Course correction: learn from relapses and avoid triggers

Welcome to another lesson! Good job!

One of my clients has relapsed recently.

He started to look at images of women on Flickr.

Not porn, just images of beautiful women.

And he realized that this was risky territory. But he also told himself that he would peek a little bit.

You know what happened next.

Five minutes later, he was watching porn.

He knew that he was losing control and he kept telling himself that he was going to stop in a second.

And then he started to masturbate, telling himself that he would just edge.

The next thing he knew, he had an orgasm.

And the reality dawned on him. He lost the streak. He hadn’t been in control. He had broken the promise to himself.

With that being said, it’s better not to relapse.

But let’s face it — people do have setbacks on this journey.

The key is to use relapses in a positive way.

First, what matters is progress, not perfection. If your streak improved just by one hour, it’s not “just”. It’s an improvement. Say this to yourself, “Not bad considering how long my streak was this time”.

Second, you will apply your punishment. And that’s progress again because the next time, you’ll want to relapse less. So the more relapses you have, the closer you’re to a threshold where you say, “Enough!”.

Third, I know what you’re saying to yourself, “Now I have to start from scratch”. But that’s not true. In fact, you’re starting from experience. Ask yourself, “What did I learn about myself that will help me avoid relapses in the future?”.

That’s how you identify emotional triggers.

These could be:

  • Unhappiness
  • Boredom
  • Loneliness

Now find a way to improve your trigger.

Let’s say you’re unhappy. It means that you need to make changes in your life. So that’s a positive message for you right here. For example, change your job.

You will feel happier. And you won’t need porn as a coping mechanism for unhappiness.

And then find environmental triggers:

This could be lying in your bed at night with your phone.

Or being alone in a room.

Or being on your laptop at night

Now remove those triggers.

If your phone is the enemy, don’t take it with you in bed. Read a book instead.