Staying sober when the world is falling apart around you is difficult. You’re on the path toward recovery from addiction, and it feels like temptation bombards you at every turn.
When you couple a global pandemic with the 24-hour news cycle, you’re filled with fear every time you turn on your TV. Where can you turn for support?
Since sex and porn are coping mechanisms for traumatic events, it can be difficult to resist your urges. But it’s critical to remember that even a crisis is temporary. Events like these will happen. These calamities can become an excellent opportunity to learn more about yourself and your recovery.
Knowing that you can resist temptation even in such challenging times will make you stronger. This post suggests some tools to help.
Tragedy and Crisis are Constants
Recent events may seem unparalleled, but traumatic events happen every day. It’s just rare that they impact the world in such a monumental way. The COVID-19 crisis wasn’t something people anticipated. It wreaked havoc on mental health. Anxiety and depression disorders increased by about 20% during the pandemic, according to one study. And almost 60% of adults said they feel anxious or depressed because of the pandemic.
These new mental health challenges present a host of issues for those in recovery. Using sex and masturbation as a way to make yourself feel better seems like a good option. But, your recovery is more important than feeling better for a moment or two.
For people with addictions, staying sober is especially challenging with the state of global affairs.
Tragedy and Sex Addiction
Trauma often is the root cause of sex addiction, linking tragedy and sex addiction. A person with sex addiction will feel the compulsion for sexual release during times of stress. But why?
This trigger is because they have used sex as a coping mechanism.
Regardless of the trauma you experienced, that event caused your brain to go into fight-or-flight mode. This mode takes all emotional processing and non-essential systems offline. It redirects your energy to escaping danger.
This ancient system is from your ancestors who survived life-threatening circumstances regularly. Your brain and body haven’t evolved fully to adjust to modern-day threats. So, when something causes you to panic, your body enters fight-or-flight. You’re left finding ways to return your brain to a state of calm.
To do this, you need dopamine. You could get this from fatty foods, a drink, or a hug. The most available source of explosive amounts of dopamine is at your fingertips—sexual pleasure.
If you repeatedly use sexual pleasure to bring yourself to a state of calm, it becomes a learned behavior.
“That was scary, I need to relax” triggers a need to masturbate or have sex.
Temptations will happen. What is important to remember is that you are in control of your actions. You may feel out of control, but there are many options to help you restore a sense of calm in your life.
Tips for Maintaining Sexual Sobriety During Difficult Times
Suppose you’re concerned about staying sober during these challenging and traumatic times. In that case, you need lots of tools at your disposal. Keep these tips in mind when you want to relapse.
You don’t have to do sobriety alone. Having a loved one who agrees to support you during your journey to sobriety can be powerful. Talking to someone can help keep you from feeling depressed and isolated. Speaking honestly to a loved one, support group, or mental health professional can help you get through difficult times.
Reframe Your Perspective
The human brain tends to make things seem worse than they are. When you lose control over things, people with addiction seem to take this to an extreme. Look for the silver lining in every challenge.
Some people think they need to be completely mindful of their journey to sexual sobriety. Focusing on what you can’t have rather than what you already have will make things much more challenging. Try stepping out of your world and into someone else’s by offering help or assistance. Maybe they have a problem they want to talk over, or they need help building something. Whatever it is, give it your full attention.
Recognize What You Can Do
There is a balance between what you can and can’t control in your life. Feeling like you have no control over the varying crises around you may feel disheartening. The one thing you can control is how you perceive these. Rewrite it so it can be an opportunity to show your emotional strength and growth.
Staying Sober with Help from Begin Again Institute
Life is full of ups and downs. As soon as you think things are returning to “normal,” something will come up. Staying sober even in the face of a crisis is a way to strengthen your resolve.
If you find yourself overwhelmed and absorbed with the temptation to relapse, you can contact Begin Again Institute. You deserve help and support. Staying sober isn’t always easy, but we can make it easier for you.