Daniel stormed about the office, complaining about his porn recovery schedule:
“This is too overwhelming for me. She knows what my work schedule is like and how demanding my job is… yet, she and you still expect me to do all this recovery work. Well, I am telling you, all of this is impossible… I’m doing two meetings a week, a counseling session with you, a call with my accountability partner, and 12-step work. I know what I did. However, I don’t have the bandwidth to do everything that people expect me to do when it comes to recovery. Why can’t you folks understand and be more compassionate?”
Why do so many find recovering from pornography addiction difficult? Facing this difficulty is necessary for recovery. And it begins with understanding how your behavior affects those around you.
The recovery process is time-consuming and difficult.
Daniel is not the first client I have worked with who has voiced their displeasure about the elements and time involved in the recovery process. There is no doubt that much is asked of people who are serious about overcoming porn addiction.
This is particularly the case when their spouses have been deeply wounded by lies and deceptive behavior. These individuals must learn much about themselves and their problematic behaviors in order to regain trust—and this can be arduous.
For the person caught in addiction, your own situation and the challenges of recovery often feel overwhelming. Consequently, you cannot see past your own feelings to the feelings of others. But learning to see another’s perspective is vital to your recovery.
The recovery process requires emotional development.
When someone complains about the workload for porn addiction recovery, it can indicate a lack of emotional intelligence (EQ). They haven’t reached the point of emotional maturity to see past their own situation. They can’t understand how their recovery work correlates with their partner’s ability to feel safe.
“An individual who possesses a strong EQ can identify and share their own emotions, while also being able to handle the emotions of others in a healthy way. A person who has a low EQ will find it difficult to process and express feelings for both themselves and others. These individuals become exasperated and anxious when placed in environments that require them to give or accept emotional intimacy. It is simply too overwhelming.”
Understanding the needs of others marks the path to recovery.
People at this stage of recovery do not yet understand the meaning of a sacrificial life, nor do they realize the depth of the pain they inflicted. Instead, they believe their half-hearted apologies should be sufficient to help their partners move on. But recovery can never be achieved in this way.
Overcoming addiction takes a sincere desire to change and much dedication and work. One individual commented:
“I feel like I am in a deep, dirty pit at the moment and crawling out is just too hard. I am scared, and I hate that my sin hurts those who are supporting me. Please help! What can I do, I am so weak and so much of me is wanting to give up and give in completely.”
While discouraged about their progress, the awareness of the pain they are causing to those around them is a good indicator this person is on the right path.
The emotionally immature person is inwardly focused and cannot see their partner’s pain points. They must have an awakening to understand their needs cannot trump the needs of their traumatized partner, and the importance of maintaining boundaries while they are rebuilding trust.
Richard, a man recovering from his own porn addiction, offers this encouragement:
“Please don’t quit working on your freedom from bondage. Don’t let your past define you. Don’t let porn define you. Those chains are heavy, but freedom isn’t far away. Your success is determined by your own honesty! How bad do you want it?”
There’s one path to success—do the work!