Picture something with me.
You're in a car, and your good friend is driving. You guys are driving through the city having a conversation, when suddenly the discussion shifts to a topic that really gets your friend going. He goes from 0 to 60 in about 3.2 seconds (both figuratively and literally). He starts getting heated and begins ranting, becoming more animated and loud. He is yelling, cursing, and waving his arms dramatically. Because he is a good friend, you know that he can get very passionate at times. But as he continues, you remember that he is also driving. And you notice that his driving is becoming quite erratic and dangerous. You realize that you don't want him in the driver's seat. You think quickly. What's the best way to get your friend out of the driver's seat? You know from past experience that your friend definitely doesn't like to be told to "calm down." In fact, that tends to make him only more heated. You also know that trying to reason with him about why he shouldn't feel that way is also just pouring gasoline on the fire. So, what do you do? You realize that the best way to handle this situation is to simply let him vent. So you take a breath, and you give him space to get his feelings out. You don't argue or push back. You allow the ranting. You even nod and say things like, "I hear ya, man." As you listen and let him vent, you gently pull the wheel over and have him stop the car on the side of the road. "Get out of the car," you say in a calm tone. While he continues to rant and rage, you guide him out of the car and switch seats. You are now in the driver's seat, and you continue down the road. He still vents, loudly and passionately for a little while longer. You continue to drive while patiently listening and bearing through it, knowing that it won't last forever. You're aware that your friend just needs to share his feelings on the subject in order to calm back down. And, since you're in the driver's seat, you know you're going to be okay. Eventually, your friend finishes his rant, and he feels better. He even thanks you for listening. Okay, what's the point of this story? If you haven't guessed already, it is about you and the urge to watch porn. Your friend represents the urge to watch porn. Read the story again. Think about this the next time you feel that urge. When your friend (the urge) started to get heated, notice how you gave him permission to vent. You didn't get pulled into his raging. You were an observer. A listener. Not a participant. Your job was to take a breath, stay calm, and give him space to vent his feelings. It wasn't an enjoyable experience, but you were in the driver's seat. And, you knew that this was the best way to navigate the situation. The P.A.T.H. Plan outlines the specific, actionable steps to do this. And the best part? When you do this enough times and build this skill, that's when you start to experience the fresh air of true, lasting freedom. You got this! Dan