Episode 1: Fixing the Root of the Problem: Escape

buffering escape root Jan 23, 2021

In the first three episodes of this podcast, we’ll be diving into how to get to the root of the pornography habit. There is so much misinformation out in the world that is preventing you from being able to quit for good, and this week, I’m starting by debunking the myths and showing you what it really takes to quit.

The first aspect of fixing the root of the problem that we’re discussing is the need to escape. The truth is that the habit has nothing to do with your sexual appetite and everything to do with feeling the need to escape. And I’m showing you why we tend to do this, not only with porn, but in every area of our lives.

Join me this week as I show you why you might be attempting to escape your emotions through buffers, and how they might be showing up in your life. Overcoming pornography doesn’t have to feel like a mystery, and this episode is going to clarify exactly why you might be leaning on porn right now.

As a celebration for the launch of the show, I am giving away one free adult electric scooter and three $50 Amazon gift cards. For details on entering the giveaway, click here.

Click here if you want to access my free training.

Ready to commit to quitting pornography? I would love to be your coach. Visit this link to work with me.

What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • The true reason you keep going back to pornography.
  • How to quit the habit for good.
  • What a buffer is and why porn is a buffer.
  • Why escaping through buffers doesn't help us move forward in the long term.
  • The best way to start opening up to your emotions.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 1, Fixing the Root of the Problem: Escape.

Welcome to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast, the show that will teach you how to stop viewing pornography and never go back to it. If you want to learn how to train your brain out of a pornography habit, completely shame-free, then this is the show for you. I’m your host Sara Brewer, a certified life and faith-based coach.

Well hello, I am so excited that you are here. Welcome to the podcast. I’ve been wanting to do this podcast for such a long time and I’m so excited to be here recording. I have so much good content for you. If you’re someone who wants to quit pornography this podcast is going to be game changing for you. So again, let me just introduce myself really quickly because this is episode one.

My name is Sara Brewer and I'm a life coach. A certified life coach who helps people quit pornography for good. And I love, love, love what I do.

If you're like most of my clients, you've tried to quit pornography before, but the habit came back. And just here in the beginning, I just want to take a minute and debunk some of the myths that many of my clients, before they start to work with me, believe about why they are viewing pornography.

Okay, so really quickly the reason that you haven't been able to quit porn, the reason that you keep going back to it isn't because you're not strong enough. Isn’t because you're not good enough. Isn’t because you're not righteous or spiritual enough. It's not because something outside of you is making you look. And it's not because there's pornography everywhere in our world. It's not because there's something wrong with your sex drive. Okay, that is all misinformation that just isn't true.

The reason that you keep going back to pornography and that you haven't been able to quit yet is simply that you've had the wrong information. That's it. Period. It's like you've been trying to fix the refrigerator with the manual for the microwave. You've just had the wrong information. And this wrong information has led you to band aid the problem and to use band aid solutions.

Solutions that don't really fix the root of the problem, but they just band aid it. Some of those band aid solutions are filters. And I love filters and I think there's a place for them. But it doesn't solve the actual problem, it's a band aid solution. Running away from the pornography, it's a band aid solution, doesn't work long term, right? Because pornography is always going to be there. Pushing it out of your mind. How many of you have heard, “Oh, sing a hymn” or “try to replace it with something else”? Okay, pushing it away from your mind, replacing it, those are all band aid solutions too that don't work long term.

And so the reason that you haven't been able to quit yet is because you've been using band aid solutions. And you've had the wrong information, you just haven't had the right information on how to do it correctly. And that's the purpose of this podcast and all these episodes that I'm going to share with you, is to give you the solution.

Okay, so that's what we're going to talk about these first three episodes. We're going to talk about how to get to the root of your pornography habit. The reason you haven't been able to quit is because you’ve had the wrong information that's led you to band aid solutions. And the reason to quit for good is to get to the root of the problem.

Just like weeding. I want you to think of this like you're out in your backyard and you're weeding. Imagine this giant root, you're trying to pull it out but you just kind of pick off the leaves, or you chop it off right with where it hits the dirt. It's going to grow back in just a couple days or in just a week. It's because you didn't pull the root out.

That's what we need to do with your pornography habit, is we need to get to the root and pull the root out. And once you pull the root out, your pornography habit will be gone. And you'll become someone who doesn't want pornography anymore.

There are three main ways that I want to talk about in these first three episodes on the root and how to fix the root of the problem. The first that we're going to talk about today is the need to escape.

So, I remember I first was introduced to this concept like 10 years ago. Before my mission I was reading this blog post by this guy named Russ Hill. I don't even know who he is, but I love him because of this one quote that I've always remembered. I read it, and it made sense, and I've always remembered it. But when I started my business a couple years ago, this just came right back to me.

And what he said, he said, “Pornography has nothing to do with sexual appetites, and everything to do with escape.” This blog post was titled Confessions of a Mormon Bishop and I really loved it. It was really interesting, it had a lot of really good nuggets of gold but this
one specifically, again, I'll read it again. It says, “Pornography has nothing to do with sexual appetites, and everything to do with escape.”

And I remember reading that and being really interested in that. And not really quite understanding exactly what it meant. And then when I went through all my coach training, and when I started learning all of these concepts, it brought this right home to me.

So, I want to teach you this today. Pornography is what we call a buffer. If you've followed me for a while, you've probably heard this before. A buffer is something that you do to escape your negative emotions. So there are tons and tons of buffers. Overeating, over shopping, over drinking, over video gaming, Netflix bingeing, et cetera, et cetera.

Anything that you do to escape your emotion is a buffer, right? So, “Oh, I'm really stressed, because of this test. I'm going to go drink a whole gallon of Mountain Dew.” Or something, right? Anything that you do to escape negative emotions is a buffer. That's the first part of the definition.

The second part of the definition is that it always creates a net negative effect. So it's an activity that you do to escape emotion that creates a net negative effect. So your life is always more negative because of this buffer, not more positive.

So here's how it might show up with your pornography habit. A lot of the times working with my clients I see it being an escape of stress around schoolwork. So you're stressed about a class or you're stressed about a test, or you're stressed about your workload, and you just feel like you need an escape. And so you look at pornography.

You can be using pornography to escape shame. I see this a lot, which is so fascinating. When you're not really aware of what's going on in your brain and you just feel so bad about yourself, you don't know why, but it just builds up and builds up and builds up. And then you look at pornography as an escape of feeling bad about yourself. It's like you're buffering away from the shame, that creates more shame. And it just is a cycle over and over and over again.

That might be what a lot of you are experiencing. Especially if you are in a religious setting where you've grown up and you've been taught not to view pornography, you’ve been taught that it's immoral. You feel shame about looking at the pornography and probably about other things going on in your life. You just don't feel like maybe you're doing what you were sent here to do, or you're doing what you want to be doing in your life.

The shame that something's wrong with me, something's wrong with me builds up to the point where you can't really handle it anymore. And you need something to escape that shame. And your go to buffer, your go to activity of escaping emotions is pornography. So you'll go look at pornography and it gets rid of it for a second, for just a second. And then it comes right back. And then you feel more shame.

You might be buffering away from boredom, maybe you're just not very good at feeling bored. You just don't like feeling bored. And so to escape that boredom you look at pornography. We're not very good at feeling bored in our world with constant stimuli, and internet, and TV, and just everything at our fingertips. We've really lost this ability to feel bored. So maybe you're buffering from boredom.

You might notice that there are certain times in your life where you have a lot of urges to look at pornography. If you’re like a lot of my clients, you don't really know why until you understand this concept of buffering.

So to share an example, I had a session this last week with one of my clients and he was like, “Okay, I'm feeling a lot of urges. Can you help me figure out how I can handle these? What I need to do to process through them. How I can handle this week.” We started talking and I said, “Okay, well, tell me what's going on in your week.”

His job was in jeopardy. There was a lot of stress about country events. Stuff going on with his family. So much stress. And I was like, “No wonder you're having so many urges to look at pornography. You're feeling a lot of a negative emotion. You're feeling a lot of stress, and worry, and anxiety.” He said, “Yeah, I am.”

So no wonder you're feeling so many urges. Your body is telling you; your mind is telling you, “Hey, we've got to escape. We've got to escape. We've got to escape.” Does that make sense?

So for you, I want you to think about what emotions, what specific times are you most likely to look at pornography? Is it during a test that you're trying to study for? Is it during a fight in a relationship? Is it when you're worrying about something happening?

Ask yourself, “When am I most likely to look at pornography? And what is my brain trying to solve by looking at the pornography?” Maybe shame. And the reason that you use pornography as a buffer instead of some of these other buffers, like overeating, or over shopping, over drinking, or video gaming, or Netflix bingeing is because that's what you've subconsciously trained your brain to do.

You might have other buffers, most of us don't just have one buffer. But the reason that pornography is one, instead of drinking or something else is because that's what you've subconsciously trained your brain to do.

So, if you would have started drinking alcohol to escape your emotions, your buffer would be alcohol. If you would have started doing drugs, you would be using drugs as a buffer. If you would have started overeating, over shopping, whatever, instead of pornography, that would be your buffer now.

And you just didn't know better. It's just what you use because that's what you had. And it's not a problem, we can untrain it. I want you to open yourself up to the idea that nothing's permanent. We can untrain any habit that we want to untrain.

So pornography is a buffer. It's a way to escape our emotions that creates a net negative effect. Because what we know is that running from ourselves doesn't work. Running away from our emotions doesn't actually help us escape. That's why that definition of buffer that has a net negative effect is so important.

Think about it, if you use pornography as a buffer away from shame, looking at the pornography does not solve the root of the shame. It does not solve the root of, “There's something wrong with me, I need to do something different. There's something wrong with me.” In fact, a lot of you experience more shame after looking at pornography.

If you use pornography as a buffer from restlessness, it doesn't solve restlessness. Usually you feel more restlessness after looking at the pornography. And then the next time you feel restless, you'll just have stronger urges.

If you use pornography as a buffer from stress, let's say stress from school. It doesn't actually fix the stress from the school; you see what I'm saying? You still have that test, or that assignment, or that class or whatever it is that you're stressed about. So you're still stressed about that when you're done. Plus you're stressed from wasting time. Plus you’re stressed from looking at pornography, which is something that you're trying to quit.

And not only does it usually create more of the emotion that you're trying to escape, but it also trains your brain to have more urges and to want the pornography when you have that emotion again. So if you're buffering from stress, not only are you more stressed after you buffer, but now you have more urges to look at it when you are stressed. It creates way more negativity than it does escape.

I'm going to say that again because it's really important. Buffers create way more negativity in your life than they create the actual escape. So if you're having this thought that, “Oh, pornography is just my buffer, that's okay. I need it. I need it to escape my emotions.” Yeah, your brain is using it to escape your emotion, but it's not actually working. It's like your brain has just been tricked. No problem, we just need to remind it that it doesn't actually work.

So if you were to ask yourself one question, one question that would change everything for you with your pornography habit, that one question is, “What am I desiring? And how can I get it without pornography?” When you feel a strong urge, when you start noticing this urge bubbling up to view pornography, ask yourself, “What is it that I really want? And how can I get that without pornography?”

Maybe what you're desiring is connection. Maybe you typically buffer from loneliness and what you need is some connection. Maybe what you need is to feel good about yourself. Maybe you typically buffer from shame, and to actually fix that shame we need to start feeling good about ourself and start being kind to ourself.

It's going to take this new skill of delving into what you're feeling and being really open and vulnerable about yourself and what's going on in your emotions. And the best way to do that, so simple. Just grab a paper and a pen and start writing.

Okay, this is your assignment from this episode. When you're feeling an urge, when you're feeling some desire to view pornography, grab a paper and a pen and set a timer for 10 minutes. Don't hold anything back. Just whatever is coming up in your brain just write, write, write, write, write. And see what comes up.

It's really, really easy to see what's going on with us. All we need is a paper and a pen. You just need to start writing. You'll go back and you'll read what you wrote and you'll think, “Oh my gosh, no wonder I'm trying to escape. Look at all these thoughts. Look at how much negativity.” Or look at the stress, or this worry, or whatever it is that you're trying to buffer from. You'll see it really clearly on that piece of paper.

Some things that you write might be, “I hate this. I'm bored. I have nothing to do. I'm antsy. What's wrong with me? Why can't I do anything right? I'm a phony. I should be better. I don't know what to do. I'm stressed. I'm lonely. I hate feeling lonely. I wish I wasn't alone.” And from that place, from seeing what's actually going on you can actually address what's going on.

So if you're bored, you can choose to proactively do something that would be fun, that you will feel good about. If it's shame, I go into this a lot in my free training. If shame is something particularly that you seem to struggle with, go listen to that.

But how we combat shame is with empathy. So reaching out to people. I love just being so honest. And this is very vulnerable to do, but I love this exercise for you if this is something that you struggle with. Reach out to someone you trust and say, “Hey, this is what I'm thinking and feeling about myself. I'm feeling really bad about myself, and I need some help. Can you offer me some empathy and love? Can you give that to me?” That's a vulnerable thing to do but that's a really great way to combat the shame. And then of course, offer that to yourself, offer empathy to yourself.

If you're feeling stressed, you can make a decision. You could tell yourself, “I'm just going to make a decision, I'm going to sit with it for the next 12 hours.” Or maybe you're feeling stressed about work. Maybe do the work, make a plan to do the work instead of just trying to run away from it.

If it's loneliness, you can go out or you can make a call. Right now we're in the middle of all this COVID-19 stuff. This might be a big one for some of you right now. If you've noticed your pornography usage going up this year it’s because there's a lot of weird stuff. There's probably a lot of weird negative emotions that you haven't been used to for a while. Maybe you're feeling extra lonely or extra stressed.

Okay, so from that place you can actually address these feelings and try to address what's going on. Or, and this is kind of the next step that we're going to dive into in later episodes and what I teach in my program, but I want to make sure I mentioned here. Or you can learn to sit with those emotions, without needing to change them, and just feel them. And that really is a huge part of this process.

I'm not going to go into depth here, but I want to just open your brain up to it so it can kind of be thinking about it in the background. So we can fix those emotions by addressing them and doing something to make them go away. Or we can learn to just sit with the emotions without needing to change them.

Some of you might be a little bit scared right now when you're thinking about diving into your emotions. And I get it. It can be kind of scary if you haven't done it before. Or it can be confusing if you haven't done it before. But this is just like jumping into a pool of cold water.

Have any of you been down to Southern Utah? There's some really fun water holes. I don't know about you, but I tend to get a little bit nervous when I jump into a pool of water because I hate cold water. And I just sit there, and I sit there, and I sit there, and I think about how cold it's going to be and how miserable it's going to be. Even if it's not that cold.

That fear of the cold water, that lead up to it is usually the worst part. It’s usually way worse to sit here and to think about it than it is to actually do it. It's usually that initial shock that's a little bit cold, but after two seconds you're totally okay.

And it's the same way with this emotion work. If you're nervous, if you're feeling a little bit apprehensive, the lead up to it, what you're making it mean, the fear that you're feeling is the worst part. When you just jump into it, dive into it, it's really easy. All you need is a pen and paper; you just write out and you try to see what's going on in your brain.

Okay, real quick recap. Buffering is something that you do to escape your emotions that has a net negative effect. We know that running from ourselves and buffering doesn't actually work. It usually just makes it worse. The emotion that we're trying to run away from, and it makes the urges worse the next time that we feel that emotion. And lastly, the one question that you can ask yourself that will change everything for you is, “What am I desiring? And how can I get that without pornography?”

In the next episode we're going to talk about those moments where you're really struggling with urges to look at pornography and you don't think that you're trying to buffer from anything. It just feels automatic, it just feels like it's happening to you. We're going to talk about that in the next episode, and I'll see you there.

To celebrate the launch of the show I'm giving away some really cool stuff to you, my listeners. Three listeners will win a $50 Amazon gift card and one listener will win an adult electric scooter.

All you have to do is subscribe, rate, and review the show on Apple Podcasts. This allows me to get my message out to more people who need it and it will enter you in the giveaway to win a $50 Amazon gift card or an electric scooter.

Go visit Sara brewer.com/podcast launch to get information. That's Sara Brewer without an H, S-A-R-A, brewer.com/podcastlaunch, all one word, to get all the information on how to enter that giveaway.

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