Episode 76: “I’ll Never Quit” Thoughts

Uncategorized Jun 27, 2022

We are addressing “I’ll never quit” thoughts this week. If you’re anything like my clients, the thoughts your brain loves to offer when it comes to overcoming pornography often sound like, “I’m never going to quit,” or, “I’m never going to figure this out.” But are these thoughts really true? 

How do you feel when you believe you’ll never be able to quit viewing pornography, or that your life will forever be ruined by this unwanted habit? Paralysis and fear are never far away, and actually quitting becomes almost impossible. However, the good news is these thoughts aren’t facts, and I’m showing you how to see the difference. 

Tune in this week as I show you how to examine your “I’ll never quit” thoughts so you can start chipping away at them. You’ll discover why these thoughts stop you from finding a solution to quitting pornography, and how to practice disproving these thoughts so you can replace them with something more empowering. 

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

What You'll Learn from this Episode: 

  • The difference between facts and thoughts.
  • Why you have to gain awareness of your “I’ll never quit” thoughts. 
  • How fear tactics affect the way you show up, and why they are often not a long-term solution. 
  • Why your “I’ll never quit” thoughts are not the truth. 
  • What the concept of equal airtime means, and how to implement it into your life.
  • How to start chipping away at your “I’ll never quit” thoughts.  


Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 76, “I’ll Never Quit” Thoughts.

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.

Hey, you guys, welcome to the podcast episode this week. I’m so glad you're here. It has been a really fun week. We just finished up our Overcome Your Most Difficult Urge workshop and it was really fun. It was a blast, I really enjoyed it.

I really enjoy those live events where I get to talk to a lot of you live and meet you and spend some time talking to you, even if it's through a screen. It's really fun. Maybe someday we'll do a live event if anyone's interested in attending those.

We have a number of wins that I do want to share. We had quite a few people join the program over the past three weeks or so and so a lot of the wins that I have here in my wins document, right? What I do is I document all the wins that I hear, and we use them to build energy in the program. We use them to share and to help other people.

We really try to create this win culture. That's really important especially with porn because a lot of the culture is let's focus on what we're doing wrong and on how we're messing up. And instead we want to change that to no, let's focus on what we're doing right.

And I love the thought and I love the belief everything is working and I'm overcoming porn right now and it's all working. It's all working and it's all happening right now. And so we see that when we really start to retrain our brains to focus on the wins. Oh my gosh, it's life changing. It's game changing.

And this is for anything, so take this and apply it where it feels the most useful for you in your life. But I'm assuming if you're listening on the podcast, it would be most useful to apply that with pornography. But I mean, it could be with work, it can be with family. How can we just celebrate everything that is working? All the wins we're having. As you focus on that you create more of that. When you focus on what you're doing wrong, you create more of that.

So anyways, a number of the wins were epiphanies people have had with joining the program and how joining the program has been a great jumpstart and all these great things. But a couple specific ones I wanted to share. One person said, “I had a win this week, being able to see that processing urges is not as complicated as I was making it out to be. So now I find it easier to process urges that I get throughout the day.”

Yes, so good. If you've heard me talk, if you've been listening for a while that term processing urges sounds familiar. When we're getting the hang of it, it sounds a little complicated. But then once you really practice and maybe get a little bit of feedback and learn it, it's very simple and very easy, right?

Like typing, remember when you were first learning how to type and you're like, wait, the letters aren't just an order? It's not A, B, C, D, E, F, G? You have to learn where they are. And now you type without even thinking about it, it's so natural and easy. It's the same with processing urges. And it's so much easier than using willpower, you guys, so much easier.

The other one said, “My greatest win this week is making the decision to join the program. I've had a lifelong struggle with body shame, which only in recent months I realized I had buffered with internet pornography for the past 25 years.

I discovered Sara’s program through someone's recommendation on brainbuddy.com. After listening to all the podcasts, I knew that I had to just join the program.” And then this is the part, this is the one that I love, “Overcoming porn is really about healing from shame. And that's my main goal, to heal from shame.”

So I love that, and I love that that's what this person recognizes for him is that it is about healing shame, especially because so much of his porn use is linked to body shame, right? And what a beautiful thing that is to do for yourself, to like commit and be like I am all in on healing myself from shame. Oh, I just get chills when I say that or when I think of that.

There is nothing more beautiful that you could do for yourself than heal from shame. Maybe that's my purpose in life, you guys, is to just continue to preach this healing from shame. That's how I started in pornography, to be honest.

I started coaching many people who were returned missionaries, and this came up over and over and over again. And all these tools that I teach you guys that I've learned with my life coaching, we started to apply it, started to get really good at applying it to porn.

It was working super well, but the big thing that I saw over and over and over again was shame, shame, shame. And that's what spoke to my heart. That's where I would get the full body chills and this deep desire to show people, listen, shame isn't required. It's not required, and you don't have to experience it to quit. And in fact, it's making it harder to quit.

And now I just want to share that with everyone in all aspects of their life, especially religion because that's something that we seem to see a lot, specifically in the program. And I say that, I don't want to, I hope you know for those of you who aren't religious at all or are concerned like, are my specific religious views going to be validated in this program or in this podcast?

There is no specific religious teachings. I think I have one bonus class that is about shame and spirituality, and I talk specifically about concepts of religion from the religion that when I started most of my clients were. But it's not religion based, you're not going to hear Bible verses. You can take it and apply it to whatever religion you have, or don't apply it at all if religion isn't your thing. So I just want to say that, but since that is something that seems to come up a lot, like that's something I want to preach and shout from the rooftops.

And maybe send me a message if you're interested in hearing more about this but shame and religion and spirituality, and how to get rid of shame in our spirituality. And how that doesn't mean that now we're justifying all the things and we're not doing what we should be doing. But how it actually increases our relationship with God. It helps us be better people and it helps us show up in the world in a better way.

I'm going on a little bit of a tangent here about this. But one thing I want to say is one thing that I heard in this workshop that I did, Overcome Your Most Difficult Urge, someone said there are groups in his religion that kind of look down on the self-development because it feels very selfish, and it feels like it's very focused on self instead of focused on others. And that's a little bit of a shame tactic that we use.

And you know, we don't want to think about ourselves, and we don't want to heal ourselves, we want to just focus on healing the world. And what I said to him, I said what I've learned is that when you heal yourself, you are much more able to heal the world. And so this isn't I'm only focusing on myself here or I'm justifying everything that I'm doing to feel good.

This is no, I'm doing deep inner healing so that I can quit porn. And when I quit porn, I change my family's life, I change my life, I help other people in similar struggles. And when I heal myself in general, when I do that I put healing into the world. It's just, I mean, you see it all over, all over. Hurt people hurt other people and healed people heal other people.

And if you don't take time, I mean, you can have the best intentions, you truly can, but if you don't take the time to heal the stuff that's really painful inside of you, you're going to unintentionally perpetuate that into the world. Okay, so it's worth spending time here on yourself.

All right, that was my little tangent. Let's talk about our topic today, which is I'll never quit thoughts. Thoughts like I'm never going to quit. I'm going to miss my opportunity. I'm going to ruin everything. I'm never going to figure this out. That brings a lot of fear.

So first thing I want to do here is it's important for us to gain some awareness. This thought, I'm never going to quit, I'm never going to figure this out, we want to see how this is a thought not a fact. And then we want to see what actions that this belief creates. As we get awareness of what this is actually doing it gives us power to change it.

So first, there's a difference between facts and thoughts, right? Fact, I viewed porn for X amount of years. I viewed porn for 50 years. I viewed porn for five years. I viewed porn for 20 years, right? Very factual, period. There is no drama behind that sentence, it is drama free. You can prove it. It doesn't mean anything, it's just like a fact, okay?

Another fact, I had granola for breakfast, period. No drama, drama free, I can prove that. Fact, I went to bed at 11 o'clock pm. Fact, no drama, drama free, it just is. It's neutral, it doesn't mean anything. There's no emotion attached to it. I viewed porn X amount of times last week. I looked up this thing on the internet, no emotion attached to it until we have a thought about those facts.

So our thoughts about facts create emotion. For example, the fact I had granola for breakfast, totally neutral until I start thinking, well I should have had eggs. Eggs would have been so much better for me, I would have stayed more full if I had eggs. What's wrong with me for not taking the time to cook some eggs, right? Whatever those thoughts are. That's what creates emotion and creates drama.

Similar to fact, I went to bed at 11pm doesn't mean anything until maybe you have a thought of, well that was stupid, I should have gone to bed earlier. Or wow, that was really early, I'm really proud of myself, right? You feel proud or you feel disappointed. You feel the emotions when you have thoughts about those facts. So it's the same with porn.

Fact, I viewed porn for X amount of years, and fill this in for yourself and make sure that it's factual and not exaggerated. So it's not a fact that I've just viewed porn for such a long time. Okay? That is not a fact, for such a long time means different things to different people. You want to get very factual, I viewed porn for X amount of years, or X amount of weeks or whatever. I viewed porn X amount of times last week. It’s something measurable, and factual, and neutral.

And the thing with these facts is that your brain is going to have a bunch of thoughts about it. And that's okay, just make sure that we separate them out. And so if you say, well I viewed porn for 30 years, and immediately you just feel defeated, disappointed. Notice that you're not feeling defeated and disappointed because you viewed porn for 20 years. You're feeling that way because of your thought about it. Okay?

Not everyone who has viewed porn for 20 years feels defeated. There are some people who are like, yeah, that's normal, feel fine about it, right? And I’ll view for the next 20 years, and this is just how life goes. And this is okay, and this is fine, right? There are other people who feel a lot of shame about that, there are a lot of people who feel very disappointed about it. There are some people who will look at that fact and feel neutral about it and think, yeah, I have and the next 20 years I'm not going to.

So your feelings around it are not dependent on the fact, your feelings are dependent on the thought. That fact alone, that teaching alone will change your life. Your feelings come from your thoughts, not from facts or circumstances or things from your past or things that are outside of your control, okay? So make sure to separate those out. Make sure to notice the facts versus the thoughts.

And we're going to go through a specific example here from a client from this last week because I think it's better when we can be a little bit more specific and then you can apply it to your own life. So a specific example from a coaching client last week, the fact was for him is that he viewed porn about once a week and his bishop said that we need to go more than a week between slip ups for you to put in your mission papers.

So for those of you who don't know, this client, he was trying to go and serve as a full time missionary. And you have to be approved by your bishop to do that. And his bishop said, “Listen, I think we just need to have a little bit more time between slip ups for you to put in your papers.”

So that's the fact. We can prove he viewed porn about once a week, we have some data there. And we can prove that his bishop said we need more than one week between slip ups to put in your papers. Okay, facts.

His thought about that was I'm never going to figure this out and I'm going to miss my opportunity. When he thinks that, I'm going to miss my opportunity, he feels fear. Now he doesn't feel fear because his bishop said we need more than one week between slip ups or because he's in this habit of doing porn once a week. He's feeling fear because he's thinking I'm going to miss my opportunity. You see the difference there?

And then here's another part of this awareness that is very important, we talked about when you feel fear what do you do? Very, very common. When we feel fear you hide and avoid, and you use willpower. And he said, and it typically leads to more porn use, or I just get very discouraged very easily and I do a lot of self-sabotaging.

Okay, so the porn use, this continued cycle of viewing once a week or more than once a week is coming because he's buffering from fear, because he's feeling a lot of pressure, because he's very afraid. Because the actions from fear are not actions that are actually going to help him quit, right?

So sometimes we think we need to scare ourselves out of quitting. And if that's you, if that's what you're thinking, I really want you to take some time and notice your brain and notice your body. When you are using fear tactics how do you actually show up? How do you actually show up?

Some people, maybe you're able to quit for a little bit of time, but not for long. Sometimes they're able to willpower themselves out of it, but we know that that's not a long term solution. Fear is not an adequate motivator.

And for those of you who read the Bible, right, we know this. God has not given us the power of fear. Fear is not from God, fear does not help us quit. This is very, very different. This is a very different technique than many of you have used for quitting porn. Many of you have used a lot of fear thinking that it's required. It's not and it doesn't work. So that's the awareness part.

The fear is creating more porn use and creating more cycles of viewing every week. What's causing the fear isn't what his bishop said and isn't the porn use. What's causing the fear is the thought, I'm going to miss my opportunity. And so the solution to change this cycle, and let me speak just for another moment about the actions from fear. Instead, like we want to think about what actions do we need to take to quit porn.

So this person is in the program, they know that they need to come in and do the program work, they need to learn the skills, they need to process the urges, do all the stuff in the milestones. He knows he needs to do that, he's not doing that because he doesn't have emotion that is helping him do that. Fear, from fear he does not come in and do program work.

Emotion that would help him come in and do program work might be commitment, or hope, or confidence. Imagine if he felt certain and confident, like of course I'm going to quit this, I just need to do the work. Easy, right? If he's feeling confident and certain, he's going to go and do the work. When he's feeling fearful and scared, he's not going to go in and do the work.

So in order to change the cycle, we need to get out of the fear. In order to get out of the fear we need to change the thought. The solution to getting out of the cycle isn't to just try to get more willpower and stop looking at porn less, that's not going to work. We've got to get to the root of it, which is this thought, I'm going to miss my opportunity and the fear that's driving that action, okay?

So once we understand that, we can start chipping away at this thought a little bit, I'm going to miss my opportunity. So first thing first, recognize that's not a fact. In fact, that is a made up future that he has already decided about his missionary experience.

It's not a fact that he's going to miss his opportunity. That's literally something that his brain is telling him. It's like he's using his imagination to decide that he's missed his opportunity when he hasn't. That's not a fact. It's actually pretty dramatic. And we laughed about this a little bit, in a loving way I say it's a little bit dramatic how our brains do this, right?

It's like babies learning how to walk. I love this example, imagine a baby learning how to walk and it keeps falling down, keeps falling down, keeps falling down. And eventually he's like, you know what? In order for me to run, I need to be able to take more than five steps in a row. But I've never done that before, I'm going to miss my opportunity. It's not going to work, I'm never going to be able to do it.

I'm never going to be able to run with the other kids. I'm going to have to be stuck here crawling for the rest of my life. You would look at that baby and you'd be like, you're fine. You're fine, this is the normal process of learning how to walk, is you fall down a bunch. Keep going, of course, you're going to learn how to walk.

But this client, our brains do this, right? I mean, and this client is young, 19 years old and has made this decision in his mind that no, he's going to miss his opportunity, and he's not going to be able to figure it out for the rest of his life. It's the same thing with a baby, you'd look at that baby and you'd be like, you have 100 years, of course you can figure this out. Now get up and let's go.

So noticing that that's not a fact and it's a little bit of a dramatic thing that your brain is doing, and maybe being a little bit more kind and loving and not judging yourself for that thought. But just noticing how our brains like to be dramatic.

It's also, you know, another example I love is a marathon. Imagine if you started running and maybe you've been training for a marathon for a little while. And let's even say you've been training for a marathon for five years and you haven't been able to run more than 10 miles.

First off, if that is happening it’s because you're obviously not training right and you're probably very sporadic with your training. Maybe you run here or there, you're not really committed, you're not really doing the right things. That would be very obvious to you.

But with pornography and quitting porn, we think, oh, I haven't been able to quit porn. There's something wrong with me, and I'm never going to be able to do it. No, it's because you haven't been doing the right training, you haven't had the right skills and you haven't had the right coach to help you learn how to do it. Just like with running a marathon.

Now, even if it has been 10 years that you've been trying, to give up and say, well for the rest of my life I'm never going to be able to learn how to run a marathon. It's just never going to happen for me. That would be ridiculous. Of course, you could learn how to do that. Of course you could learn how to do that.

Anyone listening to this podcast could learn how to run a marathon if you didn't give up, and if you kept trying, and if you pushed yourself. Even if it took you a whole other 10 years, of course you could. It's not that complicated, you just have to be consistent, and you have to have, like a really good schedule. And you've got to keep trying.

And even if it takes you 10 years, and that is way long to learn how to run a marathon, it doesn't need to take you that long. But even if it did, you would still be able to learn how to do it, okay?

So that's the first thing we want to notice with these thoughts that are like I'm never going to be able to figure this out. Notice that it's not a fact. And notice how it's a little bit dramatic. And I love, I love, love, love the example of Quinn, who we did a podcast with recently, who was able to quit even after 50 years of porn use at 63. He stopped telling himself, oh, it's been too long and I'm 63 and I'm never going to be able to figure it out.

And instead he told himself, no, I've got plenty of time. I'm a human, which means that I can change, humans are meant to change. My brain can still change, I can still rewire this brain. And just like I learned how to walk, and just like I went to school and got a degree, and just like I learned how to do all these amazing things in my life, and just like I got really good at my job over the years, I can learn how to quit porn.

That's another great skill and tool for you if you're struggling with this thought, I'm never going to be able to figure this out. Make a list of everything that you have learned in your life and everything that you have figured out when your life. And instead of being like, well, it's been 20 years and looking at that as evidence that you can't quit, instead look at this list and look at that as evidence that you can learn to do whatever the hell you want to do, including quitting porn.

Our brains are amazing. Go on YouTube, find evidence for why your brain can change and why of course you could be able to quit porn. Listen to those podcast episodes again that I've done with people who have quit porn and use that as evidence. Look at that evidence.

Don't look at the 20 years, you haven't been able to quit porn as evidence that you won't be able to for the next 20 years. Just like we wouldn't want a baby looking at evidence that they haven't been able to take more than five steps as evidence that they'll never be able to take more than five steps, right? That just doesn't make sense, it makes zero sense.

So that's the first thing we want to do, is we want to notice what those thoughts are doing to us, get some awareness around what fear is doing to us, how the root of it that we need to fix are the thoughts. And then recognize that they are not fact, they're pretty dramatic and they're just not true. They are just not true, okay?

Next is this practice of not believing everything that you think. Practice disproving those thoughts. Kind of look at this like you're a lawyer. If you were coming up with a case that you would be able to quit viewing porn and that this thought, I'll never be able to figure it out, you're a lawyer trying to disprove that.

Looking at it objectively what would be the case that you would come up with for that? And journal that and write that and embody that, oh my gosh, that'll change your life. And then you're still going to think that you're never going to be able to quit, and that's still going to come up for you. And that's okay. And that's normal because you've thought that for a long time, and you've trained your brain to think that. And that's okay, we're going to train it to think differently.

And so a really beautiful tool for you to start using is this concept of equal airtime. And I might have talked about this on the podcast before. But equal airtime, I Googled the equal airtime law which is really relevant with elections this year. But my quick Google search says that the equal time rule specifies that American radio and television broadcast stations must provide an equivalent opportunity to any opposing political candidates who request it.

So it's like if this political candidate has 30 minutes, then this other political candidate also gets 30 minutes if they request it. Equal airtime, okay? We want to apply this to our thoughts, too. If you are giving all the airtime to those thoughts that I'm never going to be able to quit, I’m never going to figure this out, you’ve got to stop doing that.

Why are we spending all of our time focused on that? That's not even what you want from your life, right? That's not even what you want from your life so why are you focusing on that? And instead, practice equal airtime to the future that you do want, the possibilities that you can create, the fact that you can quit porn, that this doesn't have to be a part of your life forever.

And give at least, at least equal airtime to that side of things as you do give to the side of things that I'm never going to be able to quit, I'm going to miss out and I'm going to lose my chance. We have to be onto our thoughts, and we've got to stop just believing everything that we think.

We've got to stop letting them run crazy with these thoughts that I'm never going to be able to figure it out and I'm just stuck here forever. It's not true. It's not true and I gave you a lot of tools here in this podcast to help you with that. So I hope that was helpful.

All right, you guys, that's all I have for you this week. Come and join us in the program if you want to apply it deeper and if you want specific help from me and want to come in and join and do all the work, and learn all the skills, and have someone tell you exactly what to do so you can quit porn for good. We're here for you, we want to help you. All right, have a great week. We'll talk to you next week. Bye bye.

I want to invite you to come and listen to my free training called How to Quit Viewing Pornography Even if You've Tried in the Past. If you like the podcast, you will love this free training. We talk about, number one, how to not rely on willpower or phone filters so that you can actually stop wanting pornography.

Number two, how to guarantee that you won't fail no matter how many times you've tried in the past. And number three, how to feel good about yourself while becoming someone who doesn't struggle with pornography. You can access this training at sarabrewer.com/masterclass.


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