Many of us know that when there is a physical trigger that may cause us to act out, it is best to avoid it. The best time to avoid a trigger is before it is available, like not watching a sexually suggestive TV show, not reaching out to former acting out partners, and not going to places associated with our acting out behavior.
A trigger can cause a reaction, a negative one (usually associated with going with the behavior), or a positive one, (fighting against the trigger), which brings us to a safer place.
I’ve left places where there were women that have triggered me. I’ve turned off the TV when something suggestive triggered me. But one area I’ve failed to act on in the past were inner triggers, caused by my own thoughts.
In the past, I was driven to dark places by my own thoughts, because I let suggestive thoughts stay active in my head, and dwelled upon them. This in turn, caused a negative reaction, which lead to my acting out.
Now, I avoid letting lustful thoughts ferment in my mind. The good thing is that I know I can only think about one thought at a time, and this can be the lustful thought in my mind, or it can be the replacement that I choose to add.
What do I replace those sexual thoughts with? I first go to gratitude, for all the things that recovery has helped me with. I’ve been able to keep my marriage, and stay with my family, and watch my children grow. I no longer have to live a double life. I’m grateful for the people in the program who help me.
This naturally progresses into prayer. Thanking God, My Higher Power, for the love He has shown me, His grace, and His forgiveness.
Finally, I think about the other tools that are available to me, like calling someone, and use those tools when necessary.
This has gone a long way in helping me be sexually sober, and I hope it helps others who need help.