I want to address the other part of nightlife that is often not discussed in recovery.
Let’s not kid ourselves, these are weird experiences. You wake up with that immediate sense of “What the heck?” Not a nice way to start your day. For the guy who is recovering from pornography, you may have a wet dream and then wonder, “does this count as a slip?” These kinds of experiences certainly bring up some interesting questions.
The best way I have found to explain it is simply that when you have engaged in PMO (Porn-Masturbation-Orgasm) consistently over a long period of time, your brain gets used to it. If you suddenly stop doing it (congrats on that by the way), your brain gets confused.
Sexual experiences hit the most primal parts of our brain, so you can’t really fool it. The same way that if you go on a diet and trash all of the junk food in your house, for the first few days you’ll feel great but eventually your brain will start...
From time-to-time, we'll share success stories in these newsletters to keep you encouraged on your journey to freedom. Sometimes it is helpful to see that others are accomplishing your pursuit. It helps you realize that it is possible and that you can do it too. Johnathon is a military reservist. He is a young man, but he has had plenty of life experience already. When Johnathon joined DeepClean, he "tried everything in the book." He was frustrated, sick of struggling for over a decade with porn and masturbation, and feeling too ashamed to go to God. One day, he sent me an email that coaches like me dream about receiving. Rather than trying to paraphrase his story and experience, I’ve decided to include the email in its fullness. No edits. “Sathiya, I just wanted to send a bit of encouragement and let you know how much I appreciate DeepClean. Not only have I not looked at pornography in over 6 months, but I have seen SO much healing in so many areas of my life as a...
Some of the biggest battles against pornography and masturbation are fought at night. It could just be that you’re up a little later than usual, scrolling on your phone. Or maybe you woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall back asleep so your mind starts to wander.
There are a lot of scenarios at night that can really hamper our journey to recovery. So here’s the deal...the main goal usually in tackling this subject is to get into a good sleep rhythm. That solves most of the problems. Then there is a small percentage of this problem devoted to wet dreams and other physiological phenomena that are of equal importance (more on that one next week).
There are two things I can tell you for sure:
A night-time routine goes a very long way in the journey to recovery. I consistently do the same thing every night before I go to bed. I stop looking at screens 1...
If you know any of my story, you know that I tried several accountability systems with little to no success. That alone does not mean they were unhelpful, sometimes one thing can work for better for some than others. What I'm finding in my clients is that almost all of them have tried some form of accountability with little to no longer-term success. Either they are both struggling and cannot help each other or eventually they stop keeping in touch. There has to be a better way. Personally, I do not believe we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The concept of an accountability partner is valuable for the recovery process, but I believe the systems we have provided men over the years are broken. At DeepClean, we have spotters. Coined from the guy who gives you a hand at the gym (if you haven't worked out - it's the guy who stands behind you while you do bench press and ensures that bar doesn't fall on you because you're trying to lift too much weight), a spotter is meant...
Thanks to many modern scientists, most people today know about dopamine and dopamine cycles. Science is exploring the myriad functions of dopamine in the brain, but the one thing we can be sure of is that our brain loves dopamine. When you are recovering, this is good to be aware of. Many recovering addicts, in their brain's voracious appetite for dopamine, fall into the trap of edging. The best way to explain edging is using a numerical system. Imagine that watching pornography is a level 5 dopamine hit and let's say most activities in the day, your brain operates at a level 2. Your brain rarely goes from 2 to 5. Instead, it edges. It will seek something that is a level 3. Maybe it's a social media feed or a few videos online. Nothing that is actually inappropriate, but simply a bit more stimulating than the mundane tasks of work/life. After a while that level 3 starts to get old, so then your brain looks for a level 4. Eventually, you end up at a level 5 – engaging in...
I’ve always been deeply impacted by Romans 8:1 - “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
You’ve probably heard this verse before, I know I had several times. But when I was deeply struggling with porn, this verse hit me like a ton of bricks for one simple reason…
I was violating it in every sense!
When you struggle with porn, it is hard to not condemn yourself. You feel guilty on the regular. Ashamed of your poor decisions. And fearful that you will get caught and lose your job, friends, community. When that is what your life looks like… how could you not condemn yourself?
But this scripture says otherwise. It says that the only requirement to avoid condemnation is to be in Christ Jesus. And though I have many imperfections and despite my 15-year struggle with pornography, I was always and will always continue to be in Christ Jesus.
So if that’s the case, what the heck am I doing condemning myself? And...
There's good news here. If you asked me this question 5-10 years ago, I would have said "not much"!! It has taken the academic world a while to acknowledge just how damaging pornography can be to someone's well-being as well as their relationships. Research into gaming addiction is better funded than research into porn addiction!! However, there is emerging research on the topic and it is proving what we have known all along: Porn is bad for you. Who knew!!
The academic world catching up is a good thing because it means more research will be done which should lead to the development of better tools, models and mechanisms for recovery. But already, there is research indicating that in a clinical environment, porn addiction can be healed. That is awesome news because if it can be experienced in a controlled clinical environment, then there is hope it is possible for just about anyone.
Here's what you need to take away from this: Recovery is possible. Before the academic world started...
“Why is change so hard?”
These were the exact words I muttered under my breath recently as I pioneered a few new projects in the DeepClean community.
So there I was, sitting at my desk, asking a deep philosophical question in pure frustration. And then I remember - change is the only way I can grow.
Some days, I love change and openly embrace the challenges that come with it. Other days, it’s a slog and I’m just trying to keep myself afloat.
I am fascinated by Jerry Seinfeld, who is one of the most successful comedians of our time. He is unique in many ways, and obviously his massive success in an inspiration.
In a podcast with Tim Ferris at the beginning of this year, he talked about growing as a comedian means honing your craft every single day. In fact, for 4+ decades Jerry has written jokes for an hour every morning. No wonder he’s so funny!
He said something that struck me: You must learn to master your brain. Your mind and...
This picture above here is one of the happiest days of my life, but not for the reasons you might think. While most celebrate their wedding days together after months of planning and dreaming of their big day (and the life together that will follow), our engagement looked very different.
Just two weeks after I popped the question, my darling fiancee fell ill. She was in bed 18 hrs a day with no energy and no explanation. We were planning to be engaged for 6 months, but we had to postpone our wedding twice because of Shaloma’s complex health situation. After the second postponement, I wondered if we were going to stay together. It was rough.
Eventually, we started to get some explanations for Shaloma’s condition. Turns out she had complex PTSD, which is caused by regular or consistent exposure to traumatic conditions. This was explained by growing up with an older brother in the house that had schizophrenia. The home was not always a safe and reliable place and it caught...
To answer this question, we have to see porn for what it really is: fake intimacy. Porn is this disillusioned experience of sexual connection with another person. Some justify pornography in a marriage because it "gets the juices flowing." While that may be true, it is a violation of God's design for marriage, which is meant to be a secure relationship between one man and one woman. The minute you introduce third parties – whether physical or virtual – you are violating the sanctity of your marriage convenant because you are experiencing intimacy with someone else outside of your spouse.
There are plenty of healthier, godlier ways to spice up the intimacy in your marriage. Using porn to do so is like drinking Coke every day because it "helps you feel energized" and then wondering why you've gained weight a few months later. Just because it helps you achieve a momentary desired outcome does not mean it will serve you the best in your long-term goals.