Raise your hand if this sounds familiar:
Never again. Never, ever, ever, ever again. That was the last time. From now on I will be different. I’ll be the person I want to be. I will be in control and make good choices. I’m really going to do it this time. This is the first day of the rest of my life!
Then a short while later you mess up.
Maybe you made it a little longer this time, or maybe your pledge to your recovery was still echoing in your head when you fell back into old habits. Regardless, you made a promise and you broke it. You feel that all you are left with now is more evidence of your inadequacy.
The sooner you accept that there is no end to our making mistakes, the happier you will be. Remember, there is no such thing as a last straw. Pornography does not own us or govern our lives. We always have the ability to make a difference in our own lives.
Don’t believe it? Well, here’s a handy metaphor to help us explain what we mean.
Climb The Mountain.
The sport of rock climbing is based very loosely on two basic principles: going up and falling down. You actually have to be good at both in order to be a successful climber. There are a few different ways to rock climb but the form we want to talk about is called “Lead Climbing”. This when the climber brings the rope up with them as they move upward. As the climber gets higher and higher up the wall they will clip in with anchors to protect themselves from falling very far and becoming very dead. Guess what? Much more often than not, they still fall.
Recovery can be the same. Instead of looking at falling as an inevitable loose rock or an unsteady foothold, it can actually be a chance to get your bearings and make real progress. Like a rock climber, Fortifiers need to use the tools at their disposal and gear up for the challenge ahead. If they do it right they have a much better chance of reaching the summit and taking fewer, shorter falls along the way.
Beware Of Binging
A lot of people will want to give up after they fall. They think, it’s too hard, I’m too tired, I can’t do this. The problem is if you give in and let yourself turn one bad day into a bad week, it can be the difference of falling 100 feet instead of just a momentary slip.
Avoid this by trying to find a healthy and positive outlook. This is a lot easier said than done but don’t beat yourself up. But also don’t just brush it off and ignore it. Humbly accept the fact that you made a mistake and decide what you are going to do about it in the future. As soon as you realize that you’ve messed up, choose immediately the next moment to recalibrate. That will set you back in the right direction and you will be able to continue your climb.
Stop And Look Around
Falling can be discouraging for any climber (or Fortifier). It is easy to feel defeated and tired. Instead of wallowing, you owe it to yourself to analyze the situation. You fell for a reason so look at what just happened and identify it. Maybe it was stress or a trigger or boredom. Did you let your guard down or stop doing one of your battle strategies? Whatever the case, once you identify the problem and mark it down in your Battle Tracker, you can find a way around it. Make a new plan and go from there. Just like a climber working out a new route after a fall, you can use a setback to map out your life and recover more effectively.
From using the Battle Tracker to exercising the STAR method, one of the most important parts of your recovery in The Fortify Program is almost always your relationship with your accountability partner. And guess what? This relationship actually relates back to rock climbing as well.
Rock climbing has someone called the “Belay”. This person stands on the ground and acts as a safety weight for the climber. If the climber falls, the belay is tied into the rope so that they will stop the climbers fall. Without a belay, rock climbing goes from fun outdoor recreation to ridiculously dangerous. Your accountability partner can be the same for you and more.
It can feel heart wrenching to go to your accountability partner after a setback but it can also be what keeps you from slipping further and free falling uncontrollably.
Learning how to deal with setbacks is one of the most important parts of any recovery because there is a really high chance you will experience lots of stumbles and slips along the way. An experienced Fortifier knows how to fall just as well as they know how to climb. By keeping a clear head, not giving in to despair, and keeping your help close, you can turn your setbacks into mountain top victories.