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Cell Phones: Gateway to Porn Addiction

Comments (3)
answered 08:39 PM EST, Thu December 01, 2011
anonymous anonymous
A friend is trying to get sober from internet porn after relapse. Main trigger is cell phone internet access. In looking for cell phones that do not have internet access, have had no luck. Blocks from cell phone companies have not been successful. Any ideas?

Delisted Expert Says...

I would like first to acknowledge you as an incredible friend to your friend suffering from porn addiction. To make a clear recommendation, I need to break down the problems into different components for the purpose of clarity and logical direction.

These components are:

  1. porn addiction is a problem with sexual addiction
  2. the use of cell phones (the trigger for the porn addiction), and
  3. your friend who suffers from sexual (porn) addiction.

Although it may be tempting to focus on triggers for any addiction, the most important fact is the person is suffering from addiction. In the case of your friend, he/she is addicted to pornography which commonly elicits strong feelings of guilt, shame, sadness, fear, frustration, and loss of control. These feelings, unacknowledged or unexpressed directly, actually fuel old behavior(s) whose primary purpose is to produce desirable feelings, and to deaden or avoid unwanted feelings. Addiction is primarily a disease of feelings.

If your friend was assessed by a professional addiction specialist, he/she might be recommended for outpatient or inpatient treatment. One of the first things he/she would do is to identify triggers (people, places or things) which cause him to “act out” his addictive behavior(s). He would be asked to get rid of his cell phone since that is what is helping him progress in his addiction and act out. The choice becomes:

  1. his possession of your cell phone, or
  2. his recovery from sexual addiction

If your friend is unable to consider this choice, he may not fully understand the nature of addiction which is progressive, destructive, and deadly. In other words, the problems he experiences as a result of acting out with pornography via cell phone will progress or expand into other addictive/destructive behaviors which are even more undesirable. First, I would recommend that your friend become educated about how pornography adversely affects our brain and cognitive functioning, our relationships with others, and to our society. A good website for your friend to explore is “Fight the New Drug”.

A psychologist, Dr. Patrick Carnes, is considered to be one of the foremost experts on sexual addiction. His landmark work is called “Out of Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction” and his seminal work on pornography addiction “In the Shadows of the Net: Breaking Free of Compulsive Online Sexual Behavior.” A good website which offers valuable information about sexual addictions is SexHelp.com. On this site is a free sexual addiction screening test if your friend would like to be certain that this is a real problem which must be addressed.

I know there are cell phones which only serve as phones. The easily identifiable ones are cell phones for kids. There are different ones by FireFly, LG Migo Verizon VX1000, and SVP’s i-baby A88 which are originally designed for kids but can be used by adults who cannot handle a cell phone with Internet access. You can see these phones here (Amazon). I would encourage your friend to check on other low end cell phones which only serve as phones. Another option would be for your friend to use a pager if he/she is concerned about missing important calls. I would like to offer a word of caution. If your friend is using a cell phone, like a computer, to serve the net for pornography, then he could as easily do this on computer now or later. This needs to be addressed.

I would like to recommend another website which covers all of the traps commonly encountered by those addicted to pornography. This website is Family Safe Media. Other potential triggers are unedited movies, unfiltered internet, and unfiltered television. The problem of porn addiction is usually a symptom of a bigger problem than one might suppose.

Lastly, I would recommend:

  1. an assessment for sexual addiction by a certified sex addiction therapist (CSAT)
  2. readings about sexual addition by Dr. Patrick Carnes, and
  3. attending to one of the sexual recovery groups, e.g., Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sexual Compulsives Anonymous, Sex Love Addicts Anonymous, and Sexaholics Anonymous. Most of these have online meetings as well as meetings in the community. The standard recommendation is for a newcomer to attend a meeting at least 3 times before making a decision about whether he/she is a sex addict and if it is a meeting he or she should attend for recovery.

You did ask for ideas and there are many good ideas to help your friend. However, it is important to understand that addiction to pornography is a deep-seated problem which is often marked by request relapses and strong denial. People do recover from sexual addiction but not without much effort and support, and they often require outpatient or inpatient treatment.

I hope this information has been useful to you and helpful to your friend. If you need anything else, please feel free to contact me.

John W. O’Neal, Ed.S, LPC, NCC

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