It can be shocking when someone confides in you about their pornography addiction. You may experience many emotions at once: anger, hurt, frustration, confusion, sorrow, etc. It is hard to know how to react and how to not hurt the person who is trusting you with such personal information. If you’re stuck in this hard place, this article is for you. The American Psychiatric Association has a list of tips to help those going through substance addiction. Here are just a few of their ideas adapted for pornography addiction.
One tip is to educate yourself about pornography. Learn why it’s so addicting, and why it can be hard to overcome. Search for good sources that will help you understand what is going on in your friend’s brain. Some good sources to start would be fighthenewdrug.org and endsexualexploitation.org. This can help you develop empathy, and it will help you as you support them in their recovery journey.
It’s also important to show this person how much you love and care for them. Let them know that you’re willing to help them. It is okay and healthy to express your concerns for them and what they are doing. However, make sure that you show the person that you will still love and support them. Be willing to help them get the help they need.
Also recognize that the addicted person is not going to be able to overcome the addiction on their own. They need help from many different sources. They need help finding treatment centers and support groups. You can help them apply what they learn in healthy ways. You can also help them find new coping skills that can replace their unhealthy behaviors. As they receive this help, try to still be there to support and help them. Remember that recovery is a process, and it can take a long time.
Now, a word of caution. It can be overwhelming to help someone overcome their pornography addiction. It’s understandable that you may need healing and help as well. Remember that it is okay to find help for yourself before you are fully able to help your friend or loved one. Even if the best you can do is not shame them or cut them out of your life, that’s good enough.
If you’re the one struggling with an addiction, don’t give up hope! You don’t have to do this on your own. Find someone you can trust and ask for help. Look for counselors or therapists who have been trained to help you. There are so many tools out there that you can use, all you have to do is start looking. You can start at citizensfordecency.org/addiction-recovery. Remember that there is hope and “research shows that it’s absolutely possible to quit porn and for former consumers’ brains to return to a healthier state” (Fight the New Drug). You’ve got this!
American Psychiatric Association. (December 2020). What is a substance use disorder? https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction-substance-use-disorders/what-is-a-substance-use-disorder
Fight the New Drug. (n.d.). These 4 studies show how recovering from a porn habit is absolutely possible. https://fightthenewdrug.org/4-studies-that-prove-porn-addicted-brains-can-return-to-normal/
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