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FAQ: How Do I Know If My Situation Is Actually Improving?

Uncategorized Feb 09, 2022

So you've probably seen recovery systems that count streaks – 3 days free, 4 weeks free, 6 months free, etc. And you've probably seen other camps that are against streak counting because it's a superficial metric (I tend to be more in this camp). That's all well and good, but it begs the question – if you don't have external metrics, how do you measure success? Well, we've actually come up with a metric at DeepClean that answers this question head on.

The metric is called the trendline. If you go back to grade 8 math, you learned how to create a graph. You learned that there is an independent variable on the x-axis and a dependent variable on the y-axis and you learned how to plot points based on their coordinates (sorry if all the math language just brought back grade school trauma).

As an example, let's say you were trying to figure out if playing more video games led to better grades (to use a completely hypothetical example that definitely in no way reflects my priorities when I was in high school). After you plot everything on the graph, the way you evaluate whether or not there's a correlation is through the trendline. This essentially tells you if there is a notable pattern. A flat trendline means no connection. A declined trendline means a reverse correlation (which is probably what we would experience if the impact of video games on academic performance were actually calculated). An inclined trendline means there is a connection.

So when you are pursuing freedom, we are looking for an inclined trendline. In other words, we want to see that progress is heading in the right direction. We don't necessarily care whether it's been 3 days or 3 years – although that does matter in the grand scheme – but day-to-day, we are trying to observe the trendline.

As an example, let's say you're struggling with porn weekly. And a couple weeks into recovery, you begin to notice that you're watching porn every 10 days now instead of every 7. That would be considered an inclined trendline. The gap between slips is widening. Now, since it's only a couple of weeks, we celebrate the glimpse of progress, identify the things that catalyzed it, and double down on them. Over time, we'll have a better idea of how reliable the trendline is. If the gap continues for 10 days or longer, then you can be assured that growth and change are taking place.

The true advantage of this approach is that you become focused on long-term outcomes. Streaks are very narrow-focused. Thirty or 90 days free are wonderful accomplishments, but what is the overarching story? Which direction is the trendline going in? The more comprehensive our overview, the more effective the metric will be. It also gives more useful goals/targets. Rather than trying to white-knuckle a 90 day streak, maybe the goal is to widen the average gap between slips to 2 weeks. Then 4 weeks. Then a few months. Etc. This kind of gradual progression is much more reliable long-term.

This is about as close as it gets to metrics for us in the DeepClean community. Generally speaking, our focus is on heart transformation and personal development, which are very difficult to quantify. We will always celebrate progress of any kind – whether it's a streak, a moment of clarity/discovery, or a breakthrough – but if we were to really get into the metric convo, we are much more interested in the trendline.

Cheering you on,

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