Episode 142: Ask a Coach: The Shame of Slipping Up

Uncategorized Oct 02, 2023

We are currently on a podcast season break and regular podcasting will resume January 1st 2024! While we’re on a hiatus, we are still going to be bringing you brand new content every single week by sharing an Ask a Coach Q&A from me or one of our coaches inside Overcome Pornography for Good.

The first question from Ask a Coach I’ll be answering on this week’s episode is all about processing the shame that comes from feeling like you’ve made progress and checked all the boxes, and yet, you’ve still slipped up and viewed porn. 

Listen in today to hear my answer to the question of slipping up and processing the shame that comes from feeling like you’ve failed. I’m showing you why slipping up doesn’t mean you’re not progressing, and the importance of not discounting the work you’re doing, even if it isn’t manifesting right away.

The Podcast Roadmap is a guide to the key podcast episodes to listen to if you’re brand new to the show! It’s got 12 of the most important episodes to check out while we’re on a season break, and you can get this list in your inbox for free by clicking here!

If you’re ready to do this work and start practicing unconditional commitment toward quitting your porn habit, sign up to work with me!


What You'll Learn from this Episode: 

  • Why you can be making progress and slip up at the same time.

  • How days without porn do not equal success.

  • The most powerful way to address shame.


Featured on the Show:


Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to the Overcome Pornography For Good podcast where we take a research-based, trauma informed and results focused approach to quitting porn. This approach has been revolutionary and changed thousands and thousands of lives. I’m your host, Sara Brewer. 

Hi everyone, welcome to Overcome Pornography For Good. We are currently on a season break, and regular podcasting will resume January 1st. But we are still bringing you brand-new content every single week by sharing an Ask a Coach question and answer from me or from one of the other coaches in Overcome Pornography For Good. 

Ask a Coach is a feature in the program, in our program Overcome Pornography For Good, where you can come, and you can submit questions or coaching and get a personalized response from a coach on our team. This is something that when you join you get lifetime access to, and you can submit as many questions as you would like. 

You can submit 10 a day, 20 a day, you could come back down the road in three years and submit a question. You’ll always get answers, you’ll always get help and support via our portal through the Ask A Coach function in the program. So you can submit questions. If you’re struggling you can ask for help. You can submit your learn and move-ons or other worksheets. 

And so what we’re doing right now is we are picking and choosing a few of these to answer anonymously, of course, here on the podcast until we pick back up with regular programming on January 1st. And I think you’re going to love it, it’s going to be so helpful and so good. And you get to hear from all the other coaches. 

So before we hop in I do want to talk about a brand-new free resource that I have for you all that’s perfect to announce during this podcast break. It is called the podcast roadmap. What this is, is it’s a roadmap of all of the key podcast episodes. With around 150 episodes, that can feel really overwhelming if you’re new to the podcast. So what we did is we created a roadmap. 

Here’s 12 of the most important episodes to listen to. You can listen to them in order or not, but we have those listed out for you and linked for you and you can sign up for that and get that in your inbox for free at sarabrewer.com/podcastroadmap. No spaces, no dashes, podcastroadmap. 

I really hope that you guys will go and take advantage of this. Even if you’ve been a longtime listener and you’re using this podcast break to maybe catch up on episodes, go and download the podcast roadmap to re-listen to those most important episodes. 

We also have our free masterclass that’s always available if you want just the quick and easy version of how do I quit porn, that’s sarabrewer.com/masterclass. It’s just an hour long, it’ll walk you through the process. It keeps it short and simple. 

And then, of course, we always have our program open. So you can come and join and work with us. You can start getting answers to your Ask a Coach questions, you can come and get coaching. Remember, it’s a lifetime access, so we’ve got the modules and all of the work for you to do in the program, the milestones to complete. 

And then you have lifetime access to coaching calls. We have multiple coaching calls every single week. We have specialized marriage calls, relationship calls, support calls. We have regular coaching calls, which are the ones that I do. We have calls on each individual milestone. Anyways, there’s so much in there. I won’t go into all of those details here, but you can see all the details of the program, sarabrewer.com/workwithme. 

All right, you guys, enjoy these Ask a Coach Q&As. 

Hey, everyone, it’s Sara. Today I am answering our Ask a Coach for the week. So today’s question is, “Last week, I’ve had slip-ups on days where I’ve done everything right. I spent time in the morning doing an Overcome Pornography For Good class and felt very moved and encouraged by it. 

That same day, I did a coaching call, and I had a very productive rest of the day. I checked all of my evening boxes, and then I had a slip-up at the end of the day. How do you process the shame that comes after you feel like you’ve checked all the boxes and still fail in the evening? I find that’s where the shame is the hardest to process for me. The next day I end up feeling pretty defeated. Thanks.” 

Okay, so at first glance, I think it’s really important that we re-define and kind of change how we’re tracking our success. You can be making a lot of progress and have a slip-up at night. Just because we have that slip-up at night doesn’t mean that you’re not progressing. 

And here’s what I mean by that. A lot of times we want to count progress as the number of days without porn. But what we’re learning here and what you’re learning in the podcast and in the program, is that you’re learning that success is really built off of all of these other foundational skills that are going to lead to not viewing porn. 

So if we have a weed and we just kind of pluck it off at the top, the weed is going to continue to grow back. But if we pluck it up by the root, then it doesn’t continue to grow back. And just looking at just the porn use is just like plucking it off at the top. Instead, we want to learn all the skills, the emotional management, the emotional resiliency, the mindfulness skills, the identity skills, the commitment skills, the inner child work, the inner healing, the buffering stuff that you’ve heard you’re all doing work on. 

So with that in mind, I want you to think about how you were successful that day. What did you do that is creating and building up these roots that are going to allow you to be very successful? It sounds like you did a class in the morning from the program, you worked through milestone work, and then you even came to a coaching call. 

Let’s not discount all of the work that you’re doing to learn the skills, even if it isn’t manifesting right away, okay? So you might have started working on the buffering milestone and learning how to feel and process emotions. And that’s something you have to practice a little bit and you might not have gotten it right away. 

And truly, truly, I mean, y’all know this, you can go days without porn, weeks without porn, and that doesn’t mean that you are successfully quitting porn. Because days without porn does not equal success. Lots of you have had those experiences where you go right back to it. We’re not doing that anymore. We are quitting and getting it at its root. And that’s going to take a little bit more time and it’s going to take a little bit more skills. 

And so another plant example. You see the plants, when they start to grow, their roots are what is growing first, and you can’t really even see it. It’s like growing, growing, growing under the surface. And then the little sproutling if that’s what it’s called. The little sproutling pops up. So that’s how we want to think about success here, is make sure that you’re doing the milestone work. 

And I have it laid out so easily for you in the program where, you know, checkbox, checkbox, checkbox, checkbox. Do this, practice this, do this worksheet, watch this video, do all these things. If you’re doing those things, you are making success. And let’s just put the porn use on hold, we’re going to practice it when we’re having urges. 

We’re going to practice all these things, but we’re not going to make it mean, like if we slipped up that night, we’re not going to make it mean that, oh, I’m not making progress, because that’s just not true. We need to change how we track success. We just have to keep going. 

Sounds like you’re doing a great job. If I was on the call with this person, face to face, I would say, it sounds like you’re doing a great job. Let’s double check and see if you have any questions about what you’ve been doing, what you’ve been working on so far. And let’s keep going. Let’s just kind of see how it goes. 

And if you see that you continue to have these slip-ups and it’s like an every single night thing after a long period of time when you feel like you understand the concepts, then we can maybe look a little bit more and see what’s going on. But I don’t know if there’s anything wrong here. I don’t know if there’s anything wrong here. I think we just have to keep going and keep practicing the things, okay? 

Second note, the shame. The shame that comes up. One of the most powerful things with shame is to address it with inner child work. And jeez, I need to do a whole podcast episode on this. And for those of you who are in the program, I will be having an actual class in the program on this, on how to do this inner child work. It’s going to be a brand-new, big, fun thing that we do in there by the end of the year. 

But how you can start this is when you’re feeling the shame, you can just ask and just play with the question like does this have an age? When did I first start feeling this? When did I first start feeling this sexual shame around pornography? For many people it’s when you’re 14, 13, 11, younger. Maybe not for you, but for a lot of people that’s what they find. 

If this had an age, what age would it be? And then you journal, like what did my little self there, what did my inner child feel? What were they told about this? Why is there so much shame around it for them? And then to really start to heal the shame it can be really, really powerful just to love and love and love on that inner child. 

So when that shame is really, really heavy, it’s that little 11 year old popping up who’s wounded and hurt and feels scared and feels horrible. How can we just envelop him in this big hug? 

I know you’re scared. I know you think you just messed everything up. And we’re okay and nothing’s wrong. And I’ve got you. And look, we’ve been okay. We’ve been okay. I’m sorry that you’re so afraid about this. I’m sorry that the conditioning you’ve received around this has been so painful. We’re okay now. We’re on the right track now. I found this podcast now, we’re going to be just fine. I’m going to take care of you. Don’t worry. I love you, right? And just like love, love, love, love, love on that inner child. 

Okay, those are my thoughts for you on this question. Thank you for being here and we’ll talk to you guys next week. Bye bye.

I want to invite you to come and listen to my free class, How To Overcome Pornography For Good Without Using Willpower. We talk about how to stop giving in to urges without pure willpower or relying on phone filters so that you can actually stop wanting pornography. 

We talk about how to stop giving up after a few weeks or months. And spoiler alert, the answer isn’t have more willpower. And then lastly, we talk about how to make a life without porn easily sustainable and permanent. 

If you’re trying to quit porn, this class is a game changer. So you can go and sign up at Sarabrewer.com/masterclass, and it is totally free.

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