The following is a summary of “Treating Pornography Addiction, The Essential Tools For Recovery” by Dr. Kevin B. Skinner.

Chapter 1 – The Creation of Pornography Addiction

  • Starts at young age through early exposure and early sexual experience
  • Controlling or uninvolved parents
  • Loneliness and Isolation
  • Learning form unhealthy relationship model (when parents don’t get along)

Chapter 2 – Understanding Levels of Pornography Addiction

  • Non Clinical Definition of an Addiction
    • Failure to resist impulses to use
    • Increasing time/ frequency of use
    • Ongoing and unsuccessful efforts to stop
    • Feeling pre occupied prior to use
    • Neglecting obligations
    • Continuing to use, Ignoring consequences
    • Tolerance build-up – need to see harder stuff, for longer periods of time
    • Purposely cancelling other activities, to spend time viewing pornography
    • Withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop
      • Dizziness
      • Body aches
      • Headache
      • Sleeplessness
      • Restlessness
      • Anxiety
      • Mood swings
      • Depression
  • 7 Levels of Addiction
    • Don’t think if either addicted or not, think how much or how little person is addicted, i.e. following levels:
      1. Mild exposure – once or twice a year, no affect on regular life
      2. Pornography use does not indicate addiction – occasional looking at pornography with increased interest
      3. Signs of trouble – person looks about once a month, usually tries to avoid, but occasionally urge get so strong that cannot be controlled, and person gives in
      4. Individual notices increased sexual fantasies, and attempts to control them, which results in stronger withdrawal symptoms
      5. Pornography impacting day to day living with significant portion of the day spend thinking about pornography
      6. Pornography dominates most of the day to day lives, affecting work, school, and personal relationships
      7. Pornography and acting out consumes most of individuals time, leaving him feeling completely out of control
  • Assessing the Consequences
    • Emotional – Mood swings, depression, anger, anxiety etc
    • Relationships/Family/Social Life – Spouse, Children, Family, Friends, Co-Workers
    • Spiritual – Feeling of being lost, wasting life, missing a purpose
    • Financial – Wasting money, failing to earn, loosing jobs
    • Work or School – decrease in performance, feeling of dissatisfaction, life being out of balance
    • Withdrawal symptoms
    • Sexuality – decrease sex drive, inability to maintain healthy intimacy

Chapter 3 – Why pornography is addictive and how to deactivate addictive behaviour

  • Viewing pornography = brain produces feel good chemicals
  • Developing of Addiction Cycle
    • Vulnerable time – Home alone, tired, stressed out, lonely
    • Stimulus(Trigger) – Seeing/Sensing something sexual
    • Emotion – Curiosity, Excitement
    • Thought – I wonder, What If, Why Not?
    • Chemical Release – Body and Mind begins to change
    • Body Language – Heart Rate goes up, Dilated eyes, Tight Muscles
    • Second Thought, The Battle – I really shouldn’t , but it would feel so good.
    • Hypothesis/Believe – I wonder if it will ever go away? I can’t help it, so why try?
    • Response –  Most likely giving in
    • Remorse – What have I done?
  • Deactivating the Cycle
    • Learn to recognize the venerable time, and avoid anything that could be a trigger (i.e. Don’t get on computer when tired and home alone)
    • Catch yourself in the beginning of the cycle in Stimulus-Emotion-Though part, before the chemical reaction begins. Do something radically different, get out of the house(exercise, go to the store, go see a friend).
  • Developing a Game Plan
    • Write down the behaviours you want to change
    • Write down the reaction sequence to the behaviour you want to change
    • Write down the specific changes you will make in each of the early stages of the cycle (Changing your thoughts and actions)
    • Keep revising game plane after each reaction sequence runs to determent if it was effective or not.

Chapter 4 – Power of believes

  • Focus on the root of the problem – identify unhealthy believes
    • I am alone and nobody understands me
    • Nobody has a problem like me
    • I deserve what I get since I am not strong enough to quit
    • I am a bad person
    • Nobody will want me
  • Challenging unhealthy believes
    • Identify Believe (Not as easy as its sounds, dig deep, try to verbalize what you are thinking) – i.e. One more time won’t hurt
    • Identify Reality – i.e. I’ve been saying this for year, one more time will hurt, and it will hurt bad.
  • Realize that you have ability to find a solution inside of you
    • Learn more about addiction
    • Develop a game plan
    • Reach out to others for help
    • Change lifestyle
  • Use your own values to change – Realize what is really important to you in your life, and use this to help you change. I.e. My dreams of having a wife and a child will come true.
  • Think progress and not results – Change is gradual process. Concentrate on consistency and not on perfection. Relapses will most likely happen. Learn from it, adjust your game plan and move on. Look back to judge the progress that you’ve made.

Chapter 5 – The beginning steps to change for good

  • Every change involves six stages
    • Pre-contemplation
    • Contemplation
    • Preparation
    • Taking Action
    • Relapse Prevention
  • Pre-contemplation – Addiction has no effect on person’s life
    • Addict does not think that his behaviours present problem,
    • Addict does not realize how hard it would be to stop
    • Our society doesn’t help
    • Addict thinks his behaviour is normal.
    • Addict cannot stay in pre-contemplation stage for ever
  • Contemplation – Addiction begins to have a noticeable effect on addicts life
    • Addict realizes that change is needed.
    • Fear
      • Being discovered by a spouse
      • Loosing a Job
      • Fear of God
      • Social Embarrassment
      • Breaking the Law
    • Duty
    • Love

Chapter 6 – Preparing to change for good

  • Defining Sobriety – Distinguishing healthy sexual behaviours (which are completely acceptable ) from unhealthy ones.
  • Defining Boundaries
    • i.e. Don’t get online when alone
    • i.e. Don’t watch TV alone after 11pm
    • i.e. Don’t drive down streets that have adult material
    • Improve your boundaries as you learn more about yourself
  • Establishing Goals
    • Short term – I will fight this one day at the time, Only use computer for specific purpose
    • Mid-range – Learn as much as I can about addiction. Become an expert on my relapse patters. Find new relationships to avoid social isolation.
    • Long term – Remain porn free for 180 days. Develop a new skill. Help others with similar problem. Develop a healthy intimate relationship with a spouse.
  • Identifying your support team – Friends, Family, Church, Support Groups
  • Performing fire drills – ask your support person to go through a scenario where you play out what could happen during your addictive cycle. Practice this often so when the addictive cycle takes place, you have a new response to implement.

Chapter 7 – Taking action and maintenance, the behaviours to change for good

  • Taking Action
    • Awareness
      • Recognize what is happening to you
      • Identify the source
      • Predict the outcome
      • Sticking to Game plan
    • Things to be aware of
      • Emotions
      • Self-Image
      • Fantasizing
      • Thoughts
  • Maintenance – Follows successful action stage
    • Associated with feeling confident and empowered by early accomplishment
    • Overcoming addiction is a marathon and not a race
    • Realize that danger of relapse is still a reality
    • Catch relapses quickly before old habits sink it

Chapter 8 – The profile of those most likely to relapse

  • Keeping Secrets – avoided by:
    • Accountability partner
    • Practice staying honest
  • Limited Relationship connection – avoided by:
    • Increase your compassion for others
    • Develop positive communication skills
    • Learn to share emotions
    • Practice
  • Chronic Conflict with Others – avoided by:
    • Learn to look for solutions, and not for problems
    • Try to see things from other persons perspective
    • Develop relationships with positive people
  • Living for intense experiences ( Drugs, Gambling, Sex, Risky Sports, Overeating) – avoided by:
    • Exercise
    • Spirituality
    • Learning new skills
    • Serving others
    • Developing healthy relations
  • Leaving treatment prematurely – avoided by:
    • Read books
    • Attend groups
    • Keep in touch with counsellor
    • Stay close to accountability partner
  • Inadequate preparation – questions to determent if you are ready
    • Did you learn how to break isolation?
    • Can you survive withdrawal?
    • Have you learned how to deal with negative emotions?
    • Did you review your activation sequence?
    • Did you develop a solid plan?
    • Do you have an accountability partner?
  • Ignoring emotional issues
    • Things to watch out for
      • Curiosity
      • Need for excitement
      • Stress
      • Anger
      • Boredom
      • Loneliness
      • Worry
      • Fear
      • Irritation
    • Steps to deal with emotions
      • Do not ignore your emotions
      • Evaluate your thoughts and feelings
      • Recognize underlying emotion
      • Understanding will bring relieve
      • Try to understand other peoples emotions

Chapter 9 – Relapse prevention, a tool to use in recovery

  • Journaling is not writing your life story. It is an invaluable tool for recovery. It is used to monitor progress, work through the issues, identify trends, and make appropriate changes. Here are a few guidelines to follow:
    • Journal needs to be private. You need to be able to write down anything you want, and not be afraid that others might read it.
    • You should be as honest as you possibly can
    • You should discuss your emotions (happy, sad, tired)
    • Don’t stop to edit, write everything as is. Let it all out.
    • At the end of days entry, review what you have learned and summarize the result
    • Identify behaviours that you want to change as a result of your writing
    • As times goes on, go back and review how you are progressing and write down achievements that you have made.

Chapter 10 – Living the lifestyle that leads to recovery

  • Commitment to integrity
    • No more secrets
    • Being emotionally honest
    • Being the same in public as you are in private
    • Taking a full responsibility for everything that takes place in your life
  • Valuing self and showing compassion for others
    • All people, including self, are of an infinite worth
    • Behaviours are mostly learned and linked to inner believes
    • Bad behaviours are almost always symptoms of some deeper problems
  • Commitment to growth
    • Job promotion
    • Increased family interaction
    • Enrolment in social events
    • Improving grades
    • Exercising
  • Commitment to trusting yourself
  • Commitment to understanding your own emotions
  • Spirituality
  • The joy of living the new lifestyle

May Gob bless you in your journey!

If you have not read the book yet, I would highly recommend for you to Grab a Copy at Amazon.

This summary is not designed to replace the actual reading, but rather to provide readers with an easy way to review and retain the content. 

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