Getting Past The Shame Of Your PMO Addiction (Coach Frank Rich)

frank rich talking about shame and porn masturbation addiction
Shame is a catalyst of vicious cycles.

Oxford Languages defines shame as “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior” (Google Definitions). Dictionary.com defines shame as “the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous.” Whereas guilt comes from the belief that we have done something wrong, shame is typically associated with one’s self-image or identity. Famous shame researcher Brené Brown defined shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging—something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”

Shame often owes to no fault of one’s own. It can have to do with how someone was raised, or how they were treated by teachers, classmates, friends, peers, and coworkers. Many people get made fun of, or looked down on, for their genetics, their personality, the way they look–things, obviously, they have little to no control over. On the other hand, some shame does come from the bad choices that we make. Addicts, for example, often experience shame for lacking self-control; harming self and others; and for how they are negatively perceived by society. When our behavior doesn’t measure up to our standards, or the standards of others, shame is often the result.

Rather than motivating us to be better, shame typically has the opposite effect. For one, shame is painful. People who are chronically in pain constantly go around searching for an escape. The moment that escape becomes a bad habit or addiction, a vicious cycle has been birthed. Shame –> Addictive Behavior–> More Shame –> More Addictive Behavior. Shame, as I mentioned, is associated with identity, and identity is not something that can easily be changed.

Today, I’ve transcribed a simple, practical, video by Frank Rich on the topic of shame, as it relates to PMO addiction (porn, masturbation, orgasm). To refresh your memory, Frank Rich is the founder of Rebuilt Recovery, an organization that helps men “break free from the shackles of porn addiction through the power of faith & fitness.” Rich is “a former body builder entrepreneur, men’s health coach and the host of The Super Human Life Podcast.”

Frank’s message is that what we do does not have to define us. Frank casts doubt on the assumption that addiction and identity are inextricably linked. Frank encourages people to “find a safe place to have an open and honest, real conversation with someone,” which was instrumental in his own recovery. Frank wants people to realize that they are not alone in the struggle, even if they struggle alone. According to the surveys he has reviewed, somewhere between 70-80% of guys admit to having some type of compulsive behavior with pornography. For Frank, those who stand out from the bunch are not those who have a porn problem, but “The men [and women] that are identifying the problem in their life and are actually taking action to change it.”

I think we’re just on the dawn of a massive change in the world—the way that the world looks at this. The way that it’s no longer going to be accepted. And, like I said, the men that are committed to taking action, to taking change, are going to be the ones that separate themselves from the pack.

Frank Rich at Rebuilt Recovery

For more from Frank, type “Rebuilt Recovery” in the blog’s search bar, or click here. For more, see the complete archive of articles on integrity.

Transcript:

Are you ashamed by your behavior with porn and masturbation? Are you worried that if people found out the truth about you and what you were doing, that the level of humility, the level of embarrassment, the level of discomfort that would come with this, would, in fact, be bigger and more destructive to you in your life, than the addiction that has you wrapped up in its grips right now?

Well, brother, if that’s the case, if the answer to any of those questions is “yes,” then I want you to stick around, because in today’s video I’m going to share with you how to get past, how to get over, the shame that’s associated with your behavior. So you can quit porn for good, but more importantly reboot and rewire your brain, and become the man you know you were created to be. . .

Addressing the topic of shame, I think it’s important to understand what shame is—what essentially is it. It’s a level of awareness. It’s a level of consciousness that’s wrapped up, or is coming from wrongdoing, or foolish behavior. So, when we’re feeling shame, it’s also important to understand that, in terms of our levels of consciousness, we have the highest level of consciousness, which is going to be enlightenment—the feeling of true enlightenment, one with all. Not many of us ever get there. This is directly from David Hawkin’s book, Power Versus Force.

Now shame on that same scale is at the lowest level of consciousness. That literally means, if you’re feeling shame, you’re just one step ahead of death in terms of your consciousness. What that means is if you take one step back, your consciousness is gone. It’s no longer in existence. When you’re operating from this place right now, brother, I need you to understand that it’s not healthy. It’s not a place of productivity. It’s not a place of joy. You’re not going to be able to accomplish anything of meaning in your life. So this is a very important topic and a very conversation for us to have.

But if shame is the understanding or awareness or feeling that is associated with wrongdoing or foolish behavior, how do we get out of it?

Well, I think the first thing that we have to understand is that our actions and our behaviors do not define who we have. Just because we do something, doesn’t mean that that’s a part of our identity, and I think a lot of times that’s what happens with us that are struggling with this addiction, that are struggling with this behavior. We believe that we are the addict. We believe that we can’t live a life without pornography. It’s a part of our make-up. It’s a part of who we are. And it’s a part of what makes us what we are.

So I think the first thing we have to understand is our behavior, our addiction, our habits, our compulsiveness is not our identity. Our identity comes from God. Our identity comes from who we are, and who it is we’re becoming in this world. So if [you] can understand that first—that your behavior does not define you.

I believe one of the greatest ways to get passed the feelings of shame is to find a safe place to have an open and honest, real conversation with someone. You know, everything that we’re doing here through this YouTube channel, through the podcast, The Super Human Life, through our company and our coaching at Rebuilt Recovery, all started when I found a safe place to have a real and open conversation with somebody about what was really going on in my life.

In the minute that you open up and have that conversation and realize that you’re not the only one battling this, that you’re not the only one struggling with this, then you remove that layer of shame that’s sitting on top of you. So, if you’re struggling right now, you need to find somebody, whether it’s a coach, pastor, mentor, therapist. This individual should not be your wife. It should not be your spouse. It should not be your partner. It should not be your best friend. Ideally, it’s not anyone in your family in terms of the first conversation, because it needs to come from an unbiased place. And I feel sometimes with those individuals, they’re too heavily emotionally invested in our life to really allow us to work through these things.

So, understand your addiction is not defining who you are. It is not your identity. Secondly, get in an open place to have a real, honest, and clear conversation about what is going on. And thirdly, you must understand—because this is a conversation I had yesterday with the new men that are joining our program right now, next week—He told me that for the last 30 years, he felt like he was in the minority, that something was wrong with him. If you’re watching this video and your concerned with your behavior with porn and addiction right now, let me assure that you are not in the minority.

Depending on where you look and what statistics you follow, somewhere between 70-80% that are surveyed, and partake in the survey, admit to having some type of compulsive behavior with pornography. Yes, it’s somewhere between 70-80%. And I think that number is actually probably a little bit low, if you want my honest opinion, because this is only the men who are willing to openly partake in a survey. So how many of you out there right now, that if you were asked, do you have a compulsive behavior with porn, you would say “no,” because your afraid and worried your reputation? You’re worried how that makes you look? So, if we know that on the low scale, 70% of men—you’re falling right in that category.

You know what is the minority? The men that are identifying the problem in their life and are actually taking action to change it. That’s the separator. And I think, as the years progress, that’s going to be an even bigger separator. The men who are achieving true greatness in their life. The men who are having impact in the world. Men who are truly living our their God-given purpose, are the ones that have gotten this behind them.

I think we’re just on the dawn of a massive change in the world—the way that the world looks at this. The way that it’s no longer going to be accepted. And, like I said, the men that are committed to taking action, to taking change, are going to be the ones that separate themselves from the pack.

So understand, men, your addiction, your compulsive behaviors, your habits, do not define you. Find someone to have an open, real, and honest conversation, and understand that if you’re struggling with this behavior right now, it’s what’s supposed to be happening. Not “supposed to be,” but it’s not by accident. Tech, phone, devices—all these algorithms were designed and created to get us addicted to them. If we don’t understand that from the ground level, and we aren’t intentional about our life, and how we allow these devices to come into our life, then at the end of the day, you’re always going to struggle with this.

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