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How to Overcome Porn Addiction?

Have you watched porn and you have this narrative in your head over and over again that this is the last time…I'm never going to do that again…yet you're still doing it? You cannot get anything done because you are so caught up in this addiction, then you need somebody that has been through it to give you perspective.

That’s why in this episode, Hunter Otis and Martin Boeddeker discuss “How To Overcome Porn Addiction”


What's your background with a porn addiction?

I confess, I was horribly horribly addicted to pornography myself.

Addiction is not something that you just throw away and say hey it's over.

It's something you have to be cautious of for the rest of your life.

Otherwise you can easily slip back to those destructive patterns. It's something that I protect myself from on a daily basis. I had to really figure out how to overcome it because it was destroying the relationship with my wife.

It was severing our connection and I created a kind of a secret second identity for myself. I was one person out here for everyone to see and another person behind closed doors.

It was torture. It wasn't that my wife didn't like it. It was literally that I couldn't get anything done and couldn't do anything because I was getting so caught up in this addiction.

I had to figure out how to break that cycle for me personally. My wife has a private therapy practice and so we worked together.

We were trying to help current clients that she had because some of them were dealing with pornography addiction as well and sexual addiction.

After a while we decided to jump on this full time.

Her as a marriage and family therapist (now a certified sexual addiction therapist) and then myself as a mentor coach.

Addiction is not something that you just throw away and say hey it's over. It's something you have to be cautious of for the rest of your life.



We created a program to help people get through what we went through a lot faster. Instead of taking 5 years we try to get them there in a matter of months.

We teach them all the things that we wish we had known and giving them all the skills, we wish we had.

When Have You Noticed That Porn Addiction Was A Real Problem for You?

I knew deep down even as a as a teenager, I mean about10-15 years ago, that's it was an issue for me but I was so ashamed of it.

I couldn't even accept my porn addiction or even think about getting help.

It really became a problem after I got married.


The Illusion That You Won't Need Porn If Get Married

I had this illusion in my head that once I'm married or once I block certain websites my addiction won't be an issue.

I'll do that and everything will be fine.

I'll be able to be intimate with my partner and I won't need porn anymore.

What I discovered is that got worse.

I was terribly disturbed by that…

We started having kids and stuff and I said:

“Oh my gosh… This is not the type of person, I want to be…
I created a kind of a secret second identity for myself.  I was one person out here for everyone to see and another person behind closed doors.  It was torture. It wasn't that my wife didn't like it. It was literally that I couldn't get anything done and couldn't do anything because I was getting so caught up in this addiction.

Especially now I have three daughters.”

This hit it home for me.

I said to myself: I can't be doing this any longer…

This just not right… It makes me feel terrible… Something's got to go here…

It was probably right at the beginning of my marriage that I knew it was an issue. I just didn't realize I had an addiction.

As I started doing professional work, I realized that my energy and focus was being robbed from me.

I couldn't get as much done as I wanted to…

I was spinning my wheels or sabotaging myself. I said to myself: Alright, this can't happen anymore.

Of course, losing my relationship had a big influence as well.

When my wife discovered the lying that I was doing and the secret life, you can imagine it was horribly devastating for her. She felt like she didn’t know me anymore…

I said to myself: I can't be doing this any longer…  This just not right… It makes me feel terrible… Something's got to go here…


What Is the First Step That Someone Need to Take to Overcome Phone Addiction?

It’s the same as in Alcoholics Anonymous and 12-step groups. You need to truly have the realization: “I have an issue and I need help”

Accept the reality that if you have an addiction.

If you notice that you have this narrative in your head over and over again that this is the last time…

I'm never going to do that again…yet you're still doing it. That’s a sign that you need help and probably cannot do it on your own.

That's the very first thing.

If you are struggling with addiction you need to reach out to somebody that can help and knows what you need to do.

Stop trying to rely on willpower alone and get real help.

If you notice that you have this narrative in your head over and over again that this is the last time… I'm never going to do that again…yet you're still doing it. That’s a sign that you need help and probably cannot do it on your own.

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If I had only one thing that I could say it's:

You need somebody that has been through it to give you perspective.

When you are wrapped up in an addiction… it's really an addiction to escaping reality.

You are living in this fantasy pleasure world and your perspective has been completely distorted.

You simply cannot see what other people can see.

To try to go through and rationally logically make sense of what's going on with you is not possible without an external perspective.

You are totally screwed up because you are living in a different realm.

Have somebody that can come in there and help you break the denial that you're in. You need to break that old broken paradigm and install a new one.

That is mission-critical. Otherwise you're not going to get anywhere.

What Can You Do Before Talking to Someone?

If you are really serious about overcoming porn addiction the fastest thing to do is to get help.

There's a lot you can do on your own but the reality is that those narratives and the neuronal pathways play a role in addiction that are so strong that you can do good for a day and then the next day you feel devastated. There are massive peaks and valleys…

Having somebody to help you through that narrative is totally critical.

Of course, there are plenty of people that get over porn addiction on their own but my view of sobriety versus real recovery and transformation has completely transformed.

A lot of people that are just quitting are not really recovering from their addiction.

They are just enforcing themselves to not act out.

They will often go into some other form of addiction like

  • Television
  • gaming,
  • or substances.

They say to themselves: I'm good. I'm not looking at porn anymore. But their underlying behaviour is not really changing.

Where Can You Find Someone Who Might Be Able to Help You?

A lot of times you can go find a therapist that's local. Unfortunately these therapists might not have any experience dealing with addiction, let alone sexual addiction.

Dealing with sexual addiction is tough because maybe you masturbate, maybe you view too much porn, maybe you use Snapchat to be texting somebody…

All these things are right at our fingertips all the time. They are constantly displayed in front of us.

So, how do you get sober? How do you get clean and stay away from that?

It is so challenging, that you really need somebody that's experienced


To try to go through and rationally logically make sense of what's going on with you is not possible without an external perspective.

There are a lot of therapists that can help a lot, but having specialized help is really important.

Our recommendation is to try to find someone who's a CSAT, a certified sexual addiction therapist.

If there is somebody local that has that education, then they are a great person to go to.

My wife has gone through this training and it's extremely intensive. You have to do a ton of work and fly around the world, four different times for week-long trainings. It's intense but you have to have a ton of supervision.

Go to someone, who has expert training from somebody who has been practicing this for a long time and really knows this stuff.

The training to fully understand this issue is incredible but it's totally necessary.

You cannot go into an extremely complex addiction like this and expect to succeed right away with helping somebody else succeed if you haven't done that research.

Have someone to support you

My biggest suggestion other than that is having someone to support you.

There are 12-step groups. For example, there is Sexaholics Anonymous. There are SA groups as well as a lot of churches that have 12-step groups where you can get integrated in a community.

There you can find people that are further ahead than you in the process. They can support you and give you insights. They can become a sponsor for you and accountability partner. The important thing is that you're not doing it alone anymore.

When you try to do it alone, that’s when your brain goes into crazy mode.

When you can't figure out what's up from down then you have somebody that can say: “Hey I've been there… I know what you're going through… Here's what you need to do...”

Therefore, my biggest suggestion is to find a CSAT therapist or a 12-step support group.

Otherwise working with us is of course in option but that depends on your financial situation.

Use Online Support Groups

There are also online resources like yourbrainonporn.com and that the NoFab-community on Reddit.

Do You Recommend to Talk to Somebody in Person Rather Than Joining an Online Community like NoFap?

Our own community at becomingpornfree.com is all online as well.

We actually communicate and speak with each other multiple times a week.

If you try to use technology and online communication you can use it for good rather than self-destruction.

Use technology as an aid rather than something that's made for instant gratification and self-defeating.

Technology is especially helpful if you're in a remote location and you don't have access to a group or to a therapist.

I think communities like the nofap group are a great place for people to come out of the dark and say: “Hey I've got problem” and unite with other people.

It’s all about finding what works for you. That's a big part of the process.


Technology is especially helpful if you're in a remote location and you don't have access to a group or to a therapist.

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Especially people that have addictions get into this All-Or-Nothing mentality.

It’s either all in or all out.

We make a small mistake and think:

“Now, it's all over… 
I slipped, …
I made a mistake, …
I had a relapse and looked at porn today, …
Even if it was only for one second you think:
I'm such a worthless piece of garbage… I'm such a failure…
I might as well go and look at more porn, …
When you try to do it alone, that’s when your brain goes into crazy mode.

Instead of using that all or nothing thinking try to let it be an iterative discovery process

You test something and if it works then great you do more of it…

Some people do great with just reading the things on yourbrainonporn.com

It’s awesome website and there is a great book has the same name. I highly recommend it checking out these resources…

Some people do fine with reading while others might find this is not enough for them.

If you need help it doesn't mean you're a failure or that you cannot recover.

It just means that you might need to try another piece in the puzzle that these resources are not offering.

That's okay. You just haven't discovered yet what works for you.

Keep discovering and trying new things if you fail.

In the book the Willpower Instinct Kelly McGonigal there is a chapter that’s called license to sin.

It talks about the concept that if we take a misstep then we give ourselves to engage in even more destructive behaviour.

Instead we might want to forgive ourselves.

It’s very powerful to practice loving kindness, compassion and forgiveness for ourselves.

Especially if you're an addict, you have a pattern of beating yourself up. That makes it really hard to forgive yourself.

Keep discovering and trying new things if you fail.

Does Porn Help You to Cope with Real-Life Problems?

When things get hard in life you are turning to porn rather than turning to real solutions.

Porn numbs the pain temporarily. Sometimes people that have the illusion that porn helps them to get some sleep or that watching porn helps them do to get their work done.

What it really does is numbing the pain.

Your pain is still there but porn is numbing it so you can function temporarily.

Some people cannot even function at all after watching porn… it depends on who you are.

Watching porn exacerbates the problem. When the pain comes back it hits you even harder.

If you haven't dealt with the pain it’s just covering it so then you need more porn.

Recognize that you need healthy coping skills.

If you been using pornography ever since you were a young kid, chances are you probably did not learn the coping skills that a lot of other people that didn't have an addiction and learned to face reality.

You need to learn not to turn into something that's destructive. There needs to be a focus on coping with pain and discomfort.

If you keep turning to porn; learning those other skills is completely critical!

What Is the Best Way to Cope with the Pain of Withdrawal?

There are many ways. It's an iterative process.

I can just share with you something that I do and something my clients do.

The best way is getting into a consistent daily habit.

For example, if you are religious or spiritual, you might want to create a super powerful prayer session and fill yourself with good feelings while getting rid of all the garbage.

If you are super ambitious right from the start, you’ll come crashing down eventually. It's not about those enormous peaks and valleys.

It's about getting started with something simple 

It’s about finding a little gold nugget first.

That means staying consistent with small habits like exercising for 30 minutes instead of going to the gym 4 to 3 hours. You go for 30 minutes and you just make those 30 minutes count.

One thing I have my clients do is to start journaling. They journal their emotions every single day so that they can let these negative emotions out and think about what they are feeling. They discover what's actually going on internally with them on a daily basis.

For 10 minutes they are just writing down things like:

  • I feel like garbage
  • I feel anxious
  • I stress
  • I feel insecure
  • I feel shame
  • I feel guilt,

They write down all the irritations, all the frustration and course the positive things as well, like

  • I feel peaceful
  • I feel calm
  • I feel relaxed
  • I feel aware,

These are serene loving things so that they really understand what's going on.

You'll find that if you are in a really chaotic emotional state, chances are good that you probably going to relapse.

Porn numbs the pain temporarily. Sometimes people that have the illusion that porn helps them to get some sleep or that watching porn helps them do to get their work done.

Get yourself in a better place and create some real time mindfulness.

Another thing I have people do is spiritual devotion. It does not matter whether you are Christian or Buddhist. Try to connect to something bigger than your little world.

Additionally, I have people create daily accountability like having somebody that they're reaching out to on a daily basis and report how their day went.

This keeps them grounded.

They don't need to worry about tomorrow and don't need to worry about yesterday. They just need to worry about the present day.

It always comes back to the fundamentals. Do the stuff that’s good for you and don't do the stuff that's bad for you.

you never really recover from an addiction

When you look at addiction our brain develops certain neurological pathways. There is no way to unwire your brain. You can only develop new pathways and develop new habits that replace the old ones.

That's why you never really recover from an addiction.

Your brain keeps the old pathways. They are just not used anymore but they're still there.

This makes it so difficult to overcome any addiction. Even if you have been sober for one or two years and relapse one time.

The reactivation of these paths happens really fast.

Here in Minnesota it snows a lot in the winter and I compare it with that.

Imagine A Path Through The Snow


That’s what your neuronal pathways it's like.


Every time you watch pornography you're taking the snow blower and you're just plowing out that pathway and clearing the snow away.


On the other side are the good habits like exercising, self-care rituals and all the good habits that you've done a little bit.


But these paths are smaller and the snow drifts blow over them.


Because you're not using them very often; they're not getting plowed out very much.


When you go to actually plow them out, it's really hard work because there's a ton of snow in there.


Then these thoughts come up and you think:

It’s cold out here…
This is really uncomfortable…
Look how much more work I still have to do to get this into place. I might as well just go use this porn path that's already been cleared a million times. It's so much easier.


Once you stop watching porn, the snow is drifting over that neuronal pathway of using pornography.


The snow piles up more and more and it’s getting more difficult for you to go down that path.


However, when you relapse it's like taking that snow plower and plowing it out. The path is opening up again immediately.


It is always there even if you haven't looked at porn for a long time.


If you're not careful and be aware of this risk, you will go down that destructive path again; especially with the constant exposure to sexual content in today’s world.


Are There Any Tools That Help to Overcome Porn Addiction?

A lot of times we go looking for a solution like website blockers and internet filters and stuff like that.

I think that using software like this is important.

But you have to be careful.

Limiting the accessibility of pornography by using a filter is really just another barrier.

It will give you another conscious moment, so you are able to say to yourself:

“Okay. Is this really what I want to do?”

It’s important to talk about this because you can always get around any filter. There is porn everywhere.

Take a look at your smartphone

I use my phone to call and text people. That's it.

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It’s a deadly weapon when it comes to pornography addiction.

You have such an easy access.

That’s the reason why I deleted all of my apps.

Literally all of them! The only things that I have on my phone are the standard apps that come with it. Apps like voice memos, contacts, the calculator and weather.

I use my phone to call and text people. That's it.

There are so many apps that present you with ads. If you click on the ad it will open a private web browser, that will allow you to search for everything.

The smartphone is a wiring nightmare fest for your brain

We are so addicted to this thing. The best thing that you can do is delete all your apps.

Access the internet through a computer.

Delete all the browsers and turn your “smartphone” into a phone.

It's going to be really uncomfortable if you do that for the first time but you will be amazed what will happen.

Personally, I've released this attachment to my phone. I leave it alone and hardly pick it up.

It's miraculous.

The amount of brain space you get back.

Delete all the browsers and turn your “smartphone” into a phone.  It's going to be really uncomfortable if you do that for the first time but you will be amazed what will happen.

Pornography is wrapped up in technology

That means if you are constantly looking at your phone at Facebook or other things other things like games and crave that little dopamine hit; it's going to be a lot harder for you to recover from pornography addiction. These addictions work on the same neuronal pathways.

I use FindFocus with the same intention. If I want to visit a website I force myself to type in a short reminder like

“Do I really want to quit working on my blog right now?”

It gets me this moment of consciousness and not going into the habit.

That's why FindFocus is so awesome because it's not about forcing you to not be able to access something.

Use FindFocus to block distracting websites and porn


It’s important to state the obvious.

If you really want to find porn, you will always be able to get around any software

That’s why it’s so important to get grounded and mindful and think about of what you really want.

Give yourself another moment, another opportunity to reevaluate your decision.

That's why FindFocus is awesome. It's creates this short state of mindfulness.

That will help you to make better choices that will empower you to consciously choose… rather than automatically go down a neuronal pathway that you don't want to go down.

What Is the Right Mindset for Somebody Who Is Get Started to Overcome Addiction?

The most important mindset is to “embrace the pain.”

It’s difficult but when you start trying to change any kind of behaviour it will make you uncomfortable, really uncomfortable…

embrace the pain

Then the alarm clock goes off in the morning and then these thoughts come up…


Everybody had experienced this with exercise.

You tell yourself:

“All right. Tomorrow I'm going to the gym. I'm done with this lazy crap. I'm going to get up and I'm going to do this and I'm going to gain a bunch of muscle. I cut down my fat and I'm going to eat healthy and all the stuff …"

Then the alarm clock goes off in the morning and then these thoughts come up…

Thoughts like:

“Man, you're so tired. You should just stay in bed… You know, you can just start tomorrow…”

Or

“You know what, you didn't sleep very good last night. You had a bad dream so you should probably sleep for another hour and you'll feel a whole lot better. You'll get a lot more done…

All these manipulative thoughts come into our head when you start trying to change your behavior 

This is called a narrative.

The narrative is immediately showing up. You will have thoughts in your head trying to convince you to continue to go down that neuronal path.

You have to embrace the pain of not giving in to these thoughts.

Changing your behaviour is going to expose your insecurities. It’s going to bring out the pain you've been numbing forever.

The only way to overcome that is to face it.

Lean into it and embrace the pain.

Understand why you're in so much pain and figure it out

Maybe it’s a biological thing because you've trained yourself so much. It does not mean that you have been abused in your past… (although most a sex addicts have).

It could just be that this how your brain wants to go.

Have compassion and learn self-love for yourself in order to soothe down that urge and that compulsion.

Embrace the pain that's the mindset that you got to have.

Otherwise you are not success to overcome your addiction.

Is It Immoral to Watch Porn?

I don't think pornography is a good thing. Research is showing that porn is feeding human trafficking and sex trafficking. Studies show that 20% of porn is produced with sex trafficked girls. The performers are sex slaves. That’s absolutely horrible.

If you're watching porn you have seen sex slaves which is disturbing to me. I morally don't agree with that.

However, watching pornography is more about you as a person and as an individual.

It’s about what you really want in life.

Do you want to squander your life and your time by just seeking this constant artificial pleasure or do you actually want to win in life and find true fulfilment?

Things like happiness, strength, creativity and self-mastery?

That feels way better, then a temporary orgasm to a screen.

Of course, it takes longer and it is harder work.

Looking at porn is easy. You just pull out your phone whenever you want.


If you're watching porn you have seen sex slaves which is disturbing to me.

when you embrace reality and really truly change, it's absolutely incredible

The whole world changes because you see everything different.

The world becomes brighter.

You feel more alive. That's what it's about for me.

It's about true fulfilment and happiness.

That’s our mission and I hope that we can help other people to see that, too.

It's not looking at porn because people think it is bad.

It is about really achieving your full capacity is a human being and to find true happiness along the way.


Ask Yourself What Do I Want

A lot of times, when we say what we want, we have that freaking evil thought that comes in and says:

“You can't have that. You don't deserve that. You are not good enough for that.”

This manipulative voice is always showing up when you say what you want because that's not who you believe you are.

Ask yourself what you want … truly and sincerely …

Ignore all those other voices that come in and get to the core of what you actually want. Be honest with yourself and tell yourself the truth.

Ask yourself: Is this Behavior getting me to that place or is it taking me away from it?

Be willing to do whatever you need to do to change your behaviour. Put down your ego and get help so that you can have what you really want in life.

It's totally possible.

Ignore all those other voices that come in and get to the core of what you actually want. Be honest with yourself and tell yourself the truth.

If you fail to do this it will be like Seneca, the Roman philosopher said.

You are like a ship in the storm being pushed around by the waves. It feels like you've taken a long journey but maybe you're just been pushed around in a circle and land up stranded somewhere.

About Hunter Otis

Hunter Otis is a certified and trained mentor coach, with a background in management, sales, and personal training. Hunter has a strong passion for helping people, but throughout his professional life was weighed down by addiction and trauma's of the past. Struggling to cope, Hunter's addiction was eventually exposed, and through relapse after relapse, he had to discover how to free himself and his family from the damage it was causing.

Through many hours of receiving his own specialized therapy, coaching, professional education, and personal implementation and discovery, Hunter now specializes in helping sex/porn addicts also get onto the path of true recovery. Hunter also works with betrayed partners to help them gain greater understanding of how this addiction works, establish boundaries around their partners addiction, and obtain the necessary skills needed to heal from the betrayal and no longer allow the addiction to run their lives.

More Information

You can find Hunter on Facebook if you look for Hunter Otis.

You can find him and his wife on their website becomingpornfree.com or email him at support@becomingpornfree.com.

He will respond to that personally. There's also phone number if you need help right now. Just give him a call and will chat with you and see if what he has offers is the right fit for you otherwise he will point in the right direction for sure.

Thanks for Tuning In!

Thanks so much for being with us this week. This interview was published as a video interview on YouTube as well here: How To Overcome Porn Addiction. Have some feedback you'd like to share? Please leave a note in the comments section below!

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Martin Boeddeker
 

Martin Boeddeker is the founder of FindFocus.net, the One-Page Productivity Planner and the mind behind the FindFocus Distraction Blocker for Mac. He studied industrial engineering and management in Germany and worked for some of the biggest companies in the world. With FindFocus he wants to help people to get rid of what he calls DigitalADD so they focus on the things that truly matter in life.

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