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CoAchieving - Blog articles to help men recover from sexual addiction.

Look less, read more. And get sober. 

The Solution to Internet Porn is at Your Fingertips

If it seems to you that the past few years have seen a wildfire epidemic of pornography addiction, that’s because it’s true. Yes, there’s a growing awareness of the problem, and that contributes to a sense that porn addiction is springing up everywhere, but also it actually is springing up everywhere. I do choose the term “epidemic” for effect. The porn that addicts consume nowadays festers almost exclusively online. The Internet is the Typhoid Mary of this contagion. 

Google regularly releases a list of its top searches. The advertising behemoth doesn’t mention that it completely removes from the chart any X-rated-related searches. If it did, hugely popular searches such as “YouTube” and “Facebook” would plummet to near-oblivion. Twenty-five percent of all searches on the Internet are for porn. The Internet is to porn as crack is to cocaine. The Web made porn cheap or free, ubiquitous, and available in a panoply of varieties from tame to felonious.  

Man, I hate writing this crap. 

Not because online porn addiction is a dire problem — it is — but because it makes the Internet seem monolithically evil, one gigantic bad neighborhood to be avoided like a plague. I hear it, too, from folks who remember the good old days when it took effort, money and shame to acquire pornography on CDs or VHS tapes, or in magazines and on smoky reels of 8- and 16mm film. 

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The Most Powerful Thing You Can Do to Fight Your Addiction

The Twelve Steps as first spelled out in the book Alcoholics Anonymous is, like any work of genius, inspiration and spirituality, a paradox.

Here we have a finite number of simple concepts that offer an infinite amount of wisdom and practicality. None of that enlightenment is accessible, however, to one who is not willing to mount the First step. And it is that very step (perhaps with the exception of the Second) that provides the greatest barrier to many trying to get started in recovery. 

1. We admitted we were powerless over [whatever] - that our lives had become unmanageable.

Balderdash! Fie upon it! Every day, thousands of struggling addicts try to pummel this step into oblivion. 

“Powerless? Me? Bullshit. I have power as a unique human being, as a citizen, as a creation of God [or of Nature or whatever]. How can I even begin to fight this addiction if I am powerless? It is on its face a falsehood.”

I get it. The last thing you want to hear when you trying to rev up for what may be the greatest fight of your life is that you don’t have what it takes. And it is in that very contradiction that the truth of the First Step shines. 

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How to Stay Sober: Make Your Bed

Life-hack gurus, Feng Shui experts and especially old hands in AA agree there is only one way to properly start each day: by making your bed.

Why do these experts acclaim this small task? How does pulling some sheets and plumping a few pillows promote abstinence? 

What’s the big deal about making your bed? 

Obviously it’s nice to keep things neat and tidy. But that’s not enough to warrant the endorsement of Admiral William H. McRaven (ret.), former Navy SEAL, who just dropped a friggin’ BOOK, fer cryin’ out loud, entitled “MAKE YOUR BED: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… and Maybe the World.”

McRaven says making your bed allows you to start off your day with a task completed. The satisfaction you derive from this can fuel another completed task… and another. 

The perspective from Sobriety Hill is much the same. It feels good to accomplish something small but achievable first thing in the morning, something that contributes in a small way to the order of your room, your life and the universe. However, there are important contrasts. 

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How to Clean Up Your Act in Six Steps

Some men feel the bottom rise up and smack them square on the forehead. Others, the luckier ones, simply get fed up with their lack of a real life and decide something must be done. Either way, victims of sexual compulsion come to a crossroads at which they decide they must clean up their act. But how?

Two mistakes are the most common: underwhelm or feel overwhelmed. Those who underwhelm ball up their fists and declare, “I’m gonna cut this out!” And they white-knuckle it for a while, then slip, then shrug, then go back to their old ways, except worse. The ones who feel overwhelmed know all too well there’s a lot more to sobriety than that. A lot more. So much more, in fact, that they can’t get off the dime. Feeling overwhelmed, they take solace the only way life has taught them: they act out.

Here then is a compromise. Not the 12 steps you must eventually climb, nor the shrug plus quick exit. These are a half-dozen substantive but simple steps to get you going and give a feeling of progress. After that, the rest is up to you. (Actually, the rest is definitely not up to you, but that’s something you’ll learn down the road apiece.)

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What's in your box?

You were born with a box.

For many, many years you sat on it. You weren't even aware it was there. It was part of the built-in furniture of your world. Maybe it helped you rest, or gain perspective. 

Then one day, walking along you tripped and fell. Looked back realized you had stumbled over this... box. 

What is that thing?

That thing, that box, whatever it was and whatever was in it, wasn't your way. It was in your way. Suddenly you realized it had always been there, and you hadn't even known it. How could that be? It became important to learn as much as you could about it.

What’s in the box?

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Roger SchulmanComment
Do you have an area of refuge?

It was my first meeting of a men’s society of addiction treatment specialists, and my nervousness made me arrive early. Anxious questions ran the hamster wheel in my head. Would I fit in? I’m a recovery coach; would the sullen gray conference room be filled with condescending psychiatrists and psychologists? That was my fear, anyway. The humorless fellow sitting in the corner — or perhaps it was a sculpture entitled Hostile Man Gazing at Smartphone — didn’t make things easier for me. 

Since I was early, I grabbed the men’s room key and headed down the hallway. Maybe splashing some water on my face would help, or peeing. I didn’t have to pee, but I always can pee if I walk into a public men’s room. Something about the whooshing water and scent of urinal cakes. 

I fitted the key into the men’s room door and… nothing. It wouldn’t open. Shit. Was the bathroom a one-hole job and there was already someone inside? Then why didn’t have one of those “OCCUPIED” badges on the doorknob? Regardless, I wasn’t getting in. Well, I couldn’t just walk back into the meeting room so soon. Then I’d have to explain to Mr. Motionless that I couldn’t work a doorknob. 

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There's no such thing as sex addiction! And we never landed on the moon.

Great news! If you’ve spent decades staring at pornography and masturbating, or most of your savings on sex workers; if you’ve blown up your marriage or abused scores of women with intriguing, infidelity and objectification; if you’ve wrecked your career or productivity with compulsive sexual behaviors... relax.

There’s no such thing as sex addiction! 

Don’t take it from me; I’m no authority. Take it straight from an organization no less lofty than the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists. (That’s right, the first word in that title is “American,” so you know it’s solid as Plymouth Rock.) 

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