What I Did Wrong During My Porn Detox

I am sure that we all have regrets, but I managed to pack most of my biggest ones in during a relatively short period of time. Perhaps I should get bonus points for that. Anyhow, I am hesitant to call this period of life a porn “detox” because I am completely aware of all the implications and withdrawal symptoms that a lot of more mainstream substance addictions entail and that is another topic for another day. Regardless, I would like to touch on a very similar detox process for porn and how it psychologically impacted me personally. And, of course, you all want to hear how I screwed it all up right off the bat (and made a glorious comeback, I might add).

At its most basic level, a detox removes the physical and psychological fuel of your addiction. It is no surprise that the act of sexual stimulation causes the production of many neurotransmitters in the brain, most notably dopamine, that are habit-forming when they can be stimulated constantly and at any time during the day. I had a good couple years where my life revolved around the process of reaching those orgasmic highs countless times a day. When I finally held myself accountable to kick this consuming and isolating habit, I had a massive hole in my life just waiting to be filled.When you begin to give up your sexual demons, you too will have massive holes in your life. Comfort. Fulfillment. Satiety. Joy.

What you choose to put in porn’s place will have a significant impact on your recovery and is where I made my number one mistake. Many swap their sexual addiction out for alcohol or self-destructive behaviors. All the energy that I unhealthily dedicated previously to my addiction soon became unhealthily diverted somewhere else: food. Patterns of binge eating increased almost overnight. Then, when I became increasingly self-controlled around my sexual patterns, I became to exert this same control over food. I experienced a health and weight roller coaster, going from the binge eating to restricting, until the day that I first began to binge and purge and bulimia took its grip on me.

While my fear is not that you perhaps will develop an eating disorder during your sexual addiction recovery, I want to articulate the need to be cognizant of where your energy is now directed. What new coping mechanism will you pick up, healthy or unhealthy? I will promise you that you will not be the same person without your addiction, but who do you want to become? Whenever I go see my therapist, she now has to grill me on all my unhealthy addictions to be sure that I am doing well across the board instead of just swapping one unhealthy behavior for another unhealthy behavior. Playing whack-a-mole with poor coping strategies is time consuming and it does little good in understanding and treating the underlying issues.

The hole in my life could only truly be fulfilled by my Lord. Comfort. Fulfillment. Satiety. Joy. I started writing very broken and confused letters to God, some of which I hope to share in the future. I discovered a love that I had never expected. He was what was missing during the early months of my recovery and there is a reason that a “Higher Power” even appears in Sex Addicts Anonymous. I am not complete in myself and I do not believe that you are either. Share your story in the comments: it is time to stop juggling my old patterns and replacing one poor coping strategy with another. Today, I choose to fill the hole in my life with something and Someone new.

With hope,

Marla

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