Speaker 1:                           00:07                     Have you ever driven to a familiar place and when you pull up you realize you can’t remember how you got there. When you travel a familiar route, your brain learns to take you there almost automatically. Many addicts feel this way about acting out. They think it sometimes just happens. It has become such a well worn path in your brain that you travel it without much conscious effort, but there is a process that leads you to this pathway and it’s important for you to understand it so that you can effectively stop before you act out. This process is captured in the sexual addiction cycle and an emotional or physical trigger lead you to the first stage in the cycle fantasy, the desire to escape the pain and discomforts of life can lead you to fantasize about sex. You become preoccupied with a sexual thought which causes your brain to release dopamine, which brings a mood altering high.

Speaker 1:                           01:02                     It becomes a mental state of arousal that can blot out the current demands of real life. It’s a buzz the individual cultivates as a coping mechanism. This mental phase of the cycle can consume enormous amounts of time. Most of a person’s time in the addictive cycle is spent in this space. He truly is living in a fantasy world. Fantasy leads to routine. This is when the attic is setting the table for acting out. This is where you plan how you will act out and you take steps towards that end. It could be shutting the door to your room or going to a private place with your phone. It’s clicking through pornographic sites and feeding the lust. This is the buildup to acting out and it can often be prolonged because once you do act out, it’s over in reality hits. Again, I’ve known men to rationalize it.

Speaker 1:                           01:55                     As long as they don’t act out, they can fantasize and go through their routines. The problem is they are still lusting, feeding the lust and medicating their pain instead of facing it. Fantasy and routine will inevitably lead to the third stage of the addictive cycle. Acting out either masturbation or other unwanted sexual behavior resulting in climax, acting out releases more dopamine and other chemicals that give intense pleasure. After acting out, the prefrontal cortex begins to operate normally and you wonder how you lost control again. This leads to the final stage of guilt and shame. In addition to these unwanted emotions, the addict feels powerless to stop the addictive cycle. Whatever reality it was that they were trying to escape in the first place, returns bringing with it anxiety and other negative emotions. This is exactly the sort of emotional discomfort that triggered fantasy to begin with and just like that, you’re back to stage one after several around this track of insanity, there is no way out in your own strength if your goal is just stopping the behavior.

Speaker 1:                           03:06                     You can do that for a time by having strong boundaries and accountability. This is an important first step, but if you also don’t address the routines in your fantasy life, the acting out will eventually come back. The first three goals of any effective program must be to stop the behavior, stop the routines and stop the fantasies. Stopping the behavior is literally just the tip of the iceberg because there’s so much more underneath the surface to finding lasting freedom. The easiest place to intervene and halt the sexual addiction cycle is in stage one. This is why it’s so important that you learn what your triggers are so you can avoid them and practice brace when you are triggered. If the cycle can be stopped in stage one, then none of the other stages will happen. If however the cycle moves forward into fantasy and then routine, it gathers momentum like a Boulder rolling down a steep Hill which makes acting out sexually almost inevitable because of this practicing brace.

Speaker 1:                           04:08                     When your mind turns to a sexual thought is so crucial to your freedom, not only are you stopping the process before it starts, when it’s the easiest, but you’re also building new pathways in your mind. Brace is a key tool to strike to the very heart of the addictive cycle. Stopping your routines will help you stop acting out. Routines are all the thoughts and actions that lead you to sexually acting out. If an alcoholic goes into a bar, he will probably drink. Drinking is acting out while going into the bar is his routine. If addicts allow themselves to engage in their routines, they will act out. Most men don’t realize that they have routines that precede they’re acting out, but learning to see the patterns is crucial. Once you discover your routines, you need to put roadblocks up to prevent them. If your routine is going to a private place with your phone than locking up and white listing, your phone takes the phone out of the equation.

Speaker 1:                           05:11                     This is why setting up boundaries is helpful because you’re interrupting the cycle. Healthy boundaries are set up to limit triggers and to put up obstacles to keep you from practicing your routines. The boundaries will probably need to be stricter in the early months and years of recovery. The guiding principle of doing whatever it takes should be followed. In the response section, we have some questions that can help you pinpoint your routines so that you can build your boundaries accordingly. In addition to dealing with these issues, it is essential to understand and address the factors that are driving the sexual addiction cycle. We will look at these in our next video.

Speaker 2:                           06:02                     [inaudible].

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