You may have heard of the abbreviation HALT, which is used to describe 4 conditions that impair your decision-making abilities (HALT = Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired). I have heard this term used in an addiction environment, but found it to be only partially useful. In the DeepClean community, we use the expression BLT, which seems to address the three most common conditions for relapse. If you understand BLT, then you can begin to prevent relapses from happening.
I should start by saying that BLT really is about articulating a STATE that you may find yourself in which leaves you vulnerable for porn consumption. While accounting for your environment is very important, it is likely not a complete solution in of itself. In addition to guarding against BLT, I highly recommend that you are doing the inner work necessary to resolve the roots of your addiction.
When we say avoid BLTS, we are specifically referring to situations where you are Bored, Lonely or Tired. These seem to be the three most prevalent states that men are in when they relapse. Let's look at each one in a bit more depth.
Bored – Unstructured time is the epitome of all misbehavior. Men are wired to be active and busy. Boredom is a very dangerous place. It has been a VERY long time since I was bored and I'm the guy who vacations often, devotes at least 1 day/week to relaxing and recuperating, and purposely schedules time to "do nothing." I am not saying you need to stay busy at all times, but you must ensure that you are INTENTIONAL with your time. Without the intentionality, boredom will sink in and it will lead to poorer decisions.
Solution: Do not allow for unstructured time in your day. You can still schedule down time or "do nothing" time – but be intentional about it.
Lonely – Loneliness is a huge part of porn addiction. It is often a driving force of the addiction, which is why it often catalyzes relapse. Do not mistake loneliness for being single/alone. Married men suffer from loneliness too. It could be the absence of friends, lack of emotional connection, or simply a lack of time spent with loved ones. Since we know porn to be 'fast-food' intimacy, it makes sense that in moments of loneliness watching porn becomes an option. Don't take the bait.
Solution: Find places to experience meaningful connection. This could be as simple as joining a sports league or picking up a hobby.
Tired – A majority of relapses happen at night. One of the world's leading websites reports 10pm-Midnight to be their busiest times. I personally like feeling tired at the end of the day – usually it means I worked hard and hopefully exercised. But without some of the solutions we mentioned above, tiredness will eat away at your decision making. The best advice I can offer you here is to build a night-time routine. Keep it simple and do it every single day.
Solution: Have a night-time routine. This will allow your brain to calm down and enter a sleep state.
BONUS: Don't look at any screens 1 hour before bed (there is science behind this one. Basically your brain perceives screens as sunlight. Your brain will not secrete melatonin and other sleep chemicals into the body if it thinks the sun is still out).
As you can see, avoiding the BLT of porn addiction can go a long way to setting you up for good-decision making on a consistent basis. The solutions here are not complex, in fact they are rather simple. With a bit of persistence and effort, you will start to see changes if you can account for BLT in your recovery.
Cheering you on,
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