In response to a family member’s recent illness, I have been reading My Stoke of Insight, by Dr. Jill Taylor. Dr. Taylor suffered a severe stroke, and after a long and challenging recovery, she wrote My Stroke of Insight to tell her story and share what she had learned about herself and about the brain. The book is not about addiction (although it is noteworthy that Dr. Taylor served on the board of directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness), but it contains a wonderful introduction to the anatomy and function of the brain – including why that function is sometimes not “normal”. Probably without realizing it, Dr. Taylor also offers powerful hope for recovery.
When viewed without a microscope, our brains mostly look the same. At the cellular level, we all have about the same number of neurons (#). What makes each brain unique is the nature of the connections between those neurons. Those connections and the pathways they form are developed by our experiences, our environment, and our emotional state, and they continue to change and develop throughout our lives. These connections account for our personalities, our likes and dislikes, and illnesses like addiction.
In a nutshell, mental illnesses like depression, PTSD, and addiction may be at least partially caused by the way connections between neurons are affected by experiences like trauma, abuse, or exposure to other stimuli. At the cellular level, when we say that porn changes how your brain works, we are referring to the way exposure to pornographic images can eventually change the pathways of connections between your brain cells.
The number of cells in our nervous systems does not change much after we are born; unlike blood cells or skin cells, the body does not produce new brain cells. The connections between those cells, however, are capable of change throughout our lives. In Dr. Taylor’s case, she was eventually able to help her brain adapt its cellular pathways to adjust to the damage done by the stroke. For recovering addicts, the amazing lesson in this story is that your brain is capable of change and healing.
It just needs the right stimuli- positive, healthy activities and relationships – and a healthy environment. In other words, you just need to consistently “feed the right wolf.”
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.