Pornography Addiction Cycle

Porn Addiction Cycle

The “acting out” (engaging in an activity that you consciously didn’t want to engage in) usually starts out with a trigger, which is interpreted by your brain at a subconscious level, and results in a strong emotion, such as excitement. Only then do you get a thought in your conscious brain!

Think about it! In our society, most of the people hold a belief that we are primarily motivated by our thinking. This, however, is not entirely true! In fact, as much as 90% of our daily behaviors are motivated by our subconscious brains.

To make things worse, once our body begins a chemical response, it overrides our cognitive ability. Meaning, we still are aware of what is going on, but unable to make an accurate, rational evaluation of our behavior and upcoming consequences.

Immediately after the internal chemical release, our body begins to change (we will talk more about it in upcoming sections). This really is our last line of defense.

The second thought is our last chance to realize what is happening and to take emergency actions to save ourselves (we will talk a lot more about this as well).

If we were not able to break the cycle, chances are we will end up giving in, and engaging in the behavior.

After the “acting out” part is complete, our brain goes off the auto-pilot, and we are back to our normal selves. This is when we are usually able to look at the situation logically, and realize what has happened.

A common reaction to this realization is to feel intense negative emotions, such as guilt and self-hatred. This approach, however, only strengthens our addiction. It keeps us from taking constructive action.

Remember, we do bad things, but we are not bad people!

Did you notice that I skipped one of the items on the list – vulnerable time? Mark Kastleman, founder of Candeo Can, came up with an acronym BLASTed, which stands for: Bored, Burned Out, Lonely, Anxious, Afraid, Angry, Stressed, and Tired.

Another acronym that is commonly used in the 12 steps community is HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired.

During the vulnerable times, our conscious brain loses the ability to see things clearly. That is when our subconscious brain is more likely to take over. And we already know where this is going to take us.

You can avoid vulnerable times by beginning to take good care of yourself. Simple things like getting plenty of sleep, eating properly, drinking enough water, and journaling to de-clutter your brain can go a long way. In the future chapters, we are going to talk a lot more about things that you can do to bring about peace and calmness into your life.

In the next chapter, we are going to take a closer look at how the human brain has developed over time.

Stay safe!

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P.S. Recommended Resources:

  • Sex Addicts Anonymous
    I cannot imagine my recovery without this program.
  • Mindful Habit Course by Coach Craig
    Great advice from a great person.
  • Free Podcast and Mini Course from Candeo Can
    I owe my first 90 days of continuous sobriety to this program and highly recommend it.
  • Internet Accountability Software
    Using this software allowed me to get truly honest with my internet usage for the first time in my life. For some reason knowing that my every step was being observed and reported on, made it really easy to use internet only in a healthy way.
  • Treating Pornography Addiction by Kevin B. Skinner Ph.D.
    I have read over 15 books on Pornography and Sexual addiction and this truly is one of the best books on the subject. The reason is I recommend this particular book is because it is full of excellent actionable steps. Other books do a good job describing the problem, but don’t really offer a realistic solution.
  • Your Sexually Addicted Spouse – How Partners Can Cope and Heal by Barbara Steffens Ph.D.
    I know that about half of visitors to our site are spouses of people who might be suffering with pornography and sex addiction. To the best of my knowledge this book is one of the most helpful books for the partners.
  • Free Consultation from Coach Craig
    Coach Craig has been a good friend and supporter of this site since January 2013. He has worked with people from all over the world, including famous musicians and other high profile individuals. Yet, he is only a phone call away and would be glad to give you a free consultation. Call him anytime, with any question you might have, and I am know he will be extremely happy to help in any way he can.

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  1. Anonymous says

    I am a 41 yr old man whose been married 16 yrs and have a 14 yr old daughter, 10 yr old and 6 yr old son. I watch porn and masturbate varying from once a day to the times a day. It’s sometimes daily and other times, every other or few days apart. I’ve struggled with this since puberty and was express to porn at a young age of about 4 or 5. I continue fighting this battle inside me. I want to stop watching porn on my stupid phone. I’m tired of this crutch but even as I right this, I find myself wanting to sneak off to the bathroom and act out. I feel it is also driving me further away from God. It’s affected my relationship with my wife and children. Rather than spend quality time with them I watch porn. Rather than invest in an intimate evening with my wife, I’ll watch porn and masturbate because it’s easier and I don’t have to face possible rejection.

  2. Jay says

    Everyone, i want you to know that porn WILL grow. it will become even larger than before. The only way to stop it is to RAISE AWARENESS! Not some Porn Blocker Software, (although it is very helpful, it will NOT stop it outside your computer or device) but only standing up, making YouTube videos, posting posters and things. I garuntee you if the goverment notices or ever has an experience with it, I Promise you they will shut down ALL porn sites and everything related.
    Very, Very, Very helpful article. Thank you. It helps keep phase 2 from coming up now.

    Jay Clark

  3. Anonymous says

    Alex’s website is really great, but I hope you all know that the only real answer to your problem is God’s saving grace. If you want to know m

    • Anonymous says

      Please share anything you can to help. I have just discovered my fiance’s porn habit.
      He does not feel that it is a bad thing.
      I am crushed & feel as if I am not enough.
      He promised me 2 days ago that he will get rid of the sites, everything, but how will I know?

      Sick in GA

  4. greg says

    I have been in recovery from sex, porn and love addiction for over a year. It has been an up and down struggle, but one that has been well worth it. I enourage anyone with this addiction to seek out a sex and love addiction 12 – step group. It is indeed possible to break out of the cycle of shame and self – hatred. Freedom and recovery can and do happen. Don’t give up – you are worth it!!!!

  5. Zen says

    Spot on its like in the 1st stage cant wait to break the cycle and to.every one else going throgh this we all can mind over matter my friends

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