Porn Addiction Vs Other Types of Addiction (Porn Reboot)

J.K. Emezi at porn reboot talking about pornography and other types of addiction
“You’re always remembering that your future is way bigger than your past.” -J.K. Emezi

Understanding is a big part of healing from an addiction or bad habit. It pays to understand what it is about the addiction, and what it is about ourselves, that has led us down the path that we are on. There are substance addictions (coffee, alcohol, tobacco), and there are behavioral/process addictions (sex, gambling, video games). As far as addicts themselves, many people who struggle in an area share certain personality and biographical traits. However, no two people are identical.

Today, I’ve transcribed a practical, insightful clip by J.K. Emezi at Porn Reboot. In it, Emezi distinguishes between the neuro-chemistry of substance addictions, on one hand, and behavioral/process addictions–like pornography–on the other. Emezi’s approach, which he has implemented with clients for some 10 years, focuses on changing “habits, lifestyle, and self-image issues” that trigger the relapse cycle. Emezi distinguishes between “recovery” and “reboot,” with the goal of his program being the latter. Whereas recovery is aimed at getting back what one lost, reboot is about “shutting down something and restarting it.” Recovery, Emezi explains, depends on many factors outside our control, whereas reboot focuses on creating a “new, exciting vision for the future.”

I find this approach to be ideal. My belief is that when we change our identity and self-image, our behavior will follow suit, naturally and effortlessly. Healing from an addiction, it follows, is about becoming a particular kind of person, not simply removing a behavior. When we remove a behavior, without evolving as people, it is only a matter of time before we revert back to our old ways. Or, no better, we end up swapping out one bad habit for another.

Unresolved issues, your environment, people, relationships, self-esteem, lifestyle factors which trigger stress and strong emotions, must not only change, but must be developed to a level higher than what an addict had prior to his addiction. And that’s where our concept of “reboot capital” comes in.

J.K. Emezi

For more, check out What To Do About My Strong Sexual Urges? (Porn Reboot). For the complete archive of articles, click here.

Transcript:

This brother had actually asked a series of questions a couple of weeks ago, and I truly feel that my response might be relevant to you guys. His question was about the neurological aspects of recovery, and his question goes, In opiate addicts, the brain is flooded with opiates, and this stops producing natural opiates, leading to part of what we consider withdrawal. Is this the same for porn and dopamine and opiates and other neurotransmitters, or is recovery partly about satisfying the chemical deficit of what is not being producing naturally it is once again produced naturally?

So right here this brother is comparing a substance addiction, which is an opiate addiction, with a behavioral addiction, which is your porn addiction. So, as such, withdrawal is slightly different. With porn addiction, your brain only has access to natural opiates during the moments of orgasm. Knowing that this moment is actually short—that’s the moment of orgasm—a porn addict compensates by chasing other chemicals, like adrenaline, dopamine, norepinephrine, which are present during his relapse cycle.

Porn addicts are more addicted to the process than they are to the orgasm, which makes this addiction behavioral. And that’s why you view multiple scenes, and you’re always looking for a better or perfect scene to orgasm too.

So rebooting, which is different from recovery, does involve satisfying the chemical deficit, as you phrase it, but it also involves breaking the relapse cycle, and changing the habits, the lifestyle, and self-image issues, which trigger that cycle in the first place. So for certain chemicals to be restored, all the factors which lead to the cycle being triggered, must be handled.

Unresolved issues, your environment, people, relationships, self-esteem, lifestyle factors which trigger stress and strong emotions, must not only change, but must be developed to a level higher than what an addict had prior to his addiction. And that’s where our concept of “reboot capital” comes in.

Now another part of his question, Does this help to define your timeline of two years for a full reboot?

One of the things that we follow at porn reboot [is that] you’ll be able to rewire your brain in a year and a half to two years. To respond to this question, resolving a chemical deficit doesn’t affect your reboot significantly, it merely ends your withdrawal symptoms. So certain plant medications or medications, like Ibogain, or frequent NAD + infusions, have been proven to restore receptors and neurotransmitters in substance abuse addicts.

However, with porn addiction, the process must be identified by the addict. A skilled coach or therapist can point out your process, but you must gain the self-awareness to fully understand yourself in order to change it. So changing the process is what we call “rewiring.” And the rewiring of your brain due to the changing factors which lead to relapse, and having the personal assurance via the development of reboot capital, defines your timeline.

So you can learn more about this in one of our modules in the porn reboot system, where we talk about the different stages of your reboot. This timeline that we have of a year and a half to two years is based on men following this system, as it is laid out, for almost a decade. That’s how long we’ve been around for. So everyone’s progress through these stages differs, because everyone’s level of self-awareness, implementation of the system, ability to bounce back from relapses, self-efficacy, and a lot of other different things is different. Thus, the porn reboot system addresses not only the rewiring process, but also the roadblocks to rewiring, which often are of an individual nature.  

Another part of his question is are there specific activities that lead to satisfying particular neurotransmitters and deficits. He asks, like obviously exercise, but what else? Does everything else that goes into recovery have a neuro-chemical purpose, in a sense, or are we molding our brains through things like CBT, and dialogue exercises, to manufacture these chemicals as needed?

My answer to this is yes. The entire porn reboot system includes habits and lifestyle changes, which take care of the chemical aspect of this. So from your morning routine, to managing your schedule, to exercise and nutrition, to supplementation, to relationships, to behavior with technology, and even hormone management, which we also coach men on. All of these things are taken into account.

The dialogue and aspects of CBT—cognitive behavioral therapy—are just tools meant to be used to help change certain aspects of this process of behavioral addiction. Things like REBT–rational emotive behavioral therapy skills—which we teach in the porn reboot system, are particularly helpful, because it helps us change the way that we view our emotions and our behavior.

The next part of his question is, I assume this is the whole purpose of recovery, especially of the biochemistry challenge, but I don’t understand the brain science as well as I’d like. I think it would be of real use to me. Thanks.

So our biochemistry challenge, the porn reboot biochemistry challenge, is designed to help jumpstart this aspect of your reboot, and actually make it a habit. So this brother, in his questions, he’s been using the word recovery. And I just want to clarify that recovery and reboot have two different meanings. Recovery implies a return to what was previously normal, or regaining what was lost. So you’re recovering things that you like. In my personal and professional opinion, that is not enough for a fulfilling and happy life.

On the other hand, rebooting implies shutting down something and restarting it. So you cannot recover the time, the relationships, the health, missed opportunities–all the things you lost to your addiction. Now over the course of your addiction and attempts to overcome it, you’ve gotten older. Your body has changed. Relationships that you had have evolved. Society has changed. So recovering these things is not enough. Getting back what you once had is dependent on way too many factors which are out of control, so at best, it’s going to lead to this safe or gray life, which is devoid of color and risk, because risk and adventure—color—all those things that make life worth living, carry within them the possibility of relapse.

So you must start exactly from where you are. You have to shut down your current habits and behavioral patterns. You have to let go of your current self-image, as well as certain aspects of your lifestyle, and restart your life with a new exciting vision, which is free from most of your previous conditioning. And you’re always remembering that your future is way bigger than your past.

So I think this was an awesome question, and I appreciate the brother for asking this. I hope it’s helped you see the difference between substance addictions and behavioral, or process addictions, which is what your porn, sex, and addiction is.

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