Episode 123: The River of Misery

Uncategorized May 22, 2023

The River of Misery has been coming up a lot recently on the podcast, so in this episode, I'm diving into this topic, how we use the River of Misery in Overcome Pornography for Good, and why this concept surprisingly makes quitting porn a lot easier.

Whatever you're trying to create in your life, you're going to face challenges and difficulties, and it won't be easy. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. At times, it will be miserable. The River of Misery doesn't sound great. However, it's all about accepting the misery so we can start moving through it.

Tune in this week to discover why understanding the River of Misery will help you quit viewing pornography and never go back to it. I'm sharing the thoughts that make the River of Misery difficult to cross, and showing you how to see the patterns that are keeping you stuck so you can begin working on them and make it to the other side.


We have limited 1:1 private coaching spots opening up! Click here before May 25th 2023 to secure your spot.

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 the River of Misery is and what it feels like to be in it.
  • Why any transformation requires that you go through the River of Misery.
  • What being in the River of Misery looks like when you’re trying to change your porn habit.
  • Some examples of how to get out of the River of Misery in other areas of your life.
  • My own story of going through the River of Misery to change my belief patterns.
  • How to start crossing through the River of Misery so you can overcome your pornography habit.


Featured on the Show:


Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 123, The River of Misery.

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, everyone, welcome to our podcast today. Welcome to today’s topic, river of misery. I’m really excited about this one. Doesn’t that sound like just a really fun topic to talk about, misery? No, but it’ll be really good. It’s been coming up a lot in these What’s Possible interviews that I’ve been doing. 

And I was thinking to myself, I’m like, hey, do I actually have a podcast episode on this topic? I know I’ve talked about it in episodes. I know I’ve brought it up. But when I was looking through all my podcasts, I was like, oh, I don’t have a specific podcast, titled The River of Misery where we really dive into it. 

So I’m really excited to share this with you, we talk about it a lot in the program. It’s really, really important to understand and know, and will really make quitting porn a lot easier. Which is a little bit of a paradox because the river of misery is all about accepting that it’s miserable. And we’ll get into all this in a minute, but it will make it easier as you understand this concept. 

So it might be a little bit of a shorter episode today, which I love. I am all about short episodes. I would way rather listen to something that is condensed, short, with a ton of value, rather than something long, packed with fluff. And I mean, when you get me on my soapbox with this microphone, it’s pretty easy for me just to talk and talk and share and go on and on. But I do, I’m reminding myself that it’s okay to do short episodes here, too. 

So before we dive in, really quick I’m looking at my calendar to see if there are any announcements. This is going to be released May 22nd, so yeah, it looks like May 22nd we’re going to have our one on one coaching spots open up. It looks like they’re opened up through the 25th or so, or just until they’re full. 

And so if you’re not on my email list, make sure you get on my email list because that’s where I will be sending out all the reminders and just information on how to get one of these spots if you’re interested. We send out all of the links and all of that information. 

If you’re not on my email list and haven’t seen all of that, I don’t remember what the link is off the top of my head, so just email us, [email protected], we’ll send you the link to apply for private coaching. And those are limited spots, so make sure you do that as soon as possible if you’re interested in that, okay? 

I put so much time and effort and energy into the coaching experience in the program. It’s so important for me that it is just the highest quality that we can offer. And so especially with one-on-one coaching – Have I talked about this in the podcast? I don’t know if I have, but especially with one-on-one coaching, I take my hiring process very, very seriously. And they have to have certain qualifications and certain certifications. 

They need to be trauma informed. They need to have a certain amount of experience. And then I really have questions that they answer and really interview them. And I have just a very small team of coaches right now because I just want it to be small and very, very high quality. So I make sure they have all these different qualifications, certifications and experience, and then I also do my own training with them. And we train often and we give feedback often. 

And it’s just that they’re amazing coaches. If you haven’t heard these What’s Possible interviews, a lot of them have had these one on one coaches that are in the program, Kat, Tina, Jessica, Quinn is doing some one on one too. They’re just incredible. They’re incredible. The experience of one-on-one coaching will change your life if you’ve never experienced it before, or even if you have and it’s been a long time. 

A lot of people who start doing coaching, they keep doing coaching because it’s so impactful and it’s so life changing. I always have a coach and a therapist. I always have people that I’m working with because it increases the quality of my life so much. 

I cannot tell you the quality of my life before coaching and therapy and now after coaching and therapy, it’s like I want to cry because of how much more at peace I am, how much more healed I feel, how much more present I feel in my daily life, and how much more capable I feel to handle any of the stuff that comes my way. We don’t just have to do it alone. 

Anyways, if one-on-one coaching has been on your mind, you’ve been wanting to maybe try it out, we make it really affordable for what it is, for what we offer. It’s very, very competitive in pricing for anything similar. The coaches are fantastic, just top notch. I want everyone who has the means and that desire to experience it, I want you to experience it. So please come and apply for that and let us get you a spot for private coaching if you’re interested. 

Okay, like I said, I want this to be a short episode. But I start talking and I can just talk and talk and talk and talk. So let’s dive into the content today, river of misery. All right, what is the river of misery? Now, when you’re quitting porn or if you’re trying to do anything, whatever that is you’re trying to do. 

Maybe you’re trying to build a business, maybe you’re trying to get a workout routine, maybe you’re trying to build some muscle, whatever that is, you have a goal. You want to become something different. You want a different result in your life, it’s going to require going through a river of misery. 

And anyone who tells you that that doesn’t exist and it’s going to be an easy transformation, and it’s going to be effortless, and it’s going to be all rainbows and butterflies, if anyone’s telling you that, they’re lying to you. They’re lying to you. And it does a disservice when we think that quitting and changing is just going to be easy. It’s not. 

It’s not, it requires a river of misery. It requires going through a river of misery. And that’s okay and that’s a good thing. And that’s probably what you want to do, okay? Because here’s the thing, on the other side of that river of misery is a beautiful field, you’re out of it, you’ve done it. You’re not in that river of misery forever, it’s just really difficult for a little while. 

So what this means and what this looks like is when you’re trying to quit porn, especially maybe you have some more compulsive urges and you’ve trained your brain to want all the dopamine from the porn, you’re just really used to it. You’re going to have to go through a lot of moments of sitting with an uncomfortable urge, and it doesn’t feel good. And it’s difficult. 

If every night at 10pm you’ve got these urges for porn, going through that river of misery is going to look like every night at 10pm for a little while, while you’re deconditioning all this over desire, you’re going to be pretty miserable at 10pm every night by just sitting in that urge and not getting that immediate reward or that dopamine hit. It’s way more fun to get that dopamine hit than it is to sit in the discomfort of the urges. 

This looks like the belief work, okay? So your brain is so used to thinking certain things about your life and about yourself. You know, I don’t have control over this, I can’t quit. That river of misery is actively disproving those thoughts, and it takes work. It’s not usually like a quick like, oh yeah, I don’t believe that anymore. I don’t believe that I’m not in control of my urges. Or I don’t believe that I’m always going to struggle with this forever. 

No, that’s a pattern that you have in your brain. To get through that, to become someone who doesn’t believe that they’re going to struggle with this forever you’re going to have to go through a river of misery of intentionally daily, constantly trying and practicing new thoughts and finding ways to disprove that thought. It takes work, it doesn’t just happen automatically. 

Now, if this is maybe one of your first episodes or you haven’t heard me talk about the belief plan episode – You know what? In a few weeks, I’m going to do an encore and I’m just going to replay that episode for you. So listen to it again in two weeks, or just go back and re-listen to it. It’s so good. I have so much content on that. 

Sometimes when I get talking, I’m like, oh yeah, and I have to remind you of this, and this and this and this and this. And anyways, I just need to send you guys back to the other podcast episodes that talk about that. 

But anyways, back to the river of misery. The river of misery, going through this difficult transition period to become someone new. It’s the same thing if you’re trying to build muscle. To get really big biceps, you’ve got to go through some miserable periods of really difficult weight lifting sessions, right? 

And you’ve got to be consistent and you’ve got to show up for yourself and you’ve got to do it over and over and over again. And it’s hard, but eventually you get to the point where those biceps are pretty big and it doesn’t take the same amount of work to maintain that muscle. It’s the same thing with all of this. 

So you’ve got your 10pm urges, it’s a lot of work at the beginning to start to decondition your brain out of that. But eventually your brain is not going to associate 10pm with getting that dopamine hit of the porn and so it’s not going to be as difficult. I talk about that in the over desire podcast episodes, okay? So search over desire, I talk about that whole how your brain works and all of that stuff. 

But the idea here is we’re going through it so that it’s not as difficult, it’s not as hard. The same thing with creating new beliefs and new identities. It’s freaking hard at the beginning. It is. It is a river of misery. And I’ve been going through this with some of my own stuff that’s been coming up lately. I’m to a point where I’m ready to start thinking something different and to have some more hope, and to have some more different opinions. 

And I’ve done a lot of healing work and I’m ready to move into this phase of empowerment around something specific. I’m not going to go into all the details. I have a hard time knowing exactly how vulnerable to be with you guys, so I’m not going to go into all those details right now. But you might hear me talk about it a little bit more in depth if you’re in the program. I feel a little bit safer talking about the personal stuff in a container like that than just a big public platform. 

But it’s hard. That’s the point that I’m getting at, is that it’s been hard. It’s difficult. And my brain always wants to go back to its old patterns of thinking and believing. It always wants to go back to hopelessness and feeling misunderstood and feeling like no one’s ever going to understand me in this certain area. And I’ve done so much work and healing through this, and I’m ready to move out of that and it feels good. 

But what I have to do to do that is genuinely I have to sit down and I have to journal multiple times a week and get in that headspace and re-work my brain to start thinking something different. I had to do this with my business and with my money mindset a lot when I was first starting. 

So when I was first starting there were so many beliefs like no one wants to listen to me and I’m not going to be able to be successful. And so I got to the point where I was like, I’m ready to change those beliefs. And I had to go through a river of misery where it was like I was – And I don’t like using the word fighting, but that is kind of what it was like. It was like I was fighting those old belief patterns every single day. 

And I would wake up and they would just be there. And so then I had to journal. And I would journal every day to try to start to believe new things. And I would find evidence for it. And I would work on it. And I would, like it was work creating these belief patterns that people do want to listen to me and that I can be successful here. And that I can support my family and support the life that I want by doing this. That took so much work. 

And I’m so grateful and so proud of myself for going through that work because now on this side, that’s just natural for me. It’s just easy for me. I don’t need to journal on that anymore. I mean, maybe I’m trying to think if I even have had to recently. Maybe like once every so often if some weird energy stuff comes up I’ll do some journaling or some meditation around it. But it’s just so natural and easy to me. 

It’s easy for me to make money. It’s easy for me to share things that are important. It’s easy for me to help and coach and really help people quit porn. It’s easy for me to believe that what I’m doing is so valuable and worth every single cent to people, where at the beginning it wasn’t easy for me to believe that. I really had to work through that. I really had to create that. And I’m so grateful I’m on this side of that river of misery, that I was willing to go through that. 

This is what, you know, you’ve heard clients say in these What’s Possible interviews, and I’m trying to remember who the exact person was. I’ve done a lot of them so it’s hard for me to remember exactly who it was that said this, but they kept saying this is work. This is work. This is work. And I really had to decide that I was going to believe something different. And I had to sit down and do the work and it wasn’t easy. But I did it. But I did it. 

Because here is the alternative, you guys. The alternative to going through the river of misery is to sit and hang out in the pond of misery. Like I want you to think kind of irky, murky, icky, just stagnant water, right? The river of misery, water is flowing through and it’s more intense and it’s more difficult and you really have to swim to stay afloat. 

But this pond of misery, it’s pretty miserable too, but it’s like that feeling of just being stuck and non movement. That’s not a great place to be either. And that gets pretty old after a while. And there’s not really anywhere to go in that pond of misery. The only thing there is to do is just soak in ickiness. 

This river of misery, it’s difficult, but at least it’s clean and there’s a place that you’re going. There’s somewhere to go. There’s another place to get to. And by crossing the river of misery you get stronger, you get the result that you want and it’s invigorating, right? It’s so invigorating to do something so difficult. 

So let me just kind of reiterate what that river of misery might look like with quitting porn. It’s going to look like sitting with the discomfort of the urges in witching hours or moments that you’ve really trained your brain to want that porn, those over desire moments. It’s going to look like looking at the patterns that are creating the porn use. 

I hear that from people, especially in those free classes that I do when I’m explaining buffering and I’m explaining all these concepts. They’re like, “Well, it’s difficult to feel pain. And my life is actually not that great and it’s difficult to look at that. And porn, yeah, it’s an escape from that.” And so the river of misery might be looking at all the things that you’re trying to escape your life with, and the painful things that are coming up for you. And then working through those. 

Whether that’s just a belief that you’re not good enough, that no one likes you, that no one wants to be with you, that you’re lazy, that you’re never going to be successful. All of those thoughts and beliefs that come up that you’re trying to escape about your life. 

Or maybe it’s the past, maybe you’ve got difficult experiences and stuff that you’ve had to take accountability for and it’s just hard to look at. The river of misery is looking at that and being willing to heal from that and doing the healing work to heal from that. The river of misery looks like just showing up for yourself every single day and changing beliefs. 

And I’ve already talked about that, like how difficult that belief work can be. And like I said, I’m going to have them do an encore of the belief plan exercise in a few weeks so that you can go and re-listen to that again because that’s going to dive into that process really, really deep. But the idea I want you to get here is that there’s how to do the process, and I teach you how to do all that how in the program. And we work through that in the program and I teach you how in the podcast. 

I’ll teach you the how, but you’re not going to be able to stick with the how unless you have the expectation that, okay, we’re entering the river of misery and I’m committed to feeling the discomfort of going through this river of misery, okay? 

One thing I want to mention is that it’s okay to take breaks and entering the river of misery is not an all or nothing thing. And you’re not going to drown, okay? You’re not going to drown in the river of misery. You can stand up in it and you can always move to the side where it’s not as intense, okay? 

It’s okay to rest. It’s good to rest. This isn’t all or nothing. This isn’t like, all right, we’re entering the river of misery, swim, swim, swim, swim, and you either make it or you die, right, which I understand that it could be seen like that. That’s not what we’re talking about. We can take breaks. We can rest. And are you committed to going through the river of misery? The difficult process in order to become who you want to be, in order to quit porn, in order to whatever, right? 

This is about so much more than just quitting porn, you guys. Whatever your goals are, if that’s you really want to feel fulfilled in your career. You really want to be the husband, mother, father, wife. You really want to be a different kind of person in your relationships. Maybe it’s money goals, maybe it’s business goals, whatever that is, it’s going to require committing to the discomfort of the river of misery, okay? 

And the alternative is the pond of misery. And if you want to stay there for a little bit, if you need to stay there for a little bit, that’s fine. And when you’re ready, the river of misery is right here. It’s waiting for you. 

One thing that I’ll say too, that I want to mention because I think it’s important to recognize. Part of the river of misery might be taking a chance on yourself when you have felt let down by yourself often in the past. Part of the river of misery might be committing and saying, “Okay, I’m ready to actually get some real help here instead of just trying to do it on my own.” 

And so if you are feeling that, if you are feeling that draw, if you are feeling like you want to come work with me a little bit more in depth, or work with my team a little bit more in depth, like I said, we’ve got options for you. And we are ready for you whenever you’re feeling called to come and join us, okay? You can come to sarabrewer.com/workwithme and join the program, which is amazing on its own. 

You can also do some one-on-one coaching with the program. If that sounds like something you want to do, we’ve got that as an option for you. And like I said, I don’t remember the exact link for that. So just email us [email protected], we’ll send you the application to do private one-on-one coaching. 

Okay. All right, you guys have a great week. And before I end, I know, I said, I was going to make this episode short. And we’re already 20 minutes in. So before we end, one thing I want you to keep in mind too, with the river of misery there are really beautiful parts of being in that river too, where you look up and you see the sky and you see how beautiful this river is. 

And your muscles are sore and you’re tired. And you recognize it’s difficult and it’s hard. And there are moments where it’s just like grin and bear it work, just crappy work. And then you’re also going to look up and be like, “Wow, this is really beautiful. And wow, this water, this cool water feels really good on my skin. And wow, it feels amazing. I can just breathe in here. It’s cold, it’s crisp, but it’s fresh and I love this.” 

And then you’re going to look up and you’re going to see the other side here and be like, “Oh, wow, I’m closer to the other side than I even thought. Look at what I’m doing.” And then you’re going to put your head back down and it’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be miserable and you’re going to be wishing that you weren’t there. 

And then you’re going to look up again and be like, “Wow, this is really beautiful.” So, okay, all right. That’s all I want to say about the river of misery. Have a great week, we’ll talk to you guys later. Bye bye. 

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

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

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

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