4 Steps to Manage Temptations

By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSRRS, CCSAS, CPCS

As you know, we don’t cure sexual or pornography addictions, instead, we learn to manage them. To assist us, the following are 4 steps we should take when temptations hits.

Don’t React. Respond. 

This is a critical step. If you don’t get this one you will not be successful. Slow everything down. The key is to not rush off and act out but instead to sit with the emotions that have been activated by the triggering event. Find a place to be alone with your thoughts and feelings.


Conduct a Self Assessment.

I have come to discover triggers are heightened when we are feeling drained: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Try to determine in what ways are you drained at the moment. Identify areas where you feel out of sort. Ask yourself the question: ‘what emotions am I trying to run away from’?

Process Your Emotions (Ouch!)

You’re not going to enjoy this step because it requires dealing with your emotional pain. In order to manage your addiction, you need to learn to sit with your emotions and process them. As I tell my clients “you need to feel to heal”. Also understand, your brain is seeking a source of adrenaline to help you escape the emotional distress. Our normal escape has been unhealthy sex. By processing our emotions, we can make healthier choices to manage the temptation.

Make the Right Choice

After you have sorted through your emotional pain (I will write more about this process in future postings) you need to reach for a healthy Lifeline that will replenish you. Lifelines are different for everyone and could include: calling an accountability partner, taking a nap, exercising, journaling, spending time with the family, reading a book, going to a movie, etc. Remember, your current Lifeline has been unhealthy sexual practices and we want to find new Lifelines.

Finally, take a moment to journal how you handled each of these steps including what you believe was the initial trigger. You can use these notes to serve as a reminder of your victories over temptations.

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