"Greatness in not an act but a habit"

Dear Journal,

Day 2
This is my first post on the forum and my first time seeking help for my addiction outside of working with my therapist.
I started watching porn at age 11. It started out with me using my mom's computer to look at pictures of women's breasts, a concept that was new and very exciting for me. But things escalated quickly when I got my first laptop computer in middle school. I wanted to see actual images of women's naked breasts and not just the covered images I could find on youtube, so I typed in that fascinating new word I had learned about--sex-- into to google search with the safe search settings turned off and I ran into this all-access pass known as Porn Hub. It was so exciting and it felt rebellious and secretive and I remember seeing those women that didn't look like any women I saw around me in my real life and thinking that they were goddesses because they were so beautiful and so arousing. I remember specifically the first porn video I ever watched, still clear as day in my mind, it was a video of this babysitter posing for nude pictures on a trampoline in someone's backyard. She was super playful and fun and flirtatious with the camera and really physically attractive and I remember specifically not only masturbating to her gorgeous body but also feeling very powerful knowing that someone that looked and acted like that was paying attention to me and looking to fulfill my desires. It was a feeling I had never experienced before and it hooked me really hard. In the following years, I would rush home from school to try to get there before my mom got home so I could squeeze in some time for porn. It was the best thing in my world. I remember feeling guilty and weird about how morally ambiguous I felt about watching porn but it was never enough guilt to keep me from watching and masturbating.That feeling of guilt carried on for many years until eventually when I was around 15 or 16 that feeling of guilt went away and I felt no qualms about watching porn. That opened the floodgates to my porn use because now I had no constraints on my usage and I just thought It was a regular part of expressing my sexuality.

I used heavily from about age 15 to age 18 and I wasn't conscious of the problems that it brought but looking back on it now I see how it held me back. I had always been a shy kid, I was anxious about the future, I was often pretty spacey and I never really rebelled or formed a sense of identity. I just followed what my parents did or what my peers did and always tried to please other people so as not to have anyone dislike me. But when I was anxious or overwhelmed or feeling disempowered, I would use porn to help me escape to a reality where I was the boss and women were idealized and all for my pleasure. This really kept me from reaching out of my box too much to make friends, it made me super nervous and shy and quiet around girls, and it kept me from trying new things that were too risky. I didn't realize it but I was becoming dependant on porn to get through life avoiding all the hardships. Finally my senior year of high school I started to branch out, make some friends and focus on athletics and in the process of improving myself I came across some information somewhere talking about porn addiction and the downsides of porn. I realized that porn was holding me back especially when it came to forming real relationships with real girls that I liked or even just wanted to be physical with. So I resolved to stop using porn many times and failed many times.

When I went away to college at 18 I had my first girlfriend and my life was changing rapidly in many ways. I resolved to give up porn again, and I actually succeeded for about 3 months, which is the longest to date I've gone without using porn. I soon realized though that the desire for control was burning inside of me and I felt like I needed porn to feel the power. So with no support systems, I caved eventually and started using again. My use got worse and worse over my college career and I started to notice that I wasn't even enjoying porn anymore, I was just using it to escape my stressful reality. That's when I got really scared and decided I needed to make deep-rooted changes if I was really going to beat what I began to see as a gripping addiction. As college went on I have faced a lot of mental health struggles. During my sophomore year, I struggled with heavy depression and now I face really overwhelming social anxiety. I have been receiving help and treatments from a really great therapist but only recently did I have the courage to tell her about my porn addiction and now I'm on a new path to fighting my addiction from the underlying causes. I see that my mental health and my porn addiction are strongly linked. When I use porn its bad for my mental health and keeps me from doing the things I need to recover and because of strong anxiety I often use porn to escape my reality. It's a deadly cycle. Now I'm 21 in my senior year of college. I want to beat this addiction and reclaim (or maybe claim for the first time) control over my life.  I really want to use this forum to journal, get advice, and find someone to hold me accountable to my goals. I'm hoping that having this community of fellow people who have been affected will help me maintain the strength, courage, and love that I need to make it through the hardest times.
 
Day 7

The last few days have been up and down and all over the place. I feel proud of my success in not breaking or bingeing in the last seven days. This is the longest streak of sobriety I've had in several months. I can already feel my mind starting to clear up a little bit, some of the mental fog from porn-induced dissociation, as I like to call it ( that feeling of fuzziness that you experience when fueled up on porn), is going away. I was super proud the other night, I actually managed to have a fantasy of meeting a cute girl in a club and flirting with her and kissing her. I didn't need to rely on some hardcore thoughts of bondage or submission to get excited. I was able to just think about what it would be like if I saw a cute girl in a club and flirted with her. That raised my confidence in the moment a lot. Still, this first week has been a challenge, I have had cravings and on a few nights almost paralyzing anxiety that I didn't know any way to deal with other than numbing my mind with porn and fantasies of power. Luckily I didn't act out, In those moments I sat there literally still and paralyzed until the absolute worst cavings went away and I watched old episodes of the daily show until I got so tired that I couldn't stay awake anymore. I need to keep a more steady routine that includes exercise throughout the day and especially in the morning so that I have more endorphins and also so that it's easier to relax at night. I need a wind-down or relaxation routine at night so that I can be actively doing something to occupy my mind with positive relaxing or nonanxious thoughts without using my phone to distract me. That's one thing that I've noticed, is that my thoughts become very anxious during the night and I have a compulsive need to use my phone to escape my racing thoughts. Many times in the past when I refuse to deal with my anxiety head-on and instead go on my phone to watch youtube, it's often much harder not to act out and watch porn because my logical brain is already turned off or zoned out and my impulsive instinctual brain takes over. This is why I need to create and follow a routine in the morning and night so that I do things that will alleviate my anxiety without spacing out and going into my phone or computer.

I think that this reboot is really going to change my life and every day that I go without using porn, I feel like I've won another battle, especially on those nights when the cravings are strong. I'm still looking for an accountability partner to help hold me to my personal goals and to share experiences with. 7 days behind me, but as the saying goes, every day is a new life for a wise man, so today is the only day that matters and I will attack today with everything I've got!!
 
Day 8

Yesterday I went to the gym for the first time in a very long time. It was physically challenging and I felt strong social anxiety being in a building with so many strangers. But it also gave me strength. I felt adrenaline and I felt awake for the first time in a while. It made me feel whole in a way that I had not felt in a while. It helped me fall asleep and sleep deeply overnight. My desire to act out is lower today. I don't feel much need at all right now. Nights are still hard for me, however. I get kind of depressed and lonely in the evenings. It might have something to do with the fact that I don't get out enough during the day, it might have something to do with my social anxiety and the low connection I feel to the people in the community around me. It might also have to to do with internal factors such as recurring thoughts and a spacey mind. I found a new quote today that encompasses how I feel and gives me hope. It goes "with the new day comes new strength and new thoughts" -Elenore Rosevelt. It reminds me that even if the nights are tough, getting through them is worth it because the next day can always be different.

Another favorite of mine is " failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough" - OG Mandino
This one speaks to me because it means that even in my darkest times, if the importance, if the will to give up porn is strong enough, I will succeed. Giving up porn may be one of the most important things I ever do in my life. Because it is taking off an ankle weight that keeps me anxiety filled, avoidant of real life and numb to the simple pleasures.
 
Day 9

Today was a powerful day. I went to a day-long dance intensive training that I was somewhat nervous about doing. I was nervous to be seen as a fraud in that space and have people judge me or not like me or think highly of me. I tend to really want to please people when I'm around strangers and be hyper-aware of what people think about me, or just have ideas of what other people think, without any evidence at all. But in spite of the fears and the mental hype that I had built up around this event, I had a lot of fun and I was able to stay present for a significant amount of time and learn a lot about dance. In the evening I spent a lot of time watching youtube videos of political comedy or political commentary on my phone because that's something that gets my endorphin levels up without having to talk to anybody or do anything. My brain and body were already tired from a long day or dancing and learning and my social capacity (as I call it) or the feeling of forcing myself like I had to be "on" around other people was drained from interacting with several stranges during the day. I felt like I needed something external that would both raise my endorphins and relax me at the same time. In the past, I often used porn to achieve that feeling because it is something that both excites the brain and relaxes the body at the same time. But I know that it leaves me with an empty feeling afterward were I still have those same anxieties as I did before, but then have less motivation to do anything about them. Ultimately, I just want to live a life where I am free of the constant anxiety and overthinking that plagues me, and I can actually just do things that feel good, such as making new friends, trying new things, taking risks and saying no to people. I know that porn is one of my worst enemies in that quest and hold me down constantly. So I'm done with it. I'm willing to everything and anything that's necessary to kick this addiction for good, even if that means taking daily challenges to push my old boundaries, getting therapy, taking anxiety reducing substances, journaling, watching videos.I think my porn addiction has stayed around as a form of self-medication for my anxiety. An anxiety that I didn't even know I had until I tried to start doing things on my own as an adult and doing things without the addictive crutch of porn to lean on. I'm feeling good about my recovery though. This page has helped me to process a lot and reading peoples journals, watching videos and blogs etc. is really helping me think about this issue in a different way, and is helping to provide me with the strength to stay sober.
 
Day 13

The battle continues. Last night was particularly hard because I was triggered to binge by my background underlying stress about the future. I was up late after a dance audition with my housemate in the kitchen and we were making food. Since she's stressed about graduating college shes talking to me a lot about the future and what she wants to do with her life and she's telling me that she doesn't know what she wants to do with her life or all of the things she sees in front of her are things she is afraid that she will be bored with. And because I'm also worried about what I will do in my future all types of things from the organizing work that I want to do after college not providing me with enough money to survive, to not being good enough of an organizer to make social change. Her fears played on my fears and It stressed me out cuz I felt like I couldn't help her and it made me all to aware that many of my close friends are going to graduate this University and leave Santa Cruz relatively soon. Which makes me sad and it makes me worry that I'm going to be lonely. This underlying anxiety, fear for the future and worry about loneliness makes me want to escape into the porn world, where everything is easier, I feel powerful because I can control the sexual fantasy that is happening on my screen. Everyone in that world seems so confident and that everything is fine with them. If some woman in a porno is lonely, they just call up the pizza boy and fuck. If a man in one of these pornos is lonely he just hits on the neighbor and she comes over and sucks his dick. I mean it's ridiculous. Its fucking absurd, that doesn't happen in real life, people are multifaceted and life is complex and people have emotions and there are sure social conventions and all these things. And even though I see that these porn fantasies are ridiculous and almost laughable, there's a significant part of me that wants that. That wishes to lead a life with less inhibition, less social rules and struggle and complex emotions. I get carried away by the fantasy of a simple world where sex and power run rampant and are a part of our everyday lives. The pull is strong.

Allas I have stayed strong and avoided even looking at any pornographic material. As I gain more and soberer days under my belt, I feel more strongly about staying sober and not breaking my streak.
 
Day 0

Woohoo!! I failed! Today I finally cracked under all the pressure after 17 days of sobriety. I haven't written in this journal in almost half a week. I experienced a lot of pressure this weekend but also some growth. I went out to a club with my friends and I actually danced in public and it was actually fun and one person even complimented my dance moves. Something I'm usually anxious about, dancing in front of other people turned out to actually be a positive and I felt comfortable doing it in that environment without the use of alcohol or any other substances. I even asked a girl to dance with me and she said yes. Now I did mainly want to dance with that girl because I saw her dancing with another one of her guy friends and she was grinding on him pretty heavy. It looked sexy and sexual and I wanted that, so I asked to dance with her and she took my hand and started grinding with me. I'm trying to be honest in this journal and write even the stuff that I always hold back from people in society. I worry that I was objectifying her in my mind. That I only wanted to dance with her because she was dancing sexy and that this makes me a bad person. I struggle sometimes with the conflict of what is an action or a thought doing something because I've been conditioned to objectify women as sexual objects from porn and what is being brave and trying something or asking someone to be sexual with me because its authentic to my sexual desires. In other words, which of my desires come from my porn-fueled brain and which of my desires are my authentic sexuality? I don't know where that line is, or if there is a line at all, or whether there needs to be a clearly defined line. Its unclear to me in these early stages of recovery.

Today I broke down and saw at least an hours worth of video, image and text-based porn from a couple of Tumblr blogs. It was pretty hardcore and pretty bad stuff. Bad stuff that contained a lot of morals I don't believe in. The porn I watched was hardcore subservience material. Most of it was about women being inferior to men, a lot of it was also women servicing men and women being used primarily for male sexual gratification. I actually really in my heart of hearts don't believe that women are fundamentally inferior to men and I think that women should have the same rights and privileges in every aspect. However, there is something in those porn displays that really gets me aroused.  The subservience and the eagerness to please shown by the women in these images and movies really makes me aroused, I think because it lets me lie in the fantasy that I have more power than I feel in the real world. Also more choice among sexual partners and no fear of being judged for wanting to express my sexual desires. Many of the displays I've noticed that get me the most aroused are when women are being very subservient and enjoying it at the same time. I don't like the types of displays where women are in pain or being forced to do something against their will. I don't know for sure but I think the reason that I enjoy the subservient ones is because I fantasize about being with a real woman who wants me to be dominant in a sexual relationship and enjoys taking a more submissive role. Again, going back to the original question, I wonder if this desire is from a history of porn use which has conditioned me to want dominance in a sexual relationship or whether those are authentic sexual desires for me?
In any case, one positive that occurs tonight was that I did not masturbate when I looked at the porn. I did edge for a while, debating whether or not I should go to orgasm, but eventually, I convinced myself not to because I didn't want to further reward the addiction pathways in my head more than I had by edging. I haven't been clear with myself about whether or not I would allow myself to masturbate during this recovery period. For much of the 19 day period, I did not masturbate. I had an unofficial deal with myself in my own head that I would only allow myself to masturbate if I fantasized about something non pornographic and empowering such as meeting a girl at a bar and flirting with her and kissing her, or asking for consent and giving a woman a full body naked massage.  I masturbated only 3 times in that window of 19 days and every time I thought of a scenario where there was communication and flirtation and sexual passion as I would want there to be in a real-life sexual encounter. Then last night I went to a nightclub in San Francisco with a few of my friends and I danced with that girl which lit my sexual fire and I saw many other really attractive girls that I felt that I didn't have the courage to even approach. Once I got home I was tired, a little bit overstimulated from all the activities of the night and stressed because of a scary potential for a car accident that almost happened on the freeway. I felt like I needed to masturbate to calm my nerves and get to sleep. I thought about the beautiful girls I had seen at the club and I didn't have the patience to think about a milder more realistic sexual fantasy. Instead, I thought about 2 of the girls giving me oral sex in the bathroom of the club. A fantasy that had both power and social disruption in it and it got me really excited. I masturbated 3 times in total that night and I barely remember them, because I was so tired. Once I got back home today, with school starting tomorrow I was very stressed and I have a lot of project work to do and meetings to hold and I felt overwhelmed, and afraid that I might slip up and not do well in one of these categories. Sitting in front of my computer screen doing homework late at night also didn't help me avoid porn. Late at night, I ended up looking up one of my old favorite porn blogs and then following links off of that to get to more juicy stuff. It was a rush at first but eventually, I started feeling less excited by what I was looking at and more disgusted by the dehumanizing ideas that the blogs were putting out about women. I stopped before masturbating to orgasm and pulled up reboot nation invested. Next time I get a strong urge I should pull up reboot nation first, write down my thoughts and feelings, read success stories and then go for a run and/ or meditate. There was no reason for me to watch porn today. There's never any reason for me to watch porn, but especially today, I saw some images that made me cringe, then I saw some images that I desperately wanted to be a part of my life, but knew in my hear that sitting there watching porn was never going to help me be having the kind of sex I want to, and finally, I closed the web page not having masturbated. In a small way, I could consider this a success, because I have been building up a bad image of porn in my head and coming up with a positive vision for my life that doesn't include porn and that understanding may have kept me from going farther than I did. But also this failure makes me more aware that I need to be writing every day, noting my patterns and reaching out for help. Help to manage my stress, help to do my homework and I need to be taking care of body and mind to live a happy and more authentic life.

I'm proud that I can be okay with my failure, and I'm going to learn from this failure, by not doing homework in my room alone late at night anymore and by writing in my journal every day and by reaching out for help on my daily tasks and on my porn addiction.
 
Day 1 of a new battle with porn

Dear Journal,

Toady I come back to the table to make a commitment to sobriety. I have been away for a while. I have alot of shame about this. I feel shame and anxiety and fear and sense of powerleseness have convinced me to hit the fuck it switch on occasion and give up on my commitment. When I've used porn in the last month, its always been on the nights when I most want to be comfortably numb and forget about my own critical self awareness, my frears or my anxietyies about the future. But no more will I put up with this. Its raised my anxiety even farther, nagatively impacted my ability to organize and my ability to be comfortable in my own skin. Its hurn my school work and my confidence to thrive in my own relationships. I want to create the good habbits of checking in with my acountability partner, journaling, meditating and exrecising that can become the foundation for me to live a healthy life and happy existance.

I have been sober for 1 day nowI will continue to be sober for 1 more day and one more day until eventually I have replaced the need and urges, the biological neural pathways that push me to use porn as my escape with healthy habbits that strengehten my mental health as opposed to deteriorate it.
 

Floink

Active Member
Hi Fedup!

Sorry to hear that you fucked up. Well most of us have. It sucks every time we do, so... no need to repeat this. I did not read the whole of your journal, so sorry in advance, if i give you tips on things you already covered.

- install some porn filter software. it serves as a second defense line, if you get weak like you did. i set a password that can be retrieved, but it is ridiculously long and consists of a table of latin relative pronouns. i can retrieve it (if i need to do some research on sex related topics, i am a biologist), but it is a hard piece of work to type it in and there is no chance i will remember it.

- do sports. you will have a lot of focus and energy - so you can use that to get healthy. i took up archery and within one year, i ranked third in my district championships.

- install a counter. you can open a counter at tickcounter dot com. when the urges are heavy, it helps to watch the digits go up by the second.

have a great day and keep your hands above the blanket!

Floink
 

zander13

Well-Known Member
Just read your story. Eerily similar to my own. Good luck my friend, let me know if you need any help or anything like that.
 
March 10th --18 days since my new commitment.

Since that day I have used porn at least 7 times. This has clearly been a tough situation but today I want to focus on what I have learned from these 7 faliures and how I can stay sober moving forwards.

1) You gotta plan things out, make timelines and prioratize different work. Keeping it all in your head leaves room for anxiety to sprout and spread its toxicity and it leaves you coming back to porn as an escape from the anxiety of the real world. Write down your tasks in your planner. Prioritize and get shit done!!!

2) When you come home from a long day of doing anything, take a hot shower and breathe  . Taking a shower helps you relax and breathing helps you get grounded. You dont masturbate or watch porn when youre out in the world doing regular daya to day stuff, but you often do build up a lot of anxiety (wheter it be work realted, or social) and then carry that anxiety and self judgement home with you, where the stress of your housemates, landlord or just the opportunity to be alone in your dark room triggers a familiar stress response to look at some really degrading porn artificially make yourself feel more powerful in the world when really all youre doing is staring at a screen and paying make belive.

3) Read books. Reading when you get alone in your room gets you more focused energy as opposed to watching youtube videos on your phone which makes you zone out and crave more stimulation.

4) Dont forget to meditate, you spend hours and hours with your attention focused externally and only in your mind, but tuning into your body and breath are so good for you and if feels amazing one you just let go and actually relax.

5) Never give up If I give up right now, Ill be right back where I started, and when I started. I wanted to to be where I'm at right now.
 
March 18th, 2017

Checking in again to today. Last week has been rough. I have been masturbating with some form of porn or multiple times every day or at least every other day. I've been falling into this distructive cycle with porn and life challanges, (sucha as schoolwork, social life, organizing work etc.) where I feel stressed and tired, so I use porn to numb out and relax and get my mind off my worries and then I feel shittier and avoid more difficult things thus upping my level of stress about them. I have muchwork to do but I am inspired today by the quote

"The most beautiful things cannot be seen or even touched- they must be felt with the heart."- Hellen Keller

This quote reminds me of the gand plans I have for developing myself towards becoming the person I want to be and it is heavily intertwined andconnected with me getting free of the toxic grip of porn. I just want to make it extra clear to myself that I do not jusdge myself for using the drug that is porn but I am insted mad at the people that have influenced my mind and used me through the drug that is porn.
 
I agree with Floink. Installing a porn filter is so important it could safe your life. Not only that, you have to block any means of reaching TRIGGERS (not just porn but anything that sexually stimulates the brain). Remember we fapstronauts have brains that are not normal, we are sick and on rehab. The minute you think you can handle a dopamine rush since you are "recovering" will only send you back to sqaure 1.

Let me tell you what I did, so that you can do the same:
- I know that when my mind kicks in for the dopamine from porn, I cant control myself and my second personality takes over. My body will do anything to access porn
- Therefore, I have installed a blocker on my android which is meant to prevent strangers from accessing certain apps, and I set the password to something random and long which I will never remember, and blocked all potentially harming apps:
        - Apps include: Youtube, google plus, google, internet, news, all social media, basically anything that can let you see semi nude females.
- I also blocked settings and google playstore/appstore. This is because when my rush kicks in, I cant cheat the block and simply uninstall or factory reset my android. So I have literally blocked my body from accessing Porn altogether

- i did the same thing for my laptop and installed ColdTurkey and K9. Note: Cold Turkey is legit stubborn, once you block there is no going back. As for K9, I did the same as I did for my andoid. Make sure that you cant recover your password for K9 altogether (no recovery email, no phone number nothing).

 
1/11/18

This month marks just a little over a year since i've staterd this journal. Its wierd and alomst a little nostaligc reading over the old posts. Its like reading over a summary of some of your highest and lowest moments put together. I feel heavy, my eyes are tired, my neck is tight, my head is pulsingmy heart feels heavy. I've been feeling quite depressed recnetly. Its feels so strange for me to be caught up like this because overall i've been maintaing much healthier habbits. I've been getting exercise, dancing, taking an aikido class, talking to people at school and getting out of bed when the sun rises and going to bed earier. Up until yesterday, where I watched some porn and read some online erotica, I had been sober for 5 days. I even had the self awarennes to stop wathcing porn and do some yoge before I masturbated and released, rienforcing the pattern in my brain circuts. Te depression feels heavy but I know that porn is not the solution because I can tell my cravings are not of a sexual variety. When I think about masturbating it doesnt even appeal to me. I think what my brain wants is that dopanimne and serratonin rush from looking at porn and getting super hyped up before releasing. Its an age old cure to get some temporary relief from this depression of the mind, but I know that its of no service to me because after I use it it will make me 10 TIMES more depressed, having used what little happy chemicals I have in my brian to jerk off to porn.

I just recently had one of my college friends Samantha over for breakfast. This is someone that I am attracted to at a medium high level and have been sexual with but not had sex with in the past. I havent seen her in a log time but seeing her now made me really crave intimacy with her. I feel that I should add that I did enjoy our time together and I did enjoy the conversation and at the same time I was left craving itimacy, physical touch and comfort. It not so much just a sexual urge but more so my bran associates most forms of intimacy with sexuality and so its hard to separate those things.

5 Reasons why I like sobriety.
1) It makes my positve life experiences seem much more real.
2) It gives me way fatter erctions and makes sexual stimulation so much more pleasurable.
3) It allows my to feel in control of my life/body
4) I get more sleep
5) Its a form of sucess I can feel good about :)
 
C

changemylife

Guest
fedupwithporn said:
When I think about masturbating it doesnt even appeal to me. I think what my brain wants is that dopanimne and serratonin rush from looking at porn and getting super hyped up before releasing. Its an age old cure to get some temporary relief from this depression of the mind, but I know that its of no service to me because after I use it it will make me 10 TIMES more depressed, having used what little happy chemicals I have in my brian to jerk off to porn.
You've said something interesting here and I had a moment of: "Right! I can relate to this." My Os from PMO are not even that great. It seems like the arousal I get while watching and edging is what my brain wants. I feel better in this phase and then I ejaculate and it's not as amazing as everything made it seem like and I get super disappointed and depressed.
 
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