We refer to the six action steps as being “basic,” not because they are particularly easy or simple to do, but because they are necessary in order to ensure success in quitting porn. Without these action steps you can’t make the kinds of thorough and systematic changes needed to assure that you can stay away from porn for good. These basic steps are essen­tial in creating a regimen of self-nurturing and self-care that is essential for getting out of the porn trap. Only by learning to take care of yourself and giving yourself time and space to heal, can you find the emotional and physical resources you’ll need to recover. Taken together, these six steps reduce many of the factors we’ve discussed in previous chapters that contribute to and accelerate serious porn problems, such as social isolation, easy access, stress, addictive tendencies, and sexual insecurities and frustrations.

The six basic action steps in quitting porn are:

1. Tell someone else about your porn problem

2. Get involved in a treatment program

3. Create a porn-free environment

4. Establish twenty-four-hour support and accountability

5. Take care of your physical and emotional health

6. Start healing your sexuality

Some steps may be easier for you to do than others. Ironically, the steps that seem the most challenging are often the ones that can be the most rewarding and effective in helping you quit porn. If you initially balk at the idea of trying a particular step, you may want to ask yourself the following questions: Why am I having this reaction? What does the step require of me that I am not used to doing? What am I afraid will happen if I attempt the step? What do I need to deal with or do so that I can follow through on the step? When faced with a challenging step, we recommend you consider a way, no matter how small, that you can move forward and do it in spite of your initial reluctance. To help make it easier for you, each step offers a number of options from which you can choose to help you get started.

It’s important to understand that these six steps aren’t separate— they complement each other and work together. Don’t think of them like stepping-stones across a creek, but rather as sections of a bridge. The stronger each section is, the sturdier the whole bridge, making it more likely to stand up to difficulties that may lay ahead. For example, it’s easier to attend a treatment program when someone who cares about you and your struggle encourages and supports you. Neglecting a par­ticular step can weaken your recovery process. In fact, we have found that many people who have chronic difficulty quitting porn can point to one or more of the basic steps they haven’t yet followed through with. Therefore, it’s a good idea to evaluate how you are doing with each step from time to time throughout the course of your recovery. If you find you haven’t fully committed to a step or two, you should focus more time and energy in that specific area of your recovery for a while.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the six basic action steps.