Husband Material

What To Do When You Feel The Urge To Watch Porn (with Dan Johnson)

September 18, 2023 Drew Boa
Husband Material
What To Do When You Feel The Urge To Watch Porn (with Dan Johnson)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

How do you handle the intense urge to watch porn? This was Dan Johnson's dilemma. Dan struggled with porn for over 20 years. After re-confessing to his wife, putting filters on all his devices, joining a community of other men, and seeing a certified sex addiction therapist, he was still not experiencing the freedom he was longing for. In this episode, Dan shares the specific strategy he used to finally outgrow porn.

Dan Johnson is a husband, a father, and the creator of The P.A.T.H. Plan and The New Paths Podcast. Dan is passionate about giving guys a practical, effective plan for the frontline of the porn struggle: how to handle and process the intense urge to watch porn.

Download the free PDF: newpaths.me/plan

Listen to the podcast: newpaths.me/podcast1

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Thanks for listening!


Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Husband Material podcast, where we help Christian men outgrow porn. Why? So you can change your brain, heal your heart and save your relationship. My name is Drew Boa and I'm here to show you how let's go. Hey man, thanks for listening to today's interview with Dan Johnson. He is somebody who has experienced freedom from porn that goes far deeper than fighting a battle against yourself, and he has created a really powerful, practical, simple framework for helping you get those same results. It's consistent with what I teach at Husband Material. I think you guys are going to love it. Enjoy the episode. Welcome to Husband Material. Today, I am hanging out with Dan Johnson, who is the creator of the Path Plan. He's a Pure Desire group leader and he's passionate about helping men get free from porn. Welcome to the show, dan. Thanks a lot. Drew, thanks for having me. Why are you so passionate about freedom from porn?

Speaker 2:

Like most people, it has to do with my own story and my own experience. I struggled with porn for over 20 years, beginning in my early teens. I brought it into my marriage, caused a lot of hurt to my wife, and just years and years of wanting to be free from porn, but experiencing so much of the constant shame, the guilt, the stolen time, the pain, just knowing that I'm not who I should be, and then finally getting to the other side of that and realizing that for me there was a specific missing piece to my plan that I didn't know about, I wasn't aware of. And then, once I finally got that in place, it's like something clicked. And so, once that came into place, I'm like you know, I can't keep this to myself. I need to try to share this with other guys, whether it's three, whether it's 2000,. I just need to try to get this message out. So that's kind of why I'm talking to you today.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I remember when you contacted me and I was really curious about this missing piece, especially since you had tried so many different things.

Speaker 2:

And then, long story short, on Super Bowl Sunday of 2009, I ended up confessing to my wife that I've been watching unfiltered porn on the iPad and that was a major blow to her. And you know, after, after the dust kind of settled, we put filters on the on the iPad Very quickly. After that, I discovered the pure desire group, the ministry pure desire, and they have weekly groups that meets all over the country. So I've been in a pure desire group meeting weekly for pretty much four years straight, which is awesome. The community kind of learning about the addiction, learning about the brain that's just been really, really wonderful. I ended up starting to see a CSAT, a certified sexual addiction therapist, for this struggle and that was super great, I think. I mean, for anyone to see a counselor or a therapist is, I think, some of the best time and money you could ever spend. So I was doing all these things. I had a CSAT, I was meeting with a weekly group, I had accountability, I had community, I had filters, my wife knew about it.

Speaker 2:

Even with all that, whenever I was alone usually at nighttime I would still get hit with that intense craving and that urge to find some way to scratch the itch and if you're in that place where you just want, you just need that, that it's scratched, you can find a way to do it. You know you can find ways. We have so much different media. We have our phones, we have movies. I couldn't resist that urge whenever it arose and I was like what else am I supposed to do? You know, like what else can I do? I'm doing probably more than most guys out there and I just couldn't, couldn't break free from it. You know, I just felt like I wasn't experiencing freedom.

Speaker 1:

So, dan, what was the missing piece and the key that you had been missing?

Speaker 2:

So here it is broken down in two or three sentences. When you're trying to stop an unwanted behavior or break a habit that you don't want anymore, the difficulty is not in stopping the behavior. The real difficulty is what to do with the feeling that you're left with when you don't do the behavior. So when I had decided, hey, I'm not going to watch porn, I'm not going to watch, I'm not going to pull up these stimulating images, I can make that commitment and I can do all this work on the back end. But when I'm in that intense moment and I decide, and I feel that craving inside of me, I feel that urge and I decide not to give into it. I decide not to do the behavior. The urge doesn't care. You know, the urge isn't like alright, Dan, cool, we're not doing it, I'll leave, I won't bother you ever again. The urge is still there and trying to help you. I think you know and I believe in, I think yours too. It's a friend trying to help you feel better in that moment, but it's intense, and so you're left with that intense feeling. That's what you're left to deal with. You're not doing the behavior, the feeling is still there. So how do you deal with the feeling.

Speaker 2:

And what I learned is we already know that there are effective ways to handle a feeling like that and there are ineffective ways. And for 20 years I was using ineffective, very kind of common sense ways, but very ineffective ways to try to handle that feeling. I was trying to resist it, I was trying to fight against it, I was trying to push it away, I would try to distract myself. Well, those things we know they don't help ultimately resolve the feeling. So I, gradually, I learned what works with feelings like the urge, like that intense craving, that desire. I learned some things. I worked, I sort of packaged it into a four step plan. I use the acronym PATH, P-A-T-H. I need something very practical in that moment. So I kind of took what I know works, packaged it into four steps and whenever I felt the urge, I started to do this, this four step plan.

Speaker 2:

And this may not be the case for everybody, but for me it was a radical shift. Within a few weeks I was having these victories that I was just like I was blown away. I was so excited. It felt like holy cow. I'm seeing what's possible now. I'm seeing what freedom can actually look like, because I knew exactly how to handle the urge. I felt confident about it the next time it happened and I started to see that each time I did it I got better at it. I started to realize, hey, this is actually a skill, this is something I can learn. The more it's hard at first it's a bit clunky, but the more I did it, the easier it got. The fewer and farther between the urges became, the less intense gradually they became, and what felt like just an impossible light at the end of the tunnel of you know, I wish this freedom were possible. I don't think it is All of a sudden, within a few weeks of doing this plan. I was living in that light and that was coming up on three years ago.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome and it's so consistent with what I'm teaching here at Husband Material, which is that we can actually not just get free from the behavior, we can get free from the battle, in the sense that this does not have to be frustrating, exhausting and seemingly endless fighting against myself. We can befriend these feelings and have a totally different way of regulating.

Speaker 2:

And I gotta say, drew, I wish that I had come across your material a long time ago, because the things that you teach, I'm just like yes, yes, yes, yes, I just am in full agreement on it. So again, I wish I had come across your material a lot sooner. That could have probably saved me years of pain and anguish. So I really admire you Just want to say that and what you're doing and the things that you're teaching. You know you'd think this, with how prevalent this struggle is, you'd think that the things that you're teaching would be just common sense and everyone would know about it. It's just not. And so I'm glad that you're being so consistent and proactive and trying to share your message, because it's so helpful and so needed. So I just admire you for doing that.

Speaker 1:

Thanks, dan, and I love the way you've packaged this path blend too. Let's break it down. What are the four steps? P, a, t, h.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you bet. So again, I need something very concrete and practical. So that's what. All four of these steps are very concrete and practical. So for the guy listening, just imagine yourself in that situation when you typically would watch porn. You know, for a lot of guys it's like in the morning time for me, and for a lot of guys it's maybe at night, at the end of the day, whatever that is. Just kind of imagine that for yourself. You kind of have that regular thought hey, this could be a good time I could watch porn right now. You have that thought.

Speaker 2:

This triggers that urge. So you have the thought it triggers that intense feeling inside you and you know, we all, we all know it's like a sexual adrenaline rush. You know, like you get the butterflies in the stomach a little bit. Your breathing becomes maybe a little bit quicker and more shallow, your heart starts maybe beating a little bit. You know this is the urge and your mind probably starts going a mile a minute as well, going back and forth, whether or not you should. This generates even more intense feelings, it kind of accelerates it.

Speaker 2:

This is the urge that you're feeling and that you have to deal with and this is your cue or your catalyst to initiate the first step of the path plan. So the urge becomes a switch. That happens and you go to the first step, which is P. You're pausing. So this is, in this first step, all you're doing. You notice the urge, you pause and you just take a deep, intentional breath. That's it. So you're taking just a brief second to realize what's happening, to realize what's going on inside of you. You're being flooded with the urge.

Speaker 2:

When you're, when you're in the intensity of this moment, there aren't that many things that you can count on yourself to do. Right, you're not thinking clearly. Kind of that thinking brain, the prefrontal cortex, is kind of shutting down the plan that you had made in the past hey, I'm never going to watch porn again that kind of goes out the window. You're starting to be like did I really mean that when I made that command? So when you're in that intense moment, there's not that many things you can count on yourself to do. Pausing and taking a deep, intentional breath. It doesn't get much simpler than that, and I think you say this too, and in your BOA steps, I think your first step is breathe as well. I saw that. So you can count on yourself to simply pause, take a deep breath, get some of that energy flowing again back to your thinking brain.

Speaker 1:

Yes, flood your brain with oxygen. This is a superpower, and I like to think of it as a spiritual power too, because the Holy Spirit is like the breath of God.

Speaker 2:

Yep, absolutely Yep. I'll say too sorry, just one real quick rabbit trail. One of the things that I absolutely love is when you're reading a book, you listen to a podcast, you're watching a YouTube video completely different sources and then you come across an idea where they're all saying the same thing. You get the same strategy from like three completely random sources. I love when that happens, because there's a very good indicator that there's something powerful there. Just this morning, one last tangent here just this morning, I was doing some pure desire homework and the author of this curriculum, dr Ted Roberts. Just this morning, he was talking about that and saying when you're feeling some intense emotion, you need to take a breath. Just take a deep, intentional breath. So right there you got Drew Dan and Dr Ted Roberts saying the same thing. You know there's something there, so take. You know that's a big takeaway there. That's huge, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So step one P when you feel that intense urge, you pause, take a deep breath, that's it. It takes about three seconds. The second step, the A stands for acknowledge, and so all you're doing in this second step you're simply naming what you're feeling. Now this may sound a little bit silly and simplistic, but scientific studies have shown that when you simply label the feeling that you're having, it decreases its intensity. So super simple. So, to acknowledge the urge, you're simply going like. This is what I do you just simply say, hmm, I'm feeling the strong urge to watch porn right now. And I say hmm because notice what you're doing here. You're not judging or condemning the feeling, you're not shaming yourself for feeling it. You are an observer, you're noticing and that's one of the reasons why I say hmm at the beginning because you're positioning yourself in a way where you're just seeing what's happening.

Speaker 1:

It's brilliant.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and you're just noticing what's going on. And you may have heard of him, daniel Siegel, an author and a psychologist. He's got a phrase that I really like name it to tame it. And that's what you're doing here, because when you name it, you simply name it. You're feeling the strong urge to watch porn right now and noticing the feeling of sexual desire right now. It helps tame the feeling a little bit.

Speaker 1:

And that is so important because it contains curiosity, exactly.

Speaker 2:

Yep.

Speaker 1:

Another way you might think about it is hmm, isn't that interesting.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, yep, yep, that's exactly right. Curiosity and I know you've talked about this too even just compassion, it makes sense. It makes sense that I'm feeling this right now, given the situation I'm in right now, knowing that, hey, this has helped me feel better in the past, of course I feel that urge right now. So first two steps P pause, a acknowledge. Feel that urge, you pause, you take a deep breath, a you acknowledge. Hmm, I am feeling the stronger to watch porn right now. And you can add on. And that makes sense, or isn't that interesting?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So literally 10 or 15 seconds for these first two steps.

Speaker 1:

So at this point you've already got breath in your lungs, curiosity in your mind and compassion in your heart. Boom. So that's exactly right, that's exactly right.

Speaker 2:

What a great start.

Speaker 1:

I can't wait to hear tea.

Speaker 2:

So this is exactly right. So this puts you in the best way you can. It puts you in the position for the tea step. The tea step and I'll break this down a little bit. This is where the rubber meets the road. So you've paused, you've acknowledged, like you said, you got the oxygen flowing, you got the compassionate stance, you got the curiosity going. The desire is still there, the urge is still there. It's most likely it's decreased in intensity a little bit. But the third step is tea, the timer. So you want to set a timer for 10 minutes and for these 10 minutes you're just going to let that urge, let that feeling be there. You're going to give it permission just to be felt, to be there. Now I'm going to break down a few options for people listening what you can actually do again, getting very practical, what can you do during this 10 minutes. But the main thing to remember is you're setting a defined target. You have a goal now to accomplish it.

Speaker 2:

When I first started experimenting with this path plan, I would pause, I would acknowledge the urge, but I wouldn't set a timer. I would just kind of be like okay, now what I'd feel. A little bit aimless. I think about it like imagine you're trying to bulk up a little bit, you're trying to build some muscle. You hire a strength training coach, you go to the gym, you're ready to go and the coach is like all right, drew, bench press go. Might be like, okay, well, I can. I mean, how much weight am I using? Am I doing heavy? Am I doing three sets? Do I need to pace myself? We need a defined target, we need a goal that we're aiming for.

Speaker 2:

So setting a timer for 10 minutes gives you that goal. You pause, you acknowledge, you set a timer and you know, hey, I'm just going to let that urge be there for 10 minutes. You're not trying to fight it away. You know that what you resist persists. So again, you have that compassionate, curiosity, curious stance. You're just going to allow it to be there. Okay.

Speaker 2:

So again, getting practical what are some things that you can actually do? So I'll give you what I always do and what I've done and what's worked for me, and then a second option as well. So, when I set that 10 minute timer what I have always done, and this is an option I simply go about my day while I'm allowing that urge to be there. So if it's at nighttime and I'm alone, if I was reading a book, if I was doing a workout, if I was watching a movie, I pause, I acknowledge, I set a timer and I go back to what I was doing I always done. When, since implementing this plan, I go about my day, while I'm kind of doing it with the urge, I'm letting the urge be there. It's kind of along for the ride, kind of screaming its urge at me all the while. But it's not my boss, it's not going to kill me, it's uncomfortable, but I'm just allowing it to be there for 10 minutes, okay.

Speaker 2:

So option one just go about your day, do what you were doing before or what you would have done. Ask yourself what would I have been doing right now If I didn't feel the urge to watch porn and do that. That's worked really, really well for me. The second option which, after I was thinking through it, I was like I really should have been doing this this whole time. But the second option come up.

Speaker 2:

Ask yourself the question this is kind of a fun question what would I like to be doing right now?

Speaker 2:

What do I wish I was doing If I didn't struggle with porn or in the future, when I'm not struggling with porn. What will I be doing with this time? And put the list of two, three, four, five, just life giving, amazing, engaging things that you wish you were doing instead. Maybe it's doing a workout, maybe you have a health goal, maybe it's signing up for that dating website or asking that girl out for a date, or starting a side hustle, that kind of dream project that you've always thought about reconnecting with a friend. Use that 10 minutes. This is kind of amazing if you think about it. You can take that 10 minutes when maybe in the past you would have been watching porn. You can transform it into something life giving and engaging and all of a sudden, every time you feel the urge to watch porn, hey, you got a catalyst to work towards something that's going to be life giving and going to reward you down the road as time goes on.

Speaker 1:

An example for my life was learning how to play music. Yep, exactly Watching YouTube videos about playing certain songs on the piano or the guitar, and that took up a lot of the space that porn and masturbation used to take up.

Speaker 2:

Yep. So use that time and transform it. And just the feeling and we're going to get into this a little bit the feeling of taking that time when you would have normally been engaging in activity, that you felt afterwards you felt shame and guilt and that your life is being sucked out of you that's how it felt for me, anyways and all of a sudden you're transforming that into something amazing, like learning music or building relationships, the amazing feeling of that. I mean, there's very few things more exhilarating than that T-step set a timer for 10 minutes and either go about your day as you normally would or decide in advance this is key decide in advance what one or two things you will do the next time you feel that urge to watch porn during those 10 minutes.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and I really like how this 10 minute timer is so bite sized. Yeah, feels more doable.

Speaker 2:

It's doable. You're not setting a timer for two and a half hours. Yeah, you're not setting a timer for a week. So bite size, like you said, because you want to get those small wins. This is exactly what the age step is going to get into. You want to get those small wins, starting to accumulate those, because that's fuel, that is jet fuel for your journey. You've paused, you've taken a deep breath, you've acknowledged and named the urge. You set a timer for 10 minutes on your phone, your computer, kitchen timer, wherever. Decide in advance where you're going to set it. Then the timer goes off, the 10 minute timer goes off. So what do you do at this point? Well, you have got to celebrate. Do not miss this opportunity to give yourself a massive high five. That's what the age stands for. High five yourself.

Speaker 1:

Okay, here comes a high five.

Speaker 2:

Boom, you got a high five yourself. So this is really important because You've got to realize what you've done. You've taken a serious, massive step towards again that amazing, exhilarating, fresh era of freedom. You didn't give in to the urge, you allowed it, you kind of turned towards it, you let it be there and you went 10 minutes without giving into it. There's a few things we're celebrating that I can think of more than this. It's time to party. Yes, you've got to party.

Speaker 2:

And so what I do, what I recommend? You've got to record this somewhere. You've got to make this something that you can go and see and remember this massive victory that you have. So what I say is you've got to record it somewhere. High five yourself by saying I'm going to make sure that I make a record of this win that I had that I can remember and look at for the rest of my life. And so a couple of ways that you can do it you can write it in a journal, you can.

Speaker 2:

This is what I did, and I got this idea from the Life Coach School Podcast. Brooke Castillo got to give her credit for this. Get a clear jar and put in a marble or a small pebble, okay, and put it somewhere where you can see it. Put it in your bathroom, your kitchen counter, your dresser, your nightstand. Put it where you work, you know, your work computer, wherever that is, so that you can see it multiple times a day and remember that exciting feeling, that victory, every time you think about that, meditate on it, remember it, relive it. Every time you do that you get a little shot of that good feeling.

Speaker 1:

Are you saying that we get a little hit of dopamine Bingo? Tell me more about that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so you can get a shot of dopamine watching porn, right. But then the after effect of that is massive, massive, massive, just really really terrible negative feelings, right, for that one hit of dopamine. Or you can allow that urge to be there. You can go through the four steps and instead you get a shot of dopamine every time you look at that marble or that pebble and it's associated with something that you can be proud about and celebrate and feel a sense of triumph and encouragement to keep going. You know, so you can get just two different shots of dopamine that you can choose there.

Speaker 2:

This is probably a common phrase, but I say pick your pain. You know you can have the shot of dopamine and then have massive, massive, long term pain after that if you watch porn. Or you can have the discomfort or pain of that 10 minutes, but then that shot of dopamine afterwards is just like boom, we did it, you got to celebrate, so high five yourself. Record it somewhere. I recommend a clear jar with like a marble or a pebble every time. Look at it multiple times a day and remind yourself of that huge stuff that you took.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and you might even want to celebrate in the husband material community.

Speaker 2:

Boom.

Speaker 1:

Put a little post up there saying I just did 10 minutes. Do it. Or a picture of your journal or your clear jar. Yeah, and let's celebrate together.

Speaker 2:

Yep, exactly, celebrate with people. If you have people in your life, whether it's the husband, material community, some other guys that know about what you're going through, like you said, send them a picture of the jar or the or the journal entry. Celebrate with other people. These are the four steps and the thing that that I found is again, it's it really is learning a new skill. It's learning an instrument. It's picking up a new sport. You feel a little bit clunky with it at first. It feels a bit clunky. You kind of question how you're doing it. I'm not sure. Is this, am I doing this right? Is this, does this even work? Just like any new skill picking up the guitar, it's going to feel clunky. But you, if you keep at it, you know, don't celebrate perfection, celebrate progress. You keep at it. I can pretty much promise you and guarantee you it will be inevitable that you will start getting traction and start getting some of that freedom that you're longing for if you just don't give up, just like learning any new skill.

Speaker 1:

And it doesn't have to be the only skill that you ever use. It can be part of a tool belt that includes many of the insights you may have gained in your healing journey, like community with others and understanding your story and growing in other ways. I really like how simple it is and also how powerful it is. So P A T, h, pause, acknowledge timer, 10 minute timer. You got it and high five.

Speaker 2:

You got it. Yeah, and you're exactly right, drew. I mean, there is no one magic bullet to this struggle. There's many aspects of pursuing freedom, like you said, not just with the porn struggle, but it's so beneficial to dive into your story, to dive into your inner child, to have community, regular community, where you feel safe and you can. You can talk about things that you, that you don't normally talk about. You know, having filters set up, having accountability. There is no one silver bullet or magic bullet. This is a piece, this is a tool in your tool belt for the frontline, for the frontline of the struggle. That's what I was missing. I needed something to do when I felt that urge. I was doing all the work on the back end. I needed something for the frontline.

Speaker 1:

And I hear a lot of guys saying that they are doing so much work and they have this one sticking point of self control. Yeah, can you talk a little bit about self control?

Speaker 2:

You bet this was just a discovery that I made as I was doing, as I was implementing this plan. One day I think I was I was just realizing, you know, with this new strategy of turn, turning towards it, pausing, acknowledge, allowing it to be there, and high fiving myself, self control was not part of this picture, it wasn't something that I was having to even think about. What is self control Right? When you think about self control, you think about kind of and you know people might have different definitions, but I always think of it as kind of white knuckling and gritting your teeth, kind of resisting. You know, fighting against something, you're going to win the fight or you're going to lose a fight. But ultimately, what I realized is what are you fighting against on this front line? You're fighting against a feeling, you're fighting an urge. And what I found really interesting, when you look at you know you look at, you read different books on emotions and handling emotions and things like that People will, psychologists will list core emotions.

Speaker 2:

What are the core emotions? Everyone knows anger, sadness, fear. I think about the movie inside out. Have you seen that movie? Yes, okay, love that movie. You know it's also a core emotion. Alongside of that You'll see sexual desire. You know so, sexual desire is an emotion inside of you.

Speaker 2:

So self control, I think about fighting against, fighting against. But if ultimately, in that moment of temptation, it's a feeling that I'm trying to fight against, we know that fighting against an emotion it's not an effective strategy. You know, like, imagine you have a good friend who's feeling really down, you know, just feeling really sad about something. We wouldn't go to our friend and say, yeah, man, I know, I know you're feeling really down and sad, but, dude, you just got to, you got to fight against those sad feelings. You know you got to push those away. Try to resist those sad feelings, man. You know, we know intuitively that that doesn't work. I mean, like, have you ever tried to do that with anxiety?

Speaker 2:

Like I struggled with anxiety big time, maybe five, six years ago, every morning, just debilitating anxiety, and I would try to fight it, I would try to push it away. You know, can you have self control against anxiety? It just doesn't work and that's, I think, one of the reasons why I struggled for so long is because I did focus on self control. I did try to resist, ultimately, what is just a feeling, it's a vibration, it's sensations I'm having in my body, and we know again what you resist persists, and so, instead of self control, what I found, what I was using was self awareness. Self awareness was the replacement for self control, and when I made that shift again, it was a game changer.

Speaker 1:

It was a game changing skill. Why do you say that it's a skill?

Speaker 2:

And again, I never would have thought about this in advance, it's simply something I discovered through my own experience. So again, I discovered these principles and you know how to process this urge. You know going through these steps. It was hard at first. Those first few times I had to do the path plan three or four times in a row. But by the time I had notched two, three, four, five wins, I noticed it was becoming easier and I was like, wow, this feels like learning a new skill.

Speaker 2:

The more I do it, the more I practice, the easier it becomes, the more natural it feels, the less effort it requires. And I noticed also that the urges don't just stop, they don't just go away. I used to think freedom maybe was never feeling the desire to watch porn, and I don't know how it's been for your experience, but I guess I've started to realize, as a functioning human, male, sexual desire is a normal part of me. And so I found that freedom for me again, living in freedom after about three years, what I consider real freedom, it's not that the urges don't come back, it's that I've learned the skill and again doing all the work on the backend as well, super, super essential. But on the frontline when I feel that urge. I've developed the skill to know how to effectively process it, how to resolve it.

Speaker 1:

And you also mentioned that those moments of temptation can become catalysts or stepping stones. Yeah what does?

Speaker 2:

that mean yeah. So when I got this plan in place I got the four steps of the path plan. I know exactly what I'm gonna do the next time I feel that urge. I might feel the urge in five minutes in a week, whenever it is. I was ready to handle that urge. I knew exactly what to do.

Speaker 2:

And so if you're learning a new skill, if this is a skill, the only way that you get better at it is by practicing it right. The only way to practice processing that urge is you gotta feel it first. And so I started to realize I didn't start to look forward to the urges. I don't think I ever got that crazy with it, but I started to feel like, okay, when that urge comes, this is a practice session. I got the plan. I know exactly what to do. It's a skill that I'm building. The urge, which once was an opponent, it all of a sudden became an opportunity, because every time that urge came I was able to practice the path plan. It got me a step closer to real, lasting freedom, got me better at this skill, and that's why I started to see it as it's an opportunity. It's a stepping stone towards my destination. I need this urge almost as a way of practicing. It's just completely switched my perspective on it.

Speaker 1:

So good, because I know what it feels like to dread. The next time that feeling will come up.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you don't wanna fail again, you don't wanna feel like a failure. Here it is, I don't know what to do, I can't resist it gonna fail again. No one wants to experience that. So it's a pretty wonderful, amazing thing that anyone can do this and it changes your perspective. You start to feel confident about it and you see it as an opportunity.

Speaker 1:

At the same time. This is not easy, dan, as you were learning this skill. What were some of the common mistakes that you found yourself making?

Speaker 2:

There were a few things that I'll point out that I was doing, that I noticed, hey, maybe these are very natural and normal, but they weren't really helping me. So just a few things. The first one keeping track of my streaks. How long can I go in between relapses, or giving in or whatever you wanna call it? So just very natural, I didn't even think that much about it. I would say, okay, I went four days without watching porn. Or I went a week. I went a week and a half, whoa.

Speaker 2:

But I noticed that the longer that I went in between streaks what tends to happen you start to feel a little bit of that pressure, like two weeks, three weeks for some guys I'm on month two. I have never gone two months then the pressure starts to build and you get even more terrified of the next time. You're gonna feel that urge, right? I'm sure a lot of guys have had this experience. You kind of have a relapse after a long streak. You're like, well, now I gotta start all over. I might as well give in multiple times before I start this streak over. So instead of tracking my streaks now, I track my wins by high-fiving myself. That's the H step. I track my wins, not my streaks. Note the progress, not the failures, right.

Speaker 1:

It's a subtle shift, yet a really important one, because, instead of a fear-based measurement which, as you said, increases stress and performance, anxiety and shame-based performance, it's based on love, it's based on joy, it's a celebration and that's fueling a very different pathway in our brains.

Speaker 2:

Very much so. Yep, you're exactly right. So that's the first thing that I sort of noticed. Looking back on my journey, I wish that I would've started tracking my wins sooner, and not my streaks.

Speaker 1:

It feels important to say that it's not bad to celebrate one month without porn or one year without porn. What we're saying is do it from a posture of appreciation rather than performance.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely yeah, and I just said it. Hey, I've gone. It's been about three years now that I've been, so I have a timeline in my mind. I'm super excited about that. It feels amazing but, like you said, it's celebrate the progress, the wins, rather than giving yourself proper performance.

Speaker 1:

Right, don't go back to purity culture.

Speaker 2:

Amen. And one other thing that I'll say too I think I mentioned this a little bit earlier. I used to think about the urge and the struggle of porn as an enemy. I used to think about it as a foe, the shift that really helped, and it goes back to curiosity and compassion. I see it now as a friend inside of me, trying to help. Now, I absolutely love your interview with Jenna Reimersma. Did I say that right? So I think you've spoken to her a few times, but the interview at the end of 2021, I think and then her book, all Together you, has had a huge impact probably. It's probably one of the top three or five books that I've ever read that has had the biggest impact on me, and she talks about that too, like how we have those parts in us, and so I think about the sexual desire, I think about her book and I think about the movie Inside Out.

Speaker 2:

When I'm feeling the urge to watch porn, I think about that little part of me, inside of me, and it's trying to grab the controls. It sees me and it's like I wanna help Dan out right now, and he's a bit narrow-minded. He thinks that in every situation, the thing that's gonna help the most is for me to go watch porn. He has my best interests in his heart. He is trying to take the controls and say Dan, I want you to feel better, we want you to feel better, go watch porn.

Speaker 2:

He's misguided, he's narrow-minded, but he is trying to help me. So I went from seeing it as a foe to seeing it as a friend, and that is one of the biggest shifts that I think anyone can ever make. Every feeling that we have inside of us anger, sadness it's ultimately something that's trying to help us. And when we can see them, when we can acknowledge them and affirm what they're trying to do but hey, we're gonna be okay, we're gonna be okay that's just a huge thing that I wish I would have done years and years ago, making that shift from foe to friend.

Speaker 1:

I love. That Highlights something that we can do during the path plan when we get to the third step and we have those 10 minutes, sometimes spending those 10 minutes with this friend and listening, loving and leading can really help.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely Yep. And one thing I want to say too, drew, is just for your audience as well, if they're not aware. I love your strategy that you offer for the frontline of the struggle. The BOA strategy and the concepts of that are so. They're almost mere image of the path plan, and I just saw your BOA strategy not that long ago. But the strategies that are in that plan are again so similar and they're just the strategies and the concepts that you use are so, so game changing. So I just want to make sure that your audience is aware of that as well. The BOA strategy that you have.

Speaker 1:

Thanks. And to summarize that it's B for breathe, o for observe, both observing your five senses and observing emotions inside. And then A is actually two as a tune and attach. A tune means checking in with yourself, specifically your inner child, and saying what do you need right now? And attach means connecting with God, with another person and with that inner child, Really could even be connecting with nature. It could be connecting with your purpose, connecting rather than disconnecting.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that plan is so awesome so this is so cool.

Speaker 1:

I love the way that you've organized this information and if you guys want to get a download of this on a PDF, I'm going to put a link to that in the show notes. Dan has created a really helpful summary of the path plan. Is that right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's right, it's at new pathsme forward slash plan. It's free All this, you know everything is free. So, yeah, check it out, get it ready to go.

Speaker 1:

Dan, what is your favorite thing about freedom from porn?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a great question. So I think definitely one of the top things is that feeling that I had for so long of the constant kind of shame and guilt that I had throughout that whole time. You know, I might have just a really good day during that time that I was struggling with porn, great time with friends or family, just a really, really great day. Then that thought would come into my mind oh, but you struggle with porn. Oh, you're hiding this thing from others, you're hurting yourself, you're hurting your future wife. This is affecting your future kids in ways that you can't even understand. There's just a constant, just really terrible feeling that I felt for so long that I just carried with me being on the other side of that. It's replaced with just a feeling of, you know, just confidence and kind of triumph that knowing that, with God's help, I'm living in freedom now. There's just so many just better feelings that I carry around with me now, and so I'd say that's probably the top thing.

Speaker 1:

Beautiful. Thank you so much.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, Drew.

Speaker 1:

Dan also has a podcast where you can listen to many of his other teachings. Thanks so much for being with us and, gentlemen, always remember you are God's beloved Son and you, he is well pleased.

The real challenge we must overcome to experience lasting freedom from porn
Step 1: Pause
Step 2: Acknowledge
Step 3: Ten Minute Timer
Step 4: High Five
Two common mistakes to avoid
Download The P.A.T.H. Plan (PDF)

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