Have you ever wanted anything more than a porn-free life? For most Fortifiers, their desire to break free from their addiction has been as all-consuming as their addiction itself. Even when things get discouraging and we want to give up, that desire never truly fades. When we are actively pursuing our recovery, that hope tends to burn brighter and brighter. It is motivating and wonderful, and can keep us moving on the right path. However, if we aren’t careful, our determination can send us charging recklessly off the tracks. Recovery is most effective when it is pensive, methodical, and consistent. Anyone who tries to fast forward their recovery is in for a rude awakening. It’s all about balance. Keep moving forward while still remembering that recovery is a process.

 

As important as it is to support a positive outlook throughout your recovery, it is equally important to make sure you aren’t falling into any mental traps. When dealing with addiction, we end up combatting things like depression and anxiety. As a result, even if you’re working really hard on creating a positive lifestyle, this backwards thinking won’t get you very far at all. Here are some ways of thinking to be aware of and try to avoid.

All-or-nothing thinking – Looking at things in black-or-white categories, with no middle ground.
“If I have one setback, I’m a total failure.”

No porn is good porn. No setback is a good setback. But does watching porn or having a setback make you a bad person? NO! In recovery, there is no such thing as failure. Yes, we have missteps and mistakes, but there is never a “point-of-no-return.” Failure is what happens a person is no longer trying. As long as you are still breathing, you can work on becoming the person you want to be. It is impossible to be a Fortifier and a failure at the same time.

Overgeneralization – Generalizing from a single negative experience, expecting it to hold true forever.
“I can’t do anything right.”.

This mentality can be disproved by a law of nature. First there is no such thing as an absolute. Nothing is always anything. There are exceptions to every rule. The idea that you can’t do anything right or that you will always be a failure has been repeatedly disproved by you trying to quit. So stop ignoring the evidence! The most fundamental principle of nature is not permanence, it is change.

Diminishing the positive – Coming up with reasons why positive events don’t count.
“She said she had a good time on our date, but I think she was just being nice.”

We can be prone to this way of thinking as a result of some of the insecurities our addiction has injected into our life. Remember, fighting for happiness is moot if you don’t believe you deserve it. Don’t let the annoying little voice in your head tell you otherwise. Try drowning it out, literally. If you find yourself diminishing the positive, try giving yourself a pep-talk, out loud. It’s fun and it works. Try it.

The negative filter – Ignoring positive events and focusing on the negative instead. Noticing the one thing that went wrong, rather than all the things that went right.
“I didn’t look at anything but I was close. Why am I so messed up?”

Every victory counts. Don’t disregard your progress because you aren’t perfect yet. Enjoy the journey! If we aren’t working on something, then we are just being bored and lazy. Take pride in the fact that you working on bettering yourself. Work on being a little bit better and give yourself licence to celebrate the little things.

Jumping to conclusions – Making negative interpretations without actual evidence. You act like a mind reader or a fortune teller.
“They must think I’m pathetic. I’ll be stuck in this addiction forever.”

This comes into play a lot when dealing with other people, like our accountability partners or people who we care about what they think. We assume that they are going to judge us as harshly as we judge ourselves. Think about that for a second. How would you react to someone else in your situation? You’d obviously be sympathetic and understanding. Stop assuming that others are judging you and start believing they have your best interest in mind.

Emotional reasoning – Believing that the way you feel reflects reality.
“I constantly feel like such a loser, therefore I must be a loser.”

Just because we think or feel something, that does not make it true. Separating yourself from what goes on impulsively inside your head is a valuable skill and will be very helpful to your recovery. Try slowing down and taking time to react to your own experiences. It might sound cheesy but breathing and meditation can be a big help for this. Be curious about your feelings and challenge them, don’t just blindly accept them. People who do this are more logical, rational, and better at making decisions.

Labeling – Self-identifying based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings
“I am a porn addict. I’m a loser, a failure, a weak person with no self-control.”

We say again; you are not your addiction. Who you are is not the same as where you are.

Moments of weakness don’t define you. You are not the result of some sad events or simply the victim of an addiction. Yes, you have struggles; yes, you have weaknesses; but those things do not matter because you have the ability to be free. You just have to unlock it. Tap into your potential step by step, day by day, learning and growing.

Take the time to think about the mental traps on this list. They may not all apply to you but it is very probable that you are prone to at least one of these ways of thinking. Take these lessons and build them into your battle strategies and plans. Take things one day at a time and practice being self-aware and patient. When you work towards your recovery you can be aware of your own mental pitfalls and make even greater changes. Stay tuned in and you’ll stay on the path to freedom.