This is one of my FAVORITE questions because if someone is asking, they must be making major progress!! After you begin to go weeks, and then months, without pornography, your life begins to dramatically change. The mind is clearer, your heart is hopeful, and you become more present in your relationships. But anyone who's had an addiction knows just how frail success can be. So how do you know you're truly getting free?
This is the right question to ask as you begin to make progress. Let me start by saying that typically, you don't need to worry about this until you reach about 3 months of freedom. If you haven't gone that long yet, then keep doing the work until you have.
Assuming you've hit the 3 month mark and you're starting to feel good, here are a few things to look for that might indicate you're truly free. You might...
1) Think about porn/not watching porn a lot less
2) Feel confident in your own skin and comfortable with your imperfections
3) Be emotionally present in your key relationships
4) Become less reactive to other people and circumstances
5) Smile more often!
6) Have sharper focus on work, projects, interests, etc.
7) Have more creativity (arts, invention, writing, etc)
8) Little to no cravings/desires to watch
If you're starting to observe at least 3 of these things, congratulations! You are well on your way to freedom. BUT I must warn you against the mistake that commonly occurs at this stage: Pride.
Do not get ahead of yourself. Yes, you have made awesome progress. Yes, there are indicators that full freedom is within reach (if not there already), but now is not the time to take your foot off the gas. In fact, if anything, it is time to assess what has helped the most and double down on those things.
I have seen too many men make the mistake of slowing down because they think they're home-free, only to relapse again and fall back. Don't make that mistake. Stay focused on the path ahead. You'll know you're truly free when you're experiencing everything on that list on a regular basis.
Cheering you on,
PS. Pro Tip – Celebrate the success you've experienced so far. Do not wait until you reach the finish line to celebrate! Small victories deserve small celebrations, moderate victories deserve moderate celebrations, etc. Evaluate how far along you are and then celebrate accordingly!
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