One of the most powerful tools you can use on your road to recovery from porn addiction is the ability to recognize your triggers. Simply being able to identify the thing or situation that’s setting you off puts you back in control. Triggers can come up out of nowhere. They are often part of your everyday life. You might find yourself being sexually triggered in the grocery store, or at the post office — triggers have no regard for the appropriateness of the situation. This is what makes the ensuing behavior compulsive.
When you do feel triggered, there are three steps you can take every single time, in order to gain control. By doing this, you reach a point where you’ll no longer react negatively in these situations.
1. Notice Situations in Which You Feel Triggered – An easily recognizable (and non-sexual) trigger that we’re all familiar with is the burger commercial. Companies put a lot of time and money into making those commercials triggering. Ideally, the advertiser hopes you’ll see the ad, the burger will look delicious, and you’ll go out and buy one.
Your sexual triggers are often much harder to notice. They could be subtle sights, sounds or situations that don’t present themselves as clearly as a burger on a 50-inch screen. So, your job is to take stock of the situations when you feel sexually triggered and try to determine what it is about your particular type of situation that makes you want to act out.
If you’re watching TV and see a burger commercial, it’s pretty easy to ignore it. Obviously, you don’t jump at the suggestion of every commercial you see. So… it’s important for you to know that if you can ignore an appealing food ad, then you can begin to ignore other triggers as well.
2. Demystify the Triggering Sensation – This simply means that you can clearly see the associations you have with a trigger. For instance, if the smell of a high school girlfriend’s perfume triggers you, just knowing about that is very powerful.
Once you recognize why you’re being triggered, you can take control back from your addict. You resist, and say “no.” Naturally your addict will push back. This feeling is known as withdrawal in addiction circles, and can sometimes be very strong. The moment of feeling triggered is when you have to hold onto the reigns tighter than ever.
3. Resist the Resistance – Show yourself that you can resist what’s been triggering you to watch porn or to act out in compulsive ways. You can show yourself that you no longer have to be a slave to your impulses. You don’t have to automatically respond to your addict.
These three steps are important for you to remember, because while it may be difficult, the best time to talk to your addict is indeed when you are feeling triggered. Right there in the moment, you have the most access to your addict, because the triggering is his bid for control. You have a choice, and you can choose not to listen to your addict.