Tapering Off Is A Bad Idea

What would you think of me if I said, “I plan to taper off from my addiction to pornography. This week I plan to watch it two hours a day. Next week I plan to watch it only 1 hour and 45 minutes a day. Then the next week only 1 hour and 30 minutes a day. I finally hope to get down to only 5 minutes a day.”

So what would you think of me?  Crazy right!

Now is that much different than my saying, This time I plan to be sober for 14 days. Then when I act out on the 14th day I will begin again and plan on being sober for 15 days. Then after acting out I will try for 16 days.

So then what would you think of me?  Still crazy, right?

So what’s wrong with planning to taper off of pornography?

What’s wrong is that in setting the goal you, at the same time, are really giving yourself permission to act out at some future date.  Not a good idea!

Yes, relapse is a part of addiction.  But relapse is not a part of recovery!

When we decide to stop acting out, it should be for good--not just for a certain number of days, weeks, or months.

With that said, many of us, even with the decision to never act out again, have relapsed.  But if we do relapse, at least it’s not a planned relapse. We learn from it and decide again to stay sober from then on.

The story is told of a man driving from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles.  His car breaks down in Las Vegas. He repairs the car, gets back in and continues his trip to Los Angeles. He does not go back to Salt Lake and begin his trip again.

Plus he didn't begin his trip saying, I hope I can get at least to Las Vegas before I break down, and then I'll at least try for Barstow, etc. No his original plan was to go all the way to Los Angeles. His break-downs were not planned.

Last year I was sober for 10 months and then relapsed. I did not plan to relapse. But I learned from that experience. And guess what? Those 10 months still count. I did not start over. So once again I am planning on stay sober for the rest of my life and recovering completely from this addiction.


Anonymous said...

That's why we just take it one day at a time! Longer than that can seem impossible.

Unknown said...

Yeah I have some Addict friends that tell me how long their bishops tell them they need to stay sober for before they can etc. And they basically start planning on this regime of "Okay, stay sober for six months! Just six months! And then I can go back to the temple!" Or something like that.

I think it's kind of funny and always say, "Yeah and then after that I can relapse again!" and we laugh about it.

Nate said...

Relapse is NOT part of recovery! I agree.

It's about stopping and staying stopped. Sobriety isn't recovery either. One can be sober for quite some time but not really in recovery at all. (see this article: https://bitly.com/sobriety-vs-recovery)

Thanks for the post.