Uncover the Secrets to Successful Porn Addiction Recovery Group: 8 Key Factors to Consider in a Support Group

Group of men in porn addiction group recovery

So many men that I know have had a poor experience when it comes to porn addiction recovery groups. It’s not that the group was “bad”, but it just felt “off”. Often I hear about a sense of stagnation in the growth of the participants and leaders and a posture of comparison between the members that can create competition rather than camaraderie. Rarely do these dynamics happen on purpose, however, they happen all too often in recovery groups and they can leave a bad taste in your mouth. Again, it’s not because you don’t like the people, but because the focus is often far too fixated on the addiction and you’re left with the same problem you had when you started… And this is FRUSTRATING

This is why I want to tell you about the 8 elements of a porn addiction recovery group coaching dynamic that really impacted me. It was truly refreshing, therapeutic, and healing, and I want that for you. Heck, It was so impactful that I have begun to lead these groups myself! Before I tell you about the 8 things to look for, I want to tell you 3 reasons this group experience impacted me so much more than your typical recovery group

The 3 differences between successful porn addiction recovery groups and unsuccessful ones:

1. We don’t talk about success, porn relapses, or even sexual behavior

We focus on people, their sexual and non-sexual stories, pain, and desires. We spend the bulk of our time sharing stories and offering attunement, compassion, and curiosity. This is the key to everyone realizing that true change happens from the inside out, not through hype or motivation

Because focusing on success, porn relapses, and sexual behavior just causes men to stay at the surface of the problem, we want to turn the focus onto what’s deeper. This is what helps men feel as if they can be successful in recovery, healthy, and free from porn

2. We focus on men experiencing love, acceptance, and brotherhood

We focus on the deep-rooted areas of your life and sexuality that carry shame and condemnation so you can experience love, acceptance, and brotherhood as you share about things that maybe nobody has ever heard before. This is rather different than the typical “share your relapses and what you could have done differently”

Imagine for a moment, sharing your darkest sexual fantasy, your most embarrassing sexual trigger, or a shameful sexual story from your past, and through all of that, being met with love and care from men who want you to be free from porn and all the pain behind your addiction.

3. We focus on helping men live confidently so they can dream again

Uprooting past stories, healing the lingering pain, and writing new storylines for your life is such exciting ways to re-program the mind. This leads guys to feel excited, hopeful, and confident about their future. Rather than many men struggling to believe they can keep their sobriety because they’re so laser-focused on “not watching porn”.

When we set our minds on what’s ahead and get excited, we actually get a release of dopamine each time. This is called “anticipation” and I want men to anticipate being sober and free from porn every chance they get! When you start fixating on what you can do rather than what you can’t do, you’ll feel a sense of direction, confidence, and satisfaction that can only come from a renewal of the mind and shifting your focus on what’s ahead.

A man's silhouette filled with positive affirmations. Confidence and keeping a positive attitude are important aspects that help overcome porn addiction
When you start fixating on what you can do rather than what you can’t do, you’ll feel a sense of direction

Do you see the differences here? Maybe you have been in a porn addiction recovery group and experienced some of the less than helpful things I’m sharing about? If so, I’m so sorry. It doesn’t means everything is terrible and you wasted your time, but it sure can feel like you were left with lackluster results and still wondering if anything will actually help you get the freedom from porn you’re looking for. If that’s you, I totally get it. I have been a part of some really unhelpful groups and other forms of therapy. They always left me feeling really discouraged, busy, and frustrated with myself. If you know anything about recovery from porn, these are unhelpful things to be going through! We want guys to be feeling encouraged, connected, seen, wanted, heard, loved, and empowered. Here’s how we do that

Check out our porn addiction recovery services for more info on coaching with Shawn

The 8 things to look for when joining a Porn Addiction Recovery Group

1. Focus on Healing Childhood Trauma

There’s a great saying iv heard that says “heal the boy, and the man will appear” that is used when talking about helping men get free from porn addiction through inner child healing.

When we take a step back and look at the formative moments of our lives, we will realize we were set up to believe things about ourselves and those around us that are simply unhelpful to the flourishing of a person. This may have come through abuse, neglect or even pleasure. When we can see where we came from, we can understand where we’re at. When we can get to this point, we are able to offer ourselves what we really need, and this is where true healing begins

Read more about Secret Habits approach to Inner Child Healing

2. Group Posture of Curiosity & Compassion

Getting to the point of understanding takes curiosity toward our story. It’s a learned skill (that I want to help you develop) to ask ourselves questions rather than condemn bad behavior. Isn’t this what Jesus did? And doesn’t this sound much more helpful than what you have been trying for a long time now?

This lays the groundwork for us to become compassionate towards ourselves because we can see that it’s through the hurt that we got here, not by being “stupid” or “weak”. When we offer ourselves compassion, even though struggling with porn, we are looking at the contributors to our struggle, rather than only seeing ourselves as the problem. This is a major shift for the men I work with and it’s really fun to see it in their faces when it clicks!

3. Opportunities and Guidance to Engage Your Story

When you not only offer curiosity to your sexual stories but begin to write and share them, you’re literally defying and dismantling shame one word at a time. This is what it means to “engage” your story. To not just understand it, but to use it as a tool to find deeper levels of healing with God, yourself and others.

Sometimes it can be hard to remember “your story”… An expert tip is to look through some old photos from when you were younger. It’s amazing how seeing an old shirt, your mom’s hair-doo or your dad’s car can stir up some helpful memories. It’s through exercises like this that we begin to engage our story so we can grow in curiosity, compassion, and also courage when we begin to share what we’re learning. 

4. Learning Self-Regulation

To understand where we were hurt is to understand why we get sexually triggered. The weird concept right? It’s actually emotional triggers that trigger sexual triggers in most cases. Personally, for me, I was affected by an insecure attachment growing up that caused me to believe “hope is pointless” and that I can’t rely on others to help me the way I need to be helped. This is a tremendous insight into why I was triggered by things not going my way and why I would run to porn to numb my pain. Can you see the connection there? It’s so powerful to learn these insights because you can then learn what you need to regulate in moments of being triggered.

What if you could find the deep truths behind your triggers and inability to regulate them? Wouldn’t that lead to so much more strength and courage to face the truth instead of watching porn and masturbating again and again?

5. Facing Sexual Fantasies

Fantasies are often the very thing men cannot imagine facing, sharing, and understanding. These are the fetishes they wish they didn’t have, the stories that play in their heads when they escape to fantasy land, or the re-enactments of past experiences/memories when they’re having a rough day

Man's eyes rolled up in deep thought. Re-enactments of past experiences/memories and sexual fantansies is one of the struggles men with porn addiction go through
The fetishes, stories, and imaginations that play in men’s heads when they escape to fantasy land carry a lot of shame

These carry A TON of shame for most guys. Imagine the scales falling off simply by the act of you sharing a fantasy with some trusted brothers. Imagine learning about your fantasies from a no-shame approach that helps you understand the deep longing behind your escape to a false reality. Imagine learning the skills to be able to redirect these longings and stay in reality, free to live in the now.

I remember when I learned about what’s behind my fantasies. It was absolutely groundbreaking and has led me to deeper levels of freedom from sexual and emotional triggers over the past 2 years than ever before.

6. Embracing Your Divine Desires

You have desires, and they’re really beautiful. I heard it said that we are “affectionate beings”. Sadly, we often don’t understand our desires and we can easily confuse them for arousal and carry shame about them. Scripture tells us that God will give us the desires of our hearts if we delight ourselves in Him. Wow, that means desires are good, they just need to be understood and redirected so they can be lived out in godly ways and satisfied

What if you could embrace the truth and beauty of your desires? What if this was the key to understanding them, redefining them and even more, actually getting them met in healthy and Godly ways?

7. Learning How To Take Redemptive Risks

Fear is a liar. Sadly, most men who get caught up in addiction to porn are full of fears that rob them of redemption. And it’s because redemption takes risks! Once we learn why we’re so afraid and that it’s not irrational, only unhelpful, we can begin to allow God into the places of fear and let him fill us with the courage to take calculated risks that lead to redemption.

This happens on its own in a well-led and structured group (such as the ones I lead) and it’s really sweet! However, it gets even better when you begin taking redemptive risks in your day-to-day life and experience the dignity that comes when you find your voice! No longer a slave to the lies of satan, the shame of pornography or the pain of your trauma.

8. Group Dynamic To Give And Receive Love

God is love. He is literally love. But how hard is it for us to receive it? It’s because we often go through life unsure if we’re loved simply for who we are. That’s something that this group dynamic I am sharing about shoots to offer: love for the person, the story, and the bravery, not for the performance. You will learn what it feels like to truly receive love in ways you have never received before. This not only feels incredible, but it’s also the building block to a lasting recovery from porn and a heart that finds satisfaction in the Lord.

On top of that, you’re going to learn to give love. Scripture says it’s better to give than to receive. When you show another brother love after he shared a story of deep trauma, pain or one that carried shame for so long, you can’t help but feel a shift in your spirit.  It becomes clear that love, compassion and mercy are keystones to the porn recovery journey and it’s a skill you will learn to develop one week at a time.

Read more about Shawn’s perspective on “helpful” accountability 

In conclusion

I hope you can now see why these 8 elements are key to a successful porn recovery group coaching experience. I really hope you consider just how important they are. If you want to experience lasting freedom from porn, they’re crucial! Take it from someone who has gone through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Iv spent many years now searching for the best content, programs, and dynamics and this is certainly one of them. Also, I have seen this curriculum and structure evolve as I have watched my good friend Drew Boa from Husband Material tweak and update it until it’s been perfected.

Check out our porn addiction recovery services for more info on coaching with Shawn

Shawn Bonneteau

Shawn Bonneteau

Author of this Article

Shawn is the co-founder of Secret Habit. He loves to write, speak and coach men. He has a story of addiction to porn and masturbation, as well as a struggle with Erectile Dysfunction that haunted him for many years into his marriage. He feels called to use his story to bring hope and healing to those stuck in sexual bondage.

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