The batle plan for purity Christian nofap no-porn no procrastination journey

tip 31

Dont just read these tips but act. What I did. I wrote them in a Journal, so i can remember the tips better. ( you memorize much more when you write them out with pen and paper)

Memorize the bible verses! With the use of a card system and my writing them big on a paper and placing them on your wall!

tip 32

tip 33

I’m not a Christian anymore. Sorry.

Why not? Did it had to do with the struggle in this addiction?

1 Like

tip 34 sources
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3Willoughby, B. J., Young-Petersen, B., & Leonhardt, N. D. (2018). Exploring Trajectories of Pornography Use Through Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood. Journal of sex research, 55(3), 297–309. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2017.1368977

4Love, T., Laier, C., Brand, M., Hatch, L., & Hajela, R. (2015). Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 5(3), 388–433. Behavioral Sciences | Free Full-Text | Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update

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11Kristof, N. (2021). Why do we let corporations profit from rape videos? New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/16/opinion/sunday/companies-online-rape-videos.html

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23 Szymanski, D. M., & Stewart-Richardson, D. N. (2014). Psychological, Relational, and Sexual Correlates of Pornography Use on Young Adult Heterosexual Men in Romantic Relationships. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 22(1), 64–82. https://doi.org/10.3149/jms.2201.64

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29Bridges, A. J., Wosnitzer, R., Scharrer, E., Sun, C. & Liberman, R. (2010). Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update. Violence Against Women, 16(10), 1065–1085. doi:10.1177/1077801210382866

30Bridges, A. J., Wosnitzer, R., Scharrer, E., Sun, C. & Liberman, R. (2010). Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update. Violence Against Women, 16(10), 1065–1085. doi:10.1177/1077801210382866

31Mikorski, R., & Szymanski, D. M. (2017). Masculine norms, peer group, pornography, facebook, and men’s sexual objectification of women. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 18(4), 257-267. doi:10.1037/men0000058

32Skorska, M.N., Hodson, G., & Hoffarth, M.R. (2018). Experimental effects of degrading versus erotic pornography exposure in men on reactions toward women (objectification, sexism, discrimination). The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 27, 261 - 276.

33Zhou, Y., Liu, T., Yan, Y., & Paul, B. (2021). Pornography use, two forms of dehumanization, and sexual aggression: Attitudes vs. behaviors. Null, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2021.1923598

34Foubert, J. D., Brosi, M. W., & Bannon, R. S. (2011). Pornography viewing among fraternity men: Effects on bystander intervention, rape myth acceptance and behavioral intent to commit sexual assault.18(4), 212-231. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.625552

35Foubert, J. D., Brosi, M. W., & Bannon, R. S. (2011). Pornography viewing among fraternity men: Effects on bystander intervention, rape myth acceptance and behavioral intent to commit sexual assault. 18(4), 212-231. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.625552

36 Foubert, J. D., & Bridges, A. J. (2017). What Is the Attraction? Pornography Use Motives in Relation to Bystander Intervention. Journal of Adolescent Research, 32(20), 213–243. https://doi.org/10.1177/0743558414547097

37Foubert, J. D., Brosi, M. W., & Bannon, R. S. (2011). Pornography viewing among fraternity men: Effects on bystander intervention, rape myth acceptance and behavioral intent to commit sexual assault.18(4), 212-231. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.625552

38Foubert, J. D., & Bridges, A. J. (2017). What Is the Attraction? Pornography Use Motives in Relation to Bystander Intervention. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 32(20), 3071–3089. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260515596538

39Wright, P. J., & Tokunaga, R. S. (2016). Men’s Objectifying Media Consumption, Objectification of Women, and Attitudes Supportive of Violence Against Women. Archives of sexual behavior, 45(4), 955–964. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-015-0644-8

40Seabrook, R. C., Ward, L. M., & Giaccardi, S. (2019). Less than human? media use, objectification of women, and men’s acceptance of sexual aggression. Psychology of Violence, 9(5), 536-545. doi:10.1037/vio0000198

41van Oosten, J., & Vandenbosch, L. (2020). Predicting the Willingness to Engage in Non-Consensual Forwarding of Sexts: The Role of Pornography and Instrumental Notions of Sex. Archives of sexual behavior, 49(4), 1121–1132. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01580-2

42Wright, P. J., Tokunaga, R. S., & Kraus, A. (2016). A meta-analysis of pornography consumption and actual acts of sexual aggression in general population studies. Journal of Communication, 66(1), 183-205. doi:Meta-Analysis of Pornography Consumption and Actual Acts of Sexual Aggression in General Population Studies | Journal of Communication | Oxford Academic

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44Goodson, A., Franklin, C. A., & Bouffard, L. A. (2021). Male peer support and sexual assault: The relation between high-profile, high school sports participation and sexually predatory behaviour. 27(1), 64-80. doi:10.1080/13552600.2020.1733111

45Mikorski, R., & Szymanski, D. M. (2017). Masculine norms, peer group, pornography, Facebook, and men’s sexual objectification of women. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 18(4), 257-267. doi:10.1037/men0000058

46Fritz, N., Malic, V., Paul, B., & Zhou, Y. (2021). Worse than objects: The depiction of black women and men and their sexual relationship in pornography. Gender Issues, 38(1), 100-120. doi:10.1007/s12147-020-09255-2

47xHamster. (2018). xHamster trend report 2018. Retrieved from xHamster Trend Report 2018

48Carroll, J. S., Busby, D. M., Willoughby, B. J., & Brown, C. C. (2017). The porn gap: Differences in men’s and women’s pornography patterns in couple relationships. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 16(2), 146–163. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332691.2016.1238796

49Carroll, J. S., Busby, D. M., Willoughby, B. J., & Brown, C. C. (2017). The porn gap: Differences in men’s and women’s pornography patterns in couple relationships. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 16(2), 146–163. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332691.2016.1238796

50Carroll, J. S., Busby, D. M., Willoughby, B. J., & Brown, C. C. (2017). The porn gap: Differences in men’s and women’s pornography patterns in couple relationships. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 16(2), 146–163. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332691.2016.1238796

51Malcolm, M., & Naufal, G. (2016). Are pornography and marriage substitutes for young men? Eastern Economic Journal, 42(3), 317-334. doi:10.1057/eej.2015.7

52Szymanski, D. M., Feltman, C. E., & Dunn, T. L. (2015). Male partners’ perceived pornography use and Women’s relational and psychological health: The roles of trust, attitudes, and investment. Sex Roles, 73(5), 187-199. doi:10.1007/s11199-015-0518-5

53Gilliland, R., South, M., Carpenter, B. N., & Hardy, S. A. (2011). The roles of shame and guilt in hypersexual behavior.18(1), 12-29. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.551182

54Harper, C., & Hodgins, D. C. (2016). Examining Correlates of Problematic Internet Pornography Use Among University Students. Journal of behavioral addictions, 5(2), 179–191. https://doi.org/10.1556/2006.5.2016.022

55Wordecha, M., Wilk, M., Kowalewska, E., Skorko, M., Łapiński, A., & Gola, M. (2018). ‘Pornographic binges’ as a key characteristic of males seeking treatment for compulsive sexual behaviors: Qualitative and quantitative 10-week-long diary assessment. Journal of behavioral addictions, 7(2), 433–444. https://doi.org/10.1556/2006.7.2018.33

56Butler, M. H., Pereyra, S. A., Draper, T. W., Leonhardt, N. D., & Skinner, K. B. (2018). Pornography Use and Loneliness: A Bidirectional Recursive Model and Pilot Investigation. Journal of sex & marital therapy, 44(2), 127–137. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2017.1321601

57Willoughby, B. J., Young-Petersen, B., & Leonhardt, N. D. (2018). Exploring trajectories of pornography use through adolescence and emerging adulthood.55(3), 297-309. doi:10.1080/00224499.2017.1368977

58Koletić G. (2017). Longitudinal associations between the use of sexually explicit material and adolescents’ attitudes and behaviors: A narrative review of studies. Journal of adolescence, 57, 119–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2017.04.006

59Levin, M. E., Lillis, J., & Hayes, S. C. (2012). When is online pornography viewing problematic among college males? Examining the moderating role of experiential avoidance.19(3), 168-180. doi:10.1080/10720162.2012.657150

60

61Bőthe, B., Tóth-Király, I., Griffiths, M. D., Potenza, M. N., Orosz, G., & Demetrovics, Z. (2021). Are sexual functioning problems associated with frequent pornography use and/or problematic pornography use? results from a large community survey including males and females. Addictive Behaviors, 112, 106603. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106603

62 Szymanski, D. M., & Stewart-Richardson, D. N. (2014). Psychological, Relational, and Sexual Correlates of Pornography Use on Young Adult Heterosexual Men in Romantic Relationships. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 22(1), 64–82. https://doi.org/10.3149/jms.2201.64

63Dwulit, A. D., & Rzymski, P. (2019). Prevalence, Patterns and Self-Perceived Effects of Pornography Consumption in Polish University Students: A Cross-Sectional Study. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(10), 1861. IJERPH | Free Full-Text | Prevalence, Patterns and Self-Perceived Effects of Pornography Consumption in Polish University Students: A Cross-Sectional Study

64Brown, C. C., Durtschi, J. A., Carroll, J. S., & Willoughby, B. J. (2017). Understanding and predicting classes of college students who use pornography. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 114-121.

65Perry, S. (2017). Does Viewing Pornography Reduce Marital Quality Over Time? Evidence From Longitudinal Data. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, 46(2), 549-559. Doi: 10.1007/S10508-016-0770-Y

66Perry, S. L. (2018). Pornography use and marital separation: Evidence from two-wave panel data. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 47(6), 1869-1880. doi:10.1007/s10508-017-1080-8

67Perry, S. L., & Davis, J. T. (2017). Are pornography users more likely to experience a romantic breakup? Evidence from longitudinal data. Sexuality & Culture, 21(4), 1157-1176. doi:10.1007/s12119-017-9444-8

68Perry, S. L., & Schleifer, C. (2018). Till porn do us part? A longitudinal examination of pornography use and divorce. 55(3), 284-296. doi:10.1080/00224499.2017.1317709

69Jones, A. (2019). Sexcam therapy. The Face. Retrieved from Sexcam therapy - The Face

70Séguin, L. J., Rodrigue, C., & Lavigne, J. (2018). Consuming Ecstasy: Representations of Male and Female Orgasm in Mainstream Pornography. Journal of sex research, 55(3), 348–356. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2017.1332152

71Mikorski, R., & Szymanski, D. M. (2017). Masculine norms, peer group, pornography, Facebook, and men’s sexual objectification of women. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 18(4), 257-267. doi:10.1037/men0000058

72

73Séguin, L. J., Rodrigue, C., & Lavigne, J. (2018). Consuming Ecstasy: Representations of Male and Female Orgasm in Mainstream Pornography. Journal of sex research, 55(3), 348–356. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2017.1332152

74Walker, A., Makin, D. A., & Morczek, A. L. (2016). Finding Lolita: A comparative analysis of interest in youth-oriented pornography. Sexuality & Culture, 20(3), 657-683. doi:10.1007/s12119-016-9355-0

75Lanning, K. V. (2010). Child molesters: A behavioral analysis for professionals investigating the sexual exploitation of children. (No. 5). National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Retrieved from https://www.missingkids.org/content/dam/missingkids/pdfs/publications/nc70.pdf

76International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. (2017). Online grooming of children for sexual purposes: Model legislation & global review. ( No. 1). Retrieved from https://www.icmec.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Online-Grooming-of-Children_FINAL_9-18-17.pdf

77Bouché, V. (2018). Survivor insights: The role of technology in domestic minor sex trafficking. Thorn. Retrieved from https://www.thorn.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Thorn_Survivor_Insights_090519.pdf

78Foubert, J. D., Brosi, M. W., & Bannon, R. S. (2011). Pornography viewing among fraternity men: Effects on bystander intervention, rape myth acceptance and behavioral intent to commit sexual assault.18(4), 212-231. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.625552

79Foubert, J. D., & Bridges, A. J. (2017). What Is the Attraction? Pornography Use Motives in Relation to Bystander Intervention. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 32(20), 3071–3089. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260515596538

80Wright, P. J., & Tokunaga, R. S. (2016). Men’s Objectifying Media Consumption, Objectification of Women, and Attitudes Supportive of Violence Against Women. Archives of sexual behavior, 45(4), 955–964. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-015-0644-8

81Seabrook, R. C., Ward, L. M., & Giaccardi, S. (2019). Less than human? Media use, objectification of women, and men’s acceptance of sexual aggression. Psychology of Violence, 9(5), 536-545. doi:10.1037/vio0000198

82Gilliland, R., South, M., Carpenter, B. N., & Hardy, S. A. (2011). The roles of shame and guilt in hypersexual behavior. 18(1), 12-29. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.551182

83 Beyens, I., Vandenbosch, L., & Eggermont, S. (2015). Early Adolescent Boys’ Exposure to Internet Pornography: Relationships to Pubertal Timing, Sensation Seeking, and Academic Performance. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 35(8), 1045–1068. https://doi.org/10.1177/0272431614548069

84Jones, A. (2019). Sexcam therapy. The Face. Retrieved from Sexcam therapy - The Face

85Fritz, N., Malic, V., Paul, B., & Zhou, Y. (2020). A Descriptive Analysis of the Types, Targets, and Relative Frequency of Aggression in Mainstream Pornography. Archives of sexual behavior, 49(8), 3041–3053. A Descriptive Analysis of the Types, Targets, and Relative Frequency of Aggression in Mainstream Pornography | SpringerLink

86Bridges, A. J., Wosnitzer, R., Scharrer, E., Sun, C. & Liberman, R. (2010). Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update. Violence Against Women, 16(10), 1065–1085. doi:10.1177/1077801210382866

87Ezzell, M. B., Johnson, J. A., Bridges, A. J., & Sun, C. F. (2020). I (dis)like it like that: Gender, pornography, and liking sex. J.Sex Marital Ther., 46(5), 460-473. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2020.1758860

88International Andrology London. (2017). The porn hypothesis – findings prove porn consumption fuels the desire for penis enlargement surgery in the UK. Retrieved from https://london-andrology.co.uk/news/the-porn-hypothesis-findings-prove-porn-consumption-fuels-the-desire-for-penis-enlargement-surgery-in-the-uk/

89Butler, M. H., Pereyra, S. A., Draper, T. W., Leonhardt, N. D., & Skinner, K. B. (2018). Pornography Use and Loneliness: A Bidirectional Recursive Model and Pilot Investigation. Journal of sex & marital therapy, 44(2), 127–137. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2017.1321601

90Jokinen, J., Chatzittofis, A., Nordström, P., & Arver, S. (2016). The role of neuroinflammation in the pathophysiology of hypersexual disorder. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 71, 55. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.07.144

91Gervais, S. J., & Eagan, S. (2017). Sexual objectification: The common thread connecting myriad forms of sexual violence against women. The American journal of orthopsychiatry, 87(3), 226–232. https://doi.org/10.1037/ort0000257

92Mikorski, R., & Szymanski, D. M. (2017). Masculine norms, peer group, pornography, Facebook, and men’s sexual objectification of women. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 18(4), 257-267. doi:10.1037/men0000058

93Skorska, M.N., Hodson, G., & Hoffarth, M.R. (2018). Experimental effects of degrading versus erotic pornography exposure in men on reactions toward women (objectification, sexism, discrimination). The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 27, 261 - 276.

94Zhou, Y., Liu, T., Yan, Y., & Paul, B. (2021). Pornography use, two forms of dehumanization, and sexual aggression: Attitudes vs. behaviors. Null, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2021.1923598

95Owens, E. W., Behun, R. J., Manning, J. C., & Reid, R. C. (2012). The impact of internet pornography on adolescents: A review of the research. 19(1-2), 99-122. doi:10.1080/10720162.2012.660431

96Koletić G. (2017). Longitudinal associations between the use of sexually explicit material and adolescents’ attitudes and behaviors: A narrative review of studies. Journal of adolescence, 57, 119–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2017.04.006

97Tylka, T. L., & Van Diest, A. M. K. (2015). You looking at her “hot” body may not be “cool” for me: Integrating male partners’ pornography use into objectification theory for women. Psychology of Women Quarterly,39, 67–84. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0361684314521784

98Tylka, T. L., & Kroon Van Diest, A. M. (2015). You Looking at Her “Hot” Body May Not be “Cool” for Me: Integrating Male Partners’ Pornography Use into Objectification Theory for Women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 39(1), 67–84. https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684314521784

99Szymanski, D. M., Feltman, C. E., & Dunn, T. L. (2015). Male partners’ perceived pornography use and Women’s relational and psychological health: The roles of trust, attitudes, and investment. Sex Roles, 73(5), 187-199. doi:10.1007/s11199-015-0518-5

100Tylka, T. L., & Kroon Van Diest, A. M. (2015). You Looking at Her “Hot” Body May Not be “Cool” for Me: Integrating Male Partners’ Pornography Use into Objectification Theory for Women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 39(1), 67–84. https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684314521784

tip 35

Why You Keep Going Back to Porn After Trying to Quit

Instead of just fighting off porn, do whatever you can to fill your mind, heart, and life with all the good stuff—the stuff that makes your life truly worthwhile.

This guest piece was written by Dr. Jacob Hess, the Research Director at JoinFortify.com, a porn addiction recovery platform and affiliate of Fight the New Drug. 5-minute read.

“I want to break free from this, so why do I keep going back to it?”

By Jacob Hess, Ph.D., Fortify Research Director

Imagine getting a knock on the door. When you open it, a beautiful stranger stands there—with an offer to remove their clothes right in front of you.

“What are you talking about?! I’m sorry…no thanks. I’m in a relationship—and that’s not something I feel right about. Please leave,” you might say in response.

The door closes, and you take a deep breath. An hour passes, and another stranger—different, but equally beautiful—makes the same knock, and the same offer but this time, inviting you to witness them having sex with someone else.

Related: How You Can Confront Setbacks While Quitting Porn

Over and over, day after day, the knocks continue—no matter how many times you say no. The invitations to witness an endless “sea of sex” right before you continue. All-access. Anytime.

Would that be difficult to face for most people? You bet it would, but especially for someone who is trying to break free from a compulsion to porn.

Just ask anyone living in the world today—because this is a lot like what they are facing. This thought experiment also invites more empathy for what men and women—young and old—are trying to break free from right now.

And hopefully, they’re quitting porn to turn toward something better. But should we really be confused why some people struggle to break free from porn?

Donate

“Why do I keep going back, when I know better?”

Dr. Mark Chamberlain has arguably worked with more people grappling with serious pornography addiction than virtually anyone alive.

In a recent interview, Mark helped explain why people keep getting dragged back into it, despite their better inclinations—centered in this powerful message pornography sends *our bodies—*quite independent of whatever someone believe in their heads.

Even when someone know all sorts of reasons they’d like to stay away, pornography registers a potent and visceral message at the level of their brain and body, namely this: “I see you…I want you…you’re lovable—in fact, I trust you so much I’ll be naked with you.

Related: How You Can Quit Watching Porn Today

All these messages, Mark explains, are potent physiologically— “To have another human being love us, want us, trust us, approve of us, just be delighted in us, that’s wired into our systems to help us connect with other human beings.”

So even if someone knows these messages are fake and counterfeit on a real level, “our brain doesn’t know it” he emphasized, and “the [urges] in our body don’t know it.”

That’s why the constant invitation of pornography can feel like a legitimate lift, distraction and relief from the pressures of real life around you. Simply put, the brain consuming porn can’t necessarily tell the difference between the alluring fantasy before it and an invitation from a real person.

So what does this all mean?

There are emotional reasons people keep going back to porn—reasons that are not crazy or deranged, reasons that don’t make them a “bad person.”

We all need connection. We all need to belong and feel loved. And a porn consumer’s body and brain have been tricked into believing porn is going to give them all that.

But the toughest part is that it doesn’t. It quite literally can’t—not even close.

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In fact, the more someone answers that knock—and welcomes porn into their home—the less connection and love they can end up feeling (even when others are trying to find it with them!).

That’s one big explanation for the significant mental health and psychological costs of pornography.

In fact, as documented on Gary Wilson’s Your Brain on Pornography, over 85 studies link porn use to poorer mental-emotional health & poorer cognitive outcomes—with another 80 studies linking porn use to less sexual and relationship satisfaction.

Don’t just take my word for it, just check out the studies for yourself and, if you struggle with porn, weigh them against your own experiences.

Related: Tips for Opening Up to a Loved One About Your Struggle with Porn

You won’t always miss porn

The good news, though, is that the influence runs both ways. If porn, in fact, corrodes someone’s mental health and relationship quality—growing freedom from pornography corresponds with boosts to all the above.

That’s why it feels so good to get some distance from this stuff.

Instead of just fighting off the challenging stuff, do whatever you can to fill your mind, heart, and life with all the good stuff, the stuff that makes your life worthwhile and feeds your mental, emotional, and physical health.

Related: 6 Things that Motivate People to Stop Watching Porn

Pretty soon, porn will become like that ex-lover—a nuisance you have to stay away from for your own mental health. And because life without porn is just so much better.

Then, when the next knock comes at the door—you’ll know what to say, and how to keep that door closed so you can stay ready for something way better.

It’s all just too complicated and I’d rather do what I want. I’m still quitting porn though.

tip 34 know why to stop

50 Good Reasons to Stop Watching Porn For Good

Many people don’t realize how much porn is affecting them until they quit watching it. Here are 50 good reasons to ditch it today.

With the easy access to an unlimited, ever-increasing supply of porn these days, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that porn is having an effect on peoples’ lives.

In fact, there is an ever-growing body of research showing that porn can have profoundly negative, long-term effects on people’s lives, relationships, and our society as a whole.

Many people don’t even realize that porn is having an effect on them until they quit. So if you’re curious about how porn might be affecting your life, or if you’re looking for the motivation you need to kick the habit, here are 50 good reasons to quit porn for good starting today.

What do you have to lose?

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1. Have a healthier understanding of sex

Perhaps the biggest lie porn sells is that its fantasy world is filled with sex positivity: sexual education, more sex, better sex, etc. What it doesn’t mention, however, is that the fantasy world it sells can warp sexual expectations in unhealthy ways.

It’s no secret that porn is wildly unrealistic and often straight-up toxic, yet 1 in 4 young adults report believing that porn is the most helpful source to learn how to have sex, according to a 2021 study.1

Another study indicated that young people often reported trying to copy porn in their own sexual encounters, and that the pressure to imitate porn was often an aspect of unhealthy relationships.2 Bottom line, porn isn’t contributing to a healthy understanding of sex.

2. Porn can be habit-forming

Many porn consumers are surprised to find that porn can be incredibly difficult to quit. While most porn consumers are not addicts in a clinically diagnosable sense,3 many experts agree that pornography consumption is a behavior that can, in fact, qualify as an addiction in serious cases.456

Regardless of whether someone’s porn consumption is classified as an addiction, compulsion, or simply an unhealthy habit, quitting porn can be a difficult process. Even if it feels daunting, there is support out there, making quitting more possible than ever!

3. Habits and addiction can escalate

Research indicates that porn consumers can become desensitized to porn, often needing to consume more porn, more extreme forms of porn, or consume porn more often in order to get the same response they once did.7

Over time, a porn consumer’s appetite can escalate to more hardcore versions just to achieve the same level of arousal. In fact one 2016 study, researchers found that 46.9% of respondents reported that, over time, they began watching pornography that had previously disinterested or even disgusted them.8

4. Stop supporting an abusive industry

In the porn industry, there is virtually no way to guarantee that any piece of pornographic content is truly consensual, ethical, or even legal. The unfortunate truth is that the porn industry has an extensive history of profiting from nonconsensual content and abuse, even ignoring victims’ pleas to remove abusive content.910

Virtually every major porn site has had issues with nonconsensual content, abuse, or child sexual abuse material (aka “child porn”). 1112131415

5. Form deeper connections

As human beings, we are hardwired for connection. These important connections with others, however, can be undermined when porn comes into the picture. Research indicates that consuming porn can normalize sexual objectification, which can have profound consequences in the ways porn consumers view and treat others.16

The porn industry objectifies people and commoditizes sex, which can make it more difficult to develop intimate connections with real people. Disconnect from porn and connect with real people!

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6. Have a healthier body image

The makeup, surgery, Photoshop, acting, and editing that go into porn give us an unrealistic view of the human body and sexuality.

In fact, research suggests that consuming porn can result in poorer body image—both for the consumers and for their partners.1718 Don’t buy into the unrealistic, airbrushed fantasies of porn. You deserve to feel confident in your skin rather than comparing yourself to impossible standards.

7. Invest in your relationships

As world-renowned relationship experts Drs. John and Julie Gottman wrote about porn, “Intimacy for couples is a source of connection and communication between two people. But when one person becomes accustomed to masturbating to porn, they are actually turning away from intimate interaction. [Additionally], when watching pornography the user is in total control of the sexual experience, in contrast to normal sex in which people are sharing control with the partner… In summary, we are led to unconditionally conclude that for many reasons, pornography poses a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony.”19

One study showed that those who never viewed pornography reported higher relationship quality—on every measure—than those who viewed pornography alone.20 Staying away from porn is a great way to invest in your relationships.

8. Prevent sexual dysfunction

Interestingly enough, porn often leads to less sex and less satisfying sex.

Research routinely shows that compulsive pornography consumption is associated with sexual dysfunction for both men and women,21 difficulties with arousal and sexual performance,22 and decreased sexual satisfaction.23 Doesn’t sound very “pro-sex,” does it?

9. Help stop the demand for sex trafficking

Sex trafficking shares a variety of symbiotic connections to pornography. Even in the production of mainstream porn, sex trafficking can still occur—and it happens more often than most people think.2425

Trafficking is legally defined as a situation in which “a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.”26 Manipulation and coercion are unfortunately common in the porn industry, which legally qualifies as sex trafficking.

Again, there’s no viable way for a consumer to guarantee that the porn they’re watching is truly consensual and free of abuse or coercion. As long as there’s a demand for porn—especially porn that is extreme, abusive, or degrading—the porn industry will continue to exploit vulnerable people to meet that demand.

10. Porn glorifies sexual violence

According to a study that analyzed porn titles alone, 1 out of every 8 titles suggested to first-time users on porn sites described acts of sexual violence.27

Research also suggests that as few as 1 in 3 and as many as 9 in 10 porn scenes contain physical violence or aggression.2829 Even more concerning is that 95% of the time, the targets of violence and aggression in porn appear to respond either neutrally or with pleasure, sending the message that sexual aggression is normal or even desirable.30

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11. Porn can fuel sexually violent behavior

So we know that porn glorifies violence, but research also indicates that porn’s sexually violent narratives can bleed into consumers’ attitudes and behaviors. In fact, research indicates that porn consumers are more likely to sexually objectify and dehumanize others,313233 more likely to express an intent to rape,34 less likely to intervene during a sexual assault,3536 more likely to victim-blame survivors of sexual assault,3738 more likely to support violence against women,3940 more likely to forward sexts without consent,41 and more likely to commit actual acts of sexual violence.42434445

Saying no to porn and its problematic narratives helps to build a healthier world.

12. Stop perpetuating racism

Porn often depicts and profits from blatantly racist narratives. For example, a 2021 content analysis of more than 1,700 scenes from two of the world’s most popular porn sites found that videos featuring Black people disproportionately emphasize violence and aggression, perpetuate harmful racist stereotypes, and often depict Black people as “worse than objects.”46

The porn industry often fetishizes race, reducing people of color to sexual categories that often focus on damaging stereotypes.47

13. Live a more honest life

Many consumers conceal from their partner how much and what types of porn they are viewing. According to a 2017 study, women tend to significantly underestimate how much porn their male partners consume.48

In fact, in this study none of the casually dating women—zero—reported that their partner consumed pornography daily or every other day, but 43% of casually dating men in the study reported this level of heavy porn consumption.49 Scholars have also noted that pornography concealment may influence the partners’ sense of trustworthiness and security in the relationship.50

Healthy relationships are built on honesty and communication, so hiding a porn habit definitely doesn’t help. And hey—you don’t have to clear porn from your browser history if you don’t watch porn.

14. Free up some time

You may have noticed that consuming porn can take up a lot of your time—scrolling from page to page, switching between videos. Aside from all its negative effects, time spent watching porn is time that could be spent developing your hobbies, achieving your goals, or nurturing your relationships with others.

It’s estimated that over the course of their life, the average person spends about 3 months on the toilet, 4 months in traffic, and 9 years on their phone. How much of your life will you spend watching porn? Will it be worth it?

15. Focus on real relationships

In porn, everything from the way people look to how and why they have sex is fake.

Porn consumers can become so preoccupied with chasing something that isn’t real that they miss out on actual relationships. In fact, people who view porn regularly are less likely to get married than those who do not. Researchers suggest this may be because consumers see porn as a substitute for sexual gratification in a relationship.51

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16. Avoid hurting your partners

Over the years, we have received countless messages from partners of porn consumers who feel deeply hurt by their partners’ porn habits. Individuals who learn of their partner’s porn habit often internalize their shame and confusion, asking themselves why they aren’t enough.52

Hundreds of studies show that porn can be toxic to relationships. Porn is not a harmless pastime, especially when it’s hurting a romantic partner. It’s time to refocus on what’s real.

17. Become a better parent

The harmful effects of porn don’t always revolve around romantic partners. We’ve heard from many Fighters who have reached out to us telling how porn has harmed their family relationships. When consumers become engrossed enough in their porn habit, they can start to neglect important aspects of their lives, including family relationships.

Regardless, modeling healthy behaviors—including not letting porn control your life—is an important part of being a secure parent. Help promote a healthy lifestyle for you and your family.

18. Become a better friend

Again, for consumers who become wrapped up enough in their porn habit, they can also begin to isolate themselves from valuable social time with friends. Additionally, some porn consumers start to feel shame about their porn habit, which make them feel even more isolated from their support systems.53 Disconnect from porn, reconnect with the people around you.

19. Maintain mental/emotional health

A number of peer-reviewed studies have found a link between pornography consumption and mental health outcomes like depression,54 anxiety,55 loneliness,56 lower life satisfaction,57 and poorer self-esteem and overall mental health.58

These studies have found that these links are particularly strong when pornography is consumed to try to escape negative emotions, and also when pornography consumption becomes heavy and compulsive.59 Quitting porn can help interrupt the unhealthy cycle of escapism and mental health issues.

20. Take back control

According to qualitative research involving individuals who wanted to quit porn, many reported feeling that they had “lost control over [their] own behavior.”60

Getting caught in an unhealthy or even addictive cycle of pornography limits the feeling of control a consumer has over their life. Although it may take some time, quitting porn can allow you to take back that control and live a healthier life.

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21. Be the author of your own sexuality

Watching porn isn’t “exploring your sexual fantasies/preferences.” It’s allowing a toxic industry to dictate your sexual template for you—it’s internalizing misogyny, racism, aggression, and all-around unrealistic and unhealthy expectations for sex. Reenacting whatever you’ve seen in porn does not make you a great sexual partner, it just makes you a non-communicative one.

Unplugging from porn will help you become more in tune with what you and your partner want instead of influencing you to reenact what you’ve seen in porn.

22. Be pro-sex

As a sex-positive organization, we’re here to tell you that an industry that glorifies a lack of consent, fetishizes race, and ignores mutual pleasure is not sex-positive. Not to mention, research consistently shows that porn consumption is associated with sexual dysfunction (for both men and women) and decreased sexual satisfaction.6162

Rejecting porn’s toxic narratives is unequivocally pro-sex—it’s about discovering what you want, and not letting a multi-billion dollar industry dictate your sexual template for you. Be the author of your own sexuality, not an imitation of something that isn’t even real.

23. Have more energy

A porn habit can consume your time, attention, and energy. Research shows that many porn consumers report neglecting basic needs like eating or sleeping in favor of watching porn.63

Without healthy food and sleep habits, your body can easily feel drained of the emotional, physical, and mental energy it needs to keep up with the daily hustle of life. By turning off the monitor, you can refocus on building healthy habits.

24. Be emotionally resilient

Many consumers use porn as a form of escapism to avoid their challenges rather than facing them in healthy ways. Interestingly enough, research indicates that those who consumed pornography to avoid uncomfortable emotions had some of the lowest reports of emotional and mental wellbeing.64 By letting go of porn as an escapism technique, you can build more emotional resilience.

25. Stop exploiting the LGBTQ+ community

For an industry that is often culturally thought of as being allied with the LGBTQ+ community, the mainstream porn industry’s depictions of LGBTQ+ individuals and relationships suggest that they are less interested in accurate representation and more interested in profiting at the expense of LGBTQ+ people.

Porn often fetishizes sexual orientation or gender identity, uses degrading terms to describe LGBTQ+ people, and misrepresents them through harmful and degrading stereotypes.

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26. Protect your relationship

According to study that tracked couples over time, porn consumption was the second strongest indicator that a relationship would suffer.65 Plus, research consistently shows that porn consumers are twice as likely to later report experiencing a divorce or breakup—even after controlling for marital happiness, sexual satisfaction, and other relevant factors.666768

There is no substitute for real connection, and porn isn’t worth risking that.

27. Save your money

Paula Hall, a sex and porn addiction therapist, says sexcam addicts make up an increasingly large number of clients who come to her seeking help, and that users become hooked on these fantasies that feel more like a personal relationship than free porn. “People start spending more time and money than they intend to… They keep chasing the same dopamine hit.”69

Even if you’re not personally spending money on porn, your time spent on porn sites is contributing money to a toxic industry.

28. Avoid being sexually self-centered

Porn can easily reinforce self-centered sexual behavior by focusing only on the consumer’s desires and boundaries. In real-life sexual experiences, communication, consent, and mutual pleasure are key—all of which are rarely shown in porn.70

Porn culture has normalized getting exactly what you want sexually, exactly when and how you want it. With so many people consuming pornography, is it any wonder that many are developing attitudes of sexual entitlement?71 Feeling entitled to anyone else’s body is a dangerous notion, and it’s not healthy.

29. Invest in your hobbies

Qualitative research reveals that problematic consumers who are trying to give up porn often report regretting the “wasted time” they could have been spending on hobbies or other worthwhile pursuits.72

Pornography is not only a passive activity rather than a hobby, but it can be a destructive passive activity. Plus, replacing unhealthy habits with healthy ones is a great tip to quit—start exercising, learn some new recipes, take up knitting, whatever!

30. Listen to the research

Who should you really believe—hundreds upon hundreds of peer-reviewed studies, survivors, and the personal experiences of countless people? Or a multi-billion dollar industry that makes money off of getting you to believe their product is harmless?

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31. Promote mutual pleasure

Research analyzing the content of the most-viewed porn videos of all time reveals that only 18% of women compared to 78% of men were depicted as reaching orgasm.73 That’s a pretty significant gap, and can perpetuate male-centered sexual experiences rather than promoting mutual pleasure.

32. Help combat child sexual exploitation

Research indicates that teen-themed porn often refers to the portrayal of underage individuals, and that this theme is becoming increasingly popular.74 That’s especially disturbing, considering that porn can be so effective at normalizing sexual violence that many sexual predators use porn to groom their victims and desensitize them to sexual advances.7576

According to one report, of the domestic minor trafficking victims who had been forced into porn production, the average age they began being filmed was 12.8 years old.77 In order to combat child sexual exploitation, it’s important to be educated on its prevalence and be aware of the conditions that may be fueling it—including extreme pornography from the mainstream industry.

33. Stand in solidarity with survivors

It’s no secret that the porn industry profits from nonconsensual content and abuse, so avoiding porn is an effective and meaningful way to support the countless survivors of image-based sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and child sexual abuse material. Not only are porn consumers more likely to victim-blame survivors of sexual assault7879 and more likely to support violence against women,8081 but it’s virtually impossible to guarantee that the porn you’re watching is ethically, consensually, or even legally made. Listen to survivors, and stand with them in solidarity.

34. Help break the cycle of shame

Porn and shame are inextricably linked. In fact, research shows that shame can actually fuel problematic porn habits, leading to an unhealthy cycle of both porn and shame.82

Letting go of both porn and shame can be an incredibly empowering experience that can help you live a healthier life. As one Fighter explained after quitting porn, “I’m not ashamed of myself all the time. It feels like I’m finally myself.”

35. Build more productive habits

Addictive habits can make us lose sight of our priorities and ultimately feel unproductive. Our grades slip, our passion for projects dwindle, and our relationships can become abandoned.

One study of adolescent boys showed that increased pornography consumption was associated with decreased academic performance six months later.83

36. Invest in your career

Paula Hall, the sex and porn addiction therapist we mentioned earlier also says that some porn addicts “start noticing they are not spending time with loved ones, or are leaving the club early to spend more time on these sites. They might then gravitate toward using them at work. Often it ends with them using the work computer. That can end their career and I’ve seen people lose a marriage over it.”84

In fact, real stories of people being caught watching porn at work prove that more and more people are putting their jobs at risk by looking at porn during work hours. Don’t let this destructive material ruin the things that matter most for your daily life.

37. Stop perpetuating sexism

Remember earlier when we talked about how research indicates that as few as 1 in 3 and as many as 9 in 10 porn scenes contain physical violence or aggression? Well, that same research also shows that women are almost always the targets of that violence or aggression in porn—approximately 97% of the time.8586

Violence against women is unfortunately common in pornography, and research also suggests that it can have an effect on people’s sexual attitudes and behaviors.87

38. Appreciate body diversity

A recent poll found that the more porn a man consumes, the more likely he is to be dissatisfied with his penis size. And the same goes for women with male partners—the more porn they consume, the less satisfied they are with their partner’s penis size.88

With airbrushed images and highly edited scenes, porn can easily set the stage for body dysmorphia. But real, flawed human bodies are unique and beautiful. A world without porn and synthetic beauty is a world where comparison doesn’t overtake appreciation. Ditch the porn and its unrealistic body expectations.

39. Be an influencer, not a follower

By raising awareness on this important issue, you won’t just be another person in the crowd following along—you’ll be helping to shift the culture that feeds into a toxic industry. Don’t be a follower—take a stand and be the change you want to see in the world.

40. Ditch loneliness

Many consumers watch porn when they’re feeling lonely, but research actually shows that pornography fuels loneliness.89

Researchers found that the relationship between porn and loneliness was bidirectional, meaning those who viewed pornography were more likely to feel lonely, and those who felt lonely were more likely to view pornography. At the end of the day, porn fuels an unhealthy cycle of loneliness that just isn’t worth it.

41. Avoid contributing to victims’ trauma

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—there’s no viable way to guarantee that the porn you’re watching is truly consensual, ethical, or even legal. For those who have been abused, manipulated, or coerced in porn, contributing to the viewership of that trauma can feel like re-victimization to survivors.

As one former performer told us, “I hate that ten years later, people are still watching my most humiliating and traumatizing moments out of the consent I gave in my teens and twenties as an addicted, alcoholic, traumatized young woman running from her dangerous off-porn life. I wish ‘consent’ had an expiration.”

42. Deal with stress better

Instead of healthy levels of stress, which can help motivate us in healthy doses, research suggests that porn can contribute to an unhealthy cycle of stress, which is actually one of the hallmarks of addiction.90

As one individual who successfully quit porn told us, “The stress and anxiety that used to be persistent in my life is basically gone.”

43. Object to objectification

Sexual objectification occurs when people perceive others as sex objects, rather than complex human beings deserving of dignity and respect. In fact, in a review of research on sexual violence, two leading experts called sexual objectification the “common thread” that connects different forms of sexual violence.91

Consuming pornography is often objectification in practice, so it’s no surprise that research routinely shows that frequent porn consumers are more likely to sexually objectify and dehumanize others.929394 Let’s be the kind of people who treat people like people.

44. Ditch fake sex

Don’t take sex tips from an industry that profits from fake orgasms. Enough said.

45. Stop contributing to toxic narratives

Popular porn plot lines often include incest, racism, sexism, misrepresentation of the LGBTQIA+ community, underaged teens being taken advantage of, rape, manipulation, etc. By avoiding porn, you’re avoiding contributing to the normalization and glorification of toxic narratives, and that’s a great thing.

Plus, by ditching porn, you’re also helping to protect yourself from developing toxic attitudes based on those porn themes.

46. Reclaim self-confidence

Research indicates that consuming porn is linked with more negative body image, lower self-esteem, and poorer mental health.9596 By kicking the habit, you can start to build confidence in all aspects of life.

47. Avoid romanticizing unhealthy relationships

It’s no secret that porn glorifies aspects of toxic relationships. Whether that’s cheating, incest, a lack of communication, coercion, or lopsided relationship dynamics, normalizing unhealthy relationships isn’t okay. Real intimacy offers so much more. Real intimacy is a world of satisfaction and excitement that doesn’t disappear when the screen goes off. It’s the breathtaking risk of being vulnerable with another human being.

It’s inviting them not just into your bedroom, but into your heart and life. Real intimacy is about what we give, not just what we get. Porn doesn’t portray true connections, it can only scratch the surface.

48. Have realistic relationship expectations

Relationships require work. They aren’t always flawless, and sex (if sex is involved) won’t be easy and perfect every single time. Love can be messy but that’s the beauty of it—it’s real, not synthetic. It’s natural, not produced. Porn can be the opposite of connection—it’s isolating and self-focused. Real connection is immeasurably better than porn because real connection is exactly that—it’s real. Ditch the porn and develop healthier relationship expectations.

49. Be a more supportive partner

Being a supportive partner includes being sensitive to the feelings and needs of your partner and what might be causing them pain. According to a 2015 study, previous partners’ pornography consumption predicted women’s levels of feeling sexually objectified, higher levels of body shame, and even lead to increased eating disorder symptomatology.97

Additionally, porn has been shown to foster unrealistic expectations that partners feel they can never live up to in a real relationship.98 Many partners internalize their shame and confusion, asking themselves why they aren’t “enough.”99

In fact, one study found that the frequency of an individual’s porn consumption was negatively correlated with their partner’s sense of self-esteem, level of relationship quality, and sexual satisfaction.100 Invest in your relationship, support your partner, and let go of porn—it’s not worth it.

50. Do something you can be proud of

Taking the challenge to give up porn is not always easy, but by quitting porn, you’re taking a stand against a dangerous, exploitative industry and building healthier habits for you and your relationships.

No matter your reasons, giving up porn is definitely something you can be proud of. You got this!

Thinking About Resolutions

What would you do and who would you become if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Start a business? Run a marathon? Ask out that guy? Lose 25 pounds? Take a vacation?

Recently, many of us wrestled with some version of this question. We looked at our dreams, our hopes, and even our shortcomings and tried to determine if we have what it takes to make them happen in 2023.

The intent? To hopefully take steps toward living a better life. Whatever that means.

“Whatever” is usually inspired by a circumstance.

  • You were recently laid off, so it’s finally time to start the business.
  • There’s some tension in your marriage, and you believe a vacation together will help you reconnect.
  • The button on your shirt popped off at Christmas dinner and flew into Aunt Sally’s mouth causing her to choke. Definitely time to lose some weight.

Whatever the circumstance, 37% of us will come up with an answer for the question of what we want to accomplish and who we want to become this year.

One-third of these resolution-setters will give up within the first 30 days.

Most people determine that it’s just not worth it. Likely because, at one point, they failed to keep their resolution which became proof that certain change or growth might be impossible. It is what it is.

What if the problem isn’t the resolution itself?

What if the problem is actually how you’re thinking about the circumstance that is highlighting that a change might be necessary?

Recently, I was listening to a podcast and Dr. Katrina Ubell taught through what she called the Thought Model. I have to admit, it’s not a new concept if you’ve been around Pure Desire for any length of time. It’s really similar to what we refer to as the Iceberg Illustration.

But listening to Dr. Ubell’s explanation of the model brought this concept to life for me in a new way.

Here’s how the Thought Model works:

Circumstances

Circumstances are verifiable facts. They’re not based on opinion or up for debate. Everyone, everywhere would agree. When I step on the scale and see the number, it’s not up for debate. The number is a verifiable fact. This number isn’t communicating anything to me beyond the “gravitational pull of the earth” on my body in that specific moment.

Circumstances themselves are not good, bad, right, or wrong. They just are.

Thoughts

How we think about our circumstances is what gives it meaning. When I see the number on the scale, I usually think something along the lines of, “I’m fat” or “How did I gain this much weight again?” My wife says I’m not fat. She’s not wrong.

But these are my thoughts about the number on the scale. The scale doesn’t start yelling obscenities at me. My brain does. Why? Because at one point I worked really hard and lost 80 pounds. Three years and our first child later, I haven’t quite cracked the code to managing this lower weight. And my brain doesn’t let me forget it.

You know what my brain does conveniently let me forget? I’m still down roughly 35 pounds from my highest ever weight. The truth is that, even if my brain forgets, I might not be where I want to be—there’s definitely room for improvement—but I’m not where I once was.
The number itself is not the issue. How I think about the number causes me to feel a certain way about my circumstance.

Feelings

What’s the difference between a thought and a feeling? While a feeling is usually one word, a thought is a sentence. Our thoughts produce feelings.

“I’m fat” is a thought that produces feelings of disgust, shame, and embarrassment. Especially when I compound “I’m fat” with the thought “I used to weigh so much less.” Now, I feel like a failure.

In Pure Desire groups, people often share that they feel worthless, dirty, stupid, fake, and other similar feelings. This is, in part, because of the nature of the behaviors that brought them to group in the first place (the circumstances). But it’s mostly because of the thoughts they have toward themselves and their circumstances. Usually, as shame is broken through the group process, these thoughts are transformed by Scripture and loving community.

For someone who struggles to identify and name their feelings, it will likely be challenging to know which thoughts are causing these feelings. What’s worse, these feelings will be the driving force behind the actions they’re taking.

Actions

Feelings drive actions.

Previously, when I lost 80 pounds, the prevailing thought was “I can do this.” In part because I saw a lot of external evidence of other people who had successfully conquered their weight. Recently, these feelings of disgust, shame, and embarrassment have only led to managing the status quo because I ultimately feel like I’m just going to fail again. I’ll gain weight again (like always).

If our thoughts are creating feelings of strength and power, we’re more likely to make healthy choices. Similarly, when our thoughts create feelings of shame or embarrassment, our actions aren’t typically very healthy.

Our actions determine our results.

Results

Most people understand that healthy choices will lead to desirable outcomes. The opposite is also true.

The most damaging part of this entire process is that our results become further proof or evidence of our original thought. When I overeat, it’s evidence that I’m fat and there’s no hope for me to be happy in my own body.

We don’t change because we don’t make the choices necessary to create change.

What if our thoughts were helpful? What if we recognized our circumstances for what they are and we began to form powerful thoughts around them? We could accomplish almost anything. We could become the person we want God created us to be.

Resolutions that Work

There have been many great articles written on goal-setting and habit formation. I don’t want to regurgitate what we likely have heard or read a thousand times before because if it was helpful, we probably would have had more success with our resolutions.

Instead, I want to offer three ideas that will hopefully augment the tips and tools you’ve heard and read before.

1. Realistic Circumstances

Resolutions that work are couched in a fair and realistic assessment of your circumstances. The thought model shows us that our circumstances are a direct result of our thoughts, feelings, and actions.

If we are unwilling to accurately depict our current circumstances, we will be unable to truly change. We have to remember that the circumstances themselves are just information. We can act on good information.

The reality of your circumstances may include a separation from your spouse, a called-off engagement, and/or financial hardship. These are difficult circumstances and they’re painful to face but they’re informative. Your circumstances are communicating that you must change if you want to be in a healthy relationship with yourself and others.

2. Be Kind to Yourself

The Thought Model reveals how critical it is that we think good thoughts about ourselves and our circumstances. We should really be checking our thoughts against Scripture. In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul writes,

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:7-9 (NIV)

Paul makes a direct connection between thinking good thoughts and the peace of God. AND, it’s the transcendent peace of God which guards our hearts and minds.

This is one of the reasons tools like the FASTER Scale, Personal/Prophetic Promises, and The Feeling Wheel are so important in your first year of recovery.

Realistic resolutions are impossible if the thoughts driving the change are not in line with what God says about you in Scripture.

3. Evaluate and Adjust as Needed

People who accomplish great feats evaluate their results early and often to ensure they’re on track. Setting realistic resolutions is a commitment to pausing often to evaluate and adjust. Adjust your thoughts, feelings, and actions so that your results are moving you in the right direction and providing you with more evidence (confidence) of your good thoughts.

In Pure Desire groups, the Commitment To Change serves this purpose. We take a look at the upcoming week and try to anticipate the Double Bind we may face and strategize accordingly. During the Weekly Check-in, you recognize the plan has holes and adjustments are needed moving forward. Let’s apply this idea to creating realistic resolutions.

You want to establish a devotional routine but are struggling to wake up and have the hour you’d like for Bible study, prayer, and journaling. Since you can’t do the full hour like you envisioned, you don’t try to do any of it. Maybe your resolution is a bit too aggressive, so you adjust to a 15 minute devotional for now.

But maybe your resolution is not aggressive enough. You identified regular social media use as part of your pattern of acting out. So you decided to limit your use to 30 minutes a day. Yet you’re still struggling with comparing yourself to others and going down a path you know isn’t healthy for you. As you evaluate this resolution and if it’s accomplishing its intended purpose, you realize it’s not and that you’re better off giving up social media altogether for a season.

It’s never too late to evaluate your goals and make intentional adjustments. If you’ve already given up on your resolutions, it’s okay. Identify your thoughts, feelings, and actions using the Thought Model and recommit to yourself.

Final Thoughts

In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul writes,

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NASB)

The Thought Model gives us a powerful framework to practice taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. This is an important practice for all people but especially those in recovery.


Statista, Have you kept your New Year’s resolutions for 2022 so far? Statista Research Department, November 15, 2022. Retrieved from United States - sticking to New Year's resolutions for 2022 | Statista.

A Fresh Look at the Sobriety Plan

I was recently reviewing material for a workshop I am creating when I came across this quote from one of my classes: “There is more to life than sobriety.”

This may be a crazy idea for anyone struggling with giving up an addiction or coping behavior. In my experience, it was not so hard getting sober, rather it was hard staying sober. Living out recovery was about denying myself in order to be addiction-free. Staying free is more difficult. It requires paying close attention to what we are thinking and feeling so we can react appropriately.

This got me thinking beyond just managing my sobriety and onto diving into some inner work. It involved looking at what I was missing when it came to being a functional adult and responding in accordance to my values and equal self-esteem with others.

I took a fresh look at my Sobriety Plan and made the concept of “maintaining your sobriety” more accessible to all my recovery efforts, whether it was my addiction, coping behavior (anger), or my hurt from betrayals.

Looking at the Sobriety Plan, I first replaced the word “sobriety” with “my recovery.” I know sobriety implies addiction, but I flipped it here, because even if you are on the receiving end of another’s addictive behaviors, you are in “recovery.” The efforts you put into your work from trauma are your recovery.

I then replaced the word “maintain” with the word “protect.” So now I have a “Plan to Protect my Recovery.” This feels more empowering to me. It conveys that I am in charge of my own recovery. I have the ability to set the limits I need to protect my efforts to live a life free of addiction or unhealthy coping behaviors, or to restore safety in a relationship.

As many of you know, I talk a lot about boundaries. It is the number one thing I first talk about in counseling. Boundaries are self-imposed limits I set for myself to protect my recovery efforts and to protect my self-esteem. These boundaries define my personal space, my sexuality, and my internal wellbeing. Boundaries let me be me: my authentic self.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Keep reading…

The word “boundaries” is discussed a lot in recovery, but what exactly does it mean to have boundaries? In counseling, some people tell me that they don’t have boundaries. This may be true for them, but I believe we all have boundaries. We just don’t have the confidence to use or speak them. Nor do we have the self-esteem to enforce them.

As I said, boundaries are self-imposed limits we set and enforce that protect our self-esteem and values. One of the first words you most likely utilized around the age of two, the word “no,” was a boundary indicating that you had an opposition to what was going on around you. Momma was impeding your enjoyment of running through the house naked, so you ran away yelling “no” when she tried to corral you. Eventually you learned Mom’s limit (or boundary to your “rebellion”) by her firm hand. Then with love and belonging your relationship got back to normal.

Two Types of Boundary Systems

There are two types of boundary systems: external and internal. These two systems serve to contain and protect. Both systems govern what we take in from others and what we give out to others.

External Boundary System

The external system governs our physical and sexual space. When it comes to protection, you have the right to control how close someone gets to you and who can touch you. This extends to your personal property (i.e., purse, wallet, phone, computer, drawers, etc.). You also have the right to rescind that access if you no longer feel safe or comfortable with that person. With regard to sexual space, you have the right to control with whom, when, and how you are going to be sexual. For containing, you are responsible for how you approach others for physical or sexual contact. These boundaries apply to others too and you are responsible to honor this.

Internal Boundary System

Like the external system, our internal boundary system serves to protect and contain our values and self-esteem. We do this by setting limits on what we think and feel thus helping us contain how we speak to others about our needs. Internal boundaries act as a filter that sorts through what others are saying and screens out messages coming in and going out to and from the world or people. We want to filter out what is not true about us and block any false assessment that may have affected our values or self-esteem. We protect our self-esteem and values by how we listen. We also contain our expression of feelings, needs, and wants by how we talk to others.

Hopefully, you’re still with me.

Boundary work is by far the most labor intensive work I have done. It is like learning a new language and is best done in childhood. Boundaries are a form of self-care after we have a built a self-esteem that says I am not “less than you,” nor am I “better than you.” We are all equal in our relationships. In other words, we respect each other’s feelings and point of view. Once your self-esteem is established, you can then go about boundary work in relationships.

In keeping with the format of the Sobriety Plan, here is what a “Plan to Protect my Recovery” might look like.

Physical

Let’s say hugs at church are uncomfortable for you. Your boundary might be I do not hug anyone except my spouse or kids. (It’s Covid safe anyway.) So, when someone reaches out for a hug, you step back and express an external boundary like this: “I’m sorry; I only hug my husband and kids.” Period. No need to explain or defend.

Sexual

Let’s say you struggle with sexual images in movies or TV shows. Your boundary may be I do not watch R-rated movies, unless I have first investigated to see why it has this rating. I will discuss it with my accountability partner before I watch it.

Mental

Let’s say you struggle with anxiety and have a lot of intrusive thoughts about the betrayal by your spouse. Your mind runs through many scenarios which elevates your anger or fear. Your boundary may need to be When I catch myself running through negative thoughts, I will stop and redirect my thoughts to ___________________. Anxious thoughts are one of the most difficult mental boundaries to set. Fear sees danger. Anxiety imagines danger. You will need to discern the reality of the threat.

Emotional

Let’s say you struggle with anger. You will need a boundary that contains how you respond when feeling angry: When I feel my ire rising, I will stop, take a deep breath, and take a time out to calm down. When I have calmed down, I will return to the conversation. Repeat if necessary. Can you identify the internal boundary and the expression of the external boundary?

Spiritual

If God seems distant from you, if you feel God is mad or disappointed in you, you may need to filter out what you were trained to believe about Him. A boundary might be, In order to protect my spiritual recovery, I will take the time to research, examine the scriptures, and meditate on God’s Word to discover for myself how God truly feels about me or what His thoughts are toward me.


By now you may have formed a defense against some of the boundary statements I have made. You may be asking, “What if…?” This is why the internal boundary system is difficult to rewire. It is a language system easier learned when you are young. It is the language of living safe in a world full of hurting, wounded people that hurt others. As an adult, your emotional coding is pretty set in place, but you can rewire it.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

It is possible to rewire and renew your neuropathways.

Practicing boundary work is a lifelong process. I encourage you to find a friend to practice your boundary work with. It will not be perfect because you will need to let go of feeling responsible for what others think and feel. Assuming you are diplomatic with your containing boundary, you do not need to tiptoe around another person’s feelings. We are responsible for our own “stuff.”

Boundary work is how you learn to feel safe within your perimeter and it will help you develop resiliency to the hurt and harm of this life.


This is a summarized adaptation of protect and contain boundary functions that is adapted from Pia Mellody’s Post Induction Therapy training (1992, Pia Mellody). You can read more about boundaries in The Intimacy Factor: The Ground Rules for Overcoming the Obstacles to Truth, Respect, and Lasting Love, by Pia Mellody and Lawrence S. Freundlich