Recognizing Triggers and Traps, Part 3.

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Triggers and Traps: The Tempting Situation

As I write this post on preparing for and resisting The Tempting Situation, I am sitting in a Starbucks drinking my customary Grande Bold Coffee, black.

Here is what I can tell you based on this one morning in Starbucks: For those of us who are trying to live a porn-free life, or who are trying to maintain a porn-free life, temptations abound, and they are everywhere.

We will, at some point, be tempted or face a Tempting Situation, in which our desires to click on a porn link or website will be tugged and cajoled – many times more than once a day.

Often, more than once an hour.

Yes.  If you’ve battled the soul-wrenching beast of porn addiction, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

Facing temptations, or the Tempting Situation, is a reality with which we must all come to grips.

The irony of writing this post – about resisting the Tempting Situation – in a trendy Starbucks, is that I am going to suggest we consider a picture from an ancient writer, Homer, to help us prepare for and resist temptation.

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Posted in Addictions, Formation, Freedom, Freedom from Porn, Men Against Porn, Pornography | Leave a comment

Recognizing Triggers and Traps in Overcoming Porn Addiction, Part 2

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In my last post, I wrote about the importance of identifying the Trying Season.

The Trying Season is that moment or season of life where stress grows and relief is needed.  Porn exploits those times of our life and extracts our dignity in the process.

Today I am going to consider another trigger we need to be aware of in our fight against porn.  It is,

  • The Teasing Sensation.

Life is full of teasers.  A teaser is, according to Merriam-Webster, “something that is done, offered, or shown to make people want something or want to see something that will be offered or shown at a later time.”

Teasers Pose Two Significant Challenges

Teasers, or teasing sensations, pose significant challenges for at least two reasons:

  1. We don’t expect them. They can show up out of nowhere and grab a hold of the addict’s heart with ferocious power.
  2. We cannot control or anticipate our initial response to them. Usually, the response if full of energy and excitement that seems almost uncontrollable.  Fortunately, it’s not uncontrollable!

Yes, teasers present a host of problems.  Teasers, or teasing sensations, are often leveraged by the Trying Season, Tempting Situations and The Trap Day – all triggers and traps this series is designed to help us fight!!

Invariably, teasers become the fertile soil in which porn addiction and consumption seek to take root and grow!

Consider the following teasers one might encounter during an average day:

  1. A ‘pop up’ add on your computer.
  2. A commercial during your favorite program.
  3. A movie trailer at the local theater.
  4. A flirty glance or accidental – but charged – touch from a colleague.
  5. A magazine cover at the ten-item aisle in your local grocery store.
  6. Someone at the local gym.

You get the point.  From Starbucks to the grocery store, teasers, or the teasing sensation, occur randomly and unexpectedly and we can NEVER control our initial emotional response.

Let me free you from that trap.

You know the trap that takes your initial excitement or rush of energy and makes you feel like dirt?

I Love, Therefore I Am.

Men and women are creatures of desire.  We – all of us – want.  We want, deeply so.   If longing and desire were not central to what it means to be human, then teasers would gain no ground!

So, if you see someone dressed in a way that stimulates you, or if you are caught off guard by an advertisement that excites you, relax – that’s okay – don’t let your initial reaction lead you to a place of destruction and pain.

It’s just a reaction, a reflex.  Do you remember when your doctor used to whack your knee with a rubber hammer?  Try as you might you couldn’t stop your knee from responding.  Our emotions work in similar ways.  They respond to stimulus and stimulating moments.

The enemy of our soul and society seeks to distort godly desire and tease us into a tempting situation.  The forces that rule the porn empire know that once one is teased into a tempting situation, it becomes all too easy to click that website and feed the addiction!

The question is, for those of us who want to be porn-free,

“What actions or steps can we take AFTER that initial reflex and response?”  Or,

“What can we do to ensure that the emotional response doesn’t digress into a normative way of life and living?”

Here are a few suggestions from my life.  I share them not in triumph, but from tragedy.  These ideas were birthed in the midst of despair and pain.  They are, however, tried-and-true ways I have become aware of and awake to the realities of living in a world bent on Trying, Teasing, and Tempting.

Preparing For and Responding to the Teasing Sensation

  1. Develop a plan for how you will respond in that moment. I simply sat down one day and wrote out all the possible times the teasing sensation might occur.  After jotting down eight to ten of them, I developed some ways I would respond in those moments.   I sought to develop life-giving, hope-birthing rhythms of response rather than shame-filled, guilt-ridden mechanisms of despair.
  2. Share the moments with a loved one or accountability partner. Share them quickly.  I find that when verbally expressed, the sensation reduces its power and pull in my mind and heart.  Speaking it to another person proves to be wonderfully healing!
  3. Get out of the situation and away from the sensation! Getting away from the teasing sensation may mean avoiding my computer, leaving the coffee shop, closing or ‘bouncing’ my eyes, etc.  If I remain in the moment and entertain the sensation, I give it the power to move me toward temptation.
  4. Negative reinforcement can bring me back to reality. During my initial season or stages of recovery, these moments posed powerful and anxiety producing situations.  I found it helpful to wrap a rubber band around my left hand.   When such moment occurred, I would snap the band, producing an immediate and equally negative response to the sensation.  I would then think of my wife and the joy I have in her, which reinforced a positive affirmation of my identity and sense of personhood.

As I said earlier, those are just a few of mine.  Perhaps you have some of your own that you’d like to share with others.  If so, I’d love to hear them in the comment section below

In my next post, I will look at the third and fourth triggers.  I call them, The Tempting Situation and The Trap Day.  These are those days and situations that pose particular problems for us.

I will let you in on how I handle them and their pivotal role in my desire to live a porn-free life!

Disrupting to Renew!

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I’d Love To Hear From You!

Posted in Addictions, Freedom from Porn, Fully Awake, Men Against Porn, Pornography | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Daily Prayer for this Season of Celebration and Cheer!

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This daily prayer is one I crafted as a part of my Granular Rhythms of Grace. Specific to this season, I hope this  prayer equips you to enjoy the rhythm of becoming aware of our lesser loves and how they point to our Ultimate Love.   Happy Thanksgiving!

Gracious Lord,

You are, indeed, a good, good Father.

This day, of all days, you’d think an awareness of your grace and goodness would be intuitive to those whom you have loved.

My King, I confess: This day – indeed, this entire season – quickly woos me into a sleepy slumber.  One in which my senses become dulled to your goodness and glory.  A slumber from which my desires become fired by pursuits that leave me longing for more.

So, today – this day of Thanks Giving – launching this season of Celebration and Cheer, I pray:

Before my eyes gaze on the sights which both ignite and delight,

Before my ears dwell on the sounds which both soothe and subdue,

Before my feet traverse the pathways which both energize and excite,

Before my hands corral the bounty which both enlivens and inspire,

Before my mouth savors the tastes which both comfort and cure,

Before my arms embrace the loved ones who both renew and restore,

May my eyes gaze upon Christ!

May my ears hear Your voice in the midst of the clamor and chaos that this day – and season – easily become!

May my feet run to You as a refuge for my soul!

May my hands reach for You as my body wearies and my mind wanders!

May my mouth ingest Your Word, which springs new wells of refreshing waters!

May my arms raise in surrender to You love, mercy, and grace!

May my soul – my innards, my gut – the deepest part of who I am, put on Christ!

For it is Christ whom I long to

Gaze upon, 

Dwell with,

Corral,

Savor,

Embrace.

May, at this moment – on this day – through this season, I remember to inhale the grace of Christ.  For Christ is the Love to which all these lesser – but exquisite – loves ultimately point.

May I ever remember and always be grateful for You who satisfy and in Whom my soul delights!

Amen.

If you’d like a version of this prayer, click the following links:

A-daily-prayer-for-this-season-of-celebration-and-cheer

I’d Love to Hear From You!

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Posted in Desire, Discipleship, Formation, Fully Awake, Habits, Prayer | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment