Episode 189 - Ready to Overcome Pornography for Good

Apr 17, 2023


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Episode 189

I'm Zach. And I'm Darcy. We're an LDS couple who struggled with unwanted pornography in our marriage for many years. What was once our greatest struggle and something we thought would destroy us has become our greatest blessing in trying. Our hope is that as you listen to our podcast each week, you'll be filled with hope and healing and realize that you too can thrive beyond pornography and create the marriage you have always desired.

Welcome to Thrive Beyond Pornography. We're so glad you're here and we believe in you.

Hey everybody. Welcome to Thrive Beyond Pornography. I'm your host, Zach Spafford. I am I'm excited. This week I have another live webinar available to you. If you want you, all you have to do is go to , click on the free masterclass, or you can go to Call and sign up. Have a conversation with me, Daron.

I would love to meet with you and just touch base and go through what's going on for you because we know that if we have these live conversations with you, you are much more likely to be able to achieve the outcomes that you're looking for, which is to leave pornography behind. Forever. And we love having these conversations.

Honestly, it's one of the highlights of our week. We always enjoy talking with people who are trying to solve this problem because we know that when they come and they have these honest open conversations, things start to change for them. So today I wanna talk about. Ready to overcome pornography, and some people, they're like, well do, am I ready

Am I really ready? And I want you to be able to find out the signs that suggest that it's time for a change, and learn how to create an effective. Understanding of how to start thriving beyond pornography as you understand, well, am I actually ready to make the change? Right? So you might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed.

Maybe porn has this, you know, serious grip on your life and you might be thinking, well, the cravings have become too much and, and am I really ready to take action to quit porn for good? If so, it's important for you to know that with honest effort and dedication, freedom from this battle is possible. The journey, it may be tough.

But if you're willing to do the work and try new things and approach it from a different perspective, then success is not only achievable, it can be very much life-changing. And I want you to know that in changing your life, you are going to find that you are living more closely aligned with the person that you want to be and with your value.

So today we're gonna talk through two essential concepts that you need to understand in order to begin living porn free. So one of the biggest things that. Is a struggle for many of the people that I work with is understanding what the costs and benefits of viewing pornography is. And you might be listening to this, you might be looking at this and thinking yeah, there's no benefit to viewing pornography, especially if you are morally opposed to the practice and you've been trying to eliminate it from your life.

This is funny because today I had a conversation with a client and it was, this was our first conversation and one of the things I asked him, I said, "Well, why, what is the benefits? What are the benefits that you are receiving from choosing to view pornography?" And he was like I, nothing" . He just could not think of a benefit.

And I said, "Well, Yeah, that's probably the Sunday school answer" because I think we want to believe that porn is this unequivocal evil and we should never even think that we have any benefit from it, but, , I want you to be aware that there's a reason why you're choosing porn, and it's not because you don't get anything out of it.

I often say this to people, I say, you're not looking on the internet for the internal contents of a porta-potty after Lilith fair, right? You're not looking at porta-potty contents because it doesn't give you any benefit. You don't really find it at attractive or interesting or whatever.

It's not doing anything for you. That's why you don't look for it. . And when it comes to pornography, we have to be willing to look at the darker, deeper side of some of the things that we're choosing to understand them in order to give ourselves a view of what it is that we actually need to be dealing with.

And I wanna be clear that if there was not a benefit to you choosing to view pornography, you probably wouldn't do it. You could think about sucking your thumb as a good way of thinking about this, right? That activity performed in maybe in your life a soothing function. Maybe it was thumb sucking, maybe it was a binky, whatever it was.

At some point, the benefit of that self soothing through thumb sucking began to be outweighed by the costs of it. So for example, my 10 year old, he he might still suck his thumb. I don't know. I don't ever see it. But he definitely doesn't do it in in public anymore. And at some point I think he realized that 10 year olds, 11 year olds don't suck their thumbs.

His siblings kind of teased him about it. His peers weren't doing it in any, public way. So, He, he decided that thumb sucking, at least in public, has lower benefits than the cost of his siblings teasing or his peers sideway glances, right? When it comes to pornography, one of the key components that we have to address is the benefit that pornography has had in our life, and this is pretty important because it allows us to understand ourselves and what we're trying to gain by choosing pornography.

When we understand what we're trying to gain by choosing pornography, we get a much clearer picture of what we need to do to eliminate pornography from our lives. I, I can take the example of the guy that I was having a conversation with today, and one of the things that he said is, I view a certain type of pornography because it helps me feel in control.

It helps me stop feeling lonely, and it helps me eliminate or mitigate the stress that I feel. when I have projects due, right? So for me, pornography's helped manage anxiety around work projects. So I, that was interesting that he and I had that idea in common. And then I, once you understand that, then you can seek more effective ways to manage those anxieties, manage those discomforts, and align the way that we operate with our values.

Or, if Pornography's helped you, let's, so for this guy it was, stop feeling lonely. when that is one of the issues that you're dealing with. You can, now that you can see it now, that you can say, oh, one of the benefits I was taking out of my pornography viewing was it helped me mitigate my sense of loneliness.

Now, obviously it's not forever. It's only for a period of time, but it helps him deal with that for a moment. . So now what? The assignment that I gave him, I said, Hey, why don't you create an experiment where whenever you feel lonely, you do one of two things. You either go through that loneliness and you deal with that loneliness for about 90 seconds, or you go and you create connection with someone.

And in doing that, you are creating a new avenue for dealing with your loneliness. And then practice that regularly, what many of us do, instead of practicing these ideas or changing the way that we connect with these unwanted feelings is we try to use mental tricks to tell ourselves that porn's disgusting.

Working with one client I once asked him, how he wants to feel when he thinks about pornography, and his response was, I want to feel disgusted. Unfortunately, what this actually creates for us is a sense that we are disgusting because we like something that we feel is supposed to be disgusting.

And being more real about this can help us align more effectively with our values. Telling myself that porn is disgusting is a it's actually a pretty tough sell. The idea that porn is disgusting. Is a tough sell because when I'm viewing pornography, I don't feel disgusted. I feel arousal, and I generally don't think that arousal is disgusting.

So telling myself that something that creates arousal is disgusting, can be a complicated set of mental gymnastics. And again, I'm not trying to be an apologist for pornography. That's certainly not what I'm saying. I'm not telling you that porn is okay. What I am saying is if I choose to acknowledge that pornography can be arousing, and outside my moral compass, I can reduce the shame and acknowledge my desire to not choose pornography while acknowledging the biological reality that sexuality is important.

So being sex positive about this, being like, oh yeah, I like sex. Arousal's great. It's enjoyable. It's something that's important to me, and I don't want to choose arousal outside of a set parameter that I have created for myself or that I choose to take on. Meaning, I don't want to choose arousal outside of my outside of my marital relationship.

I don't want to choose arousal outside of the commitment that I've created with my spouse, right? So Darcy put it to me this way once. She said, as growing up, she used to always wear tank tops. and it was one of her go-to clothing choices because they were, they were just comfortable. And she had, she may not want you to know this detail, so don't tell her I told you, but , she, she also had pretty sweaty armpits, right?

And when she joined the church, she made covenants. She said, okay, I'm gonna wear my garments. And in that, in making that commitment, She gave up wearing tank tops. She didn't have to tell herself that tank tops are disgusting or immoral to make a choice to align herself with her values more fully.

It simply became the cost of wearing tank tops outweighed the benefits of choosing to wear her garments. So for many of us who are struggling to eliminate pornography from our lives, this kind of analysis can offer some clarifying perspective without creating or magnifying the shame. that often is associated with pornography use.

And when that pornography use falls outside of our values, that shame cycle can actually hold us back from really being capable of addressing the underlying issues. Cuz what we do in a shame cycle is we run away from the problem. So when we see our our problem, we go, oh. This isn't something I wanna be dealing with.

We try to distance ourselves from it as much as possible. And in doing that we, we fail to actually address the issue. We fail to look at it objectively, figure out some ways to deal with it and then actually deal with it. So this is really important thing to do. And the two questions that I would recommend that you use are first what.

are the real benefits that I have gained from choosing pornography even though it's outside my values. And one of the ways that you may wanna look at this is to ask yourself what do I, what kind of pornography do I like to choose? What is it that I'm searching for when I'm searching for pornography?

That may be a clue into one of the reasons why, or some of the reasons why you. Choose pornography because it can clue you into the benefits that you're receiving from it. So for instance, the client that I was talking about talking with today, one of the types of pornography that he likes to choose is bondage.

And one of the reasons he likes that is because it helps him feel in control. One of his most difficult. Unpleasant un uncomfortable emotions is when he feels out of control. So you can start to see how these things kind of clue you into what's the underlying struggle that I'm dealing with and how can I begin to address that struggle more fully?

Okay. The next question I want to a, want you to ask yourself is, what are the costs of my continued pornography viewing choices in light of my values and who I actually want to be? This is probably a lack of self-confidence or a diminished sense of self, and we talked about that in last week's podcast, that if you are continuing to choose pornography when it sits outside your value structure, , it may be impacting your sense of self and your self-confidence in a variety of different ways, and I would highly recommend you go back and listen to that podcast.

It's a great podcast, but if you haven't listened to it, listen to that one and you'll start to see what the costs of your continued pornography viewing choices are in light of the values that you portray yourself as. As having and the person that you want to be. Okay, so the second component that you're gonna wanna look at, so the first component was, you know what?

What's the cost benefit analysis in my life? And is the cost benefit analysis to a point where I'm ready to overcome pornography for good? Then the next thing that you want be thinking about is, am I, do I just want this or am I actually committed to overcoming pornography? So in addition to understanding the cost and benefits of choosing pornography outside of our value structure, it's important to take a clean look at whether we want to overcome pornography or we're actually committed to overcoming pornography and.

I realize that this may seem like a fine distinction, but I believe that the words matter and that things that we say, think and believe make a big difference so let's just take a look at the difference between wanting something and being committed to achieving something. How many times have you in your life said, I want.

following that with a statement that you know is never gonna happen or that you're not really going to follow through with. For example, I wanna quit this job . Anybody who's ever had a job has said that statement, I think , right? Or I wanna buy a new truck, or I wanna take my whole family on vacation to Europe in the next few years.

Or maybe even, I want to eat more healthy. , you could think of anything that you want, but that you aren't willing to put the time, effort, energy, or resource resources in to get, and that's what wanting looks like. If there's something in your life and you're like, I really want to blah, blah, blah, whatever it is, but you also know that you're not.

Committed to making that thing happen. You're just not gonna put the resources into it. You're not gonna put the time into it. You're not gonna have, the you're not willing to create enough effort and put enough effort into something that you want. That's what wanting looks like. So being committed looks totally different and they actually they kind of start in the same place.

right? That same place. The place where they both start is a place of desire for something better than what we have. I'm gonna quit this job is I want a better job. That's more fulfilling. I wanna quit this job is I want my job to be better than the job that I currently have. They all, each of these want statements.

They start in a similar place, a place of desire for something better. But that is, also the place where they diverge onto completely different paths with wanting, we stay in a place of daydreaming and we wonder what it would be like for that thing to be real. I want to quit this job.

I wanna , you know, I wanna go on vacation. I wanna buy a new truck. And we daydream about how awesome that new truck would be, or how great that vacation would be, right? Whatever it is that we have there, it's. I'm wondering how it would be, how awesome it would be if this were real without doing anything about it.

Being committed quickly leaves the land of daydreaming, and it moves on to plans, processes, execution, and evaluation on repeat until our desire is actually realized. And I wanna be clear. Some of you are not in the land of daydream. Some of you are in a place of committed to overcoming pornography, and you have been working on that commitment for many, many years.

I know that I was committed to overcoming pornography. I know that for me, I, I kept trying new things. I kept going to the meetings. I kept showing up for myself and doing the things that I was supposed to do. So my problem was not that I wasn't committed, it was that I was getting the wrong tools. So wanting isn't your problem If you are committed, it's not having the right tools for the job.

And that's probably the actual issue. So if you're here and you're like, no, I'm doing all the things that are required for, for committed. I'm, I have plans, I'm doing processes I am executing on those processes and I'm evaluating what's going on with me when I'm not succeeding. You know, if you're listening to this and you've been doing that, Please don't think that you do not want it enough because you haven't made it happen yet.

There's a difference between being committed and not having yet succeeded and just wanting. There's a difference between being committed and just not having made it happen yet and wanting when. You don't have the real intention of doing the work when you don't have the right tools. It's different than not doing the work.

So just let me help you with that. There's no shame in needing GUI, a guiding hand in the process of doing something you've never done before. You can sign up for a free [email protected] slash free call, or you can come to our webinar. Whatever it is I'll put the link in the show notes for you, but if you're listening to this and you're wondering, how do I know if I just want this cuz it seems like something I'm supposed to do, or I'm actually committed to making this change for myself, I want you to ask yourself this question, why do I believe it's important for me to make this change?

Who really matters most in this decision? So when the why and the who both point inwardly at yourself, that's when you're gonna be most committed. That's not to say that you can't be committed with external motivations, like, my wife wants me to quit, or my, my bishop or my church, or whatever. It's just a bit harder when it's external, when it's internal, I'm doing this because it's who I am.

It's because of who, it's who I want to be because it's how I want to live my life. . Those are different things than the externals and externals are important. I'm not saying they're not, but they're not. They're not generally enough to keep us going, even when it's tough. So if you're ready to overcome pornography, if you've listened to this and you know the answers to those two questions, bring 'em to a free consult with me.

I would love to meet with you You can set up a conversation with me. Let's talk about are you ready? And if you are ready, because you may not be. Let's be honest guys. Let's be honest. Some of you are not ready to overcome pornography. You're just not. You're like, Nope.

It's, it's easier. It's better for me. It doesn't, I like, I, I don't see a reason to leave this behind. That's okay if you're not. . But if you think you are and you're like, okay, what do I do? How do I do what? What's the next thing that I do? Have a call with me if you want. I would love to help you move through this process.

But you have to be willing to, objectively, look, what are the costs and what are the benefits? What have I been benefiting from in choosing pornography? And then you have to be able to say, do I actually, am I actually committed to doing this, or do I simply want it? If I'm committed, what's the next part of my plan?

What's the next process I'm gonna put into place? What's the next thing I'm gonna execute on and how am I gonna evaluate those things over time? That's what you need to be doing. All my friends. This is always fun. I love talking about porn. I know. That's weird. You guys are probably like, uh, it's got a little bit weird.

That's fine. I don't mind. Everybody gets to be weird in their own way. I love you guys. Thank you so much for listening. Share this with somebody who needs it, and I will talk to you next week.

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