Do Porn Addiction Support Groups Really Work?

Dr R. Y. Langham

Nov 02, 2021

If there is one thing I have learned throughout my life and career is the importance of having a strong support system. Because it can determine whether you succeed or fail. The truth is we all need a good team by our side during both good and bad times, especially now that addiction has become the “norm” and porn has become a “universal” force to be reckoned with.

Every day you are forced into a battle – a battle that inundates and overwhelms you with porn. You give in to it once, twice, or a few times, you like the way it makes you feel. So, your porn-watching ramps-up until it becomes an integral part of your daily routine. You can’t imagine life without it. Heck, you can’t imagine sex without it.

Porn has taken over almost every aspect of your life, changing who you were and “birthing” an addict – a porn addict. Now, you are struggling with one of the hardest addictions to break – an addiction that also has the highest risk of relapse. One of my clients, a recovering drug and alcohol addict, and porn addict, once shared with me that it was harder for him to “quit” his porn addiction (and stay “clean”) than it was to “conquer” his alcohol and drug addiction (and stay “clean”).

So, you finally seek porn addiction treatment and have been “porn-free” for 30, 60, or 90 days, but porn recovery is a lifetime endeavor. In other words, it is something you must constantly work on to ensure it stays far away from your life. Understand, you don’t just walk away from addiction. You fight to stay “clean” every day. It’s a conscious effort.

And, one way to remain “free” of porn is to seek porn addiction help through a support group. When you combine porn addiction support group meetings with anti-porn tools, like an online porn-cessation program and/or positive lifestyle changes, you are taking steps to be well on your way to a happy “porn-free” life.

So, if you are looking for porn addiction support, but aren’t quite ready to commit to “official” porn addiction treatment, possibly for the second or third time, a support group can help you come to terms with your porn addiction, so you can “officially” get the help you need to be “porn-free” forever.

A porn addiction support group can help you better understand what porn addiction is, how it is caused, and what can trigger a relapse. A porn addiction group facilitator can also provide you with the tools (i.e., counseling, stress-management techniques, a safe, non-judgmental space, support, advice, and guidance) you’ll need to overcome your “porn habit” and retake your life.

So, do porn addiction support groups really work? Absolutely!

Can a Porn Addiction Ruin Your Life?

It could if you don’t seek porn addiction help.

 

A person is a “porn addict” when he or she can longer control the urge to view sexually-explicit or pornographic images. Most porn addicts lose their ability to enjoy sex or sexual activities with a real-life partner – unless these activities are somehow tied to porn. Porn addiction can lead to low self-esteem and self-confidence, a loss of income, debt, health problems, depression, anxiety, emotional pain, damaged relationships, divorces, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, betrayal, and hurt feelings. The good news is a porn addiction can be conquered, but the first step involves admitting that your “porn habit” has gotten out-of-control and seeking porn addiction help for it.

Are There Different Stages of Porn Addiction?

Yes, there are different stages of porn addiction.

 

Porn addiction typically occurs in four stages:

 

  • Stage One: Preoccupation – During this stage, you start to become “preoccupied” with porn. And, it starts to disrupt your daily routine – i.e., going to school or work, cleaning the house, taking care of your children and pets, etc.
  • Stage Two: Ritualization – Ritualized porn use involves viewing porn repetitively and preferring this activity over previous non-pornographic activities, like hanging out with friends, working out, etc. During this stage, your porn use becomes habitual. You have developed a “ritual” of viewing porn.
  • Stage Three: Obsession – Once you hit this stage, your porn use has become an “obsession.” You are now addicted to porn. You spend the majority of your time watching porn on the internet, flipping through pornographic magazines, watching pornographic movies and videos, and/or reading erotic books – regardless of the consequences or your desire to stop the behavior. If you have already been treated for a porn addiction, this is when you have “officially” relapsed.
  • Stage Four: Distress – Once you realize you have a problem with porn, you have entered Stage Four. During this stage, you may experience a wide range of emotions, such as guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, and embarrassment because you are unable to stop your porn use. You may also turn to drugs and alcohol to “escape” your porn addiction. However, the effects only last a short time.

What Are Porn Addiction Support Groups?

Porn addiction support groups help people overcome “porn habits.” These groups are modeled after the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program and based on the belief that porn addiction is a disease. Even though porn addiction isn’t in the DSM-5, as an “official” mental health condition and there is no “official” cure for it, porn addiction support can help you “kick the habit” and remain “porn-free” indefinitely. In other words, with porn addiction help, you can stop or control your porn-watching activities – for good!

 

Porn addiction support groups provide comfort, encouragement, and guidance to people, who are dependent on pornographic material. Porn addiction support group meetings are anonymous, which helps members feel safe sharing their thoughts, experiences, and struggles. There is no judgment and anything shared in the meeting is held in the strictest confidence. Porn addiction support groups provide their members with the support they need to address “bad habits” in an environment of trust, acceptance, love, and faith. Group meetings are usually held daily, weekly, and/or monthly. And, you can attend them as often as you like.

Are Porn Addiction Support Groups Beneficial?

Absolutely, especially when you’re recovering from a porn addiction.

Porn addiction support group members tend to experience some of the same emotions, worries, concerns, and fears. They also experience similar challenges, treatment decisions, and “detox” or porn addiction withdrawal symptoms. When you join a porn addiction support group, you are allowed to recover from the addiction with people, who understand your struggles and can offer you valuable tips and unconditional support, as you go through life “porn-free.”

Other benefits of participating in a porn addiction support group include:

 

  • Inclusion, support, and acceptance
  • Comfort, happiness, peace, and self-confidence
  • Safe, non-judgmental environment to express your true feelings
  • Healthy and effective cope skills, advice, tips, guidance
  • Motivation to remain “porn-free” by staying busy and avoiding triggers
  • Self-empowerment, control, hope, and faith that things will get better
  • Clear understanding of your “disease” (porn addiction)
  • Practical information on treatment options
  • Health, economic, and/or social resources

Are There Any Risks?

Yes, there are some risks you should be aware of…

 

These risks include:

 

  • Unruly, rowdy, and disruptive group members
  • Constant bickering and griping
  • Confidentiality issues
  • Enmeshments, tension, and/or interpersonal conflicts
  • Harmful or inappropriate tips, advice, or guidance
  • Competitiveness (who has had the worst experience)

Will a Porn Addiction Support Group Help Me Stay “Porn-Free”?

It depends on how much effort you put into staying “porn-free.”

There are some steps you can take to ensure that you remain “porn-free” following porn addiction treatment and while attending support group meetings, such as:

 

  • Be Careful Who You Tell

    Once you decide to attend porn addiction support group meetings, be cautious about who you tell your plans to. Because, contrary to popular belief, not every friend, loved one, acquaintance, love interest, or co-worker will be supportive of your efforts to better yourself and remain “porn-free.” So, take an in-depth look at your friends and family and decide who will help you achieve your goal of avoiding porn and who will use your misfortune to judge, criticize, or berate you.

    *Remember, the only way you’re going to remain “clean” is to surround yourself with supportive, non-judgmental people who only want the best for you. If your “inner circle” isn’t supportive, then remove them from your life asap!

  • Attend Weekly Support Group Meetings

    The truth is you’re not going to “fix” a porn issue by occasionally going to support group meetings. No, the best way to conquer a “porn habit” is to attend weekly meetings. Remember, porn is everywhere and it’s easily accessible, so you have access to it 24/7. As a result, you are in constant battle with it.

    Unfortunately, as long as porn continues to enter people’s homes through the internet, porn addiction will continue to be a reality. Understand that, as a recovering porn addict, you must be held accountable for your behavior, not just occasionally, but every week.

    It is equally important, however, that you always feel supported. That is where weekly group meetings come into play. During these weekly meetings, you’ll receive comfort and support from the other group members (also recovering porn addicts), who simply want to listen to you and empathize with what you’re going through.

  • Partner Up

    A good way to work through your “urges” to view porn is to “partner up” with another recovering porn addict. Partnering up will help you and the other person be accountable for your behavior (i.e., porn use or lack thereof). It can also provide you with the porn addiction support you need to keep going – even when you feel like giving up and giving in to porn. Partnering up can also make you feel less alone.

    Furthermore, going through the recovery process with someone else can provide you with someone to celebrate your accomplishments with and lean on when you’re struggling to stay “porn-free.” It allows you to develop mutual goals and cheer each other on so you accomplish them. But, if you don’t feel comfortable partnering up with a fellow recovering addict, ask your group facilitator, if he or she knows of a former porn addict, who had been “clean” of porn for a while. Then, ask that person if he or she will be your sponsor.

  • Be Willing to Learn from Others

    You’ll never be truly “free” from your porn addiction if you close yourself off from others, specifically your group facilitator and group members. In other words, the threat of porn will always be present, if you aren’t willing to learn from others. The truth is group members can help you stay “porn-free.” How? Well, just like you, they have struggled with excessive porn use.

    And, just like you, they’ve probably experienced similar emotions, challenges, fears, anxiety, embarrassment, shame, despair, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, etc. But, because each journey towards lifelong “sobriety” is also individualized, group members may have tips or suggestions that you haven’t thought about or tried. In other words, they may have valuable knowledge that could “cure” your porn addiction.

    So, listen to your therapist, follow your porn addiction treatment plan, attend weekly addiction support group meetings, and be open to acquiring the tools and knowledge you need to “squash” your “porn habit” forever!

  • Share Your Experiences with the Group

    If you want to “banish” porn from your life indefinitely, you’ll need to be open and honest about your experiences with the group. The truth is they are also trying to heal from a porn addiction, so they most likely aren’t going to criticize or judge you. The group needs to learn from you just like you need to learn from them.

    Believe it or not, a tool or technique that you use to remain “porn-free” may also work for some of your group members. But, you’ll never know if you don’t share your experiences with the group. Sharing your personal “story” with the group could even motivate some members to keep going when they want to give up. It could also make your group members feel supported, which is what every recovering porn addict needs to stay on track.

  • Refrain From Sabotaging Your Group Members

    This may sound odd, but you’re not going to successfully “quit” porn if you’re sabotaging your group members. What does that mean? Well, gossiping about members and/or undermining or competing with them is poor teamwork. More specifically, you’re being a poor team player when you behave in this way.

    The purpose of a porn addiction support group is to offer support and acceptance to all the members in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Thus, your role is that of a “student” and “supporter,” not a “know-it-all” and “sabotager.” But, you can’t be a “student” and “supporter” if you’re being unkind and “tearing your team members down” in the process. So, don’t do that. Be the person that people run towards – not away from and do your best to keep everyone’s spirits high. Because, when one person wins, you all win!

  • Avoid Becoming Too Confident Too Soon

    One pitfall, many “newly recovered porn addicts” make is becoming too confident too soon. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your accomplishments (i.e., healing from a porn addiction). However, don’t get cocky, because you are always at-risk of having a porn addiction relapse. Sad, but true, most recovering and former porn addicts experience a relapse at some point, so it is best to view porn addiction recovery as an ongoing process.

    So, even though you may be “clean” right now, you are still a work-in-progress. Becoming too confident too soon can cause you to relax too much, such as clicking on a porn site for a few minutes. Well, just like other addictions, all it takes is just one or two slip-ups to get caught back-up in a vicious “porn cycle.” So, try to stay humble and continue to work on being “porn-free.”

  • Invest in an Online Porn-Cessation Program

    Online Porn-cessation programs, like Stop Together, can help you become and remain “porn-free” indefinitely. Stop Together uses cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help reduce the number of hours you spend viewing porn each day, week, and/or month, control those “pesky” urges to view porn, focus on and improve your sexual health, and remain “porn-free” years after completing porn addiction therapy.

    With Stop Together porn addiction support, you’ll never feel the need to turn to porn to calm your nerves, reduce your stress, provide entertainment, or “escape” from unpleasant situations and emotions. And, with Stop Together, you’ll finally be able to live life on your own terms.

Where Can I Find a Good Porn Addiction Support Group?

Your doctor, hospital, or clinic can help you find a good porn addiction support group. Nonprofit organizations also have support group resources for sexual addictions, including porn addiction.

Listed below are credible and effective porn addiction support groups that can prevent porn from re-entering your life: