Jason Dean is a counselor who specializes in assisting people with addiction or compulsive behavior problems. He is author of www.quitpornaddiction.com and www.porngameover.com
What was it like before you realized that you had a problem with pornography?
I haven’t had the anxiety and personal fallout that some people experience through problem porn use, but I have viewed porn (I’m a guy with an internet connection) and I’ve noticed how addictive it can feel. As a practicing counselor working with people who struggle with porn, do I still view it? No. I guess that’s mainly due to time commitments; there are just better ways to spend my time! So my relationship with porn has changed in that way. And my work has put me into contact with people who have been negatively impacted by porn in different ways, often severely; that’s got to have an impact on me too, I guess.
What made you realize that something was wrong?
Personally, I noticed that time slips away quite scarily when viewing porn. And I can easily see how real sexual relationships appear to pale in comparison to the extremities of porn; its not the best sex educator! So frequently losing track of time or letting porn take precedence over real relationships; these might be two clear indicators that something is wrong.
For the people I work with, the list of potential indicators is very long. Getting into trouble at work, tired all the time, impotency or other sexual glitches, ill-advised encounters with strangers, low self-esteem, huge porn subscription bills, conflicts with faith or ethical beliefs… it just goes on.
What is your life like since you got into recovery?
I’m not in any form of recovery but as I explored the issue of problem porn use, I’ve become aware of what a widespread, complicated and difficult-to-nail-down issue it really is. A lot of people are finding their lives limited by compulsive routines around porn, and for many it’s such a sensitive and embarrassing issue to tackle. The good news is that we are learning and understanding more, and it really doesn’t have to be like that.
What are the best recovery tools and tips that worked for you?
I often say that any gain is good. If you’re aiming to cut out or cut down on porn viewing, going from 12 hours a week to 6 is a genuine achievement. Old habits die hard. Changing our lives in this way is an ongoing process, but we often go to war with ourselves when things aren’t resolved straight away. If we slip back in any way, that’s an opportunity to learn a little more about the habit and keep moving forward.
Beating this thing is usually a two-pronged approach: a proactive plan for spending our energies and time in the ways we choose, and reactive techniques for dealing with urges or cravings in the moment. For the latter, Googling ‘urge surfing’ is a good way to start.
Hope this is useful!
You can read more about Jason on his sites www.quitpornaddiction.com and www.porngameover.com