Artwork for podcast Thrive Beyond Pornography (Formerly The Self Mastery Podcast)
The Detour Cycle: Navigating Beyond Pornography with Clarity and Values
Episode 23824th March 2024 • Thrive Beyond Pornography (Formerly The Self Mastery Podcast) • Zach Spafford
00:00:00 00:12:22

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Learning to Thrive Beyond Pornography use was the greatest challenge of our life and marriage. It had rocked my self confidence, tainted all of the most important experiences of my life and become the most impossible challenge I had.

With this podcast or at you'll learn about the struggle, how to overcome pornography use, and where to find additional resources to begin to thrive beyond pornography with your spouse.

At some point I took a step away from all the 12 step meetings and councilors and started to figure out my own brain, to look at my issue as something that I had the answer to and I was going to figure it out. Here I share those lessons and give you the power to start your own journey free. Whether you struggle with unwanted pornography use or are the spouse or partner, whether you feel stuck or just don't know where to start, here I will teach you principles, tools and skills that you can use today to change how you think and, in the end, what you do.

You'll hear interviews with my spouse, with experts on human sexuality and with former and current pornography users on how you can overcome your own struggle with addictive behavior.

The Thrive Beyond Pornography podcast will bring new perspective to your struggle and keep you coming back to improve all aspects of your life. (formerly, The Self Mastery Podcast: Overcome Pornography Forever)



Episode 238


Hey everybody, and welcome to Thrive Beyond Pornography. I'm your host, Zach Spafford. If you're watching this on YouTube, you might notice my eye looks as if I have pink eye. I don't; it's just allergies here in Utah, particularly in southern Utah where the weather is nearly always wonderful.

In spring and fall, pollen levels soar. I didn't have allergies until a year after moving here. The second year, they were so severe that I would immerse myself in a cold tub to cool down and stop the reactions.

But one of my eyes looks like I have pink eye. It's absurd. So, check us out on YouTube and watch these videos. You can see me discuss these topics from my office in St. George, Utah, and get as familiar with my face as you are with my voice.

Today, I want to talk about what I believe is one of the most transformative concepts you need to understand about pornography.

Whenever you stray from your values, this cycle is likely involved. It's a straightforward process called the detour cycle, indicating when we start engaging in behaviors contrary to our values.

This cycle implies that although detours can happen, there's a way back to the main path. This involves directly addressing the reasons for the detour and moving towards our values.

The detour cycle consists of five steps. I'll list them quickly before explaining each in detail. They are narrative onset, emotional catalyst, escape offer, rationalized bargaining, and finally, value breach.

The narrative onset marks the beginning of the journey towards choosing pornography. It's when your brain begins to tell a story that may stem from past experiences, beliefs, or perceived failures. This mental groundwork predisposes us to seek comfort through an escape offer.

The escape offer is where we attempt to flee from this problem, but the narrative onset is the real issue. These initial steps are often subconscious.

When we reach the escape offer, our brain decides to pay attention. The story we believe creates an emotional response that's uncomfortable.

This narrative onset might even involve a story about pornography that generates negative emotions. For example, one of my clients had a narrative onset that he was alone, which led to anxiety and shame. This was the emotional catalyst.

The emotional catalyst is where negative feelings stem from the narrative. Emotions like guilt, shame, loneliness, stress, and boredom prompt your brain to seek relief.

We often learn to ignore or suppress our feelings. However, these emotions are data. Think of them as a check engine light in your car, signaling that something needs attention.

The escape offer often appears benign or even positive. It's seen as a solution to the discomfort felt during the emotional catalyst stage.

Recognizing it as avoidance is key. It's like putting tape over the check engine light.

As you begin your detour, your brain rationalizes the next move. This rationalization leads us to breach our values, convincing ourselves it's acceptable this time.

Eventually, we rationalize to the point where our consent threshold lowers, leading to the value breach. This final step involves actions outside of our values, like viewing pornography.

This breach often leads to a cycle of repetition. We convince ourselves we've gone too far to stop now.

Recognizing this cycle is crucial in choosing porn. This tool, the detour cycle, is instrumental in understanding the data behind your choices.

If you want to understand your narrative better, set up a free coaching call. Visit Don't delay; do it now. Together, we can explore your narrative and address the real problem.

All right, my friends, have a great week. I'll talk to you next week.



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