and be positively changed by this experience, not just end it. To maximize your growth opportunities, God has designed addictions to be complicated little things which usually require quite a lot of time, reflection, and effort to resolve. So for all of you who are feeling left out of the “instant cure” party, be glad that you’re not on God’s “quick fix” list. Getting free is not the real prize here: maturing is, and addictions can be awesome maturity tools. So as I write these lessons and start teaching you how to view your struggle in a whole new light, be bold and ask your Creator to help you gain the treasures that He wants you to glean from this mess. For God, the journey is far more important than reaching a specific destination, and the sooner you invite Him to guide you in your own journey, the sooner you can start turning this struggle into the blessing that it was designed to be.