Steps to freedom: Bounce your eyes
No matter where we are or where we go there will be someone or something that catches our eye. It is so easy to become triggered. Without even knowing it, we find ourselves caught up in an anonymous person that catches our eye. We start taking that long look or a second, third, or fourth look! This can all happen without us consciously realizing that we are doing it. It happens fast. We see someone or something, physically take it in, give our attention to it, begin our sexual fantasy thinking, and then we hold on to these enjoyable until at some convenient point we are able to act out. This cycle of events is just one of many that we sexual addicts utilize on a regular basis. An important step to freedom is to learn how to stop feeding ourselves the stimuli that will start the cycle of our addiction. Bouncing our eyes is one of the first steps we must master if we are to begin the freedom towards freedom.
Notice your voyeurism.
I don’t know about you, but since I started doing the recovery portion of my sexual addiction, I was not even aware that I was involved in public voyeurism. I always thought voyeurism was “peeping Tom” stuff and I wasn’t doing that–or so I thought! While it was true that I wasn’t looking through windows or setting up secret webcams–I was sneaking looks in all sorts of other places. I would find myself taking long looks at the women in the mall. I would find myself noticing the clothing of all women I came in contact with. I would find myself looking at different body parts and sexualizing them in my mind. I would take long looks at sexy billboards, sexy displays at stores in the mall, and so on. When I was driving in my car, I would notice all the women walking down the street or in the car next to me.
These long looks at others don’t go unnoticed by our loved ones. We can insist that we don’t mean anything by what we are doing–but that just isn’t true! We need to become more wise and realize that these looks are the first of several steps that lead to our sexual acting out. When we allow our thoughts to remain focused upon these anonymous people, we are starting the process that leads to acting out–which takes the sexual energy that rightfully belongs to our partners. When our partners are offended by our looking they should not be accused of jealousy–we are the ones who owe them the apology! Perhaps they have realized what we have not–that we are giving anonymous others more of our thinking than we give them–and that is a hurtful thing. Our partners have every right to expect us to stop paying attention to others. Small bits of attention here and there add up. Before long we’ve given a lot of attention–and it is more than we know–to other people.
I can’t help it!
What I have learned is that I can’t help the first look; but, I can help every other look I take from that point forward. It is true that things will come across my field of vision that I have no control over; but, once I see something, I now have a choice to make. It is within my power to decide to not take the second look.
The second look is always a choice!
We don’t always have a choice about what we first see but we always have a choice about the second look. We decide what to do next. We always have the choice about what we will do next; and, once we start making the choice to look away, we’ll begin to notice these choices are more and more within our control.
Bounce your eyes!
Bouncing our eyes is a technique of not taking the second look. It is really very simple. When something or someone catches our eyes that we know is not good for our addiction, we let our eyes bounce away and don’t look back. The technique is simple but effective. Here are some tips.
- When you see someone on the sidewalk, cast your eyes downward until you pass them, then look up.
- Stop trying to initiate eye contact with members of the opposite sex.
- When you see something come across the television screen, physically turn your head away.
- When you must speak with someone, look them in the eye or their forehead–and no where else.
- If you pick up a catalog from the mailbox that has images that will trigger you, look away, cover it with other mail, roll it up and throw it away without looking at it.
- If you walk into a store that has magazines with lots of sexy images on display, turn your head away and walk out as soon as possible.
Develop the habit of no second looks
Learning how to make the right choices is at the heart of freedom from sexual addiction. Most of us have not realized the subtle choices that are ours to be made on a moment by moment basis. We’ve been taking these extended second and third looks for so long that we haven’t realized that there was even a choice we could make.
When we first start doing this we may feel odd. Remind yourself that you are not odd–just unusual. It is an unusual person who is willing to make choices to stop feeding their addiction. The less we feed it, the sooner it will starve to death. Once the behavior of looking away becomes second nature, you’ll find that you’ll have one less trigger in your life–and that’s a good thing!This post was written by teach4him--a member of the Purity Project in Oklahoma City. If you have questions or comments of a personal nature, you may reach him at email@example.com