by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist
www.LDSdimension.com (FREE LDS online dating site)
In last week's article, I introduced pornography as the immense problem it is today, especially with boys and men. In this follow up article, I will review some simple, practical ideas you can use to prevent and overcome the problem of watching pornography. As an LDS psychologist, I've helped many members overcome this addiction over the years at LDS Family Services and in my private practice. In that experience, pornography truly makes for a very challenging, stubborn addiction because what helps a person escape temptation at one time and in one situation won't necessarily work in another. Therefore, the more ideas you have to try, the better your chances to escape trouble.
1) Feel the Consequences Before they Occur:
List and regularly review and visualize the negative consequences you've experienced from viewing pornography in the past (and/or could imaging in the future). For example: remember the feelings of shame and guilt, the loss of the Spirit, the guilty feelings at church, the embarrassment and sneaking around, the fatigue and regret, the antisocial feelings afterwards, etc. IMPORTANT: Don't overdo this. A little goes a long way. The idea is not to torture yourself with guilt. Just give yourself the minimum pain and discomfort needed here to get your motivation back on track. And only as needed.
Also, more pleasantly and consistently, list, review, and visualize the positive benefits you'll receive and how your life will improve as you eliminate pornography from your life. For example, you can focus on the feeling of keeping the Spirit with you, feeling proud and content of your accomplishment, feeling comfortable and secure knowing you no longer need to sneak around, enjoying church more feeling more sociable and confident with others, etc. In short, what positives to overcoming this addiction motivate you? Think of them regularly, and allow these consequences to motivate you towards better choices. Focus on these positive benefits as much as possible, as often as possible.
2) Identify and Challenge the Rationalizations:
Think of all of the most common things you've told yourself in the past to rationalize looking at pornography. Write out as many of these thoughts down that you can remember. Notice how weak and untrue your statements are. For instance, you might sometimes tell yourself things like "I'll just look for a minute", "everyone does this sometimes", or "I'm stressed and I need an escape". Now, challenge and change each of these rationalizations into something better that keeps you away from pornography. For instance, you might practice telling yourself instead, "Any looking is a problem", "I'm not like everyone else", and "I can find a better and healthier way to escape". The better that you can identify and challenge these ways of thinking that lead you to trouble, the better you can empower yourself to not allow yourself to give in to the problem.
3) Figure Out and Avoid Your Trigger Moments: Think about what has preceded looking at pornography in the past. Now, think of and makes as many adjustments as needed to avoid or short circuit these dangerous triggers in the future. In short, use some strategic preventative maintenance to minimize or avoid getting into those trouble in the first place. For instance, if you are in danger being alone in your room, hang out more in the family room on the couch. If you can't handle the temptation of your portable cell phone, laptop, or tablet because it's convenience, put a parental controls of some kind against adult sites to delay or prevent access to such materials (which may include having another know the access code or not knowing it all). If you can't handle certain times being alone in the house, spend more times around others.
Even though you can't avoid all possibly tempting situations and triggers for pornography, some you can avoid with some foresight and some strategy. Use some common sense. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
4) Get Involved in More Productive Activities:
Watching pornography is a great waste of time, energy, and general human resource. There are so many other better, healthier, more useful and productive things you could be doing with your time. Stock your open, spare time with better activities. Allow yourself less time "hanging around"--time you would otherwise spend looking at pornography. Get busy. Drain your energy and spend your time in better ways, so you have less available time to get into trouble. Options may include a new hobby, a new part time job, going back to college and getting a degree or credential, exercise, new friendships, groups, clubs, organizations, service, and of course, church related activities (scriptures, prayer, reading, music, etc.).
5) Regularly expose yourself to spiritually and psychologically strengthening activities and resources:
Look to such resources to bolster your strength and ability to withstand and not give in to temptation. Spiritual support and strength comes from reading or listening to scriptures and other quality church reading materials, fasting and prayer, meeting with the bishop, being involved in your church callings, going to the temple (as worthy), etc. The stronger and more consistently you are able to possess the Spirit, the better you'll be able to ward off temptation.
Psychological resources to help boost yourself could include psychotherapy and/or hypnosis with a qualified, preferably LDS therapist (or at least a therapist who respects LDS values on pornography), as well as quality self help materials. Ideally, these materials will be from an LDS psychologist (or again, at least someone respectful of LDS values). The two main self-help materials to help with pornography used by the LDS Family Services addiction support group (that I also recommend) are: Clean Hands, Pure Heart: Overcoming Addiction to Pornography Through The Redeeming Power of Jesus Christ by Phillip Harrison, as well as He Did Deliver Me From Bondage by Colleen Harrison. Both resources blend psychological concepts with scriptures and general authority quotes to help individuals struggling to overcome the addictive power of pornography.
Overcome pornography. Find and keep a good, temple worthy spouse. You can do it. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
**To readers: to submit a question to Dr. G for a future Q and A column, please send your questions to email@example.com. Also, please register for a free account at www.ldsdimension.com for access to previous and future Dr. G articles.
|2016-06-20||Randy Gilchrist||Healthy relationships, Psychological health, Spirituality|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).