Learning from a STOP moment
30 March 2017
In the last few months we have been very glad to hear from a number of people who previously worked with us. Some have dropped a line to say they are still doing well. Others, because they were helping us with a recent article – letting us have their top tips from their own recovery process …
We were going to include one of Pete’s* tips in February’s blog post If you really want to give up …Part 2, but his contact reminded us that he was one of our trial group for the REWIND programme in early 2015. Two years on, we are pleased to hear that he particularly still uses one of the things he learned on the programme – and that has been the inspiration for this month’s blog.
‘When you look at as much porn as I had done you become pretty blind to some things and sort of hyper-tuned to other things,’ Pete writes. ‘I remember not long before I began the progamme looking at some friends’ photos and starting to run all sorts of sexual fantasies about the people in the photos because they were on the beach. Wham – I was looking at porn filmed on the beach. On another occasion, my mum’s FB page had a photo of her friend and daughter and wham – I was off searching for old and young lesbian couples … that one really shocked me because there wasn’t even anything suggestive about the photo. They were standing outside a stately home!’
Early in the REWIND programme we ask people to get involved in STOP moments. Without going into too much detail, STOP moments are the very beginning of a process we like to get people involved in over the 12-month programme. We normally ask people to stop, and try to observe something that would ordinarily pass them by if they hadn’t made a conscious decision to stop.
People normally start their observation moments with little things – for example, noticing insects in the garden and watching them go about their normal activities. ‘The STOP moments had a nearly instant affect on me,’ Pete continues. ‘I hadn’t realised how simplistic my looking at the world had become … because of porn. Everything, even things way outside porn and sex, were getting dumped into just two categories: “exciting” or “boring” … The porn searching had become boring, so I was looking at more and more challenging things trying to find the excitement.
‘Once I started the REWIND programme and we got to the STOP exercise, it amazed me. It was the first time in I don’t know how long that I started to see what I was looking at … As a result, two things happened. The first was that I started feeling less comfortable with the images I was searching out, and the second (which seemed to grow out of this) was I started looking for more varied body shapes and more sexy or beautiful women and sex acts … I realised I liked bodies that looked different from the average porn star, ones that were more individual in shape. I liked ordinary bodies, real women’s figures with all the bumps still there. As I went through the programme I was able to link so many things back to a time when my wife had been ill. I was amazed how I had stopped seeing how beautiful her body was just after an operation she had, and how this made a connection to my own childhood when my mother was very ill and in hospital for a number of months … I really think it was the STOP moments and how they fitted with the rest of the programme that helped me pull back from porn.
‘I know some people say I shouldn’t count but – I worked it out before I wrote – it’s been 632 days since I looked at anything I wouldn’t be open about looking at.’
* Please note that Pete’s name has been altered for this article in line with our policy on disguising any non-professionals who contribute to this site. PRUK would like to thank Pete for letting us share some of his story. You can find out more about the REWIND programme from the Porn Recovery UK website www.porn-recovery.co.uk