By Bradley Riddell

Maidstone & Brighton

bradrid@gmail.com

www.addiction-Counselling.org.uk

07914 681995

THE TEN PILLARS:

AN EXERCISE IN COGNITIVE NEURAL RESTRUCTURING OR REWIRING SPECIFICALLY TO TREAT SEX & PORN ADDICTION

by Bradley Riddell an Addiction Counselling Therapist based in Brighton and Maidstone

This exercise is essentially one of repetitious practice to effect long lasting and automatic, instinctual change in our usual responses; which in this case are our reactions to stimuli that trigger us to seek out sexual gratification via flirtation, internet surfing and/or sexual intercourse or masturbation or a feeding frenzy involving all or a cocktail of a number of the above and substances too.

You can carry these “pillars” with you in card or paper form or on a device with the idea of referring to them and reading them each time you experience a trigger to act out.

Eventually, through this practice, these positive “pillars” will become anchored to the stimuli itself.

Daniel Siegel in his 2007 book “The Mindful Brain” New York, W.W.Norton calls this “neurogenesis”.

It is also known as “cognitive restructuring” or “rewiring the brain”.

It really doesn’t matter what it’s called but rather that it is well known and proven to be effective when practiced repetitiously and in the belief that it can work and is beneficial.

The Ten Pillars consist of Ten statements with ten different headings and are as follows;

READ THROUGH ONE STATEMENT AT A TIME THREE TIMES A DAY FOR A MONTH. ONCE YOU’VE READ NUMBER ONE DROP IT & MOVE ON TO TWO & SO ON UNTIL YOU END WITH NUMBER TEN IN THE 10th MONTH

  1. I AM READY TO CHANGE
  2. MY BRAIN CAN CHANGE
  3. EMPATHY
  4. CONSISTENCY
  5. FREQUENCY
  6. DURATION
  7. INTENSITY
  8. REFLECTION
  9. MAINTENANCE
  10. GRATITUDE

I AM READY TO CHANGE

I am ready to change.

I have lived the way I have for too long.

When I began this journey long ago my choices were just that; choices.

Now they have grown into an addiction over which I feel I have no control.

This process has affected my thinking, my feelings and my being.

Those that I love have also been impacted, some have been devastated.

But now, I am ready to change and I commit to pay whatever price is necessary to accomplish this.

I have already seen the power of bad choices in my addiction.

Now I employ that same power but for positive choices.

I will use the power of positive choice for the purpose of recovery and growth.

I will begin the change now and I will recover from my addiction.

MY BRAIN CAN CHANGE

My brain can change.

My brain can be my best friend.

It can also be my worst enemy.

If I do positive things in my life it is because of the neural circuitry that exists in my brain.

If I do negative things in my life it is because of the neural circuitry that exists in my brain.

Although my brain does not exist in a vacuum, it does work systemically with my body, my emotions, and my spirituality.

I have allowed my brain to develop an addiction and my brain has taken control over me.

Now I am taking the control back.

I will form better and healthier neural pathways in my brain.

A neural pathway is a network of neurons that are responsible for behaviour throughout my brain and body.

Now I take control to develop healthier pathways in my brain and body.

As I learn more about my brain I will become more and more in control.

My brain is changing even as I read this pillar.

My brain can change and I will recover.

EMPATHY

In the past my actions have not always been empathic.

I have hurt those I love and most of all I have hurt myself.

From this moment I commit to live, feel, and express empathy in all that I do.

I will think of how, in the past, my addictive acting out and behaviours have impacted on those I love.

From this point on, as I am compelled to engage in any form of acting out I will stop and feel how this action would impact on those around me, and also myself, and then I will act in an empathic manner.

I will also identify how my behaviours may impact on those who do not know me.

As I am empathic to others and myself my life will change.

CONSISTENCY

Consistency is a friend of unhealthy behaviours.

It can also be a friend of healthy behaviours.

Through consistently engaging in unhealthy thinking and behaviours I have developed a pattern of acting out.

This pattern has become a mechanism for coping and so unhealthy patterns have come to control my life.

Just as consistency has been an enemy, it can also become a friend.

From this point forward I will act consistent with my values and what I believe.

I know that with each consistent choice greater learning takes place.

As I consistently make healthy choices and avoid acting out, I will move closer to freedom and emotional health.

Healthy choices made consistently will facilitate change at a cellular level of my being.

As these cellular changes take place my entire physiology is changing and improving.

I will act consistently and I will recover.

FREQUENCY

Good choices made frequently lead to lifelong positive changes.

From this point on, I will not only make wise choices but I will make them more frequently.

With each choice that I make, the choice becomes more natural to me.

Therefore, I will choose not to make unhealthy choices anymore.

I will choose to make wise and healthy choices on a frequent basis.

This helps to make these decisions become a natural part of my very being.

With each healthy choice made frequently I will increase my freedom.

The more often I choose healthy choices, the stronger I become.

I will remember that as I choose healthy actions frequently, my brain continues to change and I become more free and more healthy.

DURATION

I will lengthen the duration of my healthy choices.

I will choose wise choices over an extended period of time.

I have started to make healthy choices on a daily basis.

I will continue to do this but I will extend the days into weeks and the weeks into years and the years into a lifetime.

I alone am responsible for these decisions being made.

As I lengthen the duration of my choices my confidence will increase and I will recover.

From now on I will no longer hold others responsible for my thoughts my feelings, my actions, or my life.

I can choose my future and I will do this by making healthy choices for the duration of my life.

INTENSITY

Intensity has been one of my worst enemies.

The more intense a stimulus is, the greater the impact it has upon my brain and body.

The negative things I have experienced and chosen to take in have been intense and they have shaped my being.

From this point forward I will never willingly allow such an intense and negative experience to come into my life.

If I do allow such a thing, I am making a choice not to recover.

Healthy changes can be made without intensity so long as I practice and apply the principles of consistency, frequency and duration.

REFLECTION

When I started my journey I committed to pay whatever price was necessary in order to get well.

To this point I have done that but I recognise this is only the beginning.

I commit at this time to continue to pay whatever price is necessary and I will make that same commitment everyday.

As I continue to make that commitment I will continue to become more healthy.

Life is worth living and living means more than simply surviving.

Living means growing and I have now started the process of growing.

I will continue to pay the price of growing and make positive decisions to keep myself safe from relapse.

MAINTENANCE

I now know the importance of avoiding unhealthy stimuli and choices.

I will avoid unhealthy choices.

I will avoid unhealthy stimuli.

My choices to not avoid these things in the past have contributed to my current place in life.

From this point on, as I have the desires to act out I will remember my values and my vision of a better life.

I will act accordingly and I will avoid all unhealthy stimuli.

I will pay whatever physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual and financial price is necessary to avoid this stimuli and get well.

I will do this because I am making an investment in one of the most important creations in the universe – me.

I would choose to walk a thousand miles many times over before I will allow unhealthy stimuli to come into my life again.

I will avoid unhealthy stimuli and I will stay well.

GRATITUDE

I have now begun to feel free and experienced living with honesty and integrity and for this I feel gratitude.

I will allow gratitude to be a guide in my life.

My life is better today than it was several months ago when I began this journey and I feel gratitude.

I have learned to healthily accept and experience both pain and joy with dignity, and for this I am grateful.

This learning has allowed me to feel more grounded in my day to day life.

As I stay grounded I think more clearly and as I think more clearly I make rational choices.

As I make rational choices I make the conscious choice to stay healthy.

Hence I will continue to feel gratitude.

I will find someone or something for which I am grateful every day.

No matter how painful a certain day may be I will find something to express gratitude for, even if the thing I express gratitude for is the ability to healthily experience pain.

For the same mechanism that allows me to feel pain also allows me to feel joy.

I will feel and express gratitude and I will continue to stay healthy.

( Adapted to accommodate cultural differences between the USA and UK from the Cognitive Neural Restructuring Therapy for the Treatment of Sexually Compulsive Disorders (2010) by Matthew Hedelius, Psy.D., LCSW and A. Todd Freestone, Psy.D., LCSW.)

With thanks to Paula Hall’s 2013 book Understanding And Treating Sex Addiction: A comprehensive guide for people who struggle with sex addiction and those who want to help them published by Routledge.