Break the Pattern of Viewing Pornography by Understanding Yourself and Body
The viewing of pornography at the early stages of exposure involved sporadic viewing of different contents but at the point of addiction something more happens; a cycle is developed in the process. This cycle is a vicious one that plunges the viewer into more and more the addictive pattern of porn viewing.
An important thing to note is that this pattern/cycle is common to every type of addiction whether alcohol, smoking, food addiction and other destructive self-defeating behaviours.
This pattern is a continuous one and the person involved is taken on downward spiral until maybe a thought changes the pattern so that the person change behavior for the better. The important of this pattern is for people to understand it and how it applies to them, that way they will know how to use it for their benefit. In this piece, I will explore the cycles/patterns and later discuss how one can use it to overcome addiction.
- Vulnerable Time: This is when someone can be said to be vulnerable to act out inappropriately or venture into his object of addiction, pornography. At this time, such a person has a high probability of viewing porn at any time of the day. These times can be lonely times at home, being secluded in the office, idle moments, etc. Anyone who understands these times will work to get busy, or avoid staying idle.
- Stimulus or Trigger: When one is in that vulnerable state, many triggers might come up to arouse him/her to start searching for how to let out their libido at that moment. It could be the replaying the thoughts of the images in their minds. Other triggers can be seeing images on TV, adverts that show elements of nudity and many others.
- Emotion: This leads one to having an emotional response to the triggers which creates a feeling of curiosity and excitement or a heightened awareness of self. When the emotion connects with the triggers, what this does is to create a bond that furthers draws the addict down the same path.
- Thought: With the emotional response, whoever that finds himself in this cycle will start pondering about different possibilities. The things that come to his mind will include, “I wonder what it will be like to do this”, or “What if I just opened this link? As these thoughts come to mind in this much heightened state of vulnerability, the person involved can only see the solution offered by the pornography.
- Chemical Release: With the coming together of the trigger, emotion, and the thought, the brains have likelihood to start releasing chemicals to further the process. Some of the chemicals will include; Dopamine (which focuses the brain and thought patterns intensely) and Norepinephrine (which increases energy and exhilaration). A combination of these chemicals further increases the tendency for the addict to repeat the sexual behavior and act it out too.
- Physiological Response: As these chemicals are released in the body, it (the body) starts to react and respond accordingly. Changes start to occur in the body of the addict in this cycle; pupils start dilating, muscles expand and an increase in heart rate as well. All these will reinforce the activities of these chemicals in the addict’s body.
- Rational Thought: In the midst of this cycle or pattern of activities, the brain will give the addict an opportunity to come out of it by breaking the cycle. He will have rational thoughts like “I know I shouldn’t be doing this but it really feels good to keep at it”. This level offers an opportunity to break the cycle/pattern and walk away like turning off the computer, take a walk, leave his closet and change the direction the pattern is headed.
- Hypothesis/Belief: At this point of rational thinking, the addict will need to decide what to do with the thoughts offered which will determine if he can break the process or remain hopeless to overcome. The choice he makes depends on his belief about the future.
- Response: Based on what the hypothesis/belief offers him, the addict will either act out the process that was started or get out of it. Most times, people tend to complete the process that was started.
- Remorse: This is the final phase which comes when he must have acted out the whole process and he regains consciousness or rational thought. He will say maybe, “why did I have to do it or let this happen?” This is a common occurrence for people to show sign of regret or remorse. The addict can decide (after some remorse) not to allow this happen again in the future but if there is no real intervention or efforts to stop, he will find himself repeating the cycle and even digging deeper and deeper into his addiction.
The reason I talked about these processes is because without knowing how each one works, there is no way one can come out of it. An addict needs to understand when he is vulnerable, when the triggers come, the emotions, thoughts, etc. For instance, one who understands that being alone can expose his vulnerability will work not to be left alone and try to be in the midst of other people. Your work station or computer can be made to face where people who are passing can see what you are doing, that way you are conscious not to open any pornography content.
On the other hand, knowing what triggers or stimulates you will keep you in check. If it is in some TV programs, you avoid them; if it is found on bill boards or adverts in some places, you will have to learn to avoid such areas. Know what the objects of temptation are and find a way to disconnect from them, delete every media content, pictures, chats, histories, etc.
The goal of it all is to understand the cycle and use it against the enemy or your addiction.
Image Credit: www.joannalindenbaum.com