Working with Coach Craig on My Porn Addiction


Porn Addiction Coach CraigIntro by Coach Craig Perra – My client Steve changed his life and in doing so changed the way he perceives time to beat his porn addiction. Read this fascinating blog by Client Steve who will share with you some real tools that he used to change his life. Enjoy.

[If you like the article, show Steve some love in the comment section - I know it would mean a lot to him].

As I sit here writing this I am thinking how best to convey my experience with recovery and working with Craig [now a Coach at Feed the Right Wolf]. I have been watching pornography since I was a young boy. It started with pictures in magazines that I had come across in a park near my home. I would look for sex scenes in ordinary movies and I developed the habit of compulsive masturbation from a young age. I remember masturbating in the school bathroom stall when I was in the fifth or sixth grade. I gradually moved to internet pornography and I am sure that this part of the picture is easy for you to paint. This habit prolonged itself into the years until several months ago, mainly due to the extremely perverse nature of pornography I had escalated into viewing, I decided to seek help. I would give you details about my family history but as you will soon learn, everything you think is the reason for your acting out, all of that baggage inside you, that pain and frustration and anger, will dissolve and be digested, whatever it is, if you follow some basic principles.

From my first session with Craig I knew I was about to embark on something special. You may not realize this right now, but deep in your gut and way back in the depths of your mind you are actually already healed. There is a part of you that knows this, but you are afraid to acknowledge it. Craig will make you squirm and he will shake you up and wake you up and really by shear force expose you to this part of yourself. He will squeeze that part out of you and bring it to light, the part of you that knows what to do. As you work on your recovery you will start to see that your acting out (PMO Porn Masturbation Orgasm) is linked to every aspect of your life. You may not see that now but your using pornography and masturbating compulsively is influencing your whole life.  After only a few days of working with Craig I started noticing bizarre connections I had never seen before. Craig has a presence that really forces you to acknowledge these connections and whether you like it or not you are going to see them. After working with Craig for about 2 months I managed to customize a program that has been working for me. However, before introducing this I would like to give you some background and specific details about my recovery so far.

Presence. What does this word mean? As you read this do you notice the way these letters are shaped? How about the peculiarity of a question mark? Why is it shaped that way? Can you tell me what feeling is in your gut right now? Can you feel your breath travelling into and out of your body? Do you notice your heart beating? Have you noticed that all of these things are happening constantly throughout the day without your thinking about them? Your heart beats itself. Your eyes see. Sight is passive. Your ears hear without you needing to think about it.

When I first learned how to really FLOOD my body with attention it became much easier to quit and I thought that I was finished. I thought that once I had this skill of really paying attention that my use of pornography and compulsive masturbation would end, and they did…for a little while. But I would still slip. So what was going on? Here is Craig, one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met, working really hard to help me and I was making wonderful progress but I was still slipping, so what was going on? They say that a fool who persists in his folly will become wise. This has been one of the wonderful aspects of working with Craig, he gives you support and really pushes you but he still gives you space to make mistakes, and by doing so he “speeds up the folly” for your own good so that the wisdom buried deep in your head, the part of you that’s already healed, gets a chance to be put into action. When I reached that point where my inner wisdom was getting a chance to finally be heard, here is what I figured out.

It’s been said that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and I believe this to be true. To really do some damage and quit successfully I managed to reduce my plan to TWO things. If you can master these TWO things then I guarantee you will be able to stop FAST.

You will understand why below.

Have you ever stopped watching pornography or masturbating compulsively for one hour? Have you ever stopped for a single hour? What did you do in that hour? Did you read a book? Did you talk to a friend over the phone? Did you go for a walk? Did you exercise? Did you study? Did you look up at the sky and admire the clouds? Did you admire a beautiful tree or a beautiful flower? Maybe you meditated. Maybe you cried. Maybe you laughed. Maybe you watched a funny show. Remember these things? Remember how FULL life is? Maybe you went to one of your favourite restaurants and ordered your favourite meal. Maybe you called that girl you have a crush on and asked her to go out for a walk. Now I want you to imagine when you slip. You’ve been having success for some time and then, “POW!” your eyes are glued to a computer screen and you’re watching porn and later masturbating.  Maybe you watched porn for an hour, maybe more. Maybe you masturbated afterwards and maybe you didn’t. But what happened in this hour? What was happening in your HEAD? What was the mistake? Why was this hour different than the other ones? If you’ve had success quitting for at least a few days and then relapsed then I want you to pay CLOSE attention to this. Craig was the sieve that helped filter out all the bullshit answers I had given to this question of, “why did I slip?”, until finally I was able to answer it in a PROFOUND way. You relapse for TWO reasons and TWO reasons only.

Problem 1

George mentions in his book the idea of “What else?” This is the idea of asking yourself what else you can do instead of watch pornography or masturbate. When I first read this chapter I grossly misinterpreted this idea and did not use it properly.  Here is what happens. Pay attention.

WHEN YOU SLIP, PORNOGRAPHY AND MASTURBATION SEEM HUGE and the rest of your life seems small.

Solution

“What else?” list

Make a, “What else?” list! Make a GIGANTIC HUMUNGOUS ENORMOUSLY LONG list of OTHER things you can do in your life. Then, in your mind CONSTANTLY compare the HUGENESS of your “What else?” list with the tininess of pornography and masturbation. Make PMO small, small, small in comparison to your “What Else?” list. This is the first thing that happens when you slip. The sizes of pornography and masturbation are TOTALLY out of proportion in your head compared to everything else in your life. Fix this. Imagine everything you enjoy doing in your life in your head and imagine porn and masturbation as two dots .. two tiny barely visible dots.

Sample List

  • Read, read, read

  • Go for a walk

  • Run stairs

  • Call and chat with a friend

  • Study

  • Learn to play an instrument

  • Listen to music

  • Do push-ups

  • Watch a funny show

  • Admire nature

  • Go on a bus ride

  • Ask a girl that you like out for coffee

  • Practice being intimate with women and friends (kisses on cheek, hugging, smiling, patting on back,  etc)

  • Pay attention to your breathing

  • Read an interesting Wikipedia article

  • Tell someone you love that you care about them

  • Go to a restaurant and order a nice meal

  • Cook a nice meal for yourself

  • Find a subject you’re interested in, buy an empty notebook, start making notes in it about the subject, learn interesting facts about it

  • Watch a TED talk

  • Go on KhanAcademy and learn something interesting

  • Run

  • Go shopping

  • Visit the museum

  • Visit the library

  • Go for a drive

  • Draw

  • Find some puzzle books and work on puzzles

 

You get the idea…

 

Now consider this list

 

Sample List

 

 

  • Watch pornography

  • Masturbate

When you slip, this is the only list you see, but it’s simply because you don’t have a “What else?” list. Make one! And make it HUGE so that when you get an urge to relapse, pornography and masturbation will seem small, small, small, small, small, small

Problem 2

Your perception of time is fucked up. In your head how do you imagine your recovery proceeding? If you are like I was at first then you are probably counting days. After a few days you probably reflect on the number of days that you’ve been successful. But those numbers are tiny and so you don’t feel as attached as you should be to your progress. Your relationship to your progress is not strong because the numbers you reflect on are small. You get discouraged because you feel like you’ll never be able to look back and reflect on having abstained from pornography and compulsive masturbation for very long. Stopping for even one month seems like trying to climb Mount Everest.

Solution

Tally Counter (Download a tally counter app for free or buy a physical one from Amazon)

Consider the following…there are approximately 1,000,000 seconds in 11 days. That’s one million. What happened in those 1,000,000 seconds? Do you remember? If you are like I was at the beginning of my recovery you were probably blown away by how powerful being present can be in resisting relapse. But when you begin to be present and notice the benefits, you start to psyche yourself out in the following way, “Oh no! What if I’m not present? Maybe I’ll act out! So your fear starts trying to run away from itself and guess what, this leads to acting out. So how do you defeat this?

What I do now is I carry around a tally counter and at the end of each hour I click it after I’ve done one or several of the things on my “What else?” list. Every hour, DO one or more things on your list (the great thing is that sleeping counts! going to sleep and waking up without having watched porn or masturbated compulsively is 7-8 hours of success right there!) At the end of every successful hour click the counter (in the morning add the number of hours you slept without having woken up to watch porn). So my idea here is analogous to my solution to problem 1. You’re getting LEVERAGE on yourself. When you slip, your perception of time is small. What I’m trying to say is that sometimes the best thing to do is to NOT be present. If you’re feeling an urge and you’ve tried being present then the odds are that like me you sometimes end up acting out anyways. When you’re focusing on an hour, and combining this with your “What else?” list, your WIDENING your perception of time, but not so much that you feel like your life is unmanageable. I feel like somewhere between 1 and 2 hours is the sweet spot for staying motivated and being able to ride the waves as they arise without acting out. Now you can use these LARGE numbers to stay motivated (after 1 week you’ve stacked up 168 hours! that’s nothing to sneeze at and you bet you’re going to think twice before throwing that away with more acting out, think about the difference between losing $1 or $7 and losing $168)

You can still work to be more present as much as possible but you don’t have to stress too much if you’re not because with the hour time slot you only have the hour to deal with. An hour gives you hope and keeps you motivated. Your goal is to live free of pornography and compulsive masturbation. But your life is lived one hour at a time. True, you could scale the time further down but I’ve done that before (Eckart Tolle style) and I realized that presence can go too far. If you get an urge to watch pornography or masturbate and I was extremely present, usually that made things worse for me! If anything I became hyperaware of the desire and ended up acting out anyways. If your time perception is an hour there’s less stress. The urge WILL pass. The reason this has been more effective for me is because I now have a sense of progress QUICKER. So you become ADDICTED TOO YOUR PROGRESS. Every time you click the counter the shaky ground your standing on becomes more firm and it becomes harder and harder for you to imagine ever relapsing again. You can’t wait to click it again the next hour. Success is motivating and a sense of progress is the best way to get leverage. If you have an urge then you can take yourself OUT of the present and remind yourself that one hour is NOT hard to deal with. Like I said earlier, you’ve quit an hour before! There’s nothing fundamentally different in this hour compared to any other hour that you’ve managed to stop. You just sometimes lose your sense of proportion in terms of “What else?” and time. Once again, I TRIED doing this for moments (seconds to minutes) and it did NOT work. It’s actually harder to quit when you’re too present because the sensations seem overwhelming and overpowering in the MOMENT. They feel too tough to handle. But when you’re dealing with an hour you can at least see the light at the end of the tunnel, you can imagine what it will be like once you’ve succeeded in sticking it out. Thinking about the future in this controlled way WILL get you through. What are you going to do? Is your “What else?” list alluring enough? Does it really captivate you?

What to expect in the first few weeks of recovery (wet dreams, random erections throughout the day, random feelings of shame…ride these out! Don’t let them get to you, it’s part of the process and it’s worth it in the end I promise! ) Working with Craig has been great. I would never have had this much clarity about my path in recovery if it wasn’t for him. He really makes you sense the urgency of stopping and he gets you to really focus on what is going to work for you. I wanted to make this blog as short and concise as possible. I elaborated in certain parts simply to make sure I got the idea across but in case I lost you somewhere along the way I would just like to summarize what has been working for me and I urge you to experiment with this strategy.

  1. Make a “What else?” list.

  2. Get a tally counter and CLICK it at the end of each hour after having done one or several of the things on your “What else?” list.

  3. In your head constantly visualize comparing the massive size of your “What else?” list with the relative smallness of pornography and masturbation.

  4. Reflect on how huge the numbers are that you collect with your tally counter and really FEEL that success in your gut.

Happy clicking!


Call (916)259-3827 For Professional Help

P.S. Recommended Resources:

  • Sex Addicts Anonymous
    I cannot imagine my recovery without this program.
  • 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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Comments

  1. John says

    I was “discovered” in mid February through my girlfriend’s finding my sexual addict alias on my computer, and with it, a virtual catalog of all my sexual escapades, getting steadily darker month by month, including a 2-year “girlfriend” I spent time with on business trips.

    It was the best thing that ever happened to me to be found out! It’s not been easy, but my path to recovery (which is a lifelong journey, make no mistake about that) is through mindfulness meditation, 12-step group involvement (3 meetings a week), and personal and couples therapy.

    I put mindfulness meditation first because it was the most powerful tool of all! I had practiced zen Buddhism in years past but my personal therapist sent me back to that tradition and a “practice mandate” of an hour a day of meditation.

    I am rebuilding my relationship with my girlfriend and we are still together. My 12-step work (with Sexual Addicts Anonymous) has pointed out a lot of personal character failures that I need to constantly work on, and I know it will be a long-term affair, but with the meditation and the therapy support, I believe I will make it. I’m already enjoying abundant peace and joy in “living in the light” rather than the shadows that enshroud the sex addict’s life.

    Going to a 12-step meeting the first time frankly scared me to death…I almost vomited with fear. What I experienced was the exact opposite of my fears…total acceptance, support, friendship…they have become by core friend circle. SAA has a very active presence in San Diego North County, with meetings available most evenings. Some of the brothers go to 7 meetings a week! I attend 3. The freedom and safety and acceptance of those meetings is something I look forward to each time!

    I have not had any relapse (in 12-step, we call this losing our sobriety) since March 1, shortly after I was “discovered”. My work brings me into contact with attractive women all the time, and I have not experienced that “pull” to “act out”. Women have become human beings rather than pure sex objects!

    I am 73 years old and my old ways had become ingrained, but even old dogs can learn new tricks! Younger men should have much more confidence!

    If anyone wants to communicate with me about any of the above, I would be glad to help.

    John

    • FTRW Coach Craig says

      Way to go brother!! Mindfulness is a critical component of our program. Why? Because it’s been scientifically proven to work. Here is a colleague from UCLA coming at it from a scientific perspective.

  2. frimpong samuel says

    Please, I’m addicted to masturbating and porn movies and I really wanna an end to it but I can’t so I really need your assistance. Please, can you send me email address so I can tell you my real problem

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