The best way to stop any unhealthy routine is to replace it with a healthy one. If you are always exhausted, stressed, bored, malnourished and isolated, you will turn to your drug of choice to survive. But when you are refreshed, inspired, nourished and connected, you are less interested in false substitutes for really living.
The sexual habit is a replacement for something missing. Figure out what your needs are and start working to meet them in an authentic way.
Clean Up Your Diet
Addictive behavior tends to be associated with eating junk food–sugar, caffeine, fats and carbs. This is because of the way it affects the brain. Proper nutrition is a neglected part of helping to restore normal neurotransmitter function, which affect mood, memory and cravings.
You will feel a lot better if you cut down on sugar and junk food, while also increasing your intake of whole foods, especially protein. It will also curb the discomfort you feel while withdrawing from the habit. Get focused on improving your diet by learning about nutrition.
Rest, Relaxation and Exercise
Neglecting to care for yourself is a common setup for developing some sort of unhealthy coping practice. When you “don’t have time” to get enough sleep, or to socialize and have fun, you will make time to watch porn and masturbate.
The very act of sitting in the dark for hours viewing porn can feed a lifestyle lacking exercise, sleep and sunshine, which will leave you feeling vaguely sick, anxious and dull. The temporary enlivening effect of the arousal from porn relieves this temporarily while it’s actually making things worse.
A classic reminder is HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. When you are any of these, you are more vulnerable to bad habits.
To wean yourself off the substitute de-stressor, you need to find constructive outlets to relieve tension and maintain strength. Increasing exercise, turning off screens and getting to bed at a reasonable hour will help make the other parts of your recovery plan a lot easier.
- Extensive explanation of how healthy habits can override a bad habit, at Huffington Post
- Graphic of HALT, at BradfordHealth.com
- How sex can serve as a substitute for unmet emotional needs, in a discussion of same-sex attractions, at Focus on the Family