How can I best support a friend or loved one who is in a relationship with a pornography addict?
When individuals are in a relationship with a pornography addict, they frequently feel isolated, alone or helpless. Friends or loved ones of those directly impacted by the pornography addiction of another can best help by being available to support them. Listen and allow your friend to share her feelings in a safe, confidential environment. Do not tell them that you know what it is like. Do not try to solve the individual’s problems for them or tell them what should be done. Encourage the individual to seek appropriate professional and religious counseling, find a sponsor and attend meetings of support groups. Let the suffering individual know that she is loved, accepted, and supported as she makes important decisions. Learn about pornography addiction and encourage your friend to do the same.
What if a friend or loved one does not want to give up pornography?
Ultimately, only the person struggling with the pornography addiction must be the one to decide if he wants to do the work and make the lifestyle changes necessary for recovery. Continue to be understanding and supportive, but read about the problem of becoming co-dependent or enabling the addict in his behavior.. Encourage the addict to get help. Regardless of whether the addict wants to recover, it is important to provide support to the spouse. Encourage the spouse to get appropriate help and to set boundaries which protect her in the relationship.
What if my friend or loved one says he wants to recover, but continues to relapse?
Although a relapse is a setback, what matters most is the action the addict chooses to take after a relapse. Does the individual excuse or minimize his return to pornography, or is he contrite and broken hearted? Help the addict understand that a relapse does not mean he is a lost cause. Feelings of shame, humiliation and worthlessness compound addictive behavior. Assure the addict that God loves him and will help him gain recovery. At the same time, do not minimize or disregard acting out behavior.
Help the addict realize that the relapse is serious. If appropriate, ask questions about what events may have triggered the slip. Encourage him to be regularly accountable to someone about his behavior choices and continue to attend 12-Step meetings, work with a sponsor and therapist. Addicts can learn from their mistakes as they seek appropriate counsel and guidance. Recovery is hard work and requires serious lifestyle changes. By encouraging the individual to identify specific steps to avoid future slips and expressing love and support, you can help him find hope, determination and the courage needed to continue in his recovery program.