How do I overcome the fear of telling someone I struggle with porn?

Recovery 101: In order to heal, you have to share your struggle and get accountable.

Most good recovery resources will have confession and accountability listed as one of the very first steps in overcoming pornography. It’s a cornerstone of the healing journey, and those who do not take the advice to enlist support often find themselves returning to their vice time and time again.

From the outside looking in, people may wonder why addicts don’t just take the advice and share their struggle. If it’s so foundational and obvious, why do people ignore it? Well, if you’re reading this particular article, I bet you already know the answer.

People don’t want to share their struggle, because it’s scary as Hell.

When you’ve spent years hiding your addiction, stealthily hiding your activities, browser history and avoiding any conversation that has anything to do with pornography- the idea of undoing all of that hard work and actually confiding in someone is understandably overwhelming.

Recovery world is a little upside down like that. Basically, in order to recover well, everything you’ve ever done has to get turned on its head. You have to do the things you swore you never would. You must come face to face with your fear of vulnerability and judgement.

You know in order to change, you need to tell someone instead of keeping it all in.

So, now every addict in the room is wondering: ‘How do I overcome the fear of actually telling someone I struggle with porn?!’

Let me share four titbits of advice:

 1. You can’t overcome the fear.

Don’t hate me. But there’s an extent to which you can’t overcome the fear.

Confession is scary because it’s vulnerability, and that is something you’ve spent your life hiding from.

Instead of trying to flee from fear, why don’t you engage with it and examine what it’s communicating to you?

Of course, part of your quivering is about gut-level fear of rejection, judgement, loss or humiliation. Fear is our bodies way of protecting us from danger. Vulnerability means risking your pride, and maybe even important relationships. Acknowledge your body is only looking out for you, but remind yourself, this is a risk with rewards that far outweigh the danger- and push through.

There’s another way to understand that fear, however. Being afraid isn’t necessarily and entirely a bad thing. Feeling some kind of fear, at least in this context- means you’re about to do something brave. Instead of feeling numb or angry, you’re feeling scared, because you’re about to do something important, and something that matters.

It means you’re about to take a risk you haven’t attempted before, and that risk is precisely the thing that has the power to catapult you into recovery. Staying in your comfort zone hasn’t achieved much for you so far, has it? Aside from developing a nice little secret sexual addiction. Embrace this new feeling for a time, know that it is evidence that you’re taking a step you’ve never taken before, showing you’re ready for something new.

You may not have perfect peace when you confess your struggle for the first time. In fact, you’re probably going to be weak at the knees and sweating up a storm, and that’s okay. What you can do about this is throw on an extra spray of deodorant, and let your fear remind you that you’re about to do something new and brave.

2.Choose the right person

If you can’t subdue the fear, there is one thing you do have power over. you get to choose who to tell, and who to keep accountable with.

Confessing an addiction isn’t just for anyone to hear. You’re probably not going to get far splurting it out to a random man on the street or crying at the cash register at the local grocery store. You must choose wisely, and so give yourself the best chance of healing and feeling safe.

If you’re married or in a serious relationship, it’s important to honestly and gently disclose your current struggles to your other half, but they cannot be your accountability partner. Your main confidant and accountability partner should be a trustworthy member of the same sex. They may be a friend, fellow recovering person or a professional counsellor or mentor.

Before enlisting accountability support, ask yourself if this person has a history of being trustworthy, wise and compassionate, but also ask yourself if they have the boldness to call you out on your crap when needed. Will this person demand the truth? Will they expect the best from you, rather than letting you slide into excuses?

Basically, you want your accountability partner to be someone who can hug you and wipe away your tears when needed, but also kick you in the pants on occasion.

 3. Take twenty seconds of courage!

Benjamin Mee, in his book We bought a Zoo makes a powerful statement in facing our fears. He says:

‘You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.’

You’re not buying a zoo, even though it feels like your belly could be mistaken for a butterfly aviary at the moment. However, this advice still stands. Why don’t you try it out and see what happens?

Don’t carry your fear around any longer than you need to. Once you know the right person to tell, take that twenty seconds of courage to be vulnerable…and trust God will take it from there.

4. Think back

Do you have a memory of bravery from your past? Have you taken twenty seconds (or more!) of courage and been rewarded by the outcome? Perhaps it was recently, or maybe it’s been a long time since you’ve felt any courage at all. You may need to go all the way back to your childhood when you jumped off that huge rock into the lake when you didn’t think you could.

Think back to those times and gather strength and courage from them. If you’re coming up blank, perhaps now is the time to see what could possibly happen if you give it a go! Create some brave memories you can look back on in five, ten or twenty years time- and be proud of yourself.

Time to be brave

I wish I could draw every ounce of fear out of your trembling heart. However, I know it is part of your journey, and pushing through that anxiety will grow you in ways you never imaged possible. On the other side of fear, is healing. So, make a plan to take that first step into recovery by sharing your struggle with someone safe. You know in your heart it must be done.

Go, and be brave!

 

 

 

1 thought on “How do I overcome the fear of telling someone I struggle with porn?

  1. “Basically, you want your accountability partner to be someone who can hug you and wipe away your tears when needed, but also kick you in the pants on occasion.”

    Yassss queen I loved this. So true

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