Saturday, July 8, 2017

Signs and Symptoms of a Pornography Addiction

I have felt the need to write something up on this topic for a  few weeks now but it has been really hard for me to closely look back over my last 10 years or so and see what some of the signals I was showing that should have indicated to me that there was something wrong in my life.  My hope in sharing my past with you today is not to show you how bad I was, or to focus on the mistakes of my past, but more to help you know what to look for in your spouse or even yourself.

  1. Secrecy
    Wow - this is hard to write about. Just shut up and do it right?  Ahhh! (That's me with my battle roar)  Let's dot this.  I was always very ashamed of what I was doing and I was constantly trying to stop and never indulging in porn again.  But I didn't know understand what I had gotten into, I definitely didn't comprehend the science behind the addiction so when I would fall again, I would find ways to hide it. I mostly used my phone, I would take it off the Wifi network and use privacy mode to cover my tracks. I would try to view it in the bathroom or when I knew no one was around. When I would get caught, I would minimize the situation, try to justify my behavior and lie to cover it up.  So the first thing to look is behavior patterns, and inconsistencies in stories, or that feeling that something just doesn't sit right with you.  Remember, you know who you spouse is deep inside, you know the good and the bad about them. If something doesn't feel right, listen to your heart, listen to your spirit and know that Heavenly Father wants your family to be happy and you have every right to receive revelation over your family affairs in this kind of situation. Have faith and comfort that knowing that you and your Father are one when it comes to the well being of your family. You both want what is best and you better believe that He will speak to you and help you.  Trust Him and trust your what you are feeling. 
  2. Effects on Libido and Romance
    This is my most vulnerable part of this blog. I don't want to talk about it. Don't want you to know about this part of me, but it was such a huge part of my addiction that I have to talk about it.
    I want you to understand a little how the human brain works before I dive into my behavior issues.  As we go through our day to day motions, the habits and actions we form are based on how we have programmed our brain to respond to things that make us happy or help us feel good.  One of my most favorite activities was to work outside in my garden.  I took so much pride in knowing that I could grow my own food, and sit next to strawberry patch and eat the most amazing strawberries. This year would have been my first year that I would have had raspberries :(  Anyway, when I worked in the sun and tasted the strawberries, my brain would release dopamine into my body. Dopamine is a chemical signal that send us signals of pleasure,  happiness, and euphoria.  Naturally our body craves this chemical release in our body. It's what we feel when we bite into a birthday cake, or that feeling when we hold our spouse close to us. It's also what drives love, lust, adultery, and addictions. For me, going to porn and feeling that immediate rush of dopamine into my body and recognizing how I felt each time I did it - that actually started to rewire my brain - training it to program itself that when I see porn, I feel an intense feeling of pleasure.  The more I watched it, the more I trained my brain to this cause and effect. This is what drives the addictions.  It has nothing to do with the spouse not being enough, or not doing this right, it is literally like a drug addiction - but so much worse. I'll write about what I mean later if you even care.
  3. So by programming my brain to feel this intense sense of pleasure with little to no effort, it made my libido diminish. I was so well trained that if I was in the mood, it was just easier to pull out my phone, rather that engaging and initiating intimacy with my wife.  How stupid could I be? Here I had the worlds most beautiful woman, who loved me, adored me, and desired me and I well.... I wasn't there for her like I should have been.
    So the second most common signal would be that you spouse is going to be less satisfied or willing to initiate intimacy with you.
    Oh, I forgot to mention this in the video but another common sign to look for is your partner will want to try different things, and as the addiction goes on, he/she will become almost immune to normal spouse engagement.  They will start to dive into different types of pornography, and different fetishes, and the shame and guilt will get worse.  But this also translates into what they want to happen in the bedroom.  My advice to you is to be strong. Set normal boundaries that you are comfortable with and do not ever let yourself be degraded into a sex object.  You can read more about this in a great book called Your Brain on Porn, page 18 under the title The Other Porn Experiment.  
  4. Lack of Focus
    This is such a common problem with men and woman that have been viewing pornography for prolong amounts of time.  You can read this all over the internet and forms where they talk about their inability to focus on simple task.  I know I was there, and I really struggled focusing on taking care of my businesses.  I didn't have the will power to sit down for hours and do the work that I needed to get down.  I slacked off in my church calling, and my responsibilities at home, cleaning, taking care of the home and yard. I would do it, but I would procrastinate until the very last minute.
    In the video I talk about a full system reboot.  Click that link and it will show you what I mean, but in essence, it means no pornography of any time, not allowing yourself to fantasize or lust after another person, no sexual thinking unless it's within the healthy bounds of your marriage. And absolutely no masturbation.  What this does is over time, it starts to undo all the bad programming and training you have been doing to your brain. You will start seeing a change in your mind, your actions, all the messed up realities and fantasies that you created in your brain go away and for me, they become repulsive.  You start to see things as God intended them. But the thing with a reboot, is that it does require all or nothing and that is very hard for most people. Every time you masturbate or fantasize, you are reprogramming your brain and undoing all the work that you have been working on.
    1. The lack of focus on my businesses cause me to bring in less money.
    2. I would stress about our financial situation
    3. I would feel like a failure because I couldn't provide for my family the way I wanted
    4. I would be down and bring that mood with me where ever I went
    5. I would turn to porn for that dopamine release
    6. The cycle would repeat
  5. Depression, low energy, and discouragementEveryone one is different, right.  I suggest you find out what your triggers are. Learn to identify them, and then learn how to avoid and or correct them.  If you want to speak with my doctor, the one that I worked with to help me identify 

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