More Bad News – Anatomy of an Addiction, Part 2

More bad news

Click here to read Part 1.

Some learned behaviors you can’t unlearn.  Like balancing on a bike.

Unfortunately, that’s almost exactly the situation you’re in when it comes to pornography.

Any good news?

Yep.  “Almost” exactly isn’t exactly the situation with porn.”  For several different reasons.

First, although your brain has made accessing porn an automated behavior, it isn’t a “muscle memory,” a behavior programmed into your body, like riding a bike. It’s more like a trigger that sends your brain off in a certain direction, telling it what to do in this particular case.

It’s a “brain memory,” like a software program running on a computer’s RAM (random access memory), not physically written on a microchip.  And because the brain is “plastic,” as the neurologists have only recently discovered, this programming can be changed.  Brain programs can be rewritten, unwritten, and even in some cases, erased.

At least, that’s what I believe. And that’s what makes the Porn Addiction Cure possible.

Let’s talk about triggers.

A psychological trigger is anything, any stimulus, be it internal or external, that causes something else to happen.    With a gun, when you pull the trigger the hammer strikes the bullet, igniting the powder, sending the bullet out of the barrel to the target.

A psychological trigger is anything that cause the brain to go “click-whirrr” and run one of its preprogrammed behaviors.

Imagine getting behind the wheel of your car.

No, wait.  Before that.  Let’s say you’ve just decided to take a drive.  At that moment, with that thought, that decision, your Drive Car Program started running. Your decision to drive triggered the program to start.

By the time you reach your car you already have the keys in your hand. The key goes in the lock perfectly even though you’re in the middle of a fight with your wife.

You get in behind the seat, totally absorbed in your fight, thinking up new arguments, remembering facts and figures. You stick the key in the ignition, put the car into reverse, look behind you, you don’t even notice that you don’t see anyone behind you, that its safe to begin backing up.  But you have noticed and you back up.

You put the car in gear and eventually merge with freeway traffic traveling 70 miles an hour, changing lanes, speeding up and slowing down according to the ever- changing situation on the road, all the while digging yourself deeper and deeper into trouble with your spouse!

Then, just as you are about to change lanes to take your exit, out of the corner of your eye, you’re brain notices another car is fast approaching and judges it will be in the space you want to occupy a split second before you.


With no conscious thought from you, another program begins to run,  first written when you were learning to drive at the age of 16, but revised and improved on through the years. It’s immediately triggered by the sight of that approaching car and with almost no conscious thought you apply your brakes and move your car back into your own lane, to the blaring of the horns of those behind you.

Each of those programs of previously learned behaviors operates automatically once it has been triggered by your conscious decision to drive your car.  And these two programs, along with dozens and dozens of others running in the background of which we are almost never aware, run near perfectly, ensuring you are able to both drive your car and carry on the important task of fighting with our wife in your mind, which is the task requiring most all your conscious effort.

And that’s what a trigger is.  A mental or environmental stimulus that “turns on” a previously learned and automated program of behaviors we determined at some point were important to our well-being.

That last part is very important. Our brain only learns new behaviors that we think are important to learn.  And it only automates them to run consistently if we have, by our behaviors, our choices, told our brain, “This is important to me. I want to do this a lot!”

Next, Just How Many Triggers Can We Have?


About Tom Kaye

I am a writer, speaker, seeker and finder.
This entry was posted in christian, Christian Porn, pornography, religion, self-help, struggles. Bookmark the permalink.

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