Whether you are someone struggling with pornography use or a loved one of someone who is struggling, you need to find someone who you can talk honestly and openly with. Many people in recovery have regularly scheduled appointments with a church leader, for progress and accountability reports, plus they have a sponsor from their 12-step group. In addition, regular meetings with a counselor are strongly recommended. (See The Basics: Counseling). Healing can begin, both for the addict and the loved one, when secrecy and shame are replaced with honesty, openness and humility.
For those Struggling with Pornography
One of the first steps along the pathway to recovery is coming out of hiding and speaking with another trusted individual about your behavior. Most people find it challenging to tell another about their pornography habits and other associated behaviors, but until you do, it is unlikely that you will make any real, lasting progress. Given the nature of addiction, it is generally impossible to actually quit your behavior without the assistance of others. Once you can admit and talk about the problem, the shame and guilt generally begin to dissipate. There is a peace and self-acceptance that comes from openly discussing your pornography behavior with other trusted individuals. Consider honestly discussing your behavior with a spouse, parent, religious leader or serious girlfriend.
For close relationships, such as a spouse or serious girlfriend, honest disclosure is not only important for recovery, but also for restoring trust and saving your relationship. You cannot hide your behavior forever. Eventually it will come out and it is much better to be upfront about your addiction initially than for your loved one to discover your behavior on their own at a later date. Talking to religious leaders, if available, is also important. Religious leaders provide an opportunity for individuals to openly confess their behavior, get spiritual encouragement and can offer added accountability.
Additionally, it is important to have someone you are accountable to that can help you when you feel the desire to view pornography. Start by finding someone you can trust, a parent, leader, close friend or other relative, and ask for help. Then find a sponsor, someone who has recovered from your addiction, and can help you overcome challenges you face on a day-to-day basis.
As you become open and honest about your behaviors and work the steps of recovery, progress will occur. Recovery is possible, but it takes work to break the chains of your addiction.
For Those Impacted by Another’s Addiction
For spouses, girlfriends, parents and others who are impacted by the pornography addiction of another, it is important to find someone you can trust to talk with. Especially for spouses, there can be intense emotions upon discovering that your husband or wife is participating in pornography. Often times the individual viewing pornography will pressure their spouse not to tell anyone regarding their behavior. Keeping silent can create unnecessary emotional turmoil. It is important to be able to talk through the emotions you are experiencing. Find someone you trust. Helpful individuals may include a religious leader, parent, close friend, therapist, or sibling. Speaking with a religious leader, if available, can be particularly useful in helping to put life in perspective and maintain spirituality.
Identify key individuals who:
- Will keep confidences
- Provide a safe place to talk
- Will not negatively judge you or your loved one and
- Can offer some support and direction
Be respectful of any confidence that is shared with you by your loved one through not broadcasting the pain you may feel to all who will listen. Instead, confide in select individuals who can actually help and support you. Be respectful and discrete about whom you talk to, but make sure that you get the help that you need.