4 minute read

Flying Solo? You Can Still Quit Porn.

Last Updated: October 23, 2020

Moriah Bowman

Moriah Bowman has been using Covenant Eyes since childhood. As a member of the Covenant Eyes team, she is passionate about writing and fighting pornography in the millennial generation. Moriah has a BA in political communications and plays an active role in fostering children of all ages who need a temporary safe home.

Want to know one of the toughest parts about quitting porn?

Being honest with someone else about your struggle.

Many, many people get stuck on this step. They feel trapped in a cycle of shame and guilt and are unable to remove themselves from this cycle that binds them to porn. They’ve heard the importance of opening up to a friend, but they can’t bring themselves to that point yet. Some because of fear and shame. Some because they don’t know who to share with.

“I’m not ready to talk about my struggle.”

Maybe you find yourself in this camp. You’ve realized your porn use often leaves you feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed. You’ve started to see the negative effects of porn on your relationships, your sex life, your job performance, and your energy levels. You want to break free, and you’re willing to do whatever it takes.

Except tell someone.

I’m not going to lie to you—the best way to overcome pornography is with the help of a friend. Without this ally, your journey will probably be more difficult than it would otherwise.

But you don’t have to wait to start overcoming porn until you’ve recruited this ally. You can start your freedom journey today. Here are a few steps you can take.

1. Decide you really want to quit porn.

I have talked to countless people who do not truly want to quit porn. They know that their porn use hurts their spouse or that their sex life is less than satisfactory. They see the damaging effects that porn is having on every aspect of their life, but in their heart, they just don’t want to quit.

Nobody can force you to quit porn. It has to be a decision that you make—a decision that you want to make. From the time that I was young, my dad has always reminded me that “as humans, we always end up doing exactly what we want to do.” If you say that you want to quit porn but make no changes to do so, you don’t really want to quit watching porn.

If you’re here reading this article right now, it’s likely that you want to quit pornography. But if you’re not willing to take the steps needed to do so, do you really want to quit?

When you decide you really want to quit, get serious about quitting. Whether it’s setting goals or creating a list of things you can do instead of watching porn (I recommend both!), make a plan of attack. Each struggler’s plan is going to look different, but the important part is that you have a plan.

With no course of action, you will find it incredibly difficult to overcome temptation.

2. Start identifying your triggers.

Triggers are habitual responses caused by specific events. When infants are hungry, their body is automatically triggered into crying. They are responding to a lack of food and reacting in a negative way. For those struggling with porn addiction, there will be situations and events that will trigger a desire to watch porn.

For some, this will be stress. You’ve had a long day at work—your boss yelled at you and you didn’t meet your deadline. You’re upset, so you go home and the only thing that makes you feel better is turning on your phone or TV and watching porn.

Boredom is another common trigger. It’s a lazy Saturday and you have absolutely nothing to do. In the past when you were bored, you watched porn. This boredom triggers the temptation to respond in a similar way as you did before.

The list of triggers is endless, and it truly varies from person to person. Hunger, financial stress, an argument with a friend, lack of sleep, staying up late, a long car ride, etc.  As flawed humans, we each have triggers, so it’s important that you know yours.

It’s highly unlikely that you will be able to quit watching porn cold turkey and experience zero temptations to return to this damaging lifestyle. But, if you know what your triggers are and take steps in your daily life to avoid their reappearance, your fight to quit will be that much easier.

3. Monitor your progress.

Sometimes a habit can become so ingrained in our lives that we don’t even realize we do it.

Take social media for example. Do you know how much time you spend scrolling news feeds every day? Or how many times your default during a slow moment was to click on your favorite app? Or what about something like biting your nails. How often do you do it? Do you know when?

If you relate to either of those examples, you probably see where I’m going. It’s easy to know we do something, but be relatively unaware of how much we do that thing.

If we’re trying to break a deeply ingrained habit, we need help with our self-awareness. We need a mirror of sorts to help us see how big of an issue it is, the events surrounding our slip-up, and how we’re progressing in ridding the unwanted habit from our lives.

One way to track your progress is by using Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability. It allows you to monitor the activity that happens on your devices, both online and offline. You can receive daily reports of this activity and use them to track your progress. On days when your report is clean, celebrate! Reward yourself with something you have promised to yourself (and no, porn is not a reward option). When I succeed in reaching my own personal goals, my reward usually involves food—dinner at a restaurant, takeout sushi, or coffee from my favorite shop.

When your report is flagged with porn, remind yourself that slip-ups are normal. Take the time to think about what triggered your mistake and how you can rebound the next day and produce a clean report. You may even want to keep a daily log of your reports to keep yourself even more accountable.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is to do everything that you can to be accountable to yourself. If you haven’t asked anyone to help you yet, you’re going to need to work extra hard to maintain that self-accountability.

Covenant Eyes wants to help you quit porn, even without an ally. Remember, this isn’t going to be easy. As you take steps forward to overcome porn, start thinking about who you could bring into your freedom journey. It’s a hard road to go alone. We’ll walk it with you no matter what, but it’s best to also bring a close friend along.

  • Comments on: Flying Solo? You Can Still Quit Porn.
    1. Roelf van Wyk on

      Thanka for another excellent article / practical information how to overcome porn and remain clean

      Reply
    2. Jon on

      My wife does not want sex with me. She prefers that I watch porn instead. I find porn really boring, and would rather have sex with my wife. She rejects my attempts at emotional closeness, physical closeness, and all other kinds of closeness. She says she does not like ‘pressure’ when I propose sex with her. She has rejected me for over 20 years. Is porn really wrong if that is the kind of sex life my wife wants for me?

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        I wonder why this is the reality of your marriage? Why does she reject all attempts at closeness? There must be a reason.

      • Nicole on

        That sounds like a difficult situation, but, yes porn is still wrong. It’s wrong for everyone… Married, single, sexually active, or not. So, even though your wife may not have a problem with it, it’s still an issue. I would highly, highly suggest counseling. It sounds like an issue that a trained professional could help the two of you work through. You could both figure out and express the factors and reasons behind your desire or lack of desire for sex. I’ve learned that sex is so much more than a physical thing for most guys and that has helped me want to participate in it more often with my husband. Even though he didn’t express it, my lack of sex drive felt like deep rooted rejection to him. If you can both openly and honestly express yourself and even learn more about yourselves and each other, you can likely find a balance that will work well.

    3. Shamar on

      This article really helped guide my decision as to going solo with holding myself accountable. Thank you for this and everyone else for their response

      Reply

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