Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Pain of the Pleasure: Loss of Recreational Time

Involvement in porn addiction gradually erodes a person’s choices and options for living a good life.  As the progression of the addiction increases, interest in things that used to make life satisfying decreases.  Probably the first thing you lose to the obsession for porn is time for recreation.

Recreation is the spending of time in non-sexual pleasurable activities. It can be in the form of rest, entertainment or adventure.  Pornography addiction can prohibit  taking out time for spending time with our near and dear ones. We have become so obsessed with sex that we don’t make time to look  into our own selves. We have no time for introspection; we have no time to interact with others.

Why is Recreation Important?
Recreation is like a rain shower during the days of scorching heat. It is like a ray of moonlight in the  darkness. Recreation is  time to get together with friends to have fun. Devoting some time for recreation on a daily basis helps in the long run in maintaining health and achieving  peace of mind. Participate in some regular physical activity, play a sport or exercise. These recreational activities greatly enhance relaxation and freedom from stress. More times than not, it is stress that triggers going to the porn.

Research has shown that recreation on a daily basis enhances physical and mental health and improves the quality of life.

Adventure activities are recommended to be made a part of recreation. Studies have shown that participation in adventure activities has a positive effect on life.  Adventure motivates you, boosts your confidence and enhances self-awareness. Recreation often involves physical activities such as hiking, cycling, fishing and outdoor games. The excitement and thrill that accompanies adventure sports may meet some of the needs that porn supplied.

Apart from being a way of spending free time, recreation is a way to socialize; it is a way of enjoying being with friends and loved ones.  Recreation gives you an opportunity to meet new people, develop new friendships, and break the isolation of the addiction.

Socializing that involves being a member of a team fosters a sense of belonging to a larger community.  Involvement in community is one avenue to being fully human.

It is largely believed that participating in recreational activities helps strengthen family relationships. Your enthusiastic participation in recreational activities boost positive energies, encourage a positive temperament, and fosters relaxation.

Recreation brings you close to the nature. Water sports, adventure sports, and visits to parks can brighten your life.

Recreation is of two types. Active recreation is about engaging in adventure sports or outdoor games while passive recreation involves activities such as taking a walk on the riverside, walking on the beach, strolling in parks or taking nature walks. Both kinds of recreation have their own set of advantages. They create a positive mood, lighten your spirits and help you gain peace of mind.

A positive mood and a sense of serenity in your life will make it more difficult for you to descend into the dark pit of porn addiction.

 

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The Pain of the Pleasure: Loss of Friendships

“In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

                      –Aristotle

One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human.  ~George Santayana

 

Something that strikes me in my work with porn addicts is the amount of time porn takes away from them.  Porn addiction can easily steal 4-5 hours of your daily life, with some folks reporting whole weekends being spent at the computer screen.

Usually one of the first things that get replaced in porn addicts’ lives is friendships.  Yet, friendships can be at least, if not more, important than a person’s immediate family.

Tom Rath, author of “Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford To Live Without”,  makes the point that if you ask people why they became homeless, why their marriage failed or why they overeat, they often say it is because of the poor quality, or nonexistence, of friendships. They feel outcast or unloved.

Rath undertook a massive study of friendship, alongside several leading researchers. His work resulted in some surprising statistics: If your best friend eats healthily, you are five times more likely to have a healthy diet yourself. Married people say friendship is more than five times as important as physical intimacy within marriage. Those who say they have no real friends at work have only a one in 12 chance of feeling engaged in their job. Conversely, if you have a “best friend at work”, you are seven times more likely to feel engaged in your job.

A close friend is a mirror of your own self, someone with whom you realize that, though autonomous, you are not alone.

Spending time with friends is fun, but it may also yield a multitude of long-term physical and emotional health benefits. Studies show that healthy relationships make aging more enjoyable, lessen grief, and provide camaraderie to help you reach personal goals, among other things. Maintaining positive relationships should rank up there with healthy eating and exercise as a necessary investment in your health.

Friends and Well-Being

A number of studies have highlighted the importance of friends and good relationships to health, Here are some of the findings:

  • Socially engaged adults age more successfully. According to surveys of women over age 60, those who are socially engaged and visit with friends and family throughout the week are happier as they age.
  • Friends can help you achieve your weight and fitness goals. Encouragement and just sharing goes a long way to boosting your willpower.
  • Happiness is catching. If you have a friend you consider to be happy, you are more likely to be happy and you are able to spread that happiness to the people around you. A study of 4,739 adults who participated in the Framingham Heart Study between 1983 and 2003 showed that people tend to cluster into happy or unhappy groups, and happiness appears to spread not just to those immediately inside the social group, but to their contacts as well. Having happy friends who live less than a mile away was an especially powerful predictor of happiness.
  • Building a circle of friends makes you happy. People who see themselves as a leader in their social circle are happier than those who see themselves as outsiders — another reason why actively building relationships instead of waiting for the phone to ring is important.
  • Friends lessen grief. A series of interviews with parents who lost a baby during pregnancy or immediately after birth showed that those who felt they were receiving social support from friends or family were better able to cope with their grief. The most welcome forms of support were simply being physically present, listening, and offering sympathy, encouragement, and practical help, such as making meals or funeral arrangements. In contrast, feeling socially alone tends to worsen grief.
  • Being social boosts your immune system. Being socially engaged leads to more positive emotions, which in turn may actually boost your body’s immune system and reduce the physical signs of stress, say health experts.

It’s also important to be a good friend yourself, providing others with as many of the benefits of friendship (infectious happiness, social support, someone to confide in, food in times of crisis) as you can. It feels good to help others, and that only adds to your own self-esteem and happiness in sexual recovery.

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The Pain of Pleasure: Isolation

As a person’s involvement with porn addiction increases, he spends more and more time alone.  You may not feel  it at the time, but porn is, in fact, a very  isolating phenomenon.  As more time and energy is invested in viewing porn, less time and energy is spent with family, friends and community.  Ironically, porn feels like you’re getting your needs met instantaneously whereas the reality is that the more time you spend isolated from real, non-virtual interactions, the less you’re getting your needs met.

Viewing porn is not only done in isolation, the after- effects of spending time in the “erotic haze” is an overall attitude of secrecy, lies and deception.  This lack of openness about yourself also creates isolation.

Friendship is a lot like food.  We need it to survive.  (We DON”T need porn to survive!)  We seem to have a basic drive for it.  Psychologiests find that human beings have a fundamental need for inclusion in group life and for close relationships.  We truly ARE social animals.

We function best when our relational needs are met.  We’re able to get and stay motivated, to meet the challenges of life, have higher self esteem and feel safer.

When our needs for social relationships is not met, we fall apart mentally and even physically.  There are serious effects on the brain and body.  Unmet social needs take a serious toll on healthy, eroding our arteries, creating high blood pressure and undermining learning and memory.

Periods between the porn binges may bring an awareness of a deficiency in relationships.  We feel sad, empty, bored.  We feel distanced from others, deprived and afraid.  Stress hormones increase, as we do not have the kinds of relationships that buffer us against stress as good relationships normally do.

One of the most important recovery tools is to GET OUT AND GET INVOLVED.  Isolation feeds self-obsession, which is a very painful place to be.  Doing something for someone else without expectation of return is the antidote to self-obsessed isolation.

If you don’t consciously experience isolation and loneliness as part of your porn saga, think  about the moment you turn the computer off.

And you’re all alone.

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The Pain of Porn: Emotional Consequences

Emotional/Psychological Consequences of Porn

The Pain of the Pleasure

While people cite potential relationship or job loss, or the development of porn-induced ED or perhaps the loss of friends and family as major consequences from porn addiction, I’m convinced that the most devastating consequences are in the realm of our inner lives.

How do we impoverish our relationship to ourselves?

  • Untold hours spent looking at internet porn hurts our ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality.  We believe the illusions set up by porn.  Thousands of beautiful, exotic, erotic women desire us and don’t have to put any effort into it at all!  They won’t judge or evaluation our manlihood, they won’t reject us. They exist only to pleasure us!!  We create worlds where all are needs are magically met just because they – well, just because they are!!!
  • The real world isn’t like that.  Humans are a bundle of needs and wants; some can be satisfied, others not.  Even survival needs take a lot of work: go out into the jungle to bring home the meat.  Getting our true, emotional needs met by other human beings takes a period of courtship, getting to know each other, and finding people who are capable of being supportive and nurturing.  Getting needs met in the workplace require a particular sort of skill sets.  When we’re sober, we learn new skill sets and new coping mechanisms that help us to get our needs met in reality with as much ease and pleasure as possible
  • Cognitive distortions arise from prolonged time spent in the erotic haze.  You see women on the street as potential sex objects, not as separate human beings who have a whole life that’s not designed at all to consider your sexual needs.  People stop being people.  They become things.  The irony is, we can’t get our basic, genuine needs met by things; we get them met by other people.
  • Denial is the fodder of addictions.  Some say denial means Don’t Even Know I’m Lying…to yourself or to others.  Denial protects the active addiction.  We tell ourselves that we can stop anytime we want to, that we’re not hurting ourselves, that everybody does it, and we deny the reality-based consequences (costs) of this very expensive behavior.  Living in denial is another way of replacing reality with fantasy.
  • While making love to your partner, it’s very common to overlay the reality of the person you’re with with fantasy images from the porn, thus negating the possibly scintillating pleasure of being with the person you’re with in reality.
  • As a result of the numerous times you’ve told yourself that you’ll no longer look at porn but you’ve been unable to hold firm to your resolve, the dreadful realization that you can’t control your own behavior begins to erode your confidence in yourself that you’re a person who “can do.”  The sense of being the masters of our fate, of self-efficiency, self-mastery and self-regulation that are required to keep up our self-esteem is eroded.  This is a potent source of shame that permeates so many aspects of this addiction.
  • From a psychological developmental point of view, porn keeps you in an immature stance in life and prevents your journey to maturity.
  • We grow and develop by grappling with reality-based issues and trying to adapt ourselves to “life on life’s terms.”  When our needs and wants are magically met, we don’t have the opportunity to develop higher coping skills like:  problem solving, risk taking, decision making, growing in our ability to tolerate frustration or to control acting on our impulses.

Using porn keeps you in a state of adolescence for the rest of your                                  life.

  • Porn changes your brain chemistry which affects your mood and behavior when you’re not using it.  Depression, irritability, inability to take pleasure in non-sexual experiences, low self-esteem, loneliness, boredom, paranoia and shame are some of the step-children of porn.
  • Compulsive behavior that is not in keeping with your cherished values and morals rips a tear in the integrity of the self.
  • With the loss of your essential values, you may find it difficult to establish and persist in meaningful goals.  You may feel lost.
  • Over time, you learn to mask your feelings by immediately going to the porn to control them.  You may not be aware of having any feelings, as they all get directly routed into a sexual urge.  Years of denying yourself the experience of feeling your feelings and using them as sign-posts for behavior (which is what they really are) make you a stranger to yourself.

Ultimately, the heaviest consequence of porn addiction is the loss of yourself to yourself.

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