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How Do I Know If My Spouse or Loved One Is Recovering from Pornography Addiction?

Thanks to Meridan Magazine for making us aware of this podcast episode.

Editor's note: It is important to note there is an important distinction between pornography addiction and pornography use, even habitual pornography use. The following applies to those who experience pornography addiction, though the principles and ideas discussed can be enlightening for a variety of addictions, circumstances, or situations. 

How do I know if my spouse or loved one is truly healing from pornography addiction?

It's a question licensed therapist and co-author of Love You, Hate the Porn: Healing a Relationship Damaged Geoff Steurer often hears from the loved ones of his clients. 

"It's a really honest question and actually a really good question," Steurer says in an Illuminate podcast episode. "Naturally they are going to wonder, 'How do I know? How do I know if this person is actually getting better?'"

► You'll also like: 3 Myths We Tell About Pornography Addiction + What We Should Do Instead

After working with thousands of clients over the past 20-plus years, Steurer says he's observed six common guideposts that indicate someone is healing from pornography addiction. 

But to be clear, Steurer also says everyone's path to healing from pornography addiction is different and deeply personal. No one should assume that the lack of these guideposts or the manifestation thereof means a person is completely healed or not. He also shares that these guideposts do not have to follow a particular order and that not all these guideposts manifest in an individual's healing process. 

"I hope that in talking about these things today, you don't turn this into a checklist or to-do list that you can use to judge someone else's efforts but instead, use it as a guide for yourself to really tap in and say, 'Does this feel like healing to me? Does this feel like this person is really getting better?'" Steurer shares. 

► You'll also like: Why Women Struggle with Pornography Too + 5 Ways to Talk with Your Daughter About It

1. They understand that they are in a healing process and they own it.

Owning that there is an addiction and it needs to be healed instead of living in denial can be a step in the right direction, Steurer says.

"This may seem super obvious," he says. "But there really is a moment in true recovery when they are saying to themselves, 'I'm in a recovery process,' versus someone who says, 'I don't have a problem.'"

"Just like if they had their own wound, they're not waiting for somebody else to run to them with bandages," Steurer continues. "They're going to say, 'I got to get help. I've got a problem.'"

This can look like a loved one setting up and keeping their own appointments with a therapist, seeking out helpful literature about overcoming pornography addiction, and/or being able to explain what they are doing in their recovery process. 

2. They have a form of accountability and support.

Overcoming any addiction, including pornography addiction, can be an overwhelming task for the person experiencing it, especially if they are alone. 

What Steurer has found, however, is that when a person recovering from pornography addiction acknowledges that they cannot do it alone and seek support, they can often overcome barriers to healing from their addiction.

"They get rid of that illusion that if they just worked harder by themselves, in secrecy, in isolation, that they are going to heal if they apply more will power," Steurer says. "They recognize that there is strength in numbers." 

For all six of the Steuer's guidepost, listen to the full Illuminate podcast below. 

Lead image from Getty Images

How does pornography harm a marriage?

“It may be cybersex, but it can feel like real infidelity to your partner,” says authors Mark Chamberlain and Geoff Steurer. “There's nothing virtual about the damage pornography does to a relationship.”

The good news is that the marriage itself can be a couple's most powerful tool in healing in a pornography habit. This helpful, informative, and insightful book will help couples learn how to harness that strength to make their marriages more fulfilling than they ever imagined possible.

Love You, Hate the Porn helps couples draw together when pornography is threatening to tear them apart.

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