Bringing Pornography Addiction out of the Dark
In last week's post, we explained how addictions form and how addiction to pornography is similar to other addictions. As we see this new drug for what it is, a major fight affecting millions of people, we can begin to speak openly about it and address the problem.
Almost all addictions make the user feel ashamed and fear of what others will think or say prevents them from opening up about their struggles. But this is the opposite of what they need. When people feel isolated and unsupported, addiction is even more difficult to overcome. Having a support system in which they can openly share their struggles and victories greatly improves their ability to overcome the destructive habit. In fact, keeping an addiction a secret perpetuates the problem. Studies have shown that when someone keeps a secret, they think about it more often. And secret acts can aggravate the pleasure response in the brain, thereby further solidifying those addiction pathways.
We recently spoke with Anthony Enniss, president of the Unraveling Pornography Club, a Brigham Young University organization dedicated to educating others about pornography and bringing this growing issue to the forefront of social discussion. In Enniss's words, "Whether we accept it or not; many, if not most, of those we interact with use battle porn to one degree or another. It is very important that each of us understand this and let us have compassion for each other. This does not mean that it is okay and we condone the use of pornography. But an extremely important part of breaking the habit of using pornography is full transparency [...] Specifically with another person or group of people they trust. Shame and guilt only perpetuates the problem and sends the user spiraling down the road of use. All against pornography. "
The first step toward full recovery should be communication. If this is something you struggle with, find or create a support system with people who will listen and encourage you. Even if you don't struggle with this particular challenge, be that support for someone else. Don't judge or embarrass them, as this will only compound the problem. Be understanding and listen. Ask how the support they need can be. Help them feel comfortable sharing their struggle and progress with you. It can be difficult to separate the person from addiction, be it yourself, a friend, or a family member, but we must remember that people are not defined by their struggles, but rather by their response to their struggles. This simple task of communicating openly on the subject will lead to shocking results.
Next week we will share important information about neurological approaches you can take to recover from a porn addiction. Here are some helpful and interesting links to resources on how to make this conversation open and uplifting.