How Self Awareness Can Interrupt the Porn Cycle

Josh Cearbaugh

Identity, Pornography

One of the bigger challenges of pornography is being able to disrupt the cycle that leads to “messing up”. If you’ve ever struggled, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You have a genuine desire to move beyond the addiction, but keep finding yourself back in familiar cycles. You wake up in the morning crying out to God, “I’m so sorry! I’ll never do this again!” in a prayer that is heartfelt and real. So, what keeps you stuck then?

1 Corinthians 6:18 says, Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”

What is it about porn that keeps drawing us back even though it’s destructive not only to others but also ourself?

Surprisingly, it’s less about porn than you think. I’m not saying the sexual ramifications aren’t real, but we can almost always identify the events that lead up to the moment we regret.

A different question may be, “How do I catch myself early enough and keep from making self destructive decisions?”

 

Self-awareness is key.

Learning how to become self-aware is essential for feeling empowered. When you don’t understand the “why”, it is easy to feel hopeless and out of control. On the other hand, you begin to feel more in control of your life when you understand what’s causing the the internal reactions.

The problem is this: Most of us didn’t grow up in an environment that taught us how to be self-aware.

We didn’t hear questions like:

“What are you feeling right now?”

“Why are you feeling that way?”

“What caused you to react so aggressively?”

“Why do you feel out of control?”

 


Learning self-awareness is like working out a muscle. It will feel a bit awkward at first, but the more you practice, the easier it will get.


 

1. Identify your needs. We all have them. The challenge is to find out what yours are and get them met in a healthy way. If we neglect our legitimate needs, we become reactionary.

2. When you feel a strong emotion, stop yourself and ask, “why am I feeling this way?”

3. Allow your heart to feel emotions. This may sound basic, but you’d be surprised how many people choose to stuff their emotions. It’s not hard to find distractions in today’s world. Social media, fast food, games, smoking, or porn… they’re all escapes in one form or another.  You have to consciously choose to block out temporary distractions to engage your emotions. Even the “negative” ones are there for a reason, helping to alert you of something else. Don’t be afraid to work through them.

4. Find healthy outlets. When do you feel “alive” or “refreshed”? Is it when you’re outside? Spending time with friends? Painting? Journaling? Begin to notice when you feel engaged and present. That’s an indicator that you’ve found a healthy outlet.

When we begin to identify our needs, our pinpoint triggers, give our emotions room to express themselves, and find healthy outlets, we are able to identify what’s causing the tendencies for self-harming decisions.

It’s how we can “Flee from sexual sin….”

The good news is learning self-awareness will not only help you with porn, but in every other area of your life!

Like anything else in life, it takes time to create habits. Give yourself grace as you learn how to identify areas of your life you may have been neglecting for a long time.

Are there other things you do to maintain self-awareness? If so, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

 

Josh Cearbaugh is a life consultant with a unique ability to lead people through transformation. Through a combination of consulting techniques, he helps individuals to identify, and then dismantle, the crippling cycles where the majority of us find ourselves stuck. He has a passion for connecting people to their heart and helping them create practical strategies to change their lives. Most recently, Josh’s consulting practice has been located in Redding, CA
He met Danielle, his wife of eight years, in Mozambique while attending Iris Harvest School. They currently have two boys and one beautiful baby girl. 
Facebook: facebook.com/joshcearbaugh
 

11 Responses to “How Self Awareness Can Interrupt the Porn Cycle”

  1. In my own struggles I have found that much bondage is due to needing to be more securely established and rooted in my identity as a child of God, and embracing his love for me. Knowing the enemies lies and trading them for the truth of who I am on Christ and what He thinks about me. It’s a process that takes time, but it will happen. I recently got set free when Bill Johnson was in our area for a conference. The presence of Jesus on Him healed me and drew out my identity deeper with more freedom!!

  2. Isolation was the real pattern. porn came along with isolation. Fantasy, a fake world my brain had made up, was happening over and over, embedded with fantastical sexual immorality.
    Since the tipping point, my direction had been to flee isolation. I tell others, the safe ones, my whole story. It’s scary at first, but it feels good to be accomplished at authenticity.
    Authenticity, especially as it comes to open, and especially with people who can reflect God’s grace, is a one way trip.

  3. Gabriel Thompson

    Great message Josh! Love to hear and see your heart still pouring out this gold. You are an amazing communicator. Thank you for the truth of these words. Bless you brother!

  4. Michelle L.

    Great article! “How do I catch myself early enough?” This is the key for destructive behavior of ANY kind. The Holy Spirit has made me aware there is a moment of choice window that happens preceding that I need to be aware of. It is brief and I need to be perceptive. That quick, early moment is when I need to immediately turn to Him and ask for help, and say “no” to unrighteousness literally. And “flee” from the location, what I am currently engaged in, and interrupt the thoughts. If I catch and turn in this brief moment, I do not fall into the temptation.

    Flesh calculates for sin. I find the scripture “make no provision for the flesh” a key. For sexual immorality what environment/music, movies, shows, reading/thoughts, clothing etc. provide heightened temptation or set-up? I need to be aware of the set-up that is a trigger. For binge eating…do I buy boxes of candy/cookies and have them in the house providing for that ‘moment’? For speaking in anger, wrongly, etc. Do I allow myself to plow right past that “inner speed bump” that comes just before I engage? It is ever so slight and brief but it is a momentary catch just prior where I can turn my heart to inwardly call out and yield.

    It is self-awareness that causes honest perception of my own weaknesses and to perceive the moment of a “way out”.

  5. Thanks for this useful information, I’m beginning to see that for me porn had been an escapism and something I went to, to numb the pain that I was feeling and going through. I’ve still alot to learn and left painful wound between my wife and I but understanding the why I did what I did is a big step for me.

  6. Justin

    One way I noticed self awearness is remembering that now In Christ I have the ability to make decisions , I do not always make the right but the more I remind my self that I have to make a choice it does slow me down to try to think is this the right choice

Leave a Reply