The “dry drunk” syndrome, discovered in Alcoholics Anonymous, applies to other addictions, including pornography and sex addiction.
At the “dry drunk” level, all you are focused on is abstinence and changing the outside without giving consideration what is on the inside that needs to change.
Real recovery work begins when you begin to investigate the unresourceful beliefs and attitudes from within that fuel the desire to escape to porn and other compulsive behaviors.
To help you with this, we’ve put together a list of six signs of emotional immaturity. With each problem, we offer solutions for how you can overcome them.
1. Helplessness And The Victim Mindset
You’re unable to stop yourself from indulging in unhealthy behaviors. You know what you’re doing is wrong, but obsession and compulsion overcome your better judgment.
You feel like you’re “forced” to cave to your addition and there’s nothing you can do about it.
The Solution: Recognize what triggers your impulses. When do you feel the need to indulge in your addiction? Find these patterns.
Then, you can be mindful of these impulses as they’re happening. You can apply logic and reason at a time when your compulsions feel overwhelming.
2. The Blame Game.
People struggling with sex and porn addictions may blame other people for their problems.
They blame a significant other for not giving them the attention they deserve.
They blame the accessibility of free internet pornography for their addiction to masturbation.
The Solution: Take a self-inventory. Accept responsibility for your addictions. Don’t shame yourself, but be honest. Until you accept your addiction, you can’t recover.
3. Lying And Avoiding The Truth.
Another way people deflect their addictions is not admitting they have a problem. They lie to other people about their excessive use of pornography and/or their sexual instability.
They tell their loved ones everything is okay while covering up their deviant behavior. They also lie to themselves and say they don’t have a problem.
The Solution: Be honest about your current situation.
How many times do you watch porn during the day? Are you constantly distracted by thoughts of porn or sex? Has your sex life interfered with your job, your family or other responsibilities?
Ask yourself these questions and tell yourself the truth.
4. Lack of Self Awareness.
Mindfulness doesn’t happen overnight. It’s cultivated through intentional thought and practice. If you don’t look inward and search for the problems causing your addiction, you can’t heal.
The Solution: Listen to the voice of your conscience and your heart.
Have a dialogue with your thoughts during your weakest moments.
Why do you want to indulge in pornography?
What are you feeling when you falter on your road to addiction recovery?
What internal feedback can you hear inside your mind? How does that resonate with what you want inside your heart?
Pay attention! Consider journaling to keep track of what you learn about yourself.
5. Master Of The Universe / Narcissism
You believe your life is a movie where you’re the only thing that matters. You think the world revolves around you and you’re the center of the universe. Your addiction can’t be a problem because everything else about you is awesome.
The Solution: No one is perfect. Confidence is fine – but your ego is not a defense for your addiction. It’s just another lie you tell yourself.
Accept that you are not infallible – that you are a human being just like everyone else on this earth. You are imperfect and that is okay. You’re deserving and worthy of help.
6. Bailing Out / Ghosting.
An emotionally immature person doesn’t face their problems. Rather than address the challenge and handle their business, they’d rather run away. They bail out of a relationship once it gets difficult. They disappear from the lives of others without explanation. It feels easier for them to “ghost” than take responsibility.
The Solution: Conflict resolutions is a necessary skill every adult needs to have. Communicate your feelings, listen to what other people have to say and be willing to talk it out before you bail.
Own your problems and your addictions. Don’t run at the first signs of trouble.
The Importance Of Emotional Sobriety In Recovery From Porn And Sex Addiction
In the Purify Your Gaze program
we talk about the concepts of “white knuckle sobriety” and being a “dry drunk” vs. doing the deeper soul work that is required with recovery.
One can be “sexually abstinent” from pornography and lust but the self-negligence and avoidance attitudes of the “inner addict” are still perfectly in-tact!
When you are doing the real work of recovery, you are doing more than just stopping unwanted sexual behaviors. You are also allowing yourself to learn new coping skills that allow you to not only face the challenges in your life and your relationships but most importantly get to the good stuff.
Actually feeling more joy and peace in your life!