Ever get hit by an urge to sexually act out and you don’t know what to do about it besides engage in your unwanted sexual behaviors or white knuckle your way through and hold it together? Sure, you may have avoided a close one but how enjoyable is this process and how long will you be able to keep this up? It definitely does not sound very enjoyable and the only other alternative you have is to act out which is just as destructive. What if I were to tell you that no matter how strong these urges may feel to you, that there is another way out than white knuckling it? To begin to understand how this reality exists, it starts with accepting the truth of the matter which is that your urges just don’t happen out of nowhere or for no reason or meaning and they actually go deeper than just you being physically or sexually stimulated. When you solely “white knuckle” your way through recovery, by avoiding all places and situations just so you are not triggered to act out, it will not be very sustainable in the long run because a majority of your urges are non sexual in nature. Think about the actual phrase “white knuckling”: by definition, it means to do something that causes you to experience very strong feelings of fear, anxiety, and or nervousness. Think riding a scary roller coaster ride while clenching on the railings waiting for that experience to be over.
“Urges just don’t happen out of nowhere or for no reason or meaning and they actually go deeper than just you being physically or sexually stimulated.”When you are white knuckling at the time of an urge, you resist with dear life the urge and intensity to act out with all the willpower you have. Therefore, the other important piece of the puzzle is understanding what to actually do with your urges. The beginning of this is understanding that there is a reason behind your urges, and they are actually messengers for deeper issues. If you can see this reality, you can begin to see the way out. And what is that way out? One of the ways I work with people in navigating through their urges without “white knuckling” their way through, is by helping them navigate through the emotional messages behind the intensity. What happens when you white knuckle is that you are simply resisting the urge to act out without slowing down to see what triggered you or caused the itch to act out to begin with! By ignoring the real messages behind the urges, you are never really resolving the trigger of that urge itself in the first place and you are instead repressing your emotions that are causing the urges to occur. This repression over time leads to a pressure building up inside you that will inevitably seek to be released through your temporary soother, your drug of choice: your unwanted sexual behaviors. The way out of that is only by slowing down, and being still and feeling your emotions in your body and connecting with yourself to get to the subtler message behind your urges. This is what will allow you to safely let out what needs to be let out without having to turn to sex as an escape. When you choose not to act out but also couple that with working through your emotions, not only will this release the emotional energy that had been building up in your body, it will also build a healthy and alternative pathway in your brain to deal with your emotions, instead of resorting to your unwanted sexual behaviors to numb them out. Yes, urges may happen again, but through this process, they will become less scary and more easier to handle when you deal with the root of them.