With pornography addicts, especially newcomers, I always mention both physical and mental powerlessness. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous reminds us we have a physical disease.
“..the body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind......But we are sure that our bodies were sickened as well. In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete....” The Doctor’s Opinion- xxvii
This doctor then explains that an alcoholic has developed a bodily allergy for alcohol.. As soon as he takes a drink, this allergy is triggered. It will manifest itself as a craving for more and more alcohol. Quite destructive, one might say, as with most allergies.
Pornography Addiction - A Physical Allergy
If we translate this situation to lust, sex and pornography addiction, the situation is quite the same, or maybe even more obvious. When a person starts viewing pornography, lusting or acting out sexually, the body releases all kinds of chemicals. The exact composition of the chemistry may vary depending on whether I'm stealing a look on the street, flirting with a coworker, consuming hard-core pornography with my eyes or recalling sexual memories in my mind. But in any case, my body has developed an abnormal reaction to those chemicals released whenever I start using sex or porn as a drug.
Trembling, Shivering and Nausea
For me, it had become so bad, that the moment I took the decision to act out, my body would start trembling and shivering, my back muscles would get stressed, and I would feel cold sweats. As soon as my acting out had started, I told myself: “How could I have ever have lived without this?” The phenomenon of craving had started, and I wanted more and more, until I got sick to the point of nausea, vomiting or auto-mutilation. I understand today that I have a rather abnormal physical reaction to sex and pornography, I would say.
Surrendering the Temptation
Today, in order to recover, I just have to accept my allergy to lust, sex and pornography as a matter of fact. If I have an allergy to strawberries for example, I can try to eat strawberries again and again, every time trying not to get an allergic reaction with all my willpower – and always ‘failing’. It makes no sense, because willpower is useless against an allergy! So every time there is a temptation for me to start lusting or acting out sexually, I try to remember immediately my powerlessness over lust, pornography and sexual acting out – both over the obsession of the mind and over the allergy of the body. It helps me to remember that I am powerless over it. Then I can let the temptation go, without having to take a drink from it, my sanity is momentarily restored. And I am still free.