Porn addiction boundaries

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 November 2011 10:26 Written by Wes Sunday, 13 November 2011 10:26

“Breakingfree” has written a wonderful post on setting boundaries to aid our recovery:

Why is setting clear, definite boundaries so important in recovery? Boundaries are fixed limits on our behaviors. They also serve to deconflict operations between other areas, in other words, clarify any internal conflict we may have as it to what constitutes acceptable behavior that facilitates recovery.

Because most of us lack a clear definition of what constitutes pornography, how do set and maintain clear boundaries as to what constitutes acting out?

The Three Circle Model, taken from AA, is often used as a paradigm. I believe it works well for the “substance” dependencies where there exists a clear and concise definition of “substance.” But when we try and adapt this model to porn dependency it becomes considerably less useful as a tool for understanding and guiding recovery and may in fact be detrimental to recovery.

The Three Circle Model begins with the inner circle, the dependencies, the addiction, the acting out. The Middle Circle are considered high risk behaviors, not addictive behavior, but behaviors that constitute an erosion of sobriety behaviors such that there is an increase in the probability of acting out and returning to the inner circle.

The Outer Circle are sober behaviors,not acting out.

Again, the model adapts well to substance dependence, where “middle circle behaviors are much more easily defined. Hanging out around people who drink, or places where alcohol are served are classic middle circle behaviors for the alcoholic.

Middle Circle behaviors for the recovering porn addict are typically behaviors that are not acting out with porn but may lead to acting out. Common examples are watching R rate movies with nudity, mindless googling on the PC, thumbing through magazines with pictures of swimsuit models. These behaviors don’t fall into our vaguely formulated and internalized conceptualizations of porn, but since we are unable to concisely define porn, the delineation between inner, middle, and outer are not set fixed boundaries. They are permeable, movable, continually redefined. They are not in fact, boundaries, by ANY commonly accepted definition.

You can read the rest of the article and the responses he received by clicking here.

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