Can I Change?
Hey, Craig here. You might have come to xxxchurch because you’re feel frustrated with yourself, you’re feeling sad and defeated because you haven’t been able to beat your porn or sex addiction. Maybe you feel like you’ll never be able to stop.
In today’s Whiteboard Session, Steven Luff, a licensed MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist) in the state of CA, co-author of Pure Eyes: a Man’s Guide to Sexual Integrity and creator of the X3Pure on-line recovery program, answers the question, “Can I change?”
And really the question isn’t can I change but instead am I willing to change? Change takes work. You can’t think that you’re going to be in the same environment doing the exact same things and your life is going to be different.
Our brains are wired so that when we get hurt by something our brain tells us to stay away from that thing. We become conditioned to respond in a certain way when we encounter grief or pain or loss. It can be really hard to make a new pathway in the brain.
But it is possible.
What are you willing to do to change your life? What are you willing to do to rewire the circuitry in your brain? Some you inherited and some you co-created because you started to turn to porn, sex, masturbation, those sorts of things to manage your fear, grief loss, or the fact that you can’t seek things that you really want to seek in your life.
If we continue to respond to our environment the same way we’ve always been responding to our environment, those pathways that have wired a certain way because of fear or loss or grief, they’re just going to keep firing that way.
In the video, Steven had this great metaphor of your brain as a river:
Your brain is going to find the easiest path and it’s going to be very, very hard to divert a river into a different path. It can happen, it can be done, but it’s going to take time. And then the river is going to have to be a trickle and then stream and then bigger and bigger until our brain creates a new pathway.
The river doesn’t want to change the channel that it’s going down because it’s got a lot of energy and a lot of motion going in one way. If you try to divert it, it’s going to fight whatever it is that’s diverting it. It’s going to resist because they liked going the path of least resistance. But eventually it’s going to find new new ground and it’s going to run a new territory.
It is possible to change. It is possible to rewire your brain. But it’s going to take a lot of work.
Don’t miss the 6 things Steven lists at the end of the video to start the process of rewiring your brain!
MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS PODCAST EPISODE
- You cannot heal in the same emotional environment that made you sick.
- Change takes work. You can’t think that you’re going to be in the same environment doing the exact same things and your life is going to be different. You have to change the entire way in which you’re functioning.
- So when I say, can I change? This is complicated. It took millions of years of evolution, depending on your theology, for us to end up a human being. And we didn’t pick our parents, we didn’t pick where we were born. We didn’t pick whether or not our childhood experiences a overly sensitized our fear circuit or our grief or loss circuit.
- Our mind is made up of cells. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. And what fires together wires together.
- Dopamine is a primary neuro-chemical that makes us feel good, but it makes us feel good so that we continue to do things that feel good and the things that will keep us safe and help us procreate. So the brain wires in a way to help us survive.
- Start paying attention to your environment. You might start thinking, “Oh wow. The way I relate to my spouse is the same way I related to my mom and I don’t want to relate that way. I would like to start to relate different and I’m going to communicate with my spouse about these things and to start to make different choices about how I manage my emotions.”
- Change is not easy and it’s not perfect. Change is sloppy. There’s loss in change, there’s confusion in change. But the more you fall apart, the more you’re falling together.
- You can’t do this alone because compulsive masturbation and porn is a way of fixing your problems without having to take the risk of relationship.
- We are neurologically designed to be in relationship, which means that if relationship was troubled or broken in our childhood, the way to fix the way the brain was wired is to start to have new relationships that are adaptive, that are unconditionally loving and supportive like support groups.
- Another way to change is abstinence. Um, if you want to change, man, you got to stop whatever it is your compulsive behavior is. Sorry.
- If you don’t get healthy opinions, you’re going to remain lost and confused about what direction to head.
- If you can get disciplined about exercise, you can get disciplined about going to therapy. Make a commitment, make a plan.