Module 7: Addiction

How to deal with addiction and compulsion

It is really important to look at the motivation for your behaviour and the emotions you are avoiding. If you don’t you will only mask the problem.

However, whilst addressing the underlying motivations for your addictions there are also techniques that can be used to manage urges to go on-line and access indecent images, as set out below:

  • Restructuring/challenging – rehearsed self-talk.
  • Active distraction – pro-actively distracting self from fantasy, e.g. computer game, conversation.
  • Tell a safe person – someone from your support network, Stop It Now! helpline.
    Thought stopping – physical prompt to stop fantasy e.g. elastic band around your wrist.
  • Urge surfing – ride the urge without acting on it, know it will pass.
  • Fantasy blocker – think of “worst case” consequence – e.g. prison or being caught in the act by partner.
  • Escape route – physically remove self from where you are having the fantasy e.g. turn off the computer, go for a walk.
  • Relaxation techniques – use appropriate guided visualisation that works for you – this should be something that has been planned and rehearsed in advance.

A long term technique for managing addiction is self-care – including taking an interest in diet, social life, personal hygiene and exercise. Having an interest in this area can then be drawn on to use in the above techniques e.g. for ‘active distraction’ going to the gym or cooking a meal.

Make a list which of these techniques you will find most useful or will try using.

It is important to review how well you are managing your urges and the techniques which work well for you. Completing the diary below can be a way of doing this.

Situation (day, time, mood, location)

Strength of urge (1= low, 10 = high)

Technique used

Strength of urge after (1= low, 10 = high)

At home, late at night, bored and lonely 10 Active distraction – doing a Sudoku puzzle 5

Download printable template >

This can also be used to help you recognise patterns when your urge to access sexual images of children is strongest or what moods are linked to the urges. This awareness will help with your relapse prevention and risk management.



0808 1000 900

More info >