There are many resources out there that one can use in order to fight addiction, when we want to get to the ground of what drives our self destructive coping behaviours and what will help us heal over time.
In my own recovery from love and sex addiction, I needed a combination of tools that gave me the frame I needed in order to see my own patterns of relapse and capture the thoughts and beliefs that drive me to look for the easy way out of dealing with my suppressed pain and hurt.
My goal here is to give you five of my tools that I found very helpful and enriching and that I have either used or am still using at the moment of writing this post. So let’s have a look and see if there is something in it for you as well.
“If I had known earlier…”John Theodore
Tools are only as good as our commitments to use them
Looking back it is always easy to say: “If I only had known about this earlier then I would not have needed to go through all this!” Does that sound familiar to you? If not then it might come after using one or more of these tools in your own life. I still do that mistake sometimes, but I am improving to see that it is a process of sanctification and wholeness.
We all have our journey and we all have a different story to work through and to share. If you have read the blog where I tell my story then you know some of my background and history that has affected the way I experience life on a day to day basis.
The tools I present were only as useful as my commitment and perseverance to use them on a regular basis. And as you may have experienced with your own unwanted or compulsive and self-destructive behaviours, commitments to ourselves can be the hardest to keep.
Here are my 5 top picks that helped me overcome my porn addiction, gaming addiction and self-destructive coping behaviours.
1. Journaling application – “Daylio”
Daylio is a small but trusted companion of mine. It’s a mood tracker and journaling app that allows you to set reminders that prompt you to take 3-5 minutes to reflect on your mood, share what affected you in tapping certain activities and add some comments about what happened (if you would like).
What I like about the tool is that I can add my own activities and set goals for them. That makes it very easy to practice and track for example your breathing exercise at 9 am and your meeting with your accountability partner at 5 pm. You can do this once a day, as I did in the beginning, or, you can use it much more. For more than 3 times a day an investment of a couple dollars is necessary, but the insight you get into your own mental health will be very rewarding and enlightening.
The more I used this app the more the statistics refined and gave me valuable insight on my own patterns of behaviour, triggers, what made my mood go up and what made it go down. The more moments I took to check in, the more useful the app became to me.
For example, when I was watching videos in the afternoon, I noted that down together with my feelings and thoughts that proceeded this event. After a couple of weeks when I looked at the statistics, I realized that there was a pattern of watching videos and more stress and anger against myself which caused me to watch videos again in the coming day. So that helped me to link my behavior and my emotions and thoughts.
Over time, I became more aware of signs and triggers that lead me to indulge in some particularly compulsive behavior and need to make better decisions to take care of my real need underneath.
Maybe, I need to take a break from work, writing or worrying. Or maybe I need a nap?
Through this app, I was able to learn more about myself as I observed my behaviors in tandem with my thought processes and feelings. Then I was able to make better choices to meet may emotional needs and do self-care.
This helps me to direct myself to a healthier lifestyle by taking a short walk or meditating on the love of God in Christ.
To give this app a full review, I would have to make a post about it, but I suggest you try it, it’s free and maybe you will find it useful in tracking down your own thought patterns and triggers and become more aware of what makes you tick.
2. Accountability software – “Accountable2You”
I am not proud of what I am going to say but it is true. In my addictive mindset, I broke all the boundaries and circumvented every software that I could find. No program was able to keep me from going around it. Either, it was not complete enough, or, it did not notify my partners when I was about to act against the software and against my commitments.
Accountable2you (A2Y) changed my life. The fact that someone has access to see every single move on my devices and that this person will be notified with the exact things that I type into the search bars, showed me how powerfully aware I am that what I was doing was not an honorable or healthy or moral.
When we remain isolated it is horrifyingly easy for us to stay hooked to whatever makes our happiness receptors in the brain tingle. What ever pleases the senses seems good to us, even though deep down we know we would not want our whole family to watch what we are looking at.
This tool demands bone-crushing honesty and commitment to take the battle back to where it belongs, to our frontal decision making brain.
This tool helps us to reclaim your brain from the tyranny of the emotional panic system, which triggers your return to old ways, you need help from the outside. You need trustworthy eyes and reliable partners in war and there is nothing more powerful than that.
This tool transformed my battle with addiction and self-destructive coping behaviours that are related to screens and even locations. Whatever computer, phone, tablet, there is an A2Y app for it and when it’s on your phone and if your struggle is bars and night clubs, well it will also be of good service.
What I really like is the ability to add multiple partners, that you can set the report frequency and you can manage any trigger word that should be flagged. For example, I have a problem with wasting hours on video games when I am triggered one way or another. But by default the app does not flag video games and related videos.
Being honest with myself and others after breaking my commitment to not play anymore, I added the keywords “game” and “play” with a moderate sensibility so that the words now shows up on the reports. Now that hole in my defence wall got stuffed and I have seen greater freedom to make decisions to say “no” to games as a result.
The data that is collected is kept only for a few weeks and they offer a 10 day trial with a 7$ a month after that. I tell you, avoiding to lose your relationships has no price tag. This app is a tool for freedom, your freedom. Be sure to have the partner to fight through this with you and if you have absolutely no one, contact me.
3. Online group – “Conquer Series”
Though the Conquer series may be primarily aimed at purity from sexually related addictions and struggles, I found it’s content groundbreaking for so many other areas of my life.
My understanding about why I watch porn and why I can’t stop started to make sense. I was trying harder instead of trying smarter – one of the main messages of the program. Now I was informed about what beset me, now I was able to engage the fixed mental pathways within.
The content coupled with a safe group of guys where I could share my struggles and deepest hurts openly, allowed me to break free and to see new horizons of hope in my weekly battles with self destructive coping behaviours.
Time has passed, since I joined a group in the Conquer Series and the program grew. Now more than ever, I think that you will get the best out of a six to ten week Conquer Series group offered by Kingdomworks Studios.
Their program upgraded and went from a physical 220$ DVD and workbook package to a full-blown digital streaming website called “Soul Refiner”.
Their website now offers full access to a whole array of content besides the Conquer series that will absolutely BOOST your growth and sanctification in many areas of your life.
Ruffly 40$ a month? I say it is a bargain for great content to heal and access to a group of guys who will fight alongside you.
Again, there is NO price tag for getting healthier. And if you get rid of that Netflix & Co package, you might feel like you got more time and more resources for your mental health. You are worth it! Do it!
4. Book – “Daring greatly” by Brené Brown
To be honest, I dare greatly in writing this section of the resources, because honestly, I won’t be able to do justice to the research and insight that I got out of this book. Though I only read this book in my 3rd year of recovery this is one of these “If I only had known earlier…” books.
You will find that many of the concepts of this book surrounding vulnerability, courage, worthiness, love and belonging have a strong influence on my blogging. That comes from reading it 3 times in a row, working through it with a Biblical counselor and applying it to my own life.
The book deals with shame, the fundamental feeling that makes us believe that something is wrong with us as a person. When we feel shame we will try to get rid of it as fast as possible and develop ways to control the perception of others in regard to ourselves.
Brené writes that we all are hiding behind armours and shields trying to manage the world around us in such a way as to not get hurt or to be perceived in a certain way.
The sad side of this protection mechanism is that in taking up armour and shield we will also be less prone to have intimate relationships with those around us since nobody will really be able to know who we really are. And we know that – more shame.
“We live driven by the fear of being judged by the outside world, that we will get ridiculed, rejected and hurt. So we develop ways to protect ourselves to avoid vulnerability and authenticity and leads us to being stuck in isolation.”
We live driven by the fear of being judged by the outside world, that we will get ridiculed, rejected and hurt. So we develop ways to protect ourselves to avoid vulnerability and authenticity and leads us to being stuck in isolation.
I can’t escape that this book has enlightened my understanding of the Bible and the will of God for us as human beings. We were made for intimacy and community with God.
It was not good for man to be alone, so he made the woman. Man and woman sinned by disobeying the order of God’s love although they were created to live in eternal fellowship with God.
God has organised his people around community and commanded his people to love one another. What we miss is that we want to be independent and strong. We pretend to be someone and miss to love each other genuinely and deeply with all our sins and shortcomings.
We are afraid of being judged for our shortcomings by others instead of being uplifted by the grace of God recognising our common sinfulness and common salvation and sanctification process to wholeness and holiness.
The important message of this book is to recognize that we all fail, we all have a common humanity and we all need love and belonging. Vulnerability is courage and sharing our life with one or two heart-to-heart friends, will help us to dare greatly and live courageous authentic lives of gratefulness and purpose in community.
If there is one book that you are going to read this year, even if you think you do not struggle with anything: Read it!You can send me a “thank you” note later.
5. Behavior modification vs Transformation
I probably would have to write a whole different blog about this topic, but it is so fundamental that it deserves a place in this list.
The last tool that I give is the most basic fundamental and life transforming tool I can urge you to use because it underlines my whole recovery from my addictive life. Please, bear with me.
Let’s be honest. The reason why you are looking at this list is because you are looking for answers to the most despairing questions that drive your longing heart. I understand and relate to that.
I have that hurt stricken and painful background and the tendency of not feeling loved and not being worthy of love. I do not feel like I am good enough and need to perform more and be better in order to get approval and acceptance.
Everything became worse the harder I fought to break free. I realised I needed to be saved from myself. I realised that I was out of control and that I did not know how to fix myself. I could not do it.
I was doing behaviour modification and was desperate. I have tried and failed so many times to change my behaviour. As soon as I try to control one part of my life, another one falls apart.
My life was driven by the need to prove myself to be worthy of love. I knew that if I would simply tell myself that I am worthy then I am only lying to myself by being arbitrary. My identity was linked to what others said about myself and I didn’t want to lie to myself claiming to be something that I am not.
I needed the Authority greater than myself to fully accept me with all my flaws and failures. An Authority who could tell me that everything would be fine in the end. That I am safe.
Who will love me unconditionally?
For many this seems ridiculous and delusional, but to be honest, as a thinking human being with logical sense and intelligence, I will not pretend to be worthy of love if I am not.
Who gets to say that I am worthy without lying? Either the whole world has to say that I am worthy or God the creator and King of the Universe.
If one person does not agree with me or with the rest of the world than one of us is lying, and that is a 50/50 chance that my assessment about myself is wrong. Mantras and self suggestion is the real delusion because I believe something that is not real.
When I learned about the historical Jesus and his sayings in the Bible I saw a picture of my helpless self. I needed to be saved.
I gave my life to Christ by trusting in his words and resurrection account and then I discovered my identity in Him.
I discovered that by God’s undeserved favor, “Grace”, I am declared perfect and loved unconditionally. Jesus gave his own life on the Cross in exchange for my legal redemption out of love. He proved his unconditional love for every human being on planet earth! And that was life transforming news to me!
If you would like to know more about how Jesus saves you in this world and after death, then this is the time to click below and get in contact with me.
A friend closer than a brother
All these tools work best when you have a friend that is closer than a brother. One who is committed to your best interest and health.
As you embark on the journey of life and healing from self destructive coping behaviours, you want a trusted companion for battle who will keep you to your commitments and will ask the difficult questions when you start to isolate and to be dishonest.
If you do not have such a friend, or pastor, or other male figure, then I recommend and underline that you should look into the Conquer Series and get into a small group or get in contact with me.
One of my most reliable brothers in arms comes from my time in a Conquer Series group and he stuck with me to this day.
Great news there is hope
There is no quick fix to breaking free from self destructive coping behaviours and addictions, but there is a way out!
I needed two years of supportive men who helped me stay on track for understanding and using the tools that I just shared. And the journey continues…
If you are interested, I have more to share with you. I would certainly love to get to know you and hear your story of life and see if some situations of my life might give you some understanding and encouragement.
I look forward to hear from you.
Learn more about the author on the Simple Man page.
King James Version (KJV)
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.