Stand Up, Look Up

As we are starting another Freedom Fight and 12-Step Set Free from Pornography Course, I was thinking about the last course, reflecting on what went well and what we can do better next time. We have been doing Set Free courses for six years and each time we learn something and add new things to what we are doing. We have a network of people across the country who are trying different things. As it’s a recent venture, we are always finding new edges of “Well we have never been here before”.


I noticed how downcast most of the men are when they come to the course, they walk in heads bowed, shoulders slumped. This started me thinking about an author I was recently reading, Jordan B Peterson. He is a Psychology Professor at the University of Toronto who has an immense international following on YouTube with young men aged 25-35. He is a very engaging writer in an offbeat kind of way. In his book “12 Rules for Life”, the first chapter and rule is called, “Stand up straight with your shoulders back”.


This got me wondering, could we aid our pornography recovery by something as simple as standing up straight with your shoulders back? It would seem from the little research I have done; the answer maybe yes and here is why. According to Dr Peterson and others, when you “stand up straight with your shoulders back”, you increase the release of serotonin in your brain. Now serotonin increases our feelings of well-being. As a neurotransmitter, serotonin helps to relay messages from one area of the brain to another. This includes brain cells related to mood, memory, and learning.


When we are walking around, shoulders slumped and head down, may be the first step towards well-being is to pull back our shoulders and lift our head. Then we will be able to apply our Freedom Fight and 12-Step biblical principles more easily with our increased serotonin flow.


In the late 1980’s Avondale College had one of the worst reputations of all high schools in Auckland when it was taken over by Christian Principal Phil Raffills. He had one simple mantra that he enforced. It was, “Pull your socks up.” (Yes, those things you put on your feet.) He simply became known as “Socks Up Raffills”. I imagine when the socks came up, the shoulders came back, and the heads came up also. It must have worked because a decade later Avondale College was the largest secondary school in the country, with a huge waiting list of out of zone pupils applying to attend.


So let’s pull back our shoulders and lift our head. Try it! I know I am going to!


Discussion Questions:

How do you cope with difficult situations?

What does it take to do well in challenging times?

What are the strategies that you are using to not just survive but to flourish?

Where is God in this journey for you?



Paul Monahan