Perhaps you believe that you or someone you love is addicted to pornography. While the temptation may be great to keep it quiet, there are lots of resources to help with recovery.
In her book, An Affair of the Mind, Laurie Hall says that, from her experience and research, there is no easy answer. As the spouse of a porn addict, she learned she had to disengage from trying to fix him and, instead, take care of herself.
“You have to build your own personal foundations under you – boundaries, standards, tolerations and requirements,” says Hall. “It was not an option to tolerate this in my home. I learned that one of the first steps toward recovery, whether you are the person addicted or the spouse, is to seek help from a trained counselor.”
Hall learned that some counselors empower those dealing with the difficulty of having a spouse who is a sex addict, while others simply don’t understand the nature of sexual addiction.
“Working with a counselor who doesn’t get it can leave you feeling shredded,” Hall says. “I have hundreds of letters that bear out this point.”
When looking for a counselor, Hall suggests asking these questions:
Where did they get their counseling training?
Have they had specific training in dealing with sex addiction? Where? When?
What is their approach in dealing with this subject?
Does the counselor network with national groups who deal with this subject?
How many people have they counseled on this issue?
After the session, ask yourself:
Did the counselor treat me with respect?
Does this person view me as a partner in my own healing or as a project?
Did the counselor hear me or lecture me?
Does the counselor encourage or discount my intuition?
Is this person’s belief system compatible with mine?
Did I feel safe?
Did they offer any resources – books, pamphlets, websites and/or support groups for more information about sexual addiction?
If you suspect a problem, but aren’t sure, you can take a sex addiction screening test. Dr. Patrick Carnes, an expert on sexual addiction and recovery, developed it, and you can take it online at faithfulandtrue.com under the self-assessment tab.
If you know you have a porn addiction, Dr. Mark Laaser, author of The Pornography Trap and Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction, suggests you begin by admitting the problem. Talk with an accountability partner and seek help. Put blocks on your computer and put the computer in a public place. Be straightforward about what would tempt you. Porn is in the mind of the beholder; certain things are universally considered porn, but other things like catalogs and magazines could be pornographic to an addict.
“With help from a trained counselor, we are seeing evidence that people can successfully recalibrate their brain,” says Laaser. “By demonstrating sexually pure behavior, you can rewire your brain to be satisfied with sexual purity in your marriage. Though it is not an easy process, there are people who have been successful.”
You can find additional resources on these websites: