Step 3 picks up right where Step 2 left off. In Step 2 we talked about the Addiction Cycle as it relates to pornography and how “bouncing” our eyes can be a critical step to avoiding that cycle. The goal of Step 3 is the same as that of Step 2: Stay out of the Addiction Cycle by avoiding people and images that could “trigger” you into fantasizing and eventually using pornography.
“Bouncing” your eyes is great when you’re in a fluid environment, when people and images are moving in and out of your field of view unpredictably. But what about those pictures or people in predictable places? The magazine rack at the supermarket, or the bikini barista you pass every day on your way to work? If you know that barista is coming up ahead, is it OK to let your eyes take a look and then “bounce” them away?
In these kind of situations we’ve found it more effective to completely ignore the “trigger”, which is Step 3 of the 8 Steps to Freedom From Pornography. The problem with predictable people and pictures is that your mind remembers that they’re there. Let’s use supermarket magazine racks as an example: You know that Cosmo is going to try to lure you in while you wait to buy tonight’s dinner, so as you approach the checkout counter your eyes are already hungry for the images they know are waiting. If you try just “bouncing” your eyes in these kinds of situations you’ll find yourself “bouncing” a lot. Instead, do your best to ignore what you already know is there.
This can be very difficult to do, especially when you first start using Step 3. There have been times when it took all the self-control I could muster to ignore looking at those supermarket magazine racks. But once I was out the door with my groceries all of the anxiety and tension and effort that I felt while ignoring the “trigger” faded away and I found that I was still in my right mind. Conversely, there have been times when I failed to ignore that pesky magazine rack I knew was waiting for me and instead of a few seconds of effort spent to ignore the “trigger”, I spent the next 5 minutes trying to get the “trigger” out of my head.
Try it yourself tomorrow and you’ll see: One of the best ways to stay in your right mind relative to pornography is to completely ignore the “triggers” you know will be waiting for you.