Triggers (read: Triggers and the Acronym TROUBLED) tend to happen in patterns. This is because we tend to follow routines in life. Repetition in our life will cause triggers to happen in predictable moments. Keeping a journal will greatly increase your ability to identify these patterns.
For instance, if you have a teacher at school who constantly gives test on Fridays, then you may find that you often have triggers Thursday afternoons as you stress over the test the night before. Or with that same example you might have triggers after the test on Friday afternoon because you are tired from studying the night before. These examples may seem easy to identify. However, you would be surprised at how living your life can distract you from identifying the routines that often cause triggers. How often do you feel the need to ask yourself some simple questions? I would guess, probably not often.
A journal can greatly increase your chances of quickly identifying these trigger causing routines and to being the process of eliminated the trigger. To eliminate a trigger you need to find solutions to the trigger by using Modifying behaviors. Modifying behaviors is the “M” of the RAMP Solution.
Don’t start your journal with “Dear Diary.” Instead try using a consistent form of questions that you answer consistently when you have a trigger or a slip.
Time spent during slip:
Type of porn:
What stage of RAMP did slip occur:
Did you finish RAMP process: yes or no?
So an example would look like:
Time spent during slip: 45 minutes
Type of porn: Bikini’s non-nude (This question will be more relevant if you are looking at very graphic or even illegal types of porn)
What stage of RAMP did slip occur: Slip occurred after the “R”
Did you finish the RAMP process: yes or no? Yes
Trigger: The trigger happened sometime while I was on the bus coming home from school. I knew the house was going to be empty so there was a feeling of Loneliness. Plus I was physically Tired from staying up the night before to finish a report for English class. TROUBLED feelings would include Loneliness and Tired. The reminder of the addiction, I am not sure, but was probably a girl that I saw walking down the street.
By consistently writing in your journal after slips will allow you to also see how often they occur. At first there will probably be daily entries. But as you conquer triggers you will notice that your slips happen in greater intervals, maybe every other day. As you progress your journal entries will become farther apart in time. This can be very encouraging and give way to great amounts of self Praise. Praise is the “P” in the RAMP Solution.
You will notice that some triggers are easier to conquer than others. A trigger caused by being physically tired is an easy trigger to solve by taking a nap. However, other triggers will be trickier to solve. That is because they have a belief that is attached to them. Something you believe to be true but in reality is a false belief. Keeping a journal will help you identify the emotions that cause triggers that are harder to solve. The journal will help you identify these triggers simple because of repetition of entries with the same TROUBLED feelings or same events. Writing down the same thing over and over can quickly let you know that you have a pattern in your life that need to be shaken up.
Journals are incredibly helpful in your recover. Do not sell this activity short. This is a must and will cut a significant amount of time from your recovery. Do the journal!
You can use any type of word processing program (i.e. Microsoft Word: For Windows or For Mac) to keep a journal. Often this journal will contain private observations about yourself that others should not see. So you may want to keep the journal encrypted. For encryption purposes, I found TrueCrypt to be very easy and a powerful encrypting program. It is also a free program.
I also recommend PENZU an online journal that is also encrypted. They have a free version that is sufficient for your needs.
Try some journaling options out and see what feels convenient for you. Most important is to keep the journal entries consistent. Consistency is important. Every time you have a slip it gets documented in your journal.
Start journaling and documenting! Be a better you by living a porn free life!