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Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That maxim gets repeated constantly because it’s true. Stopping your porn addiction relapse before it starts is easier than relapsing and struggling to quit again. But if you do relapse, don’t let guilt keep you there. Keep moving forward. Making a plan will help you stay on track, and it’ll help you quickly pull yourself back into recovery if you do relapse.

Forgive Yourself

The first and possibly most important step toward recovery is to recognize that you deserve better. You’re worthy of compassion and understanding, especially from yourself, so grant it. Forgive yourself, and be good to yourself by removing the stumbling blocks that are in your way.

Remove Obvious Risks to Your Recovery

The internet keeps us more connected than any generation in history. The flip side, however, can be a dark one. Porn addiction is only one of the many problems people can find themselves saddled with thanks to heavy internet usage. Addictions to video gaming, social media and internet gambling have also become serious issues for millions of people.

If you’re trying to prevent a relapse in your porn addiction, or you’re fighting your way back to recovery, cutting the cord to your internet usage is an important step. Any kind of addictive or compulsive behavior you find yourself engaging in online can be curbed by staying off the internet as much as possible.

If you find yourself ordering pornography through your cable or satellite provider, remove those options from your television package. Get rid of any pornographic media you own. Don’t aimlessly sit down in front of the TV without a plan about what you’ll watch. Channel surfing, like web surfing, might only tempt you to watch pornography.

Avoid Hidden Triggers

If mainstream films or novels with heavy romantic or sexual content make you want to consume pornography, avoid those types of media. If you regularly travel through an area with adult book stores or strip clubs, change your route to avoid them. It’s easier to fight the urges you don’t have, so try to steer clear of any area that might prove problematic for your recovery.

Remember that stress in general can be a trigger, as can boredom, sadness, fatigue, loneliness, hunger and anger. Make plans for distractions like exercise, walks, entertainment, meditation or other types of self-care when your mood takes a turn for the worse so you can better manage temptation.

Get Help

If you’ve relapsed or feel like you’re going to, reach out for help. Confide in the friends and family who are there for you and who support your recovery. If you’re in therapy, talk to your therapist without holding anything back—they can’t help you with issues you don’t tell them about. Consider therapy or a recovery program if you’re not currently in treatment. Look for support groups that meet in your area like Pornography Addicts Anonymous, a 12-Step group that might help you in your addiction recovery.

Don’t Isolate Yourself

So many people have let things like friending others on Facebook or liking posts on Twitter replace one-on-one human interaction. While we’re more connected than ever before, the connections we make online are often superficial, low-quality ones. And unfortunately, the type of heavy internet usage many people participate in to keep up on social media also contributes to three of the biggest factors that put people at risk of relapse:

  • No variety in their everyday lives: Going to work, coming home, sitting in front of a computer or TV and sleeping make up a sadly common routine for people suffering with porn addiction.
  • No real-life connections and interactions: The rut of daily life that’s the same day after day doesn’t leave much time for in-person socializing.
  • Little hope of satisfying relationships: Living a lifestyle where you deprive yourself of everything but obligations and necessities can make you believe that you’ll never find people who want to spend time with you in person. This is a lie your addiction tells you.

It’s important to recognize that you deserve to be loved by friends and family, and that you are capable of having realistic romantic relationships. If you’re in a rut, decide that you deserve more than you’re letting yourself have. Forgiving yourself and treating yourself kindly by finding things in life to enjoy are important steps to recovery. Think about the good things you would want for a close friend in a similar situation, and let yourself both desire and have those things.

Break Out of Your Limiting Routine

Talking with people who care and understand can be a huge help in your recovery, but even if you’re not comfortable talking about your porn addiction, reaching out to people you care about can still help. Reach out to people you enjoy spending time with, and get together in person if you can. Even a telephone conversation, rather than text messages or chat, can nurture those relationships.

Go places you don’t ordinarily go, even if it’s just to take a short walk. Pick up a new hobby, or restart an old one. Changing your routine can add some excitement and interest back into your life as well as present you with new opportunities for activities and relationships you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Always be patient with yourself, but don’t let yourself wallow in a relapse if one happens. Get help, make the necessary changes to your routine and start over. As long as you’re working toward your recovery, you’re making progress.