Thursday, February 25, 2021

Food for Thought: How To Overcome Internet Pornography Addiction

| November 18, 2020 12:00 AM

Last week I wrote about the hazards and widespread usage of internet pornography.

This week I would like to address some necessary steps to overcome this addiction.

What should you do if you discover a family member has a problem with pornography? If a family member or a spouse’s internet usage is out of control or if you have reason to believe that s/he is involved in some form of online sex or relationship, then you need to confront them with your concern.

You don’t have to be judgmental or condemning. Simply express with love the things that concern you and wait for their response.

For example, you may say “I feel like your online activities are taking away from the family, I am concerned our marriage is in trouble.”

Confrontation under these circumstances is helpful because it gives you the opportunity to restore trust and open communication.

Be prepared if you are tapping into a real problem because the response could be ugly. Out of embarrassment you spouse may become defensive and try to minimize the situation.

What should you do if you recognize you have a problem? Here is a list of self help ideas. Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive plan but more of a self help plan. Most people will need outside support, a 12-step program and/or therapy.

  1. Have a strong desire - Without a strong desire, the process of change will be half hearted and produce little results.
  2. Make a commitment - Without a commitment there will be no change.
  3. Believe in yourself - Visualize the new you. Don’t think negatively about yourself. Stop and think positively, otherwise your low self esteem will lead you back to your addiction.
  4. Identify the cause - The symptom is viewing the pornography. The cause is the thoughts or feelings leading you to use pornography as an escape.
  5. The void - Something inside is missing. Perhaps you feel lonely or bored. Become more aware of thoughts and feelings you have when you are tempted.
  6. Try to adjust the environment - Buy some monitoring software or get rid of the Internet.
  7. Renew your inner strength and motivation every day - If you are religious read the scriptures or books of hope. If you are not religious read motivating books like Chicken Soup For The Soul.
  8. Persevere. Keep track of your progress. If you slip up, don’t give up.

If these measures are not working it is time to seek professional help.

Dr. Leta A. Livoti Ph.D., LCSW, LCPC is a psychotherapist in Thompsom Falls. She can be contacted at 827-0700.