“Then it’s very interesting: people tell me that food they didn’t like – the low-calorie stuff – they begin to like. They don’t even want the things they used to anymore. Those new foods have become a part of their way of life.” Joe McQ, The Steps We Took
This quote applies as much to dieting as it does to pornography or any other addiction.
Using pornography was a way of life for me. I used it when I felt good, when I felt bad, whenever; I wanted to avoid pain and emotion of any kind. Today, however, things have changed. I’m still tempted to use pornography occasionally, but now when I’m tempted it feels like a habitual reaction to stress, not an active choice. I don’t really want pornography any more; what I want is health and wholeness, and I’ve found the way to get health and wholeness is to make healthy choices.
I like making healthy choices, like counting to ten when I’m feeling angry. I know how silly that sounds; it’s a technique people teach to children. But I never learned to count to ten when I was angry, so I’m learning to do it now. And it really works! Just the other day I was trying to take a nap and my son was throwing a tantrum. I started to get angry and I wanted to yell at him from bed to keep quiet…but instead I started to count to ten. By the time I got to ten I remembered that he’s just a child; that children occasionally throw tantrums; that in order for him to develop emotionally he needs to learn to manage his emotions and not have me manage his emotions for him by yelling at him to be quiet.
As it relates to pornography, there are times when I am bored and on the Internet, and a part of me wants to find pictures to look at. Not pornography per se, but triggering images nonetheless. Before entering recovery I wouldn’t have hesitated; I would have immediately gone to any website I thought could satisfy me. Now I recognize my craving for pornography as a deeper emotional need, and I try to address that need at its root. If I am bored, I find something interesting to do. If I am feeling lonely, I reach out and connect with friend, or I pray and connect with God.
It’s like Joe McQ’s quote above: I didn’t used to like doing the ‘healthy’ things I’m doing now; I used to prefer pornography. But today I can honestly say that while I’m tempted to use pornography on occasion, I really prefer the healthy alternatives. Healthy choices have become a way of life for me.
What healthy choices can you start making today to bring about health and wholeness in your life?