[Editor’s note: Today’s post is a continuation of 10 emotional triggers that may threaten your sobriety, and appropriate ways to respond to them. You can read part 1 HERE]
6. Vengeance: I’m no prophet, but I am going to make the following proclamation: someone will hurt you. In marriages, dating relationships, or even with mentoring, those we trust and love will fail us. We may experience a desire to enact revenge through indulging sexual temptation.
Response: Here’s a rule of thumb–NEVER make another fallible human being the anchor of your sobriety. This places undue pressure on them and creates a sure recipe for relapse. Find an anchor that cannot fail you. For the Christian, it is Christ; for others it may be Virtue or Personal Wellness, but it must be something that in and of itself cannot be soiled—-personal wellness is always worth pursuing even if it may not be easy. Do not use porn for revenge. (Tweet This!)
7. Depression: A general sense of “feeling low” can sneak into our minds in all manner of ways. We may be unable to pinpoint its source or will it away, and sometime we must endure it until it passes. During those moments, a little escape to a land of supposed power, control, and “liberation” is very enticing.
Response: I go to verses of hope. Others go to music or intentional conversation with an encouraging friend. If you feel yourself feeling low, be assured–you can get through the pain of being with a good dose of healthy reinforcement, not a false pick-me-up.
8. Exhaustion: Living life well is a difficult task. Some days, the sheer complexities of existence simply overwhelm us, and we can easily desire to stop fighting the one thing we wrongly believe will give us a moment’s rest.
Response: Porn won’t help you, and quitting your fight even for a moment will haunt you and tax you far more than the other facets of life you are trying to juggle. Therefore, when tired, rest in a healthy way—-read helpful books or listen to music. Regularly give yourself a period of intentional rest to recharge so you can keep fighting.
9. Pride: This year may be a big year for you. Maybe it will be the first anniversary of your sobriety–maybe it’s your tenth. Either way, temptations and bad habits have a way of subversively striking when we underestimate their hold on us.
Response: Remember the power of your enemy. Regardless of how you identify the nature of your issue, know that it took hold of you once, and it can take hold again. Do not give it an opening by letting your defenses lapse.
10. Simple Desire: Porn has a powerful draw. We may wake up one day and just want to look at porn. Life is fine; nothing has triggered it, but we want to give it another go. We tell ourselves it’s just this once; we say we’ve earned it given such a long stretch without it.
Response: Commit to doing this last defense–before you abandon sobriety, tell one person what you intend to do. The reality of another person knowing creates an immediate consequence; and oftentimes, this very admission and its resulting emotions can be enough to stop you.
So there you have it. Temptation will come at us-—sometimes directly and other times sideways, but now we know. And we have no excuse.
So let’s fight it together.