Ever wonder why it's so damn hard to quit drinking? Or using? I drank alcohol almost daily for most of my adult life. I lost count of the times I tried to cut back or quit. I was having about 5 to 6 drinks per day,...
If you’re in recovery or trying to change a habit that isn’t working for you, you need to find ways of dealing with urges and cravings. That is, you need to become more aware of the thought patterns and feelings that led to you giving in to your desire to engage your habit. Whether it’s shopping, gambling, sex, pornography, eating, or using alcohol or drugs, you’re probably pretty familiar with the desire to engage that habit before actually acting on it; that feeling is called an urge or craving.
Cravings are important because they act as precursors to engaging our problematic habit or behavior. Cravings say, “Hey, we need to gamble/smoke/drink/watch porn right now!” We stay stuck in our habits because we listen to that voice without thinking. If we’re to change our habit, we need to find different ways of interacting with the thoughts and feelings associated with our cravings in order to avoid automatically giving in.
Overcoming porn addiction is no easy task. That online pornography is so widely available and accessible means that pornography is just a click away. That porn can be viewed anonymously makes it easy for its use to stay secret.
Many people struggle in isolation with overcoming porn addiction and they often don’t know where to start. Here are some of my most commonly used tools and tips that I share all the time with clients to help them kick their porn habit.
As an addiction therapist, I hear many stories of struggling with food, sex, pornography, or alcohol and other drugs. I recently wrote a short essay as a part of an application to an online training program in harm reduction from the Center for Optimal Living in New York.
It briefly tells my story and illuminates my passion for helping those struggling with addiction through compassionate, relationship-focused treatment. I thought I’d share it here with you.
When doctors and health care professionals talk about trauma, they’re referring to experiences that have led to injuries to the body, right? When therapists and mental health professionals talk about psychological trauma, we’re referring to wounds of the mind or heart.
That is, trauma is anything that causes an emotional injury. Any emotional pain that we feel is the result of trauma. We all have emotional pain because we all have experienced trauma.
It’s finally happening. After years or research and many studies, sex addiction and porn addiction will this year be officially recognized as mental disorders.
Diagnosing an Addiction
At some point in 2018, perhaps as soon as this summer, the World Health Organization (WHO) will release the latest version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The ICD is the definitive diagnostic manual for medical and psychological conditions and disorders everywhere in the world except for the United States.
“We need tools to communicate better.” This is one of the most common things I hear couples say when I first start counseling with them. And of course, it makes sense. After all, anyone going to marriage counseling or couples therapy would expect to learn ways of communicating better with his or her partner.
There’s more to the story here, though. In order for couples to communicate better and grow closer together, they need more than tools. They need to become skilled at using those tools, and that means that they themselves need to grow and change.
What are the stages of addiction? Maybe you’ve been using a substance for a while and you’re wondering if you’re addicted. Perhaps you’re watching a loved one use drugs or gamble and you’re not sure if his use counts as an addiction.
Whatever’s going on, knowing more about how drug use and other habitual behaviors with addictive potential (e.g., shopping, gambling, sex, porn) can progress would be really helpful. For the sake of keeping things simple, for the rest of this post I’m just going to refer to any habit that may progress through these stages as “drug use” or “substance use,” with the understanding that we’re also talking about these other habitual behaviors too.