The focus of an addiction is more compelling than any other aspect of an addict’s life. This is as true for porn addiction as it is for any other addiction. Recovery reverses these changes. Slowly, the addict relearns how to ‘want’ normally.
For more practical steps to recovery and prevention see The Reward Foundation’s 3-step models in Quitting Porn:
- The Reward Foundation’s three-step recovery model
- The Reward Foundation’s three-part prevention programme
Activities that promote the production of oxytocin in the brain (bonding, friendship, voluntary work, animal companionship, physical exercise, time in nature, healthy regular food, regular sleep, performing arts like dancing, singing, acting, comedy, activities that express emotions like painting, drawing, writing and so on) all help reduce the cravings that are a sign of low dopamine. Oxytocin also helps reduce cortisol in the system the neurochemical associated with depression and stress.
It can seem as if it is only our ‘drug’ or behaviour of choice that can soothe the dullness and boredom. The total focus of attention for more of it and anger if it is removed, will happen until we are willing to go through the process of removing the ‘glass from the wound’ and allowing our brain to resensitise again to natural rewards. Some call it ‘rebooting’ the brain.
To fall in love or ‘pair bond’, we need a healthy balance of both dopamine and oxytocin. That is why addiction of any kind, which is characterised by the one-minded pursuit of a person’s drug of choice, is the biggest blocker to loving relationships. Addicts or those with problematic use become emotionally stunted, unable to give love, empathise or be aware of the needs of others. We need to help them and ourselves, rediscover the value of living life to the full in a healthy, creative way.