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Dear trauma survivor -- by choosing to face, fight, and quit porn, you're on a hero's journey!

Did you know many heroes in history are also trauma survivors?They struggled fiercely.They triumphed over incredible physical and mental battles.Even more astounding? These trauma survivors turned their personal pain into tools of gain and good for others!Your painful experiences can be turned into great value -- even the very painful experience of struggling with compulsive porn use.What was possible for others IS possible for you. We believe this with all our hearts. You CAN quit porn. But where do you start?Like heroes of old, you’ll need help along the way.Ever read The Lord of the Rings? Frodo would never have made it to the fires of Mordor alone. Everyone needs a faithful, kind Sam in their life. To overcome a deeply rooted porn habit, you’ll need a trusted accountability partner.However, choosing a good accountability partner is harder when you’re struggling with the "trust factor". This struggle could be due to any sort of personal traumatic event -- divorce, death of a loved one, cancer or other major illness. But first, let's step back in time in your life.

Recognize the roots of your trauma.

For many, trauma started in childhood with what is called Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).  While none of us have a perfect childhood, traumatic events in the formative years of our lives matter.The Journal of the American Medical Association gives this definition of Adverse Childhood Experiences:“Adverse childhood experiences, commonly referred to as ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood and adolescence, such as experiencing physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; witnessing violence in the home; having a family member attempt or die by suicide; and growing up in a household with substance use, mental health problems, or instability due to parental separation, divorce, or incarceration.1 “In fact, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been linked with 5 of the10 leading causes of death. But how do ACEs affect everyday life?

Trauma from childhood is also one of the root causes of many addictive behaviors.

Dr. Gabor Maté, an addiction specialist who worked with hard-core drug users for a dozen years says, “All addictions — alcohol or drugs, sex addiction or internet addiction, gambling or shopping — are attempts to regulate our internal emotional states because we’re not comfortable, and the discomfort originates in childhood. For me, there’s no distinction except in degree between one addiction and another: same brain circuits, same emotional dynamics, same pain and same behaviors of furtiveness, denial and lying.” (We added bolding for emphasis.)

What’s worse, porn use often leads to both physical and emotional abuse -- fueling a vicious cycle of more trauma. 

Here’s how Fight The New Drug calls out this secret menace to women.
“There is clear evidence that porn makes many consumers more likely to support violence against women, to believe that women secretly enjoy being raped, [14] and to actually be sexually aggressive in real life. [15] The aggression may take many forms including verbally harassing or pressuring someone for sex, emotionally manipulating them, threatening to end the relationship unless they grant favors, deceiving them or lying to them about sex, or even physically assaulting them. [16]
John Foubert, Ph.D. says in his video on The Truth About Porn,
“Porn IS a recipe for rape… The part of the brain that lights up when men view porn ... is the part that views objects, not people... We have OVER 50 studies showing a direct link between porn and sexual violence.”
We know you’re here still reading this because you want to stop the cycle.Maybe you’ve experienced sexual violence.Or you're embarrassed because you've found yourself acting out sexually in a way you hated.You need to acknowledge the trauma that threw you under the bus and made you a target for porn. What are some ways you can heal?

1.) An early step towards healing is talking about your trauma.

Acknowledge your hurt. #breakthesilenceIf you’ve experienced ACEs or other trauma, talking about it is important. Just admitting out loud to another person that your childhood was less than perfect might be a starting point for you. Do you have a safe person who will listen to you?Sometimes we’re taught by our early mentors to be TOUGH and to just buck up -- a John Wayne mentality. While grit and resilience are important, your pain and difficult experiences should not be bottled up and ignored.Your pain is REAL. What you have gone through is important. Here's where powerful examples from history lead the way.

Frederick Douglass, a former slave and wildly successful public speaker and abolitionist, was a trauma survivor.

He documents the abuses he experienced in his autobiography, The Life and Narrative of Frederick Douglass. shared graphic details of his own horrific abuse as a slave. You can almost hear his groans as he describes brutal beatings he endured by former slave owners.When a kinder mistress began teaching him to read, she quit after a few lessons.  Eventually young Frederick began to sneak and plot to find ways to continue to learn. Considered as property and less than human, he wasn’t even allowed to go to school and learn like a normal child.He became a voracious reader, sneaking books from his master’s library. Many years and many great struggles later -- including severe physical abuse -- he escaped. Many loving hands along the Underground Railroad helped him in his flight to freedom.By sharing his story, he offers hope and healing to a whole segment of other beautiful humans who have suffered similar abuses. His body and life always carried the scars of beatings endured during slavery. Douglass, the unschooled former slave, became a powerful voice for human rights and freedom.

Corrie Ten Boom, another trauma survivor, lived through the horrors of WWII Nazi concentration camp Ravensbruck.

She shares her true experiences in her book,The Hiding Place. She not only wrote of the brutal abuses she witnessed and personally endured, she shares her experience of finding great inner freedom and hope in forgiveness.Real freedom came when she forgave one of her abusers -- a formerly cruel Nazi guard she crossed paths with after World War II.  She learned to trust again as she healed from the trauma. By sharing her experiences publicly, she helped spread a message of hope and healing.

2.) Writing out your story may also help YOU deal with the “trust factor” and overcome trauma.

Today counselors often suggest writing letters to your abusers listing all of the ways they have hurt you. See step 8 in this Psychology Today article -- only one of many examples.Another caveat. Don’t worry! You don’t need to deliver this letter or share your story if you don’t feel safe.In fact, if you have toxic past relationships, please protect yourself from emotional abuse first and foremost. Sharing your hurts with your abuser or even publicly may not be safe or wise.But, when you list and acknowledge your hurts, this serves as a personal release mechanism. Step by step you are able to leave trauma's influences behind and step into the light. You'll become more than a trauma survivor! You'll find a new identity while healing from your past.

3.) Choose to trust by choosing a safe community.

What if you were to make a list of all of the trustworthy people in your life?

Instead of medicating your hurts with a porn habit that binds you, find a community of people who care about you. Your own personal Underground Railroad to freedom is waiting for you. (Our customers rave about how effective accountability is -- ALL. THE. TIME.)
  • Beside each name list the reasons you trust them.
  • Include traits and actual incidents that built that trust with you.
Hopefully this is a looong list of YOUR people. But even if you just have a handful of trusted people, you’re now in a good place for choosing and sharing your struggles with an accountability partner.No perfect person exists, but trustworthy humans do still roam the earth! Go ahead -- choose an accountability partner! We’re here for you. We want to help you succeed in finding a trustworthy accountability partner.

4.) Check out a few more guidelines to choosing an accountability partner.

Let’s keep it super simple.Remember Sam and Frodo? More than once, Frodo tries to ditch faithful Sam on his painful journey to Mordor to destroy the evil ring in the fires of Mount Doom. In one gripping scene, Frodo discovers Sam is following him,

"Go back, Sam. I'm going to Mordor alone,” says Frodo. "Of course you are. And I'm coming with you," retorts Sam. 

  • Choose someone faithful. 
  • Choose someone kind.
  • Choose someone who WILL hold you accountable.
Your mission to quit porn is possible with a Sam in your life. When you choose to be accountable, you’re well on your way to amazing freedom from porn. You won’t want to let your Sam down!

Still can't overcome the "trust factor" as an abuse survivor?

Getting therapy is a necessary step toward physical, mental, and emotional freedom for many abuse and trauma survivors.You have options now more than ever. Ask your primary care physician to prescribe therapy, first of all. Often they will know if you're covered by insurance.Next, choose your therapist pro-actively.

A trauma-informed therapist specifically helps you heal as a trauma survivor.

Trauma-informed therapy is important, as explained in Psychology Today:
“Trauma-Informed Care is not about specific therapeutic techniques—it is an overall approach, a philosophy of providing care.”
A therapist who uses trauma-informed care (TIC) has specialized training. Recognition of your ACEs and PTSD due to trauma helps a therapist approach and treat you as a whole person.Check out this link to find a trauma-informed therapist in your area.

What's even better? Paying it forward.

Freedom will taste even sweeter when you also reach out a helping hand to others on their journey. Down the road, you could be the perfect accountability partner, um Sam, to another courageous person who wants to quit porn. You’re way more than a trauma survivor. You’re a conqueror!Ready to quit porn? Get accountable today! For help setting up your accountability partner on our accountability app, click here.Sources:Jones CM, Merrick MT, Houry DE. Identifying and Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences: Implications for Clinical Practice. JAMA. 2020;323(1):25–26. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.18499Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) | VitalSigns Can Prevent ACEsAddiction Rooted In Childhood Trauma, Says Prominent Specialist