Chained: Fighting Porn Addiction Part 3
(Positive Reframing Technique for Negative Thoughts)
(C) Robert James Davies 2022
So, Rick, let's continue with the Reframing or the looking into what is beautiful and awesome about you by examining your negative thoughts.
What negative thought would you like to look at first, Rick?
Well, Bob, how about number 6 thought - It's all my fault.
Sure, go ahead. As you can see, this thought relates to your guilt, depression, hoplessness amongst other negative emotions.
Yes, Bob. I can see that. Well, when I am thinking that it's all my fault. I am showing that I am being responsible or accountable. I am not blaming others or the world.
Anything else, Rick?
Yes, since I am accepting responsibility, it means I am not afraid to look at my shortcomings which means I am showing humility rather than arrogance or narcissism. And humility is a spiritual value. It also shows flexibility if I can see room for improvement in myself. If this is true, then I can work at improving myself more freely.
Excellent! Rick. Keep going.
I am not sure, Bob.
Well, how about standards. You have work standards don't you?
Yes, I see what you mean. This negative thought - It's all my fault - shows that I have higher standards. Consequently, if I want to excell, then I am not going to accept this negative lifestyle of porn addiciton.
I guess it would also meant that I have a conscience, too. I know right from wrong.
So, Rick, can you sum up what is beautiful and awesome about you from your negative thought - It's all my fault?
Yes, It's all my fault - shows the following: I am responsible and accountable to myself for my negative behaviour. I have a formed conscience. I know good from bad and am ambitious in wanting something better for myself and for my family. I am humble and can courageously look at my shortcomings. In short, I want to be a person of good character and to be a good role model to my wife and kids.
Rick, I think you added as you went along.
That's right, Bob. Once I get the door open on my being responsible and being sorry for my practising the bad habit of pornography, I begin to see a lot more positives.
What's the next thought you'd like to reframe?
"I let my wife down".
Go ahead, Rick.
"Well, there is a lot of similarity between this thought and the other one - It's all my fault.
The thought that I let my wife down shows that I value the opinions of others and want their respect. Also, I am willing to admit and examine my flaws. This is advantageous to me, too in that I want to stop myself from hurting my wife and my children. This will prompt me also to continue to examine and modify my behaviour.
Can you sum that up, Rick.
Yes, "I let my wife down." shows a lot of beautiful and awesome things about me: I have high standards and a strong moral code. I hold myself accountable instead of blaming others. I am willing to face my shortcomings. I do care about the impact of my behaviour on others. I don't want to let others down. I want others to like and respect me.
Thank you, Rick. What is the next thought you'd like to look at?
"I can't control my addictions."
Go ahead, Rick.
Well, Bob. I can see how threatening my bad habit is to me. This thought reminds me that I am in a dangerous way. This fear can help me to avoid the bad habit. It can protect me by warning me how dangerous my choices have been. It alerts me to the fact that my problems are severe and urgent and that I need help from others.
So, what core values does it reveal about you, Rick?
I can't control my addiction - This thought reveals core values such as wanting to be careful and not act in a reckless manner. I also want to protect those I love from the harmful effects of this addiction It also shows I want meaningful and genuine relationships with people not some lie, some virtual make-believe. It shows I care deeply about what others think of me. It shows I am motivated to be of strong charactier not some wimp who is a slave to lust. I want true love and will look hard at my addiction to defeat it.
Rick continued to examine his negative thoughts and how awesome and beautiful these thoughts showed him to be. After he went through all the faults, Bob turned to the next stage of looking at the distortions in his negative thoughts. They returned to the Burns Mood Log.
Ok, Rick. Great work. Thank you for your humility and courage. You created a lot of food for thought to help you on your road to change. Let's continue with seeing whether there are any distotions in your thoughts and whether they are as true as they seemed to be.
Finding Cognitive Distortions in our Negative Thoughts
Ok, Bob. Let's do negative thought number 4 - I can't contol my addictions.
Let's start, Rick. Go through the distortions one-by-one.
Distortion One - All or Nothing Thinking: You view things in absolute black-amd-white thinking.
Yes, it means that I can't control my addictions is of one extreme or the other - I can or I can't. That is not true!
Sometimes, I can control them. Sometimes, I don't even think of the addiction. Sometimes, I think about it, but I am doing something much more enjoyable such as playing catch-ball with my son or tea-time with my daughter who likes to play house and pretend. Sometimes, I am really tempted but push it away because I am busy doing work-stuff and haven't time. So, it isn't yes, I can control my bad habit or even no, I cannot control my bad habit
It is more a question of degrees. Between 0% and 100% strong temptation depending on the day and the time. Yes, the thought is distorted with All or Nothing Thinking.
Distortion Two - Overgeneralization. You view a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
I can't contol my addictions.
Yes, it would mean that I have no control in all other areas of my life. That isn't true. I do control my addiction under certain conditions.
Distortion Five- Jumping to Conclusions- You jump to conclusions not warranted by the facts. For example, Fortune Telling - You predict the future and that things will turn out bad or good.
- Yes, here I am definitely predicting the future when I think that that things will turn out badly. Well, that is true when I say I can't . It also can mean I won't in I won't be able to control my addiction.
However, no one can predict the future. In fact, everyday there are people who succumb to addiction, and everyday there are people who conquer their bad habits and move on to a fuller, realistic, more human less animal-styled life.
I can't predict either in a positive fashion or a negative fashion that things will NOT work out, simply because things can and do work out. So, yes, that is another distortion.
I can't contol my addictions.
Distortion Three - Mental Filter - You dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives. Yes, I can't contol my addictions is only looking at the negative side when everyday through the hard work of therapists and their clients, addictions are overcome. So, it is a distortion to say that I can't when there are many that do. The reality is that people both do control and don't control their addictions. That is certainly a fact in my life. There are lots of times when I set my addiction aside for work reasons, sports-reasons, family-fun reasons and so on.
I can't contol my addictions.
Discounting the Positive or Reality - You insist your positive doesn't count, When you look only at the negative outcome, you ignore your own personal experience when you yourself have chosen not to practice the bad habit of pornography. It happens a lot. You watch a sport or partake in one. You read a good book or talk to a good friend or listen to a good lecture or wonderful music. It is during these many times when you are controling your addictions through the pure choice of wanting to do something else.
I can't contol my addictions.
Distortion No. 7 - Emotional Reasoning - It feels as if you can't control your addictions, so I must not be able to control them. However, emotions do not have brains. They are only feelings. We have to use facts and our minds to rationalize our way, not feel our way. Yes, feelings are important, but it stands to reason that people do control their addictions and conquer them. It happens everyday. There are reformed alcoholics, changed gamblers, former junk-food addicts as well as former porn addicts. Looking at the facts, people do and can learn to control their porn addiction. They use their brains to overcome the dictates of emotions (which have no brains!)
Distortion Nine - Labeling - You are much more than your addiction. You are not an addict 24/7, there are other preoccupations. You can be a farmer, a skater, a writer, a reader, an exerciser, a worker, a spiritual person and so forth. You are not just one thing. It is because you are not just one thing that you can change. There are other areas of your life that can be developed. In short, I am more than just my addiction.
Distortion Ten - Self-Blame - It is all my fault. Well, rarely do people become addicts on their own. There are usually others implicated. Often, there is trauma in one's past and addictions are a choice to relieve the pain, to escape facing the problem. In other words, somebody or something put you into a situation where either you become, for example, preoccupied with sex due to sexual abuse. In addition, perhaps an extremely troubling past experience haunts a person and rather than get help, a person chooses to self-medicate with marijuana, junk food/too much food, booze, drugs or sex. Pleasure is a short-sighted plan for any emotional pain. It can lead to addiction. It is important to face our fears and not run away from them by self-medicating
Nor is it Other-Blame since even though the instigater of the trauma such as a hurricane, car accident, lose of job, bullying can be blamed, it still requires our participation. Which is good news, given that since we may be saying yes to the addiction at present, we can learn to say no and learn to face our fears from the past if that is part of the addiction cycle. END
Continue reading about fighting pornography addiction by reading:
Chained: Fighting Pornography Addiction Part 4 - (How to Use the Downward Arrow Technique
(Downward Arrow Technique)