Episode 110: Loopholes That Keep You From Changing with Tina Gosney

Uncategorized Feb 20, 2023


This week, I’m sitting down with returning guest of the show, Tina Gosney. Tina is a Certified Family Relationship Coach who helps LDS parents who have a child leaving the church, and she’s also an incredible coach and asset in our Overcome Pornography for Good program.

Tina recently introduced me to a concept called loopholes around habit change that came from Gretchen Rubin’s research. Our brains are sneaky and will always bring up excuses to keep us in self-sabotage, so if you’re trying to quit viewing porn but often find that you are working against yourself, this episode is going to help you understand what your brain is trying to do so you can get ahead of it.

Listen in this week as Tina walks us through the 10 loopholes that keep you from changing. You’ll hear why you shouldn’t let these loopholes send you into a shame spiral if you relate to them, and how to start questioning the loopholes that your brain tries to offer you. 


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:

  • What loopholes in this context mean. 
  • The 10 loopholes that keep you from changing.
  • How these loopholes sabotage your commitment to quit viewing porn.
  • Why our brains want things to be easy, and how to make things easier for ourselves.
  • How to start questioning and challenging the loopholes that your brain offers you. 


Featured on the Show:


Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 110, Loopholes That Keep You From Changing with Tina Gosney,

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 this week. I am going to share with you an interview that I did with Tina Gosney. She’ll introduce herself in a moment, but she’s also a coach in the program. We’re going to be talking about brain loopholes that keep you from changing. 

So our brains are sneaky and there’s all these things that it’s going to bring up that’s going to keep us in self-sabotage. This episode is going to be extremely valuable for you if you’re trying to quit porn. You’re going to gain so much awareness. It’s something that I am thinking about making a bigger part of my curriculum and doing a lot more content on. So please enjoy this episode and we’ll talk to you later. 

Sara: Hey, you guys, welcome to the podcast this week. We have Tina on again. Tina, you want to say hey? 

Tina: Sara, so glad to be back today. 

Sara: Yeah, we’re so happy to have you. So if you haven’t listened to other episodes, Tina is a coach in the program Overcome Pornography For Good. She was actually the first coach that I hired and I adore her. And she’s brilliant and she’s an amazing coach. And her clients adore her and she’s just such an awesome asset that we have and I’m just really excited to have you. 

Tina: You are too nice, Sara. Thank you. Yeah, but it’s kind of crazy that I was the first coach and now you have a whole team. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: Growing so much. 

Sara: There’s more and there’s more to come. 

Tina: Yeah. 

Sara: So, do you want to tell us - So Tina and a lot of the other coaches, they work in the program and then they also have their own businesses where they focus on other things. Tell us what you do outside of the program. 

Tina: I just love relationships, so that’s where I coach in my own business, is relationships because I think everything in our life really feeds back somehow to relationships. Whether it’s relationships with our family, with your friends, with co-workers, with your spouse. And everything really goes back to relationships with ourself. 

So I like to focus on family relationships and so much of that ties right in with that relationship with yourself. Which I do a ton of that also coaching for you. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: So there’s a lot of overlap there, but I have found that a lot of my clients, the reason, one of the main reasons that they’re struggling with porn is because they struggle just finding peace in their relationships with their spouse or their family in some way. And this is a coping mechanism for them to deal with that. 

Sara: Yeah, so cool. Right, when we talk about the iceberg of porn, we see the porn use at top, but really underneath is a lot of the other stuff going on. And what you’re saying is for a lot of your clients it’s all the relationship stuff. 

Tina: Yeah, for sure. 

Sara: Hard stuff. Relationships are complicated, dang it. 

Tina: They are so complicated. 

Sara: And it’s so funny because, sorry I’m going to try not to get on too many tangents. But I really like to be in control and I really like things to be simple. And relationships are not any of that. 

Tina: No, you don’t get either of those. 

Sara: And so I find myself being like, I’m a little averse to relationship stuff and it’s just something I’ve really had to work on and it’s been really good for me. Anyways, I love it. 

Okay, what we’re going to talk about today, and why Tina is here is because she introduced me to this research, or just this concept from Gretchen Rubin about loopholes that keep us from accomplishing goals. And we want to dive into them because they relate so well to what your brain is going to tell you that’s going to keep you from following through with your goal to quit porn. 

Tina: Right. And I’m going to give a shout out to my client, no name here, but I have a client who sent me this because I was talking to him about Gretchen Rubin’s four tendencies. And I said, “Hey, you might want to go take this quiz to see what tendency you are. That might be helpful for you as we are coaching and we’re trying to get you some results that you want.” 

And he totally went down a loophole. Not a loophole, he went down a rabbit hole and he found way more information than I even had. And he sent me this page, it’s a blog post that she did back in, a series that she did back in 2014. And as I was looking at this, I was like, “This is gold because this is so much of what we hear from our clients.” 

And so I was telling Sara we need to do a podcast on this and help people with the loopholes, the justifications that we use to get out of our own commitment that we’ve made to ourselves. 

Sara: Yeah, so good. So loopholes, again, like it’s justifications and help me define this. Let’s see, what does it actually say on the blog post? And we’ll link this too. So it’s gretchenrubin.com, the 10 categories of loopholes if you want to go and look at this. But it’s just basically like self-sabotage. Thoughts that we have that self-sabotage us or keep us from following through with what we want to do, and just ways that our brain comes up with to not do the hard thing. 

Tina: Yeah, the sneaky ways that our brains get us to not do the thing that will get us to the result that we want. The goal that we have in our mind. 

Sara: Yeah, our brain has an agenda to keep us comfortable and to put in the least amount of effort possible. And to seek pleasure and avoid pain. And so it’s sneaky. 

Tina: Yeah. And we think that it’s just us saying these things. That it’s just, this is just the way that it is, this is just the way that I am. But it’s actually our brain trying to be sneaky with us and to do all those things you just said. 

Sara: Yeah, so if we can point them out and recognize them and bring some awareness to them, it’ll give us a lot of power when we do experience them. So that’s why we want to talk about these. Let’s get some awareness so that when we hear them in our brain again, we can be like, “Oh, yeah, that’s one of the loopholes. That’s a lie. That’s a lie.” 

Tina: Right. Right. And we’ll give you some examples. And these are, for sure, not all inclusive. There’s others. Your brain might say these things in a different way, but just be open to your brain giving you these things, but maybe in different words, in a slightly different way, and it still applies. 

Sara: Yeah, yeah. So good. Okay. First one, do you want to tell us the first one? 

Tina: Okay. Well, the first one is the false choice loophole. Which I look at this one as the black and white, the all or nothing. So, like, I have to completely give it up or I don’t do anything at all. I have to go cold turkey, or I just have to not even try to give it up. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: It’s that all or nothing, black and white. 

Sara: Yeah, or even like day to day. You know, I viewed this morning and so it’s just done for the day. We’ll try again later. So I can view again for the rest of the day. 

Tina: Yeah, yeah. We can even look at it on that small scale. I think often we’ll find the word or, like I do this or I do that. But if we switch that or to and, then it becomes I can be working on giving it up and I can still have slip-ups. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: I can still have a slip-up this morning, and I can start right now for the rest of the day. 

Sara: Yes. And even, so this came up recently in a coaching call, like I can be in integrity and be following through, and have slip-ups. It’s not either or. It’s not either imperfect or I’m in integrity, or I’m not in integrity. You get the idea. 

Tina: Yeah. And one that I’ve noticed just a lot lately is, well, I can want to give up porn, and part of me can still want it. 

Sara: Yes, so good. Yeah. 

Tina: We can have both of those be there at the same time, and it doesn’t have to be wrong that they’re both there because it is a process of I’m learning to not want this, and I’m still wanting it. But that’s okay. I’m in the process right now. 

Sara: Yeah, I love that. That’s such a good point. It’s okay to want porn, and you wanting porn is not going to keep you from quitting porn. 

Tina: Yes, which I think is really confusing to a lot of people. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: I think they don’t see how those two things kind of can be there at the same time, but they can. 

Sara: Yeah. Really good. Okay, so how do we get out of this loophole? Or how do we start to question this loophole? 

Tina: I think we bring in the and. We start questioning that black and white thinking. We start questioning if it’s all this or all that. It doesn’t have to be black and white. In fact, with this same client that brought me this whole blog post in the first place, he was having a lot of black and white, and that’s what we’ve been working on a lot. How do I let these things be here and still have this over here too? 

Sara: Yeah, really good. Really good. How can I recognize that I acted outside of my value system and maybe I lied, and maybe I did something that I didn’t like. And I’m also good and worthy. I did things that weren’t good, and bad in some ways. And I’m good and worthy. That came to my mind, I know that’s not what you were saying. But that’s another thing that I’ve been thinking about a lot. 

Tina: Yeah. 

Sara: Because I think sometimes people, you know, when I talk about worthiness and I talk about not shaming ourselves, they get that maybe mistaken with not ever admitting that we did something wrong. 

Tina: Yeah, for sure. 

Sara: Okay, let’s go to number two. So number two, it’s called the moral licensing loophole. 

Tina: And I think we see this one a lot, actually. 

Sara: Yeah, especially in Ask A Coach, I think.  

Tina: Yeah. And the example she gives here is, I’ve been so good, it’s okay for me to do this. I’ve coached a lot on that, actually. It’s the, I’ve been so good for so long, I deserve this. I deserve this reward. I’m entitled to a treat. 

Sara: Yeah. Yeah. 

Tina: I think I’ve actually heard those words one time. I’m entitled to this. I’ve worked so hard today, I need a treat. 

Sara: Yeah. So are you, like do you see this, well probably both, but specifically with I’ve been doing so well? Or is that a separate one? Like I’ve been doing so well, I haven’t viewed in like two months. I deserve it today. Or is it around, oh, I just had a really good day. I have been working really hard. I’ve been doing really well in my general day, and so I deserve this.

Tina: I think both of those come up. And some of these loopholes, I saw some overlap in them. So it’s okay if we talk about that one again with a different one because I think it’s really relative. But I’ve seen both of those things happening. It’s like, I’ve worked so hard at doing this bad thing that I didn’t want to do, that I deserve now this good thing that I really want. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: And how does that, like how does that sabotage us? To be thinking of even those things that we’re doing as this bad hard thing over here and this porn is still this good treat over here, I mean that for sure is going to be a sabotage in itself. 

Sara: Yeah, well, and I think that’s the key, right, is seeing the porn as a reward and as a treat. 

Tina: If we’re classifying it that way, it’s always going to feel like we’re being deprived if we tell ourselves we don’t get to have it. 

Sara: Yeah. Yeah. Right, because there’s nothing wrong, at least in my opinion, I think it’s great to give yourself some treats every once in a while after a hard day. But I think where the problem comes in, is when you’re using the thing that you’re trying to quit, or that you’re trying to change, so in this case pornography, you’re categorizing that as the treat. Is that what I’m hearing you say? 

Tina: Right. Yeah, exactly. 

Sara: What I remind my clients, too, I’m like, listen, the more you view porn, the more you’re going to want porn. And so just recognize that every time you give your brain that dopamine hit, it’s reinforcing that in your brain that we get this pleasure and we’re going to seek more of this. The more you view it, the more you want it. And so, “I’ve done really well, I deserve a treat,” kind of puts us back. 

Tina: And you can see the same thing with somebody who’s trying to quit sugar. If you just cut it out of your life, you stop wanting it and you stop having the desire for it. But if you let it in once in a while, then you just bring it back in and then all of a sudden, you want more. And it’s harder to say, “No, I don’t want that again,” right after you’ve had some sugar because your brain is just like, “Yeah, we want that again. We want that again.” And it just feeds that. 

Whereas if you’re just like, “Yeah, I’m not doing that anymore.” Then the desire starts to fade. 

Sara: Yeah, so good. That’s so funny, yeah, because if you go without sugar for a few weeks, a few months, you don’t feel like you need it. And then you have one night or you have cake and cookies, and then you just crave it like for days after. 

Tina: Yeah, and then it’s so hard to not go back and do more. 

Sara: Yeah, so hard. Okay, really good. So, here, and I’ll let you pipe in, but what I’m hearing here with this loophole is the way to start to get out of this loophole to change what we’re defining as a reward. And so really asking yourself, like, if I did not want pornography, if I was someone who didn’t struggle with porn, didn’t want porn, what would I give myself as a reward? How would I wind down after a hard day? What would I enjoy pleasure and satisfaction from? 

Tina: Yeah, I think that we need to classify the way that we look at things. I also think we need to really look at going back to that relationship with ourselves. What is a good thing to be giving to myself as a treat, as a reward? Like if I was gonna give my child something that was going to be really good for them because I love them so much, what would that be? 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: And then answer that question from there. What can you classify as a reward that is so loving and so kind? 

Sara: Yeah, really good. Really good. It reminds me, I did an episode a while ago on deprivation and desire. So if you’re really struggling with this one, go and listen to that podcast episode. But I talked about the way to get out of deprivation is to change the desire. And we have to look at the desire, not just the deprivation. And that’s kind of what I’m hearing too, with this loophole. 

Tina: Yeah. 

Sara: And also maybe questioning like, do I deserve it? That’s something that I question with clients too. Like, I deserve this reward, I deserve this porn. Maybe you deserve something better. Maybe you deserve to not look at porn. Maybe you deserve a life without porn. Maybe what you really deserve is not just giving into the porn and making it harder for yourself. 

Tina: Well, and that word, deserve, I mean, you could look at that word different ways. Like as a reward or as a punishment. It means both things. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: We use it both ways. So in what way are you using the word deserve? Like I deserve this. Like, oh, I deserve that. Deserved that thing I got. Or I deserve this because I’ve worked so hard. Like, what way are you using the word deserve? 

Sara: Yeah, really good. Okay, and we could dive in, we could talk about every single one of these like a whole podcast episode. So we’re just kind of giving a little introduction and some new ways to think about this and to be aware of these. 

So number three, I’ll read it and you want to explain it? 

Tina: Sure. 

Sara: Okay. Number three, it’s called the tomorrow loophole. 

Tina: Okay. Which, and she gives this example, it’s okay to skip today because I’m going to do this tomorrow. Immediately, I don’t know. Anyone in my generation, which you are in a different generation, Sara, but Gone With the Wind, it reminds me of Scarlett O’Hara who wanted to do everything tomorrow. 

So we hear this all the time. Like, I’ll just start tomorrow. It doesn’t matter right now because I’m starting tomorrow. Or this one, I have to do this as much as I can. I need to indulge in this today, because tomorrow I’m quitting. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: Or tomorrow, I’m going to really start trying tomorrow, which we never actually get to tomorrow. 

Sara: It never ends. It never ends. When you indulge in that loophole it just, or maybe you do do it tomorrow. But then the next day you don’t. And then you say tomorrow or the next day. 

Tina: There’s always tomorrow. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: We can always push things off until tomorrow. 

Sara: Yeah. Yeah. So what comes up for you around this one? What do we do about this one when it comes up? How do we challenge it? 

Tina: I think when we’re doing this, we’re fooling ourselves. And I think that a lot of these feed into like, we’re not actually being truthful with ourselves when we tell ourselves these things. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: If we’re not really truthful to ourselves when we’re talking to ourselves, then we’re not ever going to be able to change the behaviors that we’re saying we want to change because our behavior is going to show us a lot more of what our intentions and our desires are than the words that we say. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: Our behavior will reflect that. 

Sara: Yeah. And it’s really important, this is why I think shame is so important to address. Because when you feel so much shame around it, you’re not going to be honest with yourself. You’re going to say, “Yeah, I’m trying, I’m going to do it tomorrow.” When the reality is you don’t want to try, or maybe you don’t want to quit, or there’s a lot of hesitations to quit. And if there’s shame, you’re not going to be able to be honest about that and admit it to yourself. 

Tina: Right. Right. So deal with the shame first. Just forget about the loophole for a minute and deal with the shame if that’s the case. We always want to address that first. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: She says that there was a study that was done when people made a shopping list for what they were going to eat the next week, and 70% of people said they were going to eat fruit instead of chocolate. But then when they were asked what they were going to choose right now, 74% picked chocolate instead of fruit. 

Sara: Really? Wow. 

Tina: Yeah. We have such great intentions for tomorrow. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: And that’s because it doesn’t force us to do the hard thing right now. 

Sara: Yeah. It’s because our brain wants pleasure. It wants to seek pleasure and avoid pain. 

Tina: Yeah. But tomorrow is always in the future. What we have really, is today. Sometimes it just requires us being honest with ourself and saying, “Okay, if I’m really wanting to quit, then today is the day.” It’s not tomorrow. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: Today is the day that I can make a change. Tomorrow will never come. 

Sara: Yeah. And even I like the idea, too, of changing instead of looking at linear days, just moment to moment. You know, this is the moment. So even though I slipped up earlier today, I have this moment and I don’t have to go into a binge cycle. Or I can do the learn and move on and we can figure out what’s going on. And I’m having urges because I viewed earlier this morning and so my brain is reminding me how great it is. I can handle these urges and I can practice these urges today, even though I slipped up earlier. 

Tina: Which that helps so much with that black and white with number one, that false choice loophole. It helps us get out of the black and white if we’re looking at it that way. So I love that. 

Sara: So good. Okay, let’s keep going because we have ten to go through. 

Tina: I know. We did three so far, I think. 

Sara: Okay, so we’ll keep going and we’ll try to get these all done. Not too fast, but let’s do number four. Lack of control loophole, which is I can’t help myself. 

Tina: I can’t help myself, yes. And I think along those lines goes thoughts like, well, I know I’m going to do it eventually so I might as well do it right now. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: Or, if I see something, of course I’m going to click on it. I don’t have a choice. I can’t help myself if I see something. 

Sara: Yeah. Oh, we hear that all the time, don’t we? 

Tina: Another one is, my life is so stressful right now, I don’t have a choice. This is the only thing that will help me to get through what I’m going through right now. 

Sara: Yeah. Or recently I coached someone and they were driving and they were like, “I had no choice, I was going to fall asleep. And so I had to look at porn to keep me from falling asleep.” And as you talk about it, you can see how it clearly is a loophole and a lie to yourself. 

But if you’re listening to this podcast and if you’ve heard me talk about the skills, and if you’re in the program, you don’t have this excuse anymore. You can learn and practice these skills, and you have so much more power than you think you do. 

Tina: There’s so much great information and tools that you teach in the program that, really, if someone is still using this loophole, it’s because they either haven’t gotten into the program and learned the things that they need to learn. Or they’re not understanding the tools that you’re teaching. And they need to come into the Ask A Coach and get some clarification on how for this to not be a loophole for them anymore. 

Sara: Yeah. Yeah, I wonder if this loophole maybe comes from like the willpower and just being stuck in willpower for a long time and not knowing how to get out of it. It could sometimes be that. And it can also just be a lie that we tell ourselves, well, there’s no other option. That feels nice, right? Like when we think that? 

Tina: Yeah, it feels nice. Well, and when we tell ourselves, “I don’t have any control over this,” it turns us into a victim because we’re a victim of whatever it is that’s controlling us. Like, I don’t have a choice here. And victims don’t have choices in their life. But we can learn how to take control back and look and see where our control and where our choices lie. 

Sara: Yeah. Yeah, I hate that phrase, “I’m powerless. I’m powerless to this.” Especially around the pornography stuff that I see, because it really does keep people in maybe this lack of control loophole. I don’t have control. 

So this work, too, is going to be learning to think about sexuality differently than many of us have been conditioned to think about it. Many of us have been taught a lot of fear around it and that there isn’t control around it. And that’s why we’ve really got to control our environment. And then when we do have a sexual urge or a sexual thought, oh no, I don’t know what to do. I have no control. I see something, I have no control. 

Tina: Right, like the perfect storm. 

Sara: Yeah, perfect storm. You’ve got to undo some of that conditioning. Okay, well, anything else you want to add to this one? 

Tina: No, that one’s good. I think that’s a good one. Oh, number five is a good one too. 

Sara: Tell us. What is it? 

Tina: Planning to fail the loophole. So this one, I see this one is so sneaky. And I can tell you that this one I see more often comes in when somebody’s been making progress. And it looks usually like this, “Well, I was just going to watch a couple of YouTube videos. And then all of a sudden, this thing popped up and I don’t even know what happened, I was watching pornography.” 

Sara: Yeah, yep. 

Tina: Or I was just checking my Facebook feed and then all of a sudden it was there. And I just didn’t have any control, it was there. But if you do enough coaching on those two things, you find out that they were getting on those platforms, with this little sneaky thought in the back of their mind that if I see something, then I’m not responsible. Because I didn’t go seek it out, it just found me. 

Sara: Yes. 

Tina: And it’s the way of getting past the commitment and the responsibility for ourselves. 

Sara: Yes, I see this one all the time too in our big group coaching calls. Like, I was on social media and something just popped up. And you get to the bottom of it, and you get rid of the shame and you’re like, okay, if we’re just looking at this objectively, were you hoping to find something on social media? A lot of the time it’s yeah. 

Tina: Usually that’s there. It’s hidden, but usually we’ll find that there. 

Sara: Yeah, totally. 

Tina: Yeah. 

Sara: Totally. 

Tina: We say we want these things, but then we let things like that creep in and we actually make it harder for ourselves. And I don’t know, it’s just a human thing, but we want to be looking for ways to make it easier for ourselves and not harder. Because our brain, like you said at the beginning, it wants things to be easy, right? So we don’t like pain, we don’t like things that take a lot of energy. So let’s just make things easier for ourselves. 

Sara: Yeah. Yeah, one thing with this loophole, when we find that they’re kind of planning to fail, is we talk about processing urges before it’s like an actual, sexual, big urge. And so noticing and being able to admit to yourself there is a little bit of an urge to scroll social media, we’re going to stop and we’re going to process this urge to go and search something out. 

And, again, this is like if we can look at ourselves a little bit more neutrally and with compassion, without shame, it’s a lot easier to admit to ourselves when this is happening. 

Tina: Yeah. And I think that really is work that we do once we start getting past those big, apparent, blatant, obvious urges. Those are the ones we deal with first, but then they get more nuanced. 

Sara: Yes, good point. 

Tina: And they get sneakier. And they get a little less big and huge and noticeable. So that’s the work we start doing once we get we know how to deal with the big ones, we’re learning how to deal with the little ones. 

Sara: Yeah, that’s a really good point. Yeah, we do see this a lot with someone who’s had some really good success and we’re just working through stuff. Again, this isn’t a problem. This doesn’t mean that you’re doing everything wrong. It doesn’t mean that you’re falling back to square one. It’s just like, oh, the next level. The first level was the big urges, the next level are these little sneaky ones.

Tina: And isn’t that a great place to be? 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: You’ve worked through the big ones, now let’s work on the smaller ones. 

Sara: Yeah, they’re easier. 

Tina: Let’s work on those sneaky ones, yeah. 

Sara: Okay, number six. This doesn’t count loophole. 

Tina: Mm-hmm. I’m on vacation, it’s the weekend, I’m so stressed, it’s the only way I can get rid of it. Just those, it’s just the same thing as with food. Like, oh, calories don’t count on the weekends. Or it’s the weekend, I want to indulge, I want to let loose a little bit. I don’t want to be as strict as I was during the week. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: It’s the same idea. But weekends do count because they’re still part of our life. 

Sara: Yeah. Yeah, what if we saw Saturdays and Sundays the same as we saw Mondays and Tuesdays? This sounds similar to, was it the first one or the second one? Anyways, one of the earlier ones where we’re using it as a reward and as something that’s really desirable. And so the way to get out of this is to really, you have to change your identity that we’re not using this as a reward anymore. It’s going to be kind of hard. 

Tina: Yeah. Well, identity shifts are always the hardest, I think, but they’re actually where we get the most value in the work that we do, is by changing our identity and who we believe that we are. I’m just a person who does this every day of the week, not just on weekdays. 

Sara: Yeah. Yeah. And this is very similar to Rachael Hart, who I love. She talks about not over drinking. It’s very similar to that, people who want to quit drinking alcohol need to stop seeing alcohol as a reward and stop using it as a way to make themselves happy and to experience pleasure. If you were someone who didn’t struggle with alcohol, what would you do instead? 

What would you do on the weekends instead? What would you do at parties instead? How would you find pleasure and joy instead of alcohol? It’s the same thing here with porn. 

Tina: Yeah, exactly. 

Sara: Cool. Okay, anything else here on this one? 

Tina: Nope. Let’s go on to number seven. 

Sara: Okay, you’re going to have to explain this one to me because I don’t know if I understand this one. 

Tina: I will. 

Sara: Number seven is a questionable assumption loophole. 

Tina: We tell ourselves things and we just assume that they’re true without questioning them. So things like, I won’t be able to study or work until I go ahead and do this. I have to do this to be able to have the focus to go ahead and study and get my work done. 

Sara: Yeah, okay. 

Tina: Or this is the only thing I can do that helps me sleep. 

Sara: Yes. Yeah. 

Tina: If I indulge right now, I’m just going to be so disgusted with myself I won’t do it again later. 

Sara: Yeah. Or like, I need to get it out of my system. Is that another one? 

Tina: Yep, got to get it out of my system. Or, if I just do this a little bit, that doesn’t really count. So we tell ourselves these things, think that they’re true, and then that’s why she says they are assumptions and they’re questionable. We just believe that they’re true because we told them to ourselves. 

Sara: Okay, so how do we question that? Because, like, let’s take one specific one. How about the sleeping one? I need this or I’m not going to be able to sleep because I’m just going to be up all night with urges and I’m not going to be able to focus and I’m not going to be able to sleep. 

Tina: Well, plenty of people do learn how to sleep. They know how to sleep without using pornography, first of all. So that’s not a truth, that’s just universal in the world. But sometimes we just take things as fact without looking like maybe something else is true. It probably does help you sleep, and you probably will have some struggle learning how to sleep a different way. But is there a different way that you can learn how to sleep? Let’s just do some exploration there and see what it is that can also help you to sleep. 

It’s that getting into the and, instead of using the or, like that first one that we talked about. Yeah, it helps me sleep. And there’s probably something else that can also help me sleep. I’m going to try to find out what that is. 

Sara: Yeah, really good. Really good. I’ll get this out of my system then I won’t, I’ll just be able to move on with my day. Yeah, what would you say about that one? 

Tina: I’ve actually coached on that one quite a bit lately. When clients think, okay, it’s just going to take like 10, 15 minutes. I’m going to get it out of my system, it won’t affect the rest of my day. And then I can go on and do, you know, whatever it else is that they wanted. What usually ends up happening is that 10 to 15 minutes doesn’t just affect that 10 to 15 minutes. 

It affects then the way that they’re feeling about themselves, which carries into the rest of the day and sometimes into the next day. And so it’s actually affecting way more than just this little limited period of time that they said it was going to. 

Sara: Yeah, really good. 

Tina: And once again, when we’re honest with ourselves, we can see that when our brain is giving us that loophole, saying it’s only 10 to 15 minutes and then I just don’t have to think about it anymore, that’s not actually true. It’s actually affecting way more than just 10 to 15 minutes. 

Sara: Yeah, so good. That’s so true. That’s so true. Yeah, that’s so true. And I’m just remembering a coaching call where we talked about this specifically. And it’s like, yeah, actually, my day was not better after I viewed porn because then I had to deal with all of the shame that I’m working through, too. So now, I just ignore the urges, but now I’m working through all this other stuff that’s coming up. 

And then, remember, every time we view porn, our brain wants more porn. And so it affects it a little bit long term, too. 

Tina: Yeah, just like sugar. They’re both over desire, dopamine inducing substances. 

Sara: Yeah, really good. Okay, number eight. Do you want to read this one? 

Tina: This one I was struggling, I’ve got to tell you, I was struggling to connect it to what we’re talking about. So maybe you can help me here. 

Sara: Sure. 

Tina: Because it really deals with other people. Because if I do this, it will make other people uncomfortable. So I haven’t seen this a whole lot, maybe you can give some insight here. 

Sara: Well, what comes to my mind first is I’m doing it so I don’t bother my spouse. 

Tina: Oh, yeah, I guess there’s that one. 

Sara: I don’t know if that relates, but sometimes we hear that. It’s like, I don’t want to bother them or, yeah, that’s the first one that comes to mind. 

Tina: It’s really looking at if I am trying to change this behavior, then it might make other people uncomfortable. For instance, and I have an example, I keep going back to foods because I’ve been working a lot on my own health and fitness for the last year, so those are just the examples that come to my mind. 

But if I gave up sugar a year ago and it makes other people uncomfortable when they bring me something, especially around the holidays when we get together with friends and family. And if I’m not eating their thing that they brought to the party, they don’t like that. And people are always trying to get me to, hey, why are you eating that? What’s wrong with you? 

And so people don’t like it when you start to change and do things differently than you did before. It makes them uncomfortable. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: I think that’s really, this is feeding into the core of this concern for others loophole, I don’t want to make other people uncomfortable by me changing so I’m going to stay the same. 

Sara: Yeah, I think that totally applies to porn even in like more of a general just identity sense of changing who we are. Because when we change who we are and we up-level, sometimes that makes other people uncomfortable. 

Tina: I think often it makes other people uncomfortable. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: I think that’s the norm rather than the exception. 

Sara: Yeah. Yeah. I think you’re right. And then other people, they want to hold on to this way that they’ve been thinking about you and seeing you. And when you change from that, unfortunately, not everyone is super supportive when you better your life. It’s kind of a bummer. 

Tina: Right. And I think when we do find that, it just tells us more about where they are, rather than as a reflection on us. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: Other people, the way that they react and act towards you and with you has a lot to tell you about where they are in their lives more than it is where you are in your life. 

Sara: Yeah. That one’s hard for me, actually. That’s one that I need to look up for me. Okay, let’s go to number nine, which is the fake self-actualization loophole, which it says here, “You only live once, embrace the moment.” 

Tina: I’m going to go back to eating the sugar thing because those are the same things that I would hear people say to me. Those same types of sentences or justifications. Like, come on, it’s the holidays. You have to eat this on the holidays. You can’t go through Christmas without having this thing. You always do this, right? 

And it’s the same, like you only live once. Don’t try to deprive yourself, that’s no kind of life. What kind of life is that if you’re depriving yourself? But actually, when I have been working on changing myself and the way I’m taking care of myself, that for me, is not the way I want to live. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: And so embracing a moment for me, like I’m going to embrace this moment to take care of myself. Because living that other way that I lived does not feel like a healthy way of taking care of myself and a way to show love to myself. 

Sara: Yeah, the way out of this one, it sounds like, is just this future focus thinking instead of present pleasure. And so giving up what you want right now in this moment for what you really want in the future, right? We’re not quitting porn just to be miserable. 

Tina: No.

Sara: You’re quitting porn because that’s what you want for your life. You have this beautiful vision of a beautiful life where you’re not stressed about urges, where you feel in total control, and you have beautiful relationships with people that you love. That’s what we want. Let’s give up what we want in this moment right now for what we want in the future. 

Tina: I love that. One thing I ask my clients on our very first appointment is, what is your life going to be like when you don’t have porn, when you don’t desire porn anymore? Every single time I’ve gotten this glowing, “I’m going to have so much better relationships. And I’m going to feel so much better about myself. And I’m going to know how to handle hard things.” And I hear all these wonderful things, yet that animal instinctual brain of ours will just try to convince us that what I want right now is more important than that thing that I really want in the future. 

Sara: Yeah. Oh, jeez, I think that’s just like one of the –  If you can develop that skill, you can be so successful in any area. If you can learn how to put that future self before current pleasure and just dopamine hits, everything will change for you. And pornography is a really beautiful place to start practicing that. 

Tina: One thing that we really need to do to practice that future self, to move into that future vision of ourselves, is to have it written down. Like I am becoming... And we write down who we are working and becoming and we read it to ourselves out loud every single day. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: The best time is first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed, because that’s when your brain is just the most open. But to read it out loud to ourselves, to write it down, first of all, it exists. To read it out loud to ourselves involves more than one of our senses. And the more senses that we involve in our learning and our change, the more it becomes internalized to us. And so reading it out loud is super important. 

And just remember, even if it’s been a terrible day and it feels awful to read it out loud to yourself because it feels so untrue, you’re at least reminding yourself, this is who I’m working on becoming. I don’t have to live into the moment. I don’t have to just embrace the moment when it’s not what I want long-term for myself. And I can remind myself of that every single day. 

Sara: Oh, so good. We do the belief plan in the program, that’s one of the big exercises that I have people do. And I’ve also done a podcast episode on what that is. That is one of the most powerful things that you can do for whatever it is you’re trying to live into, is what you just talked about and that belief plan idea. Really good. 

Tina: Yeah. 

Sara: Yeah. Okay, last one. Number 10. 

Tina: One coin loophole. And I had to go read what she actually meant by this because she says, “What differences does it make if I break this habit one time?” And so what she says is, “If you add a coin to a pile, you’re only adding them one at a time. But as you add these coins to a pile, eventually, over time, you have a really big pile. But they only get added one at a time.” 

And so one time does make a big difference because we only do things once at a time. Think about our habits too, they are built one step at a time. One urge processed at a time, which was making me think of the 100 processed urges that we use in the program. And we start with 50. 50 seems more manageable than 100. 100 seems a little bit daunting sometimes. 

So we’ll start with 50. And we’re just going to count these and we’re going to write them down and have a counter. We’re seeing this number climb all the time. And when we tell ourselves that one time won’t make a difference, we’re lying to ourselves either way, right? 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: It’s not going to make a difference if I just do this one more time. Or it’s not going to make a difference if I just process one urge. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: Well, one time giving in and one time processing is not going to make a difference, but it’s the accumulation over time that does make a difference. But if you don’t do it one time, you don’t ever get to the accumulation. 

Sara: Yeah. I love what you said. I love that you said like all we have is this one time. Like in this moment, that’s all we have. That’s how we do it. 

Tina: Yes. 

Sara: That was just so good. That was so eye opening. It’s the compound effect, right? 

Tina: Exactly. 

Sara: We get what we want by compounding little tiny things. It’s not like we have this big moment where we quit porn and we’re all done and we’re just waiting for that one moment. We do it urge by urge by urge by urge and belief and identity and all these things. 

Tina: All the tools, they all help. They all also help us to be aware of these loopholes. 

Sara: Yeah. Really good. Okay, so those are all the loopholes in this article that we thought were really important to address. Hopefully now you’re a little more aware of them. If you’re in the program, come and work. If you’re noticing one that just keeps happening over and over again, bring it to the Ask A Coach or to a coaching call, let us help you with them. 

We’re having more coaching spots open up. Do you have any spots opening up soon, Tina? 

Tina: I have some clients that will probably be ending soon, might be re-signing. But I’ll probably have a spot or two open in the next month or so. 

Sara: Okay, this won’t be released for a few weeks and so even if it’s not with Tina, we’ve got some other great coaches in the program, too. You can go and sign up for the waitlist, sarabrewer.com/workwithme, the waitlist if you’re not in the program. If you are in the program, you get first dibs so just look out for emails for one on one coaching that we’ll have coming available soon. 

Anything else you want to say, friend? 

Tina: No, no, I just love all my clients and I think that they’re awesome. And I think that these loopholes don’t need to send anyone into shame if they hear these. 

Sara: Yeah. 

Tina: I want to make sure that I put that out there, because I think they’re just good to be aware of when we’re using them against ourselves, just to be finding awareness of what our brain is going to try to do is powerful. 

Sara: Yeah, we’re looking at this like we’re scientists and we’re just fascinated. Like, “Oh, wow, look at my brain there using the planning to fail loophole. That’s so interesting.” Instead of, “Stupid brain, why are you doing that?” We’re going to be a little more neutral. 

Tina: Exactly, exactly. 

Sara: A little more scientific. Okay, cool. You guys, have a great week. Thanks for being here. We’ll talk to you next week. 

Tina: Thanks, Sara. 

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