Addictions and pornography

In my role as a counsellor, I have observed that addiction often results in the loss of freedom and becoming trapped in one's own obsessive desires. It leads to a narrow existence solely focused on one object, causing a lack of purpose and revolving around satisfying self-centred needs. This self-absorbed way of living leads to isolation, and loss of self-worth, clarity, and power.

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Addiction

Addiction often arises from an attempt to regulate one's nervous system, but it can be likened to hypnosis or a trance-like state where control and direction in life are lost, and impulsive living takes over. Although individuals seek to meet their unmet needs and find comfort, addiction instead robs them of peace and prevents them from finding calmness and joy in simple and ordinary things. Addiction isolates individuals from forming genuine connections with others.

Addiction involves deceiving oneself into believing that it is important, despite the existence of other essential things that one could focus their energy on. It wastes energy, depletes vital resources, and represents a reactive and emotionally dysregulating way of life. It demonstrates a lack of personal integrity as one struggles to say no to something that does not serve them or their environment. Additionally, addiction can lead to depression and an indifferent attitude towards one's true spiritual potential.

Ultimately, addiction dulls one's senses, making them oblivious to the subtleties of life and unable to appreciate what truly matters. It results in a loss of wholeness and trust in life's ability to provide genuine sources of pleasure. Instead, the experience of altering consciousness and seeking highs is often followed by feeling low, unsatisfied, guilty, and ashamed. Shame is the ultimate emotion that people carry in their hearts and minds.


Pornography

Pornography addiction is similar to alcohol addiction in that both alter one's state of consciousness. When craving pornography, the brain releases large amounts of dopamine, leading to a temporary high followed by a low mood. This pattern of extreme highs and lows is characteristic of addiction cycles. The more frequent the highs from external sources, the more intense the subsequent lows.

While it is possible to quit drinking alcohol or using drugs, a person addicted to pornography will experience no significant changes in the brain. Watching porn alters one's consciousness, similar to becoming intoxicated by explicit images. This behaviour further erodes control and obstructs a genuine connection to what is meaningful and essential. From a spiritual standpoint, it distances one from their inner essence and numbs their consciousness.


Counselling for addiction

In my work with clients, I extensively explore how the addiction started, how it serves them, how it is maintained, and its negative consequences in their lives. When intense cravings are activated, they can be likened to the flashbacks war veterans experience with PTSD. Therefore, in the recovery process, it is crucial not only to focus on strengthening motivation for changing behaviour but also to learn tools for regulating the nervous system. In my sessions, I assist clients in learning various methods to reinforce new behaviours that contribute to their health and well-being.

Furthermore, I believe it is important to educate ourselves and have a comprehensive understanding of the implications of addiction and how we organize our experiences in terms of sensations, feelings, emotions, images, and behaviours to maintain addiction. Awareness of this, combined with the practice of mindfulness, can help interrupt unhelpful behavioural patterns.

Imagine your consciousness as a garden that requires nurturing. You can assess the quality of your consciousness through attributes such as clear perception, emotional stability, clarity, intuitive connection, and the ability to find joy in small things. Focus on aligning your life with your values and long-term aspirations. If you lack dreams for the future, take the time to discover them by asking yourself what you genuinely desire. Cultivate and visualize the image of your future, set goals, and find purpose. This approach will bring more meaning to your life and assist in overcoming pornography and other addictions.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Bristol, City of Bristol, BS3
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Written by Edgars Semenovs
Bristol, City of Bristol, BS3

My name is Edgars Semenovs, and I am an integrative counsellor in Bristol, UK. I have received training in Level 2 Sensorimotor psychotherapy. I have personally experienced trauma and have overcome various addictions. As a result, I am deeply committed to assisting my clients on their journey towards recovery.

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