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Fighting Without Fighting - the art of beating cravings in sex and porn addiction

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Fighting Without Fighting - the art of beating cravings in sex and porn addiction

In the classic martial arts movie Enter The Dragon you can see portrayed in humourous form a traditional tale of a Samurai called Musashi who was expert in the art of 'fighting without fighting'. Although he was a master swordsman he rarely had to use his weapons to defeat opponents.  Alan Watts tells the story in his inimitable way on this short Youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TlQjGf-s5s

The hollywood portrayal of the Samurai tale of the use of zen in the art of swordsmanship shows Bruce Lee, no amateur at weapon-less physical combat himself, lure a goading bully into a rowing boat from their ferry so they can go on land to fight. Once on the boat the bully, who is mockingly keen to know what Lee's 'flighting without flighting' is all about, realises he's been tricked as Lee lets the rowing boat out on its rope with only the bully aboard, and demontrates his point.  

In porn and sex addiction, cravings are the bully goading addicts with cravings,  often succeeding in enticing addicts into caving into their addictive rituals.  

When trying to get into recovery, often using a white-knuckle approach, many addicts fight too hard with their cravings - most often using what is usually termed willpower. Only they fail time and time again because their brain is by now automated after many years of learning the addictive rituals and patterns.  Cravings are a sign that the brain wants a fight and one that it knows it will win very quickly as the willpower doesn't have enough defensive technique to parry the powerful blows of craving.

Fighting without fighting in porn and sex addiction means that rather than trying to put up a meagre opposition to the cravings an addict accepts the cravings and cognitively (or mentally) steps aside rather than square up.  Many martial arts are based on this principle whereby an attackers energies are re-directed so as to deflect the danger and even inflict harm back to themselves. In addiction, the addict can use a mantra such as 'I won't agree with this order my brain is giving and I'm not going to argue with it' whilst giving their brain a new, healthy, directive instead.  This might be to meet the craving need through exercise, relaxation, talking to a friend or sponsor or engaging in a favourite hobby or pastime.

Cravings are automated survival-like responses to the brain's awareness of a threat.  This 'trigger' as we often term it, is a signal that an unmet need is calling out for resolution.  Feeling rejected, hurt, and lonely are common triggers - often buried below the conscious awareness. But even whilst not knowing the specifics of these an addict can use the signalling (the craving) that a soothing, and not self-defeating, experience is required.

Frequent 'fighting without fighting' in a cognitive sense like this will re-train the brain that there are new preferred healthy alternatives to porn and sexual acting out and is likely to automatically select these when cravings start throwing themselves about like a bully.  Over time and incrementally an addict can build back power with each craving battle that is deflected. This is power-giving and different from the dis-empowering effect of repeated failures using futile willpower.

I will be speaking more about this in an upcoming audio based on my free Vicious to Virtuous Recovery programme module 4 which focuses on the tools we use in specialist treatment work with porn and sex addiction.  here you can find the written version of this module;

https://esteemtherapyyorks.co.uk/counselling/free-resources-for-sex-and-porn-addiction---module-4

 

 

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