Not gonna’ lie, this coronavirus thing has us thrown for a loop. Anxiety feels like our baseline emotion at the moment, which presents challenges both when we need to get work done and when we want to relax. We suspect we’re not alone feeling this way.
No, check that, we know we’re not alone.
In recovery from compulsive porn use, we recite the importance of “connection” as a mantra. Literally, “the opposite of addiction is connection” (a deceptively complicated truism, to be sure). Coronavirus social isolation measures have knocked that maxim askew. 12-Step meetings get cancelled. Socializing with friends or extended family goes out the window. Everyone has been ordered to work from home.
Addicts of any stripe face heightened risk right now. But, those of us who have struggled with screen-based addictive behaviors face a double-challenge. Suddenly, we find the only means of connection available to us – a screen and the internet – are the ones that caused us so many problems in the first place.
Not an ideal situation. Still, it’s the world we live in at the moment, and we all know the importance of accepting the things we cannot change (speaking of mantras). So, let’s look at some solutions to keep ourselves sane and sober until this thing blows over.
First, 12-Step meetings. Even if your 12-Step group has cancelled in-person meetings (most have, at this point), all of the major 12-Step fellowships offer online and telephone meetings. We have reports of individual meetings coordinating to host their own group teleconferences. If your meeting needs help figuring out how to make that work, let us know and we’ll hook you up with help.
Second, therapy. You probably cannot meet in-person with a therapist for the foreseeable future. But, here’s a silver lining. The coronavirus outbreak has accelerated “tele-health” availability to warp speed, giving you the option of meeting with a qualified addictions therapist via video chat. Seriously, this sounds weird, but now is a GREAT time to try therapy. Check out our listings here for porn addiction/sexual compulsivity specialists who treat people in your state/country. Can’t find someone who fits your needs? Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll work to get you connected with help.
Third, online forums. Look, straight-up, we have never been huge fans of trying to manage quitting porn entirely online. Still, forums like NoFap and Reboot Nation provide essential support and community, especially during this unusual moment. If you haven’t tried them out yet, now is the time. Share tips. Get connected with someone like you. Make new friends (we’re not kidding).
Fourth, not all of life needs to happen indoors. You still have plenty of options for balancing the nouveau isolation with healthy pursuits outside in your free time. Go running. Plant a garden. Draw sidewalk art. Give bird-watching a try. We could go on, but you get the idea. Many of us have the impulse not just to self-isolate, but to crawl under a proverbial rock and wish the world would just disappear. Resist the urge. You know where that leads.
Finally, use the internet for good. Send someone – a loved one, a veteran, a doctor, a famous writer – a note about how much you appreciate them. Contribute to efforts to help those in need. Teach a parent or relative how to start a video chat. Film yourself making a family recipe and share it with your siblings, friends, or grandkids.
Technologists dream of an internet that brings humanity together, instead of driving it apart. Armed with knowledge gained through long and sometimes painful experience, this our moment to act as a force for that change. Time to step up.
Longer-form writing from the PornHelp team on current topics relating to problem porn use and recovery.