Bottom Lines

April 27, 2016


Mike, the author of the fantastic porn addiction and recovery blog Hi my name is Mike writes about what he calls “bottom lines.” “A bottom line” he writes, “is a line you draw around behaviors and daily patterns to create a buffer zone between healthy living and living in the ‘danger zone’ where you might become triggered and ultimately slip or act out.”

This tool seems very useful to me, and I decided to compile a list of the behaviors that most often lead to a slip.

  • Allowing myself to do a Google image search when I’m bored.
  • Allowing myself to do ANY kind of Internet browsing when I’m bored.
  • Allowing myself to get on the computer for any reason when I’m alone and tired, angry, hungry, stressed out or lonely. Even if I have work to do.
  • Using the computer for entertainment, unless specifically sitting down to watch a movie.
  • Reading the news for entertainment.
  • Watching TV for any reason, especially (since I don’t have a TV at home) when I’m travelling alone.
  • Allowing myself to get to a place where I’m physically depleted, especially hungry, when I can be alone with a computer.
  • Allowing paperwork to pile up at work, so that I have too much to do (and avoid doing) at the end of the day.

In large part, I notice that what comes up for me again and again is wasting time. Almost everything I do on the computer, except for work or blogging or intentional entertainment (almost always with my wife), seems to fall into the category of wasting time. It is basically procrastination, and looking at porn is procrastination par excellence: it is not just an avoidance of work, but of life itself.

My bottom line list, then, is fairly simple:

  • Do not use the computer or other electronic media for entertainment.
  • Do not use the computer for any reason (even if I have work to do), when I am alone and tired, stressed out, angry, lonely, or bored.
  • Do not allow paperwork or other bureaucratic chores to build up. If something needs to be done, do it as soon as possible.
  • Do not allow myself to get to a place of depletion. Bring snacks to work and program in appropriate breaks.

I will probably have to add to this list, but I think it’s a good start. I’m actually pretty sure that if I follow these guidelines, I can avoid a real slip entirely.

Thank you, Mike!

Bottom Lines

3 thoughts on “Bottom Lines

  1. That’s a great start Jon! I’m glad you found this tool useful. I had to adjust it a few times as I recognized some habits I had thought of the first time around. I also found if I messed up it was because I took them for granted because everything “was fine” not recognizing that it was fine because I was following my bottom lines. But, I eventually got the hang of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, I’m starting to see that already. It’s becoming clear that I now have to treat my bottom lines as my first line of defense, and treat bottom line slips the same as “real” slips. Yesterday was a rough day in terms of my bottom lines, I spent over an hour looking at the news and movie trailers, in spite of having completed the above list two days before! On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that the more I can work with the bottom lines, the less I will have to suffer from a more serious slip. Very helpful tool!


  3. I’m really beginning to realize that a key component of our recovery is learning to practice the new tools we find. I read that we should act like fresh recruits in a military unit. We will drill, and drill, and drill, and drill. It is that constant, consistent practice that will create new habits and new strengths. One of my big bottom lines for me was to not take my digital devices into my TV room when I was by myself. I can shut the door and the world disappears. Bad mojo when I have access to my devices and I’m bored or angry, etc.

    So when I first started I literally would walk into the room, turn things on, stand up, go out of the room, and put my phone on the thermostat on the wall in the hallway. Then I’d go back in and watch TV for 2 minutes. Then I’d turn it all off, grab my phone and do it again. I did this 5 times a day for a week. After that, when I walk into the room it’s kind of like Pavlov’s dogs — I immediately check for my phone and if I have it on me I go out in the hall and put it on the thermostat.

    I had never thought of “drilling” new behaviors like that before, but I found it really worked.

    Liked by 1 person

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