As a sex therapist and addiction specialist, I have the humble experience to hear many stories of people with a tremendous amount of courage. They are looking to reclaim their life back. However, one story habitually comes up: You say, “If you’re an alcoholic and you have 10 years of sobriety, they commend you. If you relapse they feel sorry. With pornography and sex addiction, it’s taboo to talk about it. I / we are left to spin it in our own mind.”
Often individuals and couples come in with the clear understanding that you have the insight to change. After an initial conversation it is very apparent that you hold the power around the problem. Frequently, with sex addiction, porn addiction or infidelity the taboo is overwhelming. It can start to get difficult when the inner voices are turned up within your mind. This is when I interject and start to share the value of your inner dialogue.
Your inner growth is completely dependent upon the realization that the only way to find peace is to stop thinking about yourself as bad. You’re ready to realize that the “I” who is always talking within your head will never stop. That is ok. I would like to present a 3 step process to engage your inner voice and help turn it into your inner healer.
The 3 Step Process: Thoughts – Emotion – Body Sensation.
Finding contentment and inner peace is the goal in this 3 step process. The bottom line is, you’ll never be free of the problems until you are free of the cognitive “monkey mind” as the Buddhists would say.
Label the Thought.
When the urge to be hyper sexual or engage in what I call “pornified” behavior. Don’t ask “What should I do about it?” Rather first ask, “What is the thought I have right now?” By exploring the thought you start to expose yourself to the deeper inner dialogue and connection to inner voice. Actually cultivating your inner voice will help sink into a deeper association to your healing.
Connect the Thought with an Emotion.
You have already fallen into believing that there is a problem. I want you to start connecting to your intuition and finding an understanding of contentment. If you want to achieve peace in the face of this problem, you must understand the feelings and emotions behind it. Witness your emotion give yourself space to sit with the thought and share in the vulnerability of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is creating a connection to a feeling, by connecting to your true inner voice and being ok with it. No matter if it is sadness, enthusiasm or as often the case with porn and sexual addiction guilt, shame and frustration.
Explore Your Body.
In my professional opinion understanding your body is the essential difference between knowing and actually understanding your problem at a deeper level. When you reach this awareness, just start to really feel it. I urge you to stop and scan your body. Start to go back to the original thought and tie it with the emotion. Together the thought and emotional feeling will expose profound insight. With this information sit and see where the emotion physically lies in your body. Is it in your stomach? Doe it pulse in your brain? Or is it so crushing that you feel you have a ton of bricks on your chest?
So why do you want to connect these three things? Because, if you can stay present enough throughout the entire experience you will be amazed at the inner dialogue, and specifically, the source of a deeper root of healing your addiction.
If you want to be honest with yourself, you must first become conscious enough to understand your predicament. You are the best one to understand that. Then you must commit yourself to the inner work of freedom. As of right now your life is not your own, and yet with the trust of your inner voice you can take it back!
Dr. Ryan Westrum is a Sex Therapist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Where he specializes in helping people with pornography addiction, sexual addiction and sexual trauma. Please contact him at 952-261-5269 or firstname.lastname@example.org.