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Your Conversation Blueprint

How do you tell your friends about your struggle with porn? Should you tell them? How and when do you bring it up? Will they judge you? Will they understand? Helping a friend or family member understand your struggle might be what you need to move forward. We hope this information helps you start a conversation about your struggle with porn in a way that is healthy and productive for both you and whoever you choose to share your journey with. We’re also rooting for you, and sharing resources that can support you as you overcome your struggle with porn. You’ve got this!

What To Do

Set the tone.

How you start this conversation will set the tone, which is why we’ll talk more about this once you’ve had a chance to think through your goals for this conversation. Before we get too far, give yourself a high five for being willing to have this conversation in the first place. Opening up about your struggle can be a big turning point in your recovery journey, so you’re taking the right steps, and we think that’s awesome. Don’t worry, we’ll help guide you through as much as we can.

Choose the right friend.

“Disclosure” describes the process of telling the secrets you’ve been keeping. This can be a difficult process and often happens in stages, as people often have difficulty being totally open with something so deep and secret. If this is your first time talking about your struggles openly, talk with someone who you know is safe, who you trust, and who can keep things confidential. Talking to a therapist or counselor is also a great option for first-time disclosure. Being able to share how you’re feeling and what you’re going through in an unfiltered way can help you navigate your recovery in the most healthy way.

Establish healthy boundaries.

Before you start the conversation, consider what level of support you would want from your friend, in an ideal world. It is up to them to decide whether or not they’re able to support you in the ways you need, but it’s important that you clearly communicate what your needs are. For example, would you be open to telling them when you have a setback?

Allow your friend to react.

Remember, even though you’ve been digesting and preparing for this conversation, your friend is hearing this for the first time. Allow them to react, even if their reaction is difficult for you or not what you hoped for or expected. Even if they react negatively, don’t let it deter you. You can always reevaluate and open up to another friend who might be more understanding.

Recognize that change is possible.

Porn can change and rewire the brain, but the good news is, neuroplasticity works both ways. If porn pathways aren’t reinforced, they’ll eventually disappear, which means recovery is possible. Porn-wired brains can be rewired. The addictive behaviors can be overcome. Do you believe that? Are you looking to change, for real? Or is it a nice idea you’re considering? Consider the science and research that show how much hope there truly is, and decide if you’re all in to pursuing that change.

Have a plan.

Educate yourself on the issues surrounding porn. Establish boundaries with your friend, and then set goals for recovery. There are resources to help. If you’re looking to quit porn, we highly recommend using Fortify. Fortify is a free, online, video-based recovery resource that helps break the cycle of going back to porn and connects users with an empathetic community. You are not alone in this.

What Not To Do

Don’t forget to breathe.

Don’t panic. This fight is a marathon, not a sprint. Slow down, focus, and pace yourself. Prepare the best you can for the conversation and then work through things as they arise. Just take things one step at a time, one day at a time. Take a deep breath. We know you can do this, but do you believe you can?

Don’t rationalize.

Porn presents the consumer with exaggerated, unrealistic, and dishonest depictions of beauty and sex. In fact, there’s a lot of research to show just how harmful porn can be. This might make it seem scary to disclose, and it could be easy to think that ignoring the issue might sound like a great idea. But consider how a lack of honesty with yourself can be just as destructive. So if you’re serious about recovery, opening up can be a huge step forward. Are you ready?

Don’t forget your friend's feelings.

It can be super helpful to have a friend to support you in your recovery journey, and opening up can be an important step. But placing too much responsibility on your friend can be unfair to both of you. Your friend can’t do this for you, and while they can help encourage you, it’s ultimately up to you to work through this for yourself. Express your sincere appreciation to your friend, and give them the opportunity to tell you what level of support they’d be comfortable with.

Don't shirk responsibility.

It’s important that you decide to kick your porn habit for yourself, first, without external pressure as your primary motivation. Even if your friend is totally and completely willing to help and support you through your recovery journey, recognize that it is up to you to choose to give up porn. Don’t blame your friend or place the responsibility of recovery on their shoulders—that won’t be helpful for either of you. Who are you fighting for, first? Where is your motivation coming from?

Don’t do it alone.

No matter what, you don’t have to fight this alone. There are many resources out there that can help you. Fortify is an online, video-based recovery resource that connects you with a community that is also fighting, as well as allows you to create your own personal “Battle Strategy,” monitors progress, and helps stop the cycle of going back to porn. Over 90% of users reported that Fortify helped move them toward long-term change. It’s free to use, so you can sign up today and start getting the help you need at your own pace. Utilize resources available to you, and know FTND is fighting alongside you. You’re not alone.

Don’t tear yourself down.

If you don’t hear anything good today, hear this: struggling with consuming porn does not make you a bad person. Take the fight hour by hour. Looking ahead can be daunting, so break it down into bite-sized pieces and celebrate every victory, large and small. Everyone’s battle is unique. Try to keep in mind that setbacks are often a part of the recovery process. Take it step by step, and don’t beat yourself up when you don’t meet your own expectations. Remember that shame isn’t productive and can actually slow your progress. So get back up again, and keep fighting for love! We’re right there with you.

Success Stories

My friend told me I wasn’t alone. He said that I hadn’t messed up more than I could fix, that I was capable of overcoming my addiction. That was something I hadn’t thought was possible before.

N

He didn’t know it then, but him talking to me about his problem was the beginning of my journey to overcoming my own issue with pornography

M, 25
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