“Phone a Friend” – Tool for Pornography Addiction Recovery

As counselors in the SABR program in Scottsdale and Mesa, Arizona, we  understand that pornography addiction can be an incredibly isolating experience. The effects of this addiction are not limited to the person involved; it also affects their partners, particularly wives who often feel the brunt of its impact. Addiction tends to lead individuals towards isolation when they experience intense emotional discomfort. This isolation can manifest in various ways, such as physically withdrawing from social events or seeking solitude in the bedroom. Emotionally, addicts may shut down, avoiding open communication and suppressing their true feelings and needs.

Despite being surrounded by people, addicts find ways to isolate themselves, concealing their inner world of emotions, thoughts, and desires. Addressing this isolation is crucial in the recovery process, and one valuable tool in counseling for pornography addiction, is the "Phone-a-Friend" technique.

The "Phone-a-Friend" tool is a simple yet effective exercise designed to help individuals break free from the grip of isolation. Decreasing isolation is a key step in disrupting the cycle of addiction. Even if there are occasional slips, the cycle can be interrupted through connection and support, leading to long-term recovery.

We recommend to our SABR clients that they maintain a list of phone numbers at all times. Alternatively, they can set up this list on their smartphones for quick access when needed. It's advisable to include five or six trusted support people on this list. It may require prior conversations to explain the purpose: "There may be times when I need support. Would you be available to talk to me during those moments?" This proactive approach helps support individuals mentally prepare for such calls. Additionally, clients can specify what they want from these conversations. For instance, they can request questions like, "When I check in, can you ask me about the strength of my temptations?" or "Please refrain from giving me advice unless I ask for it when I check in."

Although this tool seems simple, it often proves to be the most challenging to implement. Opening up to be vulnerable can feel uncomfortable for addicts. However, as they gradually step out of isolation and establish trusting and supportive relationships, using the "Phone-a-Friend" tool becomes easier. In the initial stages, we recommend clients schedule specific days and times to make these calls to their support list, turning it into a daily routine. While it may be embarrassing initially, it's a necessary step in the journey towards recovery. With time, clients will become more accustomed to this practice, and they will witness their recovery gaining momentum.

Family Strategies Counseling Center has actively serviced clients since 2000 who struggle with pornography and sexual addiction issues. Our SABR program for adults, Tribe for college, and Band of Brothers for teens can help you! Give us a call (800) 614-8142 or visit our website for more information:

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