The movie is only PG-13…it should be OK…
Uh-oh, cheerleaders. We’ll just skip this scene.
Now they’re shopping at the mall, and…what? They’re trying on bikinis? Crap, where’s the remote?!?
I went to bed with this in my head and had terrible dreams. Triggers everywhere, the constant temptation to act out, then acting out in my dream and feeling shame and guilt. I woke up feeling triggered and dejected, and I knew it was going to be a tough day.
Just a few hours later I was on the verge of losing my sobriety; I had entered the Internet search term: “cheerleaders”. What started last night as a seemingly innocent PG-13 high-school comedy almost cost me two years of sobriety from pornography.
How did I so quickly fall into that trap? What was it about the movie that triggered the addictive cycle in me? I have some guesses:
- Through years of pornography use I deeply ingrained the cheerleader genre of pornography into my brain. Seeing the cheerleaders on TV triggered a stimulus/response reaction in my mind
- I felt resentment when I remembered I wasn’t cool enough in high school to date a cheerleader
- The primitive part of my brain was triggered by sensual images; this part of the brain was nearly impervious to the logical arguments of my frontal lobe that tried desperately to save me from disaster this morning
- Despite being surrounded by a loving family there was a part of me that felt desperately lonely. This part of me believed that by ‘connecting’ with pornographic images of cheerleaders and acting out I would be freed of my loneliness
- I almost believed the lie that I could act out without consequence
- An extremely deep need rose up inside me for connection and nurture at the most basic sexual level
What internal processes are you aware of when you watch triggering television shows or movies?