Recovery and shortcuts: how not to fix yourself

Submitted by Amari on
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I've been reading this forum for a while now. Among the people here who are trying to quit porn/masturbation/etc., I've seen a few different approaches, sometimes at different times from the same people.

A certain group isn't certain whether they have an addiction, but wants to try abstaining as a sort of experiment in self-improvement.

Another group has generally hit bottom and just wants to stop, plain and simple.

The third group is determined to find a way to "fix" themselves and "regain control" of their sexual urges. I wish to express that I'm not wanting to judge or criticize anyone. This kind of thinking is quite natural and we all engage in it at times, but I do want to point out that there are certain dangers entailed in it.

First, a few of the most respected writers on addiction have pointed out that the illusion that we can "control" or "handle" an addiction somehow is really a deception that only ends up feeding the addiction itself further. In truth I think we can never control our urges, only learn to steer around them and avoid giving them more fuel. I liken this to meditation or mindfulness training. For example, a credible teacher will never instruct anyone to "control" their anger (which, after all, is impossible), merely to embrace the feeling gently while refusing to act on it.

Second, to believe that we are somehow "broken" in a way that can be fixed by willpower or external means is often to do great violence to ourselves. Actually, in the vast majority of cases, our bodies and minds are self-healing as long as they are given appropriate circumstances. To trust in this ability contributes greatly to our emotional well-being. Conversely, what does it say when we judge ourselves or others as somehow flawed and in need of correction? The difference between fixing and healing is subtle, but I think it's important. Are we machines? Can your VCR heal itself? If a machine breaks, it becomes useless, but a person who is hurt doesn't lose any value, even if healing takes a lot of time and support.

Third, believing in the possibility of control through external means often leads to extreme measures or quick fixes that distract us from the real issue. I think it's a great idea to do what we can to support recovery through gradual changes in diet, exercise, etc., but it's possible to overdo these things. Likewise, it's easy to turn to a drug or supplement for a "solution." Unfortunately, unless it was a nutritional imbalance that caused the problem in the first place, this approach is no solution. For most of us, the root of the problem is growing up in a profoundly hurting and unhealthy society or family, and there is no supplement or pill that can "fix" that pain. There are a thousand distractions available to anesthetize ourselves, but the real and healthy message of that pain is that we need to begin as soon as possible not to fix anything with shortcuts, but to begin the long task of creating real healing in ourselves, our families, our communities, and the world.

Finally, believing that we need to "fix" everything ourselves leaves a very large burden on our shoulders and no room at all for grace. Somewhere we need to leave a space that allows for our own imperfections, and for a larger miraculous and merciful property of the Universe to transform those shortcomings into something beautiful. At least, I do, or else I just fall into despair.

Well put!

Hi Amari,

I think you put it well. If the problem is simple, for example if you were just addicted to smoking and nothing more (i.e. no emotional involvement), then you could treat it as something to be "fixed". But most of our problems come from multiple sources, such as growing up in unhealthy families. For many of us, the problems stretch back decades. Your approach of leaving room for grace makes sense to me. Hating yourself or feeling that you are broken only adds fuel to the fire.

Taking the focus off yourself and helping others (such as volunteering on the Reuniting web site) can do wonders as well. Smile

P.

Thanks

for a beautiful post.

I'm especially grateful to you for articulating some of the worries I have from time to time when visitors propose extreme "fixes" or say harsh things about themselves when they don't live up to unreasonable expectations in the short-term.

Such tactics seldom work over the long haul. Keeping a sense of humor about the foibles of our design, and determined resilience seem to be useful aids in the return to balance.

thanks

I have always tried to 'fix' myself and I realized that this was just another aspect of my compulsion. The vcr analogy makes sense. Trying to fix ourselves through mechanical means attempts to defy our natural ability to heal ourselves. It could be a genuine impulse to provide much needed order in our lives, but order would come naturally to achieving grace and connection.

Well said

Besides, it's a really good feeling to get that sense of being "in the flow," as if the whole Universe is no longer working against you. Wink

"Regaining control

over my sexual energy" is an expression that I like to use. For me, it means being able to use this energy in a way that enhances my wellbeing, without getting trapped in a negative spiral of dopamine high's and low's.

I get the sense that the expression "regaining control" in your post is meant as blindly repressing. Am I right?

Hmm,

Obviously I did mean to include the idea of blindly repressing under "control." Of course there is nothing wrong with wanting to direct your energy elsewhere. I'm just wary of any language that sets up too much of a seeming inner conflict, or makes it sound like you have to expend a lot of effort.

Meanwhile, if you look at the sentence "I want to control my sexual energy," where is the "I" that is doing the controlling? Confusing, eh?

Effort

Yeah, I'm relieved that you mention that too much strained effort is not what this is about. That would sound too much like medieval sex-is-sin mentality.

Oh-oh now we're treading into "Who am I?" area. The most famous question of all....(like sexuality isn't complicated in itself [schock] ).

Who and Where

The question that Amari asked (two posts above) is "...WHERE is the 'I' that is doing the controlling. That question seems to me more relevant _perhaps_ than the typical "Who am I?" Matter of fact, "where is the 'I'..." kinda does leave me wondering "Who am I?" as an aftereffect...

As a young girl in the face of verbal/physical attack I would wonder this to myself...
Who is the "you" that you're referring to? They seemed to think they knew me so well. I guess maybe I didn't think I needed to ask the question "Who am I?" until I was referred to in that way.
The question of where is the "I" that is controlling seems to beg the question 'who I am', indirectly. HA, HA.

I think I'm thoroughly confused now! Truthfully, I've ALWAYS had a problem with pronouns and labeling of things as this or that. It seemed false, and kinda like "Who says??, HUH?"

The method

Peter Carroll' s new book "Apophenion" establishes in a theoretical basis a structure indicating our multi-dimensinal "I", so the question "WHERE is the 'I' that is doing the controlling" seems to be rather absurd according to his philosophy. But I am not here to argue about the validity of this or any other intellectual structure which possibly supports some point of view.

The reason I am here is to give a method to win. A simple method. It worked and works for me when I apply it to myself for some period of time. The method is not mine. It s called "Take the action". Google it. And it s not free. It helped me and here are the main steps:

1. Bath with lukewarmwater every morning after weaking up.
2. Meditation, after the bath. I think this is the most powerfull tool.
3. Three yogi poses after meditation. Then breakfast.
4. Repeat steps 1-2-3 before dinner.
5. Run and work out your body.
6. Careful choice of food. Choose no-irritating food.
7. Fast once a month totally for 24 hours.
8. Drink more water.
9. Dont look more than 1 sec to porno. (Of course this is the whole point. But 1-2-3 helps strengthen the mind and chose thereafter wisely).

Some points of this leaflet - when i was reading it - appeared to me rather childish. I dont care. Thing is it works. I would rather add another one:

10. Find a passion and follow it. A passion which gives you the opportunity to create.

I dont know (although the hereby articles about oxitocin etc maysuppport this) why (10) should be here. But here is a clue:

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/DP5/sex3.htm
Apart from the health risks, another argument commonly cited in favour of sexual moderation, as far as males are concerned, is that sperm and seminal fluid are rich in lecithin, calcium, phosphorus, iron, cholesterol, vitamins E and B, nucleoproteins, and sex hormones [7]. Loss of these substances, for whatever purpose, has a devitalizing and debilitating effect on the body, and the faster semen is expended the more the body must strain to replace it. If it is conserved, it is reabsorbed into the bloodstream and used to nourish the tissues of the body, especially the brain and nervous system. No two constituents of the body show greater similarity in their lecithin, chlolesterin, and phosphorus contents than brain cells and semen.

One theory about the importance

of finding a creative outlet is the very old idea that "our sexual energy is actually our life force energy." It's in us to help us manifest whatever we want, especially if we don't throw it away.

My theory is that it's like a volcano. You have to use it for *something* so why not use it for something you really want to accomplish while you're on the planet? I don't think it's an accident that I got my book published after Gary and I got together and were consistent with how we use our sexual energy...but who knows?