Web Protection Bad for Porn Recovery?

Porn recovery, to me, has a lot more to do with ignoring urges and visual triggers that would normally take you back to porn, and learning how to internalise those urges and move past them. When you use a web filter, you outright block the possibility of accessing porn sites or sexual content (well, 90% of it anyway). This is good in the sense that you severely lessen the possibility of coming across a trigger and going back to porn, but I’m now thinking it’s harmful in that it doesn’t prepare you for facing triggers that you absolutely will come across at home or outside, and denies you many opportunities for growth.

If it were possible to 100% block any sexual-orientated content, even slightly suggestive content, written or visual, on the internet as well as on TV, and you did this for a while, won’t you absolutely freak out and get hit in the chest with the urge to look at porn if, say, you drive past a billboard advertising lingerie? Or come across some half-naked model at the back of your newspaper? Or walk past a magazine stand? I can’t speak for everyone’s triggers, so examples will vary. We live in a world where we are surrounded by sexual content; if you’re intentionally covering your eyes in order to recover, I think you’re going to freak out when you take a peek between your fingers, and then rush home to binge.

Your web filter is a last line of defence if you are trying to look at porn. At this point, personally, I think you’ve relapsed already, even if you don’t find any. You’ve given in to the urge and are seeking your fix; this alone is a dopamine rush. You might only find much softer versions of porn, or bikini models, or whatever, but the damage is done. Web filters are never going to be 100% safe, too many porn domains are registered daily, and heuristics can only take you so far. If sexual content is falling between the cracks of your web protection, it’s because you’re looking for it.

I know that disabling web protection calls for an immense amount of willpower to not look at porn, but that’s the point. The only hope porn addicts have of recovering is if they learn their own way of coming across suggestive content, ignoring it, and moving onto something else, or going outside or whatever it is you need to do to not give in to even peeking at something. You’ll only grow by facing the urge of looking at porn, and moving past it, because when (not if) you come across triggers in the real world, you’ll be hit with massive urges to binge, because you’ve intentionally prevented exposure to this stuff. It’s like staying indoors all your life to prevent severe sunburn. Guess what, next time you need to go outside to do something, your pasty white skin won’t last 5 minutes. Your only hope is to expose yourself to the sun in small bursts, while wearing sun screen (not sun block) and “hardening” and adjusting your skin to sun exposure.  Sun screen, here, is your own self-control and discipline, as opposed to sun block, your web filter, doing all the hard work for you. Using a web filter is, to me, a subtle hint to your mind that you don’t trust yourself to control your urges, which hurts your self-confidence. You must be able to rely on yourself to avoid porn viewing in any form.

In the past few days I’ve seen small thumbnails pop up on my Facebook feed from groups I’m subscribed to posting pictures of cars, and in the thumbnails I see there’s half naked women lying across the bonnet. My brain tells me “click on it to make sure, is that a half-naked woman? We should check it out, so we know we must avoid it”. Right. I hide the story, and move on. I see my friends reading articles about some lewd clothing some actress was wearing. I have to ignore it, and not give in. Things like that have happened to me many times these past few days, and you know what? It’s helping. As strange as that sounds, coming across blatant triggers for my porn usage in the past, and learning to move past them is helping me more than just blocking myself from ever seeing them. Like I said, it prepares me for real-world temptation, like parking outside a Hooters restaurant even though I’m not going there. In the past I would’ve rushed home and gone on a porn binge, but not now. I know the feeling I get when I want to look at something that’ll trigger me, and when I feel it I know I mustn’t give in, even if my body begs me to, and move on.

I’m not saying you should disable your web filters and try and find triggers just to test yourself out, you’ll fail. Trying to find triggers is called looking at porn, last I checked. Disable it, and just go about your daily business, obviously avoiding “Men’s” websites and the like. You’ll come across news stories, thumbnails, web advertisements, e-mails, music videos and a whole bunch of stuff that’ll make you want to go back to porn (you know that feeling!) but do not give in. If you get that feeling in your chest that makes you want to look at something because it’s turning you on, get away.

Personally, I use K9 Web Protection as well as Ad Block to block web advertisements, but that’s it. I find advertising annoying wherever it is to begin with, but the problem I was facing was that sexually-orientated advertisements were showing up on websites I use to download music/movies/TV series. They sit right there on the side of the screen while I’m looking through harmless content; I don’t need that sort of interference. Those same websites contain porn, I know they do, but I avoid those links like the devil.

Remember, recovering alcoholics don’t break their addiction by forcing all liquor stores, bars and restaurants to lock their doors permanently so that they can’t buy alcohol. They also can’t prevent empty beer bottles appearing on the side of the road, and can’t demand that alcohol advertising (wherever it may be) be removed. They must learn, by themselves (with the advice of others), to engage those urges and not give in. Whether it is that they must rush off to an AA buddy to slow themselves down, or drive/walk away from whatever it is, they must learn to not give in when faced with temptation which, much like porn, will be everywhere.

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One thought on “Web Protection Bad for Porn Recovery?

  1. Castimonia says:

    You must learn more about your triggers and how they affect you in negative ways. It helps to be a part of a recovery group with others that struggle with pornography. Share with and listen to others, you’ll learn a ton! Good luck!

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